"Pema Chondron" by Krista Belle / CC BY-SA 2.0

Famed Buddhist nun Pema Chodron retires, cites handling of sexual misconduct allegations against her group’s leader

Jan 20, 2020

By Michelle Boorstein

Sexual misconduct allegations against its leader continued to roil the Shambhala Buddhist community this week, with famed nun and best-selling author Pema Chodron stepping down as a Shambhala teacher, saying adherents are “yearning for accountability.”

The 83-year-old American nun, who wrote “When Things Fall Apart” in 1996 and appeared on Oprah Winfrey’s “Super Soul Sunday” this past fall, is one of the best-known faces of American Buddhism. She announced her retirement as a teacher in the Halifax, Nova Scotia-based global community in a Tuesday letter to the Shambhala board.

Chodron pointed to recent news that Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, whose father founded the Shambhala movement and who has been the group’s longtime spiritual leader, had been approved by the group’s board to lead an initiation ceremony in Europe in June, as reported in the Buddhist news magazine Tricycle. “I was dumbfounded,” Chodron wrote.

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