We Don’t Need the Guru: Shambhala Facebook Group and (Re)Creating Vajrayana Buddhism

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The Shambhala Facebook group created a space for individuals to reimagine their religious teachings and practices without the Tibetan Tantric Buddhist student-teacher relationship, which received much criticism after Shambhala's spiritual leader, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, had been accused of sexual abuse by some of his students. This article examines how digital space contributes to Shambhala members' negotiations of religious authorities through their communications and membership on the Shambhala Facebook group, for example, by establishing meditation groups that incorporate Shambhala teachings but not the student-teacher relationship. The collection of posts and comments on the Shambhala Facebook group show how the communication processes utilized by this online social group are an example of relational authority, or what Heidi A. Campbell describes as "a negotiation of reciprocity and agency between different parties."
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Hindu Studies
Pages (from-to)215-236
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Tantra
  • Western Buddhism


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