Following are copies of the emails from the Gangaji Foundation and Eli, relating to the sex scandal. At first, the Foundation provided this information (spin?) on their website, but now it has been removed based on ďthe advice of our counsel.Ē
ORIGINAL EMAIL ANNOUNCING THE ELI SCANDAL:
Dear Gangaji Foundation Community,
It is possible that you have already heard about a heartbreaking disclosure within our community. As the Executive Director and a Board Member of the Gangaji and Leela Foundations it is essential that I share with you, in brief, what has happened and the response that is emerging.
On Sunday, October 1, 2006, Eli Jaxon-Bear, founder of the Leela Foundation and Leela School as well as Gangajiís husband and partner, revealed to the entire Board of Directors that he breached the sanctity of the teacher/student relationship by initiating an intimate relationship with one of his students, who is also a teacher in the Leela School. This relationship lasted for three years.
Eli told Gangaji about the relationship in October 2005. At the studentís request, neither Gangaji nor Eli disclosed the relationship. Recently, Eli encouraged the student to disclose the true nature of the relationship to people in our community.
What was initially seen as a matter between adults is now recognized to be a betrayal of the teacher/student relationship and an abuse of power. A trust with the larger community also has been broken. This is an important revelation as real harm is being experienced by the student and is being fully acknowledged. The repercussions of this betrayal are reverberating in ways that were never imagined, but are very painful.
Eli takes full responsibility for his actions and the harm he has caused. In response, he is willingly stepping down from teaching immediately.
The student is receiving qualified professional support. We are heartbroken by the transgression she has suffered and her healing is of utmost importance to all.
Since hearing this news, the Board of Directors has met intensively coming together in earnest, offering full support. The desire and intention of the Board is to serve the healing of this community to the best of their ability, and to see what must be seen.
In this spirit, the Board accepted Eliís resignation from all formal roles in the organization.
The Board also determined that the Foundation will offer professionally facilitated meetings, with Gangaji and Eli present, to support healing in the larger community. These meetings will create a space in which questions can be asked and answered. There will be an opportunity for anyone to speak and express their feelings and experience. We will announce by email and on the website when and where these meetings will take place.
Gangaji and Eli will write a letter directly to the community addressing their roles in this situation. These letters will be sent out to our email list as well as posted on the website.
The Board intends to create a Foundation code of ethics, or similar document, to address the teacher and student relationship, as well as other pertinent issues.
The deepest truths do not excuse or justify our failures and betrayals as human beings. Gratefully though, without minimizing or spiritualizing the damage done, love remains and sustains all. It is only in love that we can truly meet the pain that comes with being human. Ever more so, we can commit ourselves to the compassion that love provides and to tell the truth more clearly and honestly to others and ourselves.
My prayer is that all the hearts affected by this including the student, the staff, the community, and Eli and Gangaji can heal the pain that is present and over time rebuild the broken trust. As students, we can all come together as beginners, to expose the betrayals and to see the heartbreaking consequences of our actions. We have the opportunity to share our true feelings, experiences and realizations, to meet our own and othersí pain and humanity, and to offer and receive our apologies, condolences, and gratitude. In the realization of our true silent nature, we can gather with compassion for all the harm we received and all the harm we have caused, and then see what comes from that meeting.
May we all be blessed with courage and honesty. As always, I look forward to meeting with you in satsang.
In deepest gratitude and love,
Barbara Denempont Executive Director
ELIíS EMAIL TO CLOSE FOLLOWERS:
My teacher said, "If
you move it will bite you." I moved and it has bitten.
Four years ago, I initiated a sexual relationship with a student that
lasted for three years.
In moving I betrayed myself, the
teaching and my community.
I also caused great harm to those that I love the most in this world.
I can no longer teach as long as the harmful consequences of my movement
This October will be the last of the European Three Year Retreats.
In January, we will have the last of the U.S. Three Year retreats.
I will keep my obligation to Australia in November if that is appropriate.
I am so sorry that I have failed you in not having the capacity to stay
impeccable and unmoving in the face of my fixation.
I pray that you can go beyond me in this.
This has been and will continue to be a huge test and fire for everyone in
Some have shown up in brilliant clarity.
I encourage you to stay true to what you have realized.
I pray that you take the example of the best of our community and bare this
with an open heart and mind.
In this it will have served you.
The truth is true regardless of the human form and the failings of the teacher.
Please do not disregard the truth because of the faults of the messenger.
I am so deeply grateful for our past time together and I am so deeply sorry
that I have betrayed you.
The wound of the pain that I have caused will be with me for at least as
long as this body lasts.
I do not ask for forgiveness but that you remain true to the depths of your
heart regardless of temptation to move.
I am so deeply sorry for it all.
In surrender and love
GANGAJI FOUNDATION REVERSES ITSELF, CLAMS UP:
"Everything comes to satsang."
Thank you for all your emails concerning the recent revelations in our last Gangaji News. The Board of Directors has reviewed all the responses received to date and appreciates the wide variety of concerns, questions, and insights as well as the gratitude and loving compassion offered.
In our last letter, we shared our desire to hold community meetings as well as sending out letters from Gangaji and Eli. We did hold a community meeting in Ashland, and have been in the planning stages for additional community meetings.
Recently however, the Foundation received communications from the studentís legal counsel. It has now become necessary and appropriate for the Foundation to retain legal counsel. Having done so, we are choosing to follow the advice of our counsel to not publish letters from Gangaji or Eli, nor to continue scheduling community meetings. We are truly sorry that we are unable to follow through on that commitment, but we must now allow the legal process to take its course.
While Gangaji, Eli and the Foundation will no longer discuss the specifics of the story, there is always the opportunity to be in satsang and to see what can be realized in the face of these circumstances.
Earlier this month Gangaji held a public satsang in Ashland. We invite you to listen to an audio clip from this meeting or read the edited transcript of Gangajiís opening monologue by clicking on the quicklinks.
Always in gratitude,
Gangaji Foundation Staff