FWBO / Triratna – Sangharakshita – Cases of Sexual Abuse

At the Western Buddhist Order men's ordination course, Guhyaloka, Spain, June 2002. © Upekshaka. Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/upekshaka/191534187

Sangharakshita (Dennis Philip Edward Lingwood) at the Western Buddhist Order men’s ordination course, Guhyaloka, Spain, June 2002. © Upekshaka

 …ultimately, the way a group reacts to allegations of misconduct may be a better indicator of its underlying dysfunction than the content of the allegations themselves. – Christopher Hamacher

The BBC reported on September 26, 2016 about how sexual abuse in the FWBO (Friends of the Western Buddhist Order) – nowadays Triratna Buddhist Order (TBO) – happened under the guise of claimed »spiritual friendship« and to help »make spiritual progress«. The BBC spoke to three former members who explained that they were pressurised into engaging in sexual activity with the leader and founder of the FWBO/Triratna Buddhist Order, Sangharakshita (Dennis Lingwood).

One of the persons being abused said, »It was abuse of trust really, because I was a very sincere, perhaps naïve young man wanting to practise Buddhism.« One man said he was under the legal age of consent for homosexual sex at the time. While some followers believed that the leader of the group made a sacrifice in engaging with his students in a sexual relationship, Elie Godsi, a clinical psychologist who has been an expert witness on a number of high-profile abuse cases, said: »This is all about the sexual gratification of a person in a position of authority or power within the group.«

One good thing in that context is that at least FWBO/Triratna is beginning to acknowledge the power and sexual abuse and is talking about initiating steps to prevent future abuse. I read some reports in the past from men being abused by Sangharakshita and responses by FWBO/Triratna members. At that time I felt there was a tendency to still whitewash what happened by claiming the sexual relationships helped them.*

For those living in the UK see also BBC’s »Inside Out East« in which Jo Taylor examines allegations of historic abuse at a FWBO centre (first 10 minutes).

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* To understand the harm such abuse can bring you can read the Guardian report The dark side of enlightenment from 1997 which reports the sad story of Matthew, a talented Oxford graduate who rejected careerism in the mid-1980s and joined the FWBO and who committed suicide.

Of tremendous help for me to understand sexual abuse in the context of a power differential (priests, psychologists, teacher-students) is Peter Rutter’s (MD) »Sex in the Forbidden Zone«. I can highly recommend to read that book and to take it to heart.

See also

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Comments

  1. The ’safeguarding‘ policy they put in place came only after they learned the BBC were investigating (like the removal of video on their website claiming that sex between teacher and student was acceptable, ‚ inspiring‘) and is ENTIRELY discretionary. Every aspect of it refers complaints straight back to within the organization, even where criminal behaviour takes place. IMHO there can be no genuine safeguarding without external scrutiny and if a centre learns residents have been having sex with children, the first people to call should be the police. (In the case of the center featured, two cases of minors have been swept under the carpet, the police stating they were unable to prosecute due to lack of third party corroboration … Again, while they claim they have learned from their mistakes and changed, none of the ever increasing number of victims coming forward has EVER received an apology or been compensated. In short, their response has been cosmetic rather than genuine and the whole exercise has been geared towards further concealment rather being about initiating change. On the other hand, as soon as the programme aired, they began removing videos on their site that referred to sex between teacher and student. So change is occurring, albeit your force rather than will So, all in all, best to keep warning people …

  2. One of the principal problems in this situation is that many of the senior, long term members involved in running the group are either themselves implicated in the abuse ( be it by copycat behaviour or by helping with the continuing cover up) or are intent on preserving the status quo because the continued existence and stability of the group relates directly to their own continued high status and/or their own future financial wellbeing. In other words, they don’t want change because change would require that they come clean about the past and would mean they lost money and status.
    Until the Order/ Triratna have the moral fibre to PUBLICLY admit that mistakes were made, that the abuse was widespread and replicated, that they repeatedly lied to hide this, and apologise PUBLICLY to and compensate victims, then the stench of the contradiction between truth and self serving propaganda will continue to haunt them.
    Essentially, this is a battle for truth that will only be won when the honesty and openness of the many genuine seekers who follow Triratna is matched by honesty and openness at the top, from senior OMs such as Dhammarati, Munisha, Vishvapani ( ‘Thought for the Day’ Buddhist voice and one of the principal apologists for the behaviour of the past) Kulananda (Michael Chaskelson) Subhuti. It would also help if people like Maitreyabandhu were told to stop the continued teaching of Sangharakshitas abuse facilitating ideas surreptitiously, even after years of being told that such ideas are a) not Buddhist and b) harmful to innocent minds. Regardless of this, he continues to teach this stuff
    Perhaps they are waiting for Sangharakshita and his victims to die for this phase of their development to pass. Realistically speaking, it will only pass when their own power games come to an end, when they have the balls to stand up and say ” Yes, we f—–d up, yes we lied. But we are sorry now and we are trying to changeI doubt wery much that this will happen despite the fact that they have millions in assets, I doubt that their victims will see a single penny. After all they have mansions to pay for, glorified monuments to their chequered past which are, in truth, luxurious retirement homes for the old guard- meanwhile abuse victims suffer in poverty as a result of the psychological wounds they inflicted
    Perhaps it will take the death of two generations rather than one, to bring about real change I. The FWBO/Triratna. At the moment though, they are still trapped in trying to hide their past ( their admissions have been only to a sanitised version) and preserving the status of the group and their own within it.

  3. Thanks to contact in Adhistana for telling the truth, even if they cannot yet write it down, be true to themselves or speak as they find. It was good to hear of this dilemma as it does show understanding of suffering. Some order members apparently, even some in senior positions, would dearly love there to be an apology as it would put an end to their suffering and that of victims. According to OM the order have been advised not to apologise by their legal team as this could lead to compensation claims against the order’s assets and mansions …..

    • Thank you Mettaman. If true, it is really poor behavior and very sad “not to apologise … as this could lead to compensation claims against the order’s assets and mansions”. If true, it follows assets and mansions are more important for Triratna than the well being of those been harmed by their leader or organisation. So the materialists within Triratna seem to be victorious over those who seem to have a more spiritual or more compassionate approach / practice …

      • Unfortunately for them, their claims to have “learned from the mistakes of the past” and admission that they “now realise sex between student and teacher is not skilful” will be enough to convict Lingwood and start the compensation ball rolling.
        I note that legal eagles (vultures?) are already circling round the dying leader and his sycophants
        How sad

  4. I’m not sure fear of compensation claims is the main sticking point. It’s certainly nothing I’ve ever heard discussed, but anyway the Order has no legal existence and each Centre is a separate charity. Maybe someone could sue and bankrupt Padmaloka, which is where much of this went on, but it would have no repercussions on any other centre. At root the problem is that Sangharakshita feels no need to apologise and now although mentally acute is so old, frail and blind that no one feels inclined to push him on the matter. However, even if he were well and people did, his views are quite clear and he is unlikely to change them.

    • Thank you. This sounds reasonable.

      • Yes, it sounds reasonable but it is the smoke and mirrors tactic famously employed by numerous cults to escape being held responsible “the Order has no legal existence and each Centre is a separate charity” come on Tenzin, think NKT- it’s the same trick
        .”I’m not sure fear of compensation claims is the main sticking point. It’s certainly nothing I’ve ever heard discussed” ah yes, deductive reasoning ” I’ve never seen New York so it clearly doesn’t exist. Of course you’ve never heard it discussed: it’s totally unethical and not Buddhist. Not the sort of thing the inner circle discuss with underlings, for very obvious reasons.
        As for who to sue,Nouri defence is another smokescreen. Lingwood has amassed a huge personal fortune and no amount of moving sums around into centre funds will escape the future of a phorensic accountant. Again, the blatant and juvenile attempt to invoke compassion and decency towards the poor old blind man is an appeal to western sentimental thought. From a Buddhist perspective it would be better for Lingwood to suffer the consequences of his actions now, while he is still human, rather than doing so in the lowest hell reserved for those who abuse in the name of the dharma. Was Sangharakshita motivated by such lofty ideals when he was writhing around ejaculating on his victims? If good intentions ensure good outcomes, what was his. motive when he engaged in acts that led to multiple sucides?
        Tenzin I’m surprised at you being taken in by this stuff. It’s standard NKT politic.dont forget, after the damaging effects of the guardian article in 96, who did thee NKT turn to for assistance in restoring their image? The FWBO. When a third of the NBO membership left over the offer of the NBO to allow the NKT membership, who orchestrated their reinstatement? The FWBO
        That’s why the uk NBO is now a laughing stock in uk Buddhist circles and so many members have subsequently failed to renew their membership. The NBO is besmirched by its reputation of being run by cults, for cults

        • From the legal point of view it’s a fact that each NKT centre has his own legal existence – as a separate charity. However, there is also a legal a legal existence of the NKT itself. I don’t know if this is also the case with Triratna.

          • According to its charity docs, Triratna (uddiyana) exists to SUPPORT AND ASSISTANCE FOR URGYEN SANGHARAKSHITA, FOUNDER OF THE TRIRATNA BUDDHIST COMMUNITY (FORMERLY FWBO) – ENABLING HIM AND HIS OFFICE TO GUIDE THE ACTIVITIES OF THE TRIRATNA BUDDHIST COMMUNITY CENTRES AND MEMBERS WORLDWIDE
            Try arguing for its non existence in a court of law with stuff like that all over the web
            And again it’s a smokescreen, here designed to distract from the fact that Lingwood is still very much alive and liable to prosecution! This is no longer a question of if but rather of when. I can assure you Dennis will soon be receiving a letter. What a strange predicament, where those who have helped cover up this abuse for decades are now quite probably praying for him to pass away. The bad news is, you can’t slander a dead man so, even if the Order manage to protect their mentor from prosecution, his passing will result in the allegations they have suppressed being widely publicised. I think it’s called between a rock and a hard place

            • Thank you No name. Very helpful!

            • I’m probably a bit out of the loop these days, but I clearly understood that each centre is an independent charity. I don’t think Sangharakshita set up the FWBO like that at the time to avoid any legal consequences of his sexual activities. If you were to argue that you may as well also say all the books he ever wrote, all the seminars he gave, all the talks and dull scholarly papers he read out, were merely a cover for his sexual appetite. Frankly I think there are probably easier ways to find sex! Where I would agree though is that Triratna hasn’t been entirely transparent in its handling of this issue, even now. For obvious reasons this is only ever likely change after Sangharakshita’s death and even then I have my doubts, given the key position Sangharakshita, his system of practice and his legacy is still likely to hold in the Triratna world. The other thing it shows very clearly is that he didn’t get very far on the Buddhist path, or at least not as far as the fourth and fifth fetters. That itself is no crime, but is probably not the basis from which to be the key central teacher of a Buddhist movement.

              • Hi Mr. Anon, you mention here a key criticism which was part of three concerns that former ex-FWBO and I sorted out in our discussions.

                The three main concerns were: 1) blind spots at the leader side, 2) more or less coarse or subtle encouragement to ONLY follow FWBO – all you need to attain enlightenment is to follow the FWBO – though there is no sign or indication whatsoever, that the FWBO has produced an enlightened being … moreover, its leader is carried away by very basic desires as well as distorting the Dharma to justify his own (homo-)sexual needs, 3) it is unclear what the lineage of transmission is of the FWBO because its a compilation from here and there combined with some inventions, and the question is, what spiritual power does the FWBO “lineage” really have to enable deep transformation?

                A result of those discussions with ex-FWBO was also, that all of them found the FWBO files too extreme and exaggerated. That’s why I’ve never linked them on my websites or blogs – except this time at the end of the post. As an outsider, for me its extremely hard to judge all of this.

                • They may claim the Files were ‘extreme or exaggerated’ but NONE of the allegations in the Files were ever disproven and the vast majority of them were established as true. Sangharakshita s teachings on sex, women, the family, Christianity etc are entirely heterodox
                  I would ointment out that many posters who are seemingly neutral have attacked your site for being extreme and exaggerated. The lesson?ball is not what it seems
                  Have you ever read the FWBO Files?

                  • It’s been years since I read the files, but from what I remember it’s not the facts of who did what to whom and when that were the issue, but the demonisation of Sangharakshita and one-sided portrayal of the FWBO that didn’t wash. It was such a crude caricature, a hatchet job – that was its weakness. Knowing Sangharakshita a little he strikes me as a very complex multifaceted man. He’s not the public persona he likes (and many of us like him) to present, but nor does he need to file down his horns every morning or tuck his tail down the back of his trousers. I know you are very angry with him Mark (I assume) and I understand why and that’s fair enough. You are never going to get an apology off the obstinate old so and so though and nor are you likely to destroy the movement he founded. We may do that ourselves out of our own stupidity. That remains to be seen and given all that is good about Triratna I hope we manage not to!

                    • Glad to see that you don’t have a problem with the facts in the Files (that Sangharakshita had sex with multiple victims, all the time claiming it would lead to their enlightenment, that the family is ‘the enemy of the spiritual community, that women are spiritually inferior, that homosexuality is superior to heterosexuality)and btw it was not the back of his trousers S needed to tuck his tail into,it was the front. “Complex and multifaceted” he may well be, as are many sexual abusers. However, that is not a defence in a court of law where the man rightly belongs.. The subtle ad hominem attack you attempt to impose on the debate by claiming the Files author demonised S is an attempt to hide the fact that he/she was perhaps just someone who saw immoral and illegal acts being perpetrated in the name of dharma and felt someone should be held to account- it’s called ‘moral indignation’ and the search for justice.
                      You are right about there being good things about Triratna, as indeed there are about the curates egg, but you are wrong to assume I am Mark Dunlop ( who has posted here in the past using his own name, having nothing left to conceal after years of personal attacks on him from Order members- oops, you did it again!
                      Nobody wants to destroy the Order. All that is needed is justice for the victims of abuse, of which there were dozens, if not hundreds.
                      The knock is coming: not if but when.

                    • Mr Anon, you say it’s been years site you read THe FWBO Files. I suggest you read them again as so much is as true now as it was then and more stories have co e to light since. Metta.

                • Hi Tempel. I’d agree with you about points 1 and 2. However, I don’t think you need a lineage in that Tibetan sense to progress on the path. You just need a simple, clear exposition of the Buddha’s teaching and a system of practice. I think Triratna does bring in too much from outside and can end up confusing people about the Dharma [I know members of the Order who seem not to have a clue!], but at the same time if you look it’s all there. As for our system of practice – a lot of members of the Order have looked outside that framework to make significant progress and this is a big point of discussion in the Order.

                  • Thank you Frenzy, Mr Anon and no name for the discussion and your contributions.
                    As this blog aims towards to give proper information to enable people to think for themselves instead of condemning others or creating a caricature of others. I appreciate your input and thoughts and I hope that readers find these useful and that it helps them to make up their own mind.

            • For better and for worse, dead people can’t defend themselves or witness their accusers.

        • Hi No name. I only replied briefly this morning to the first point because I had no time to read the full comment. My problem is that I don’t know enough about the FWBO though I had discussions with former long-term members. I have also read some of FWBO members’ accounts where they portrayed the abuse as something positive which I can’t nor will buy in – though I remember an article by a Austrian writer who could see it rather lightly and was not too angry. However, not even he claimed it was good for him. He discriminated: at least those paedophile priests gave them some attention, didn’t ignore or beat them up as other priests did.

          So my restraint is coming from my ignorance about the situation and by being cautious not to project the NKT stuff – which I think I know rather well – onto the FWBO. That’s why I am open to collect different statements or comments like gathering information to see things more clearly in the future.

    • ps “Maybe someone could sue and bankrupt Padmaloka, which is where much of this went on, but it would have no repercussions on any other centre”
      This is another version of the Croydon smokecreen [IT all happened only at one center,a long time back and at the hands of one person”]
      Luckily, my Shabda collection which runs back to the mid 80s, makes reference to abuse in Croydon, Dublin, Brighton,Bristol, Sydney, to name but a few http://www.ex-cult.org/fwbo/ShabCol2.htm#Croydon
      In fact there are numerous references to abuse at numerous centers, at the hands of numerous OMs So, there are plenty of assets to go round, dont you worry.
      Now that the truth is out, more people are coming out of the woodwork, not all from Padmaloka. So your compassionate concern that there might not be enough compensation to go round is thankfully misplaced.
      The game, as they say, is finally up. Vultures are circling and preparing for a feeding frenzy
      JUSTICE AND KARMA PLAYING OUT TOGETHER
      Wear the yellow robe
      But if you are reckless
      You will fall into darkness

      Dhammapada 22:2

  5. learninglive2 says:

    Q1. Has anyone in the order received disclosures of alleged sexual abuse involving anyone under the age of consent?
    A. Yes – For example, all who received and read Shabda 2003. Anyone, who was told verbally or in writing about this at any time is in receipt of a disclosure of sexual abuse.
    Q2. Was it / is it illegal to have sex with someone under the age of consent?
    A. Yes. Sangharakshita and others, according to the disclosure(s), had sex with person(s) under the age of consent.
    Q3. If Sangharakshita / others had sex with someone under the age of consent, did he / they break the law?
    A. Yes.
    Q4. What should the order do if they realise at any point that someone has broken the law?
    A. They refer to Social Services and the police and hand over the safeguarding files that they have been keeping meticulously and confidentially about the concerns.
    Q5. What if it is not recent?
    A. The safeguarding team follow the same ethical and professional procedures as above as did the Anglican safeguarding team in the case of Bishop Peter Ball.

  6. The Bishop Peter Ball report has many similarities with actions / ‘spiritual teachings’ and resource materials connected to Dennis Lingwood / Sangharakshit and FWBO/Triratna /The Buddhist Centre http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-34466842

  7. Der Tenpel,
    Hello Tenpel.
    I apriciated your reference to Peter Rutters ”sex in the forbidden zone”
    It should be made oblicatory in the Triratna ordination proces.
    Although he takes a man-woman perspective, it could easily be translated to general dynamics between spiritual teachers and spiritual aspirants attending classes, retreats, reading their books etc.

    In his book Peter Rutter, Jungian psychoanalyst MD, explains why sexual encounters between spiritual teachers and their ‘devotees'(/one on the recieving end of the teaching) are so damaging, not only for the woman(/spiritual aspirant) , but for the man(/teacher m/v) as well. Women(/spiritual aspirants) usually succumb to these seductions because they are unable to maintain their personal boundaries due to past psychological wounds, often the result of childhood abuse (or neglect), and they are taken advantage of when they are most vulnerable and trusting, when they are seeking emotional and spiritual healing. It is widely recognized that a woman (/spiritual aspirant) in this dependent position, under the influence of a teacher’s spiritual authority, is incapable of free and full consent. In her(/his) desire for the healing of past wounds, she (/he) depends on the integrity of her(/his) teacher to keep her (/his) welfare inviolate and not to reenact the sexual (/emotional) abuse (or neglect) that she may unconsciously elicit from him.

    Rutter says that the violation of this sacred trust causes the same emotional damage as incest relationships; there is the same imbalance of power, admiration of the symbolic father, and the inability to displease him or believe he would hurt her. And this is compounded by the devastating spiritual betrayal that can permanently undermine her faith.

    Sexual harassment, almost by definition, comes out of a power relationship. To coerce people into sexual definitions of situations requires a definite imbalance of power of some kind. Such situations are extremely widespread: they include families, workplaces, residential institutions of all kinds, therapeutic relationships, and religious contexts. The power available in religious contexts includes emotional power and intellectual power – the power to define the meaning of an event.

    For the teacher, this unethical and immoral violation of a woman’s(spritual aspirant’s) trust is often seen by him as a loving act that promises mutual fulfillment, and he is in denial of the suffering he causes. Because the relationship is inherently dishonest and manipulative, even if the woman (/man) has initiated it and wants it to continue, the love, intimacy and healing he is seeking usually remains illusively unattainable, often compelling him into a succession of equally empty and unfulfilling liaisons. This compulsive, self-destructive behavior only increases his disconnection from himself and others.

    I found this online on a (US) website in regard to clergy abuse :
    ”Adult victims of sexual exploitation by clergy often don’t see themselves as victims. Without wider public awareness of the extent and impacts of this form of sexual violence, adults who have been sexually victimized by a beloved priest, pastor, minister, rabbi or other clergy will remain the “silent majority” of clergy sexual abuse victims, suffering in their shame and self-isolation.”
    ”Many people, including the victims themselves, often label incidences of Clergy Sexual Misconduct with adults as ‘affairs’. In reality, they are an abuse of spiritual power by the religious leader.”
    ”Sexual violation by a therapist, doctor, or clergy member is not about sex; it is an abuse of power, authority, and trust inherent in the relationship”

    It says also:
    ”Sympathy and understanding for child victims of sexual abuse flows more readily than that accorded to adults. Adults are often presumed to have colluded in, or even caused, their victimization …”
    ”societal need to find a scapegoat for the loss of a beloved pastor(/buddhist teacher) can cause congregations(sanghas) to re-victimize victims, their spouses, children, and even suspected “whistleblowers”
    And : ”in some states “consent” to sexual relations cannot be used as a defense”

    I wonder what the situation is with clergy abuse laws in the UK?

    My point is: what is the damage that get’s done in a community where the great leader is exused for his sexual abusive behaviour, with him actually saying he did not feel he was the teacher… and without apropriate consequences having been offered to victums.
    What about the deep rooted effects on ethical socialisations. If there is a lack of actual sensetivety and awareness around this topic, even though some ethical quidelines now have been formulated and suggestions have been made they are allready for may years blablabla… if indeed complaints are refered straight back to within the organization… this does not really offer anything substation regarding safeguarding.

    • Hi Frenzy,
      thank you.

      For me Rutter’s text is extremely good because a) he shows the delusional dynamics of a situation which results in sexual abuse in the context of a person with higher power to a person with lower power (power differential) and how both sides will suffer from it b) he is explicit about the harming results. Any person (or organisation/leader) who is downplaying the destructive nature of such relationships should definitely read it in order to wake up – though they are most often so carried away that they would rather find reasons to downplay or white wash the damage …

      I agree also with that adult victims of sexual exploitation by clergy are often not regarded as victims – which I think is extremely ignorant. (I had discussions with people who excuse power or sexual abuse of adult students as a mature / free decision of an adult.) Only ignorant people who don’t have a clue how such sexual exploitations are based on manipulations + exploiting the spiritual hopes and faith of open spiritual seekers and what harm this creates can take such a stance.

      In the case of Triratna or other cases like the Pagode Path Hue in Germany/Frankfurt, the spiritual leader manipulated their students by claiming they need these sexual relationships with the leader for their spiritual progress. They twisted the Dharma: Sangharakshita by claiming the heterosexual student would be blocked to enlightenment by his aversion to homosexuality (what a shameful, embarrassing, distorted twist on the Dharma as well as on the student!) or in the case of the Pagode, that sexual relationships are part of the monks’ trainings and to heal the wounds of child abuse the monks should have now sex with the leader as part of the healing process (how perverse is that?!) Before such exploitive processes, a lot of manipulations have already taken place. If you either have love for human beings (you want really their good) or love for the Dharma (you want to really use it to change yourself or help others to improve to more freedoms) how can you ever do such things? But those teachers set up a whole distorted system and their students carry it on. Its a up-side-down rotten system. If people can’t see that, they are blind. (This is how I see that. But I work also on cultivating compassion for such blind people …, if they can’t see that, I can’t violently open their eyes…, there is no need for anger, they are temporarily totally blocked to see…)

      I think, the deeper problem with these cultish groups or cults is, that the amount of rottenness it carries is just not seen by the followers – maybe they are just too close to it or they may fear to question their whole spiritual life and in whom and what they have placed all their energy, hopes, lifetime, money, faith – hence there is a tendency to play things down and to whitewash what happens.

      I mean, if you really love human beings and the Dharma, how can you ever do that???

      BTW, in Germany, sexual relationships between therapist and client are prohibited by law. A (state licensed or university educated) therapist will face legal punishment if he has sex with any of his clients. There is reason why this is so. But those manipulative spiritual leaders who see themselves often even as on higher levels than well educated psychologists, can do as they please because there is just no law for them. They are operating in a legal gray zone. Nevertheless, the damage is the same. The moral failing is also the same.

  8. I see the section on sex and the FWBO http://response.fwbo.org/fwbo-files/response30.html on their website designed to rebut the accusations of sexual abuse made in the FWBO Fiiles currently links to an error 404 message. It is quite clear that the reason this section has disappeared temporarily is so it can be rewritten in amore honest and open way ( or to put it another way, so the lies can be removed)
    The order have a history of hiding behind re edits of incriminating material they previously posted.
    Here’s an example of how they used the same tactic to discredit the FWBO Files author by basically lying to suit their needs -thank heaven for screen grab
    http://britishbuddhism.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/triratna-buddhist-community-friends.html

    • Thank you. The o-site can be still accessed by the wayback machine:
      http://web.archive.org/web/20071005122042/http://response.fwbo.org/fwbo-files/response30.html

      III Theory and Practice
      d | Sex and the FWBO
      [QUOTE:] Persons involved at a more superficial level might find it genuinely difficult to accept what goes on within the inner circle of the organisation, but the fact is that once a person becomes an Order member (and in certain cases, even before), efforts may be made to convert the said person from heterosexuality to homosexuality. (p.19)

      [ANSWER:] The FWBO Files makes two serious charges in relation to sex and the FWBO: firstly that it teaches that homosexuality is superior to heterosexuality, and second that members are “converted” to homosexuality through coercive psychological means. Both of these charges are untrue. In the absence of evidence for these charges within the public domain, The FWBO Files constructs a wholly fictitious sense of an “inner circle” where such attitudes are actually found, though remaining invisible.

      When I get it correctly from talks with ex-FWBO, and also the tiny bits I read from Sangharakshita or on FWBO blogs very long ago, indeed, it looks that FWBO via Sangharakshita taught homosexuality is superior to heterosexuality. However, I don’t have any written proof or evidence for this claim. So, “no name”, can you quote statements or sources that give evidence to this (as well as for the other claim)?

      • All you need to do is read the FWBO Files and you will see for yourself The quotes are all in there

      • Outline of FWBO teaching on sex
        http://www.ex-cult.org/fwbo/OutlineSex.htm
        FWBO teaching on sex is quite convoluted (as documented below). In outline:

        1 Women are lower on the evolutionary scale than men.

        2 Heterosexual relationships are generally the result of projection and neurotic attachment. The couple is the enemy of the spiritual community.

        3 The nuclear family, as a breeding ground for neurosis and child abuse, is an ‘enemy to be destroyed’. Single-sex communities and right-livelihood businesses provide a better basis for developing spiritual friendship and becoming a ‘true individual’.

        4 Homosexual relationships (‘Greek love’) are actively encouraged as a medium of spiritual friendship, and as a means of overcoming conditioning.

        These ideas are not necessarily taught openly at public centres. The more radical aspects are generally only introduced once order members feel confident that a newcomer has made a genuine commitment to the FWBO. It is a sort of ‘bait and switch’ technique – the FWBO at first teach real Buddhism, and then introduce their own stuff later.

        The ways in which the FWBO attempts to justify these teachings as genuine Buddhism is discussed in more detail in The FWBO Files in the section: ‘The Doctrines of Sangharakshita and the FWBO’.

        The ‘Sexual Manipulation’ section of this site provides examples of the above teachings on sex. Some items are fuller versions of certain quotes cited in the Doctrines section of the Files, others are from new material published subsequent to the Files. It comprises the following pages:

        Women lower on evolutionary scale than men (2,000 words)
        Some quotes from the book ‘Women, Men and Angels’

        Lower Evolution & Higher Evolution (500 words)
        Spiritual hierarchy (1,000 words)
        Some quotes from FWBO publications, explaining how these concepts are understood within the FWBO

        Sexual projection (1,700 words)
        Four extracts:
        1. from a seminar in which Sangharakshita suggests that men should develop their own inner femininity, rather than projecting it onto women, in order to become free from (hetero)sexual desire.
        2. from a magazine article, in which Tejananda extols the benefits of FWBO single-sex communities as a way to overcome any ‘tendency to over-identify with one’s “male-ness” or “female-ness”‘.
        3. from a book by Subhuti, on the benefits of single-sex activities in minimising sexual projection and polarisation.
        4. a dissenting view from a non-FWBO member.

        Neurotic and non-neurotic sexuality (300 words)
        A short extract from a seminar, in which Sangharakshita defines a non-neurotic sexual relationship as one in which neither partner would be upset if the relationship were to break up.

        Couple as enemy of spiritual community (1,400 words)
        This page provides the context for the quote: ‘The “couple” is the enemy of the spiritual community’, cited in The FWBO Files at note 34

        Single-sex community as assault on existing social set-up (900 words)
        This page provides the context for the quotes that families are
        ‘a really massive source of conditioning’ (Files note 33) and:
        ‘the single-sex community is probably our most powerful means of frontal assault on the existing social set-up’ (note 38), and
        ‘If you set up communities, you abolish the family at a stroke’ (note 39)

        Shabda short extracts (450 words)
        Shabda collection 1 (4,000 words)
        Shabda collection 2 (3,000 words)
        Comments by order members on the Guardian article, power relationships, and the promotion of homosexuality as superior to heterosexuality. Originally published in the FWBO’s order magazine, Shabda, and compiled by two (now ex) order members for open circulation.

        Shabda short extracts contains links to following pages
        Subhuti Shabda quote: Homosexuality as kalyana mitrata (Files note 52)
        Jayamati’s letter & Subhuti B’ist Vision p143
        Jnanavira’s letter & Tricycle quote & 2 Ratnotara quotes & Kovida report

        Fear of homosexuality double bind (650 words) (cited in Files note 51)
        An outline of Sangharakshita’s views on homosexuality and spiritual friendship.

        Conventional morality vs. Natural morality (800 words)
        How the FWBO sees these two different kinds of morality.

        • In the end I think the only bit that holds water is the fact that heterosexual sex tends to lead to families and all the responsibilities they involve, so if you want to practise full-time but don’t want to give up sex it’s kind of handy to be gay. Personally, I can vouch for the difficulties of practising in the household life and understand why the Buddha went forth from all that, but I wouldn’t try to be gay to avoid it!

          • Mr. Anon, you have with your comment of 11 October reconfirmed to me how ingrained Lingwoodism is in Triratna devotee, as you reconfirm, in cool, throw away sound bites, his teaching that homosexuality is preferable to heterosexuality in terms of spiritual path without giving up sex. Can you not see how ‘it’s kind of handy to be gay’ reduces sexual orientation to a casual item or commodity? It sets gay sex up as the handy ideal. Also, you seem to bemoan that you are in a family situation, with huge echoes of Sangharakshita’s taped monologues. What a shame for your family’s wellbeing that your commitments seem to lie ultimately with Sangharakshita and his order. What a shame that you are / were beset by being heterosexual. What might your wife / partner and family or a non Triratna person, think of what you just wrote? That the family you have is something you would have ideally avoided? Poor you that you are lumbered with spiritually inferior possibilities because you wanted sex? WIth a woman? So much of Lingwoodism reduces a partner to ‘a sexual relationship.’ I would not wish my sister – or brother – to be dating down the dead end Triratna street. I feel sorry for your family as you do not seem to understand just how impersonal this ideology is.
            This ideology surely must lead to profound conflict for many men and women in Triratna, whose natural inclination is towards loving committed partners or indeed to having a child. Your comments above are Sangharakshita’s ideas .. still devoid of real people, real love and real consequences. Indeed, I am getting info that mitra at Padmaloka are being advised that they need to leave their families to make spiritual progress and that a German order member also on a Padmaloka event, wants to interview female partners of prospective order members to essentially vet them for compliance. This does not surprise me as I know that Padmavajra at Padmaloka tells mitra, especially the young men, some misogynistic ‘true’ stories from Buddhist scriptures to spiritually scare them off relationships and to alienate fathers from children and women. Maybe you have heard him deliver these, following very much in Sangharakshita’s misogynistic footsteps. Maybe you do not appreciate the extent to which this ideology affects you.
            Have you shown this thread to your family / siblings /parent?

            • Thank you Mettaman. You raise a very important point which – as far as I can see – is the reduction of another human being to an sexual object or of complex human relationships to mere sexual relationships … I was not aware of this!
              It could be that the reduction of human beings and good, fulfilled and rich partnership in favour of a mere sexual activity towards a preferred object of sexual desire lingers behind all of these ideas SR/Dennis and his closet students spread or installed in TBO.
              If you read The Guardian piece of how Mike Dunlop told how SR/Dennis sexually abused him, its not about having a good partnership or a good human relation its just about sex and seeing a sexual object in the other … You find the same in the documentary Holy Hell. Not being able to have fulfilled, rich and sustaining partnerships is one thing but to establish this inability as the preferred model for followers, isn’t this quite dangerous – because you ask others to develop the same limitations as you have yourself? What’s so enlightened or spiritual here?

              • To support mother and father, to cherish wife and children, and to be engaged in peaceful occupation — this is the greatest blessing.
                Buddhas words from the Mangala Sutta
                The family is the enemy of the spiritual community
                Dennis Lingwood aka Sangharakshita

                Lingwoods deception was to claim that the advice the Buddha gave to monks about the limitations of family life was blanket advice for ALL Buddhists, lay and ordained. This fallacy is further perpetuated by the TBO description of themselves as ” neither lay nor ordained” (note also the arrogant. portrayal of themselves as “the community of committed Buddhist practitioners”, the implication being that other Buddhists are not ” committed”)
                This is why TBO is so dangerous. Unwittingly/ intentionally in Lingwoods case, through great arrogance and ignorance, they have created a movement which has at its heart, deep seated sentiments of hatred for the family and feelings of the inferiority of the traditions which they claim to be the distilled essence of. TBO is therefore destructive of both the family and traditional Buddhism
                This is what becomes increasingly apparent the more one reads Katherine Hopper/ Munishas ( who I believe to be mr Anon) defences of TBO – She has an excuse for everything. Hence her role as TBO communications head ( and, ridiculously, chief safeguarding officer)
                I am reminded of Gary Beesleys comparison of the NKT as ‘ cuckoos’ Beesley wrote a book the NKT forced the withdrawal of entitled ‘ the cuckoo in the peacock palace’ as well as authoring the FWBO Files. The point about the. cuckoo is it lays it’s eggs in the nests of other birds, replicating he size and colour.of the hosts eggs.As soon as it is born,, the cuckoo kills all its siblings and eventually turns on its parents, once they have outgrown their usefulness.
                Beesley was vilified for years by FWBO and NKT seniors. And yet the central assertions of both his works ( that the NKT was a Chinese backed cult, a tool in the CPC war against the Dalai Lama and that the FWBO was a sexually abusive, anti family misogynistic cult set up by its leader to procure young men for sex) all turned out to be true. Yet both cults branded him a liar and a trouble maker
                It looks like the chickens are coming home to roost for both organizations.
                Another name to be added to the apology list?

                • Lingwoods deception was to claim that the advice the Buddha gave to monks about the limitations of family life was blanket advice for ALL Buddhists, lay and ordained.

                  100% agreed!

                • … from the Reddit discussion with respect to the TBO description of themselves as “neither lay nor ordained”:

                  I looked at the Triratna website, it says they are:
                  “Neither monastic nor lay, we are simply Buddhists”

                  Not being monastic means they are not qualified.
                  Not being lay means they are not serious.
                  And that entire sentence seems disingenuous.

                  »For the person who transgresses in one thing, I tell you, there is no evil deed that is not to be done. Which one thing? This: telling a deliberate lie.«

  9. Hello, tenpel thank you for your reply.

    In this video you see sangharakshita reflecting on the (un) skilfullness of sex itself. Very disturbing in the light of the ”abuse under the guise of claimed »spiritual friendship« and to help »make spiritual progress«.”

    It shows Sangharakshita saying sexual relationships and friendship are mutually quite incompattible and that he tends to think, after a lot of thought, there is something essentially unskilfull about the sexual relationship. Also he says ‘one of the things that i i have observed and what really appalled me is ”the fact of the sexual exclusiveness of sexual relationships”. He says he thinks it is really without foundation you can have a genuine friendship and sexual relationships with one and the same person.

    It is unfortunate the FWBO files in are a style that makes them sensitie to critics.
    I found the letters of resignation of Yashomitra, Prasannasiddhi and Sthiramati extremely skillfully formulated.
    Praise for Mark Dunlop, also in his account online, to give some more insight in the actual effects of such accumulation of trauma on a human being.

    • Incredible – not what he says, I agree with it – but in light of what he did so many times!

      Can you link to the letters of Yashomitra, Prasannasiddhi and Sthiramati and more by Mark Dunlop?
      I agree, “praise for Mark Dunlop”! because it is extremely brave what and how he reported about his experiences to The Guardian (I read only this piece so far). Such whistle blowers are so rare because it is so hard to develop that bravery, clarity and to have the self-esteem to report about this – even with your real name!!!

      • Re Tenpel: I don’t agree with you, i think he makes ridigulous presumtions, i dont see how they are buddhist either. I think he is talking merely about his own inabilities and that his observation are v poor .
        Indeed contextualised it is even more spooky…

        Here are:
        Yashomitra’s open letter.
        http://www.ex-cult.org/fwbo/Yashomitra.htm
        Sthiramati’s letter to Mahamati.
        http://triratna-news.blogspot.nl/search?updated-min=2010-01-01T00:00:00Z&updated-max=2011-01-01T00:00:00Z&max-results=6>
        Prasannasiddhi to Dhammarati and Order members.
        http://triratna-news.blogspot.nl/2010/07/sid-and-his-trousers.html
        And from Mark Dunlop
        http://www.ex-cult.org/fwbo/MarkDunlop.htm

        • I meant I agree that spiritual friendship in the sense of an elder guiding or supporting a junior in the spiritual path and sexual relationship don’t go together. Do you think otherwise?

        • Thank you for the links. Will read the content in the next days.

          • Content second link, from 2010.

            Dear Mahamati,

            I am writing to ask you to withdraw my name from the Order list, etc. As I expect you know I have had nothing to do with WBO/TBC activities for well over a decade now, and minimal involvement for some time before that, and I wish to make it clear that this position is a matter of choice rather than forgetfulness on my part. I have regarded myself as no longer a part of ‘the Order’ for a long time and it is now probably overdue for me to make this absolutely clear to all concerned.

            My decision to do this is, amongst other things, connected with the subject of various materials now in the public domain, most notably the self-deceiving document “Conversations with Bhante”, and the character of the collective response over the years to the issues that are raised therein. While I fully accept the well-meaning and good faith of members of the WBO/TBC, there is also a collective self-deception at work in connection with certain past events and present attitudes which I regard as deleterious to the welfare of all those involved, past and present. I would summarise my concerns as being focused in the areas of sexual misconduct, inadequate boundaries and cultic or controlling group behaviours, compounded by the lack of informed and truly moral leadership on how the Order should understand and respond to these problems, as shown for example by your and Subhuti’s rapturous endorsement of “Conversations…”. It is particularly damning that no-one addresses the crucial factor of the breach of fiduciary duty and teacher-disciple boundaries. Everyone inside the WBO/TBC, it seems, is engaged in denial of how destructive such behaviour can be and has been.

            I note in a recent document that Sangharakshita laments that a resigning member does not write to him as his preceptor. He clearly does not understand that where he has ‘cashed in’ his spiritual status for personal sexual gratification, no obligation remains on the part of the ordinand.

            I have written about aspects of all these issues at some length but here is not the place in which to go into further detail. I do understand that many members believe (or is it hope?) that by remaining uncritical of Sangharakshita’s sexual misconduct and other aspects of TBC/WBO behaviour they are exhibiting a kind of spiritual strength. Unfortunately this is not the case, and they are merely exhibiting their indifference to the moral issues raised in these areas, and clinging cravenly to the identities given by their often lengthy membership of the TBC/WBO.

            I hope you are able and willing to reflect on the truth of what I have written.

            With my best wishes,

            Andrew Skilton (ex-Sthiramati)

            I would be most grateful if you would publish this letter in Shabda so that other members of the WBO/TBC are unambiguously informed of my position.

            • Respect! Well said well said.

              • Some extracts fom Yashomitra’s letter, 2003, also here much clairity and courage. Sorry for taking words out of context, but they seem essential bits.

                ”In my experience we in the order maintained a conspiracy of silence. (…) Sangharakshita was held up as the embodiment of the Ideal, as the Buddha in our midst.”

                ”In the absence of there being anywhere else to turn to glimpse the Ideal, Sangharakshita being the sole Teacher to the whole Order, in order to hold onto the Ideal it was necessary repress the awareness of what he (and others) was doing. This was a massive psychic split which continues to have its repercussions.”

                ”People have talked in terms of a blind spot. That seems to have been the case, though the term itself is not weighty enough to communicate the seriousness of the matter.”

                ”Many people were damaged as a result of the way things were. This is not simply an unfortunate consequence of the immaturity of the Order and the individuals within it. It is a disaster for those affected in that kind of way. The place that you believe offers you a safe refuge, in which the Ideals of Wisdom and Compassion, of spiritual friendship, are repeatedly upheld and proclaimed, becomes a place in which you are manipulated, undermined and used. That is a disaster. The world turned upside down.”

                ”Present and future generations rely on the ethics of those who tell us what has happened for a truthful account.”

              • From Prasannasiddhi, with respect:

                ”I also believe that he was misusing the natural power and authority of his position as a spiritual teacher, and the love and devotion engendered in me in relation to him in that position, to meet his needs for sex and intimacy in a way that was unskilful.”

                ”Counsellors that I have seen, including a counsellor from Survivors UK, consider that the above equates to a form of sexual abuse.”

              • And much gratitude to Mark for writing with such specifics about his personal struggle that reflects the ”damning” personal consecuences. And for developing ”that bravery, clarity and to have the self-esteem to report about this”.

                Some extracts here, with respect.

                ”One day in the spring of 1986, I was reflecting how much I missed D, when there was an unexpected welling up of emotion and I began crying. This had a purgative effect, and I began to feel strongly that my heterosexual nature, and in particular the associated emotions of love and affection, were true and genuine human feelings, and not some kind of blind perversion, as I had come to believe during my time in the FWBO. My emotions had been stirred up a month or so previously when I had read ‘Jane Eyre’ for the first time, and I believe this novel may have acted as a catalyst.

                Begining to see through the FWBO
                This crying episode marked a turning point in my relationship with the FWBO. The tears soon gave way to anger and revulsion, and over the next few weeks and months, I gradually began to see that there were significant dangers in the FWBO’s distortion of traditional Buddhism.”

                ”Unfortunately, the personal process of coming to terms with my experience in the FWBO continued to become even more difficult and stressful. It was very difficult to articulate my feelings and thoughts. The only outside reference I had at that time was the novel, Jane Eyre, but it was difficult to relate this book, or its meaning to me, to Buddhist teaching or to anything else. It was difficult to explain to other people how reading it had profoundly changed my perspective on Sangharakshita’s teaching about human sexuality and about the dangers of ‘love’ as a neurotic projection, and how this had caused me to question the whole ethos and practice of the FWBO as an organisation. I became obsessed with unraveling my experience in the FWBO, and began to experience bouts of anger and depression over my seeming inability to effectively articulate my concerns.”

                ”I felt very frustrated that the allegations I had made in my article (published as an insert in Shabda May 1987), had been met with such indifference by other FWBO members. To express my anger and frustration over this, in June 1987 I broke two windows and did some other minor damage at Lesingham House, hoping that this might prompt order members to take more notice of the concerns I had expressed. Shortly after, Sangharakshita emerged from his office in a rage, and began haranguing me in front of about half a dozen order members: ‘You think the whole world revolves around you! and ‘We’ve been so-oo patient with you’ and ‘It is still not too late for you to turn the corner.”’

                ”Seeking medical help
                In October 1986, I first saw my GP about my depression and anger about my experience in the FWBO, and over the next ten years or so, I was referred to a number of specialists in the Norwich area. Two of these, both counselors for sexual abuse victims, were sympathetic, but the other psychologists and psychiatrists I saw all seemed to regard me as an obsessive individual who should put their past mistakes behind them and get on with the rest of their life. This kind of ‘blame the victim’ response tended to increase my anxiety and depression, and was probably harmful rather than helpful.”

                ”I also went outside the NHS and tried hypnotherapy and some other therapies, (…) Howerever However, my contact with Dr T did provide a lifeline at the time, and her experience with other ex-cult members and her understanding of the processes involved in cult membership, together with reading books by ex-cult members such as Steven Hassan, subsequently gave me a basis from which to begin to understand my experience in the FWBO and to gradually escape its shadow.”

                ”For some years now, I have been classified by the Benefits Agency as ‘incapable of work’. The doctor who assesed me for the Benefits Agency said that a friend of his from University had become involved with a different cult, and now exhibited exactly the same symptoms as me.

                I continue to feel deeply frustrated at my inability to do anything much to counter the FWBO, and I experience anxiety and depression about my seeming inability to explain to people what goes on within the group or to persuade people to take my concerns seriously.”

                (…) the group itself seems incorrigible. No admissions of unethical behaviour by any current FWBO member have been made, and the FWBO continues to deny that the problems at their Croydon centre, exposed by the Guardian article, have ever affected other centres or other individuals.”

  10. Sangharakshita’s approach to gender is to say the least unusual. While on the one hand there are his views about the different spiritual aptitudes of men and women, on the other he founded an Order where both genders have the same ordination, with women ordaining other women, running their own retreat centres etc. So there is good along with the “bad” or at least probably profoundly mistaken. Also as far as I am aware it’s not that Sangharakshita’s views on gender are subtly slipped in after beginners have been lulled into a false sense of security, but more that they are almost universally ignored or indeed rejected. As far as I can see most members of the Order of either gender simply don’t agree with him. While still holding those views he is not insistent that the rest of us do, so we sort of get on with it, slightly awkwardly.

    As for single sex activities. When I first came along there was the “single sex ideal”, which at some point lost its “L” to become the “single sex idea”, because even if you agree with the benefits of single sex activities it’s hardly an ideal. Personally, as a practising heterosexual I find single sex activities more straightforward. Indeed, there seems to be something helpful about just being with members of your own gender when on retreat whatever your sexual orientation. Presumably that’s why monastic traditions tend to split the sexes. However, mixed events are fine too.

    As for all the Greek love stuff from the seventies and eighties and the promotion of homosexuality as a way to deepen spiritual friendship, that too has been dropped, even though I imagine in a few very isolated cases some version of it probably still goes on. I am sure Sangharakshita was sincere in all that, but equally sure a degree of rationalisation and a strange combination of manipulation and naivety were in play. It’s quite plainly absurd – nothing the Buddha would have recommended and nothing a Buddhist movement should be promoting. I think this, which is expressive of what strikes me as a split between Sangharakshita the extreme idealist and Dennis the man with strong sexual and emotional needs, that is key to most of the movement’s more cultish elements. Still to this day we are not wholly honest about it, or about Sangharakshita. If that ever does happen, it will only be after his death.

    • On ‘The Triratna Story’ on Amazon Review: Stanley writes:
      Top Customer Reviews

      1.0 out of 5 starsTrouble with sexual tension
      By Stanley on 1 Oct. 2016
      Format: Paperback
      This is a fascinating book for many reasons and should be considered seriously as it has been recently described by Triratna as, ‘our detailed, official history.’ I personally find it fascinating, primarily for its emphases and omissions.
      Take chapter 6: Trouble with Angels for example. Vajragupta starts by setting a broad basis for the events and developments that he is about to describe by sketching out the cultural and political milieu in which they took place. In his sketch he includes an apparent appreciation of ‘gay and lesbian liberation’ and ‘attitudes to sex and gender’. He then goes on to describe the emergence of the single-sex idea within the FWBO as it was then. The narrative that ensues covers a range of motivations that informed the spiritual logic and perceived benefits behind the setting up of single-sex communities, businesses and retreats. This range of motivations includes the possibility that, ‘the men were more easily attracted to Sangharakshita, and he could relate more easily to them’ on p73 to women’s ‘lack of skill and … unfamiliarity with hard physical labour’ on p74.
      One facet that appears to be agreed upon is that single-sex communities, businesses and retreats avoided ‘complex and potentially messy dynamics around sexual attraction and projection’ (p77). Also that they, ‘reduced anxiety around the whole area of sex, needing to impress women, and compete with other men’ (p72). Having cast his net so wide and considered such a wide range of gender types and sexual persuasions, how did Vajragupta – and in fact the FWBO itself – come to focus so exclusively on the provision of conducive and non-distractive contexts for the spiritual practice of heterosexual men and women only? Why are the spiritual needs of gay men and women apparently not being considered and catered for? Surrounded by the same sex at home, at work and while on retreat, what are gay men and women to do with their sexual tension? Amid all the sophisticated and deeply considered contexts for spiritual development, how come no comparably conducive situations were set up for gay men and women? How did this apparently hetero-centric world develop, especially considering that the man on top, Sangharakshita, is a gay man himself? How strange that they should place such an emphasis upon heterosexuals? What a confusing omission to not cater for the spiritual needs of gay men and women.

    • Top Customer Reviews

      1.0 out of 5 starsTrouble with sexual tension
      By Stanley on 1 Oct. 2016
      Format: Paperback
      This is a fascinating book for many reasons and should be considered seriously as it has been recently described by Triratna as, ‘our detailed, official history.’ I personally find it fascinating, primarily for its emphases and omissions.
      Take chapter 6: Trouble with Angels for example. Vajragupta starts by setting a broad basis for the events and developments that he is about to describe by sketching out the cultural and political milieu in which they took place. In his sketch he includes an apparent appreciation of ‘gay and lesbian liberation’ and ‘attitudes to sex and gender’. He then goes on to describe the emergence of the single-sex idea within the FWBO as it was then. The narrative that ensues covers a range of motivations that informed the spiritual logic and perceived benefits behind the setting up of single-sex communities, businesses and retreats. This range of motivations includes the possibility that, ‘the men were more easily attracted to Sangharakshita, and he could relate more easily to them’ on p73 to women’s ‘lack of skill and … unfamiliarity with hard physical labour’ on p74.
      One facet that appears to be agreed upon is that single-sex communities, businesses and retreats avoided ‘complex and potentially messy dynamics around sexual attraction and projection’ (p77). Also that they, ‘reduced anxiety around the whole area of sex, needing to impress women, and compete with other men’ (p72). Having cast his net so wide and considered such a wide range of gender types and sexual persuasions, how did Vajragupta – and in fact the FWBO itself – come to focus so exclusively on the provision of conducive and non-distractive contexts for the spiritual practice of heterosexual men and women only? Why are the spiritual needs of gay men and women apparently not being considered and catered for? Surrounded by the same sex at home, at work and while on retreat, what are gay men and women to do with their sexual tension? Amid all the sophisticated and deeply considered contexts for spiritual development, how come no comparably conducive situations were set up for gay men and women? How did this apparently hetero-centric world develop, especially considering that the man on top, Sangharakshita, is a gay man himself? How strange that they should place such an emphasis upon heterosexuals? What a confusing omission to not cater for the spiritual needs of gay men and women.

  11. I forgot to say this video was posted online by Clear Vision Trust, Triratna’s online video/ library, whose website shown also in te BBC item.The Clear Vision Trust is an audio-visual media project run by members of the Triratna Buddhist Order (formerly the Western Buddhist Order). It says on their site they:
    •produce high-quality resources for schools
    •develop engaging resources for young Buddhists

  12. The quotes below shed light on the way gay sex was promoted as a path in Triratna they come from the internal FWBO newsletter which was and is considered secret, for members only
    Shabda short extracts

    Some statements by order members about the promotion of homosexuality as superior to heterosexuality, from the FWBO’s order magazine, Shabda

    ‘It does seem that many of the most successful Kalyana Mitras have an erotic interest in their mitras. � Some, of course, are predisposed to this attraction, others have deliberately chosen to change their sexual preferences in order to use sex as a medium of kalyana mitrata – and to stay clear of the dangers of male-female relationships without giving up sex.’
    (Subhuti, September 1986, p125). See fuller context for this quote.

    ‘Certainly there was a “culture” of homosexuality within the Movement at that time…I certainly felt a pressure to “become” homosexual … ‘
    (Arcismati, December 1997 p14)

    ‘Homosexuality was encouraged. It was seen as better than heterosexuality.’
    (Sanghaloka, December 1997 p24)

    ‘I wanted to talk about homosexuality and how it can have clear spiritual benefits and advantages over heterosexuality, and how such an idea is not like seventies furniture – once fashionable, now clearly silly as some Shabda reportings in have suggested – but a persuasively arguable point and in many cases true.’
    (Maitreyabandhu, June 1998)

    ‘I know that a significant number of heterosexuals have, one way or another, found themselves persuaded into homosexual acts with more senior or experienced members of the Order during their involvement with the FWBO.’
    (Tejananda, July 1998)

    ‘The real beauty of a sexual relationship between an Order Member and a Mitra is that if the OM is sufficiently mature then the other person stands to gain considerably from the experience. This was the basis for the famed Greek model of love between the older man and the younger one which served that society so well for so long. �
    ‘Tejananda’s final point is that we should be careful not to “alienate the vast majority of its (Society’s) members by engaging in, or condoning behaviour which they would find morally reprehensible and utterly repugnant”…. he is quite right to point out that such bigotry does exist and that we must be very careful not to inflame ignorant passions by introducing such radical concepts too abruptly and without the opportunity to carefully explain the context that surrounds these ideas and principles. Thus one would need to be discreet in negotiating these principles with the general public.’
    (Jayamati, August 1998, pages 58-59) See Jayamati’s letter in full

    ‘Tejananda uncritically takes as empirical sexual categories which are in fact ideological and should be subject to interrogation �. Tejananda is wrong to suggest that there is a “heterosexual” majority of Order Members for whom same-sex attraction “isn’t relevant”. It’s ridiculous to say that “homosexual overtures” should not be made to “mitras who are heterosexual” in any circumstances. � Is sexual preference fixed?’
    (Jnanavira, August 1998, page 61) See Jnanavira’s letter in full
    http://www.ex-cult.org/fwbo/ShabShort.htm

    • I wonder whether it would help to extend an open invitation to everyone who felt hurt by all this to come to an event for Triratna Order members who are open to hearing their stories and offering their apologies. I know the only apology that would really count would be from the direct actors, especially Sangharakshita, but at least in the former case that’s not going to happen so how about a second best? Otherwise this will just run and run, and for what purpose? Call me naive but I can’t think of any other way forward.

      • Since I was not hurt by the Triratna Order or Sangharakshita I can’t comment on that.
        Based on my own experiences of power abuse and what I read it contributes to the healing process if the damage is acknowledged and an honest apology is been made. Another important point is to see reforms and means that such things can’t happen again. These three things in Buddhist context are extremely rare as far as I can see and to work on this / to make that happen would be a great step forward, I think. However, such a meeting as you suggest needs a professional counselling or mediation.

        • I agree with you Tenpel that if such a thing were ever to happen there would be a need for professional counselling or mediation.

      • I suspect a public apology would be a minimum requirement, along with clear explanation of what for
        An apology behind closed doors is playing the old game of keeping things under wraps
        However, there is the question of criminal behaviour, a question that can only be addressed in a court of law

        • Yes I can see the case for such an event to be made public. As for possible legal consequences, I haven’t a clue. I know that a court case for underage sex against a former Triratna Order member was recently thrown out due to lack of evidence. As for Sangharakshita, while I have heard he slept with people below the age of consent at the time, I haven’t heard of anyone below the current age of consent (16). Quite what that means legally now 30 years or so down the line, I don’t know.

          • It’s actionable ( retrospective consideration says if they were underf the age.of consent at the time, it remainsillegal even if the age has now changed) as indeed is s ex with people over the age of consent if there was a breech of fiduciary care. There are multiple admissions in Shabda of sex with young men under the age of consent
            It’s worth looking at the. Bishop Peter Ball case since it is very similar in terms of how the abuse occurred and how it can be redressed

    • Thank you very much No Name. Incredible! (I lacked time to read all the comments and just glance through some of them.)

      What a distortion of the teachings. You declare your sexual preferences (which are based on sexual desire – or as Gandhi would put it “carnal desires”) as the supreme or preferable way. For what? Did you transform the desires by this “method”? It looks like it was just a tool to make these desires mainstream and to find people who support you to get the objects of your desire – in that case of young men (or even boys when I understand it correctly) by setting up a system that can sustain you with the young men (or boys) you need to consume to find personal gratification. Clever pedophiles do it that way too.

      Like with Rigpa, for me, this is just bending the Dharma to fit your desires instead of using the Dharma to overcome your desire. On top of this distortion you tell your (naive) followers (ignoring the pain of the people being hurt by the abuse of power or sexual abuse) that this is the better way and a great help for the (abused) students.

      —-

      Interesting point, according to the Pali texts the Buddha himself has never ever spoken about homosexuality told me someone recently. A researcher wrote a PhD about it. But no problem for later unenlightened followers of the Buddha to declare their own (or their leader’s) sexual desires as a way to enlightenment. I don’t know if I should laugh or cry…

      But what is even more amazing how these Subhutis, Jnanaviras, Jayamatis etc. you quoted here, pick up and even defend that deluded idea of Sangharakshita that has no basis in Buddhist scriptures instead of questioning and rejecting it. The “the famed Greek model of love between the older man and the younger one” and “the real beauty of a sexual relationship between an Order Member and a Mitra” has seriously harmed a lot of people – at least one of them committed suicide … If you read these things and put them side by side with the suffering of people who have been manipulated (against their will) into sexual relationships or in other ways, the delusion behind it should become obvious.

      After Matthew’s death, his mother found two letters he had written to FWBO members after he left but which he had never sent. In one he wrote: “I have felt manipulated all the way by people who have allowed themselves to be manipulated. I am now out of reach of all that ghastly sales talk … [it was] a petty totalitarian state, an Orwellian Albania with its own Big Brother.” In another, he said: “I could never return to that ghastly concentration camp atmosphere with its force-fed dogma and drip-feed friendships … where reason and individual experience are crushed by people who expect total submission before any real friendship or recognition is gained.”

      Matthew was seen for two years by a clinical psychologist, who was in no doubt of the detrimental impact the FWBO had on him. He concluded in his report: “Matthew’s problems as to a large part resulted from the traumatic effects of his experiences whilst he had been a member of the FWBO … talked about them with great bitterness. He told me he had decided shortly after entering the FWBO community that he was unsuited to stay there; however he felt trapped and unable to leave as he had fallen under the influence of his tutor, a man he later came to see as being an exceptionally skilful manipulator of other people.

      “Matthew felt that the senior members of the community attempted to deliberately break up his identity, in order to get him to accept the fundamental principles and practices of the community. He tried to resist this process and therefore entered into a prolonged period of psychological conflict with them. He feels the community attempted to alienate him from his family and from women, and that direct attempts were made to encourage him to practise homosexuality. He stated that he did not indulge in homosexual practices, although attempts were made for him to do so both by using inducements and by using threats.

      “In my opinion Matthew’s three-year residence in the FWBO had extremely harmful psychological effects upon him … I have no doubt that this inability to cope with rejection [of losing the job shortly before his suicide] from others directly stemmed from the years of psychological abuse and rejection he had experienced whilst he was a member of the Buddhist community.”

      http://www.ex-cult.org/fwbo/Guardian.htm

      • BTW; how and what Mark Dunlop reports about his experiences with Sangharakshita in the same Guardian article resembles for me the reports we got from monks being sexually manipulated and abused by the former abbot of the Pagode Path Hue in Frankfurt.

  13. I think in case of disfunctionality within the organisation external scrutiny and pressure is crucial.
    For victums of power abuse incl disempowering dynamics in the organisation in dealing with this external aknowlegdement will be crucial for their healing proces.
    Though obviously the organisation (and individuals involved) ‘s aknowledgement of the damage done, the boundary crossing, neglectancy in the dealing with it, which involves again power abuse, would be helpfull. As well as genuine apologies and indeed to see reforms and means that underbuild the aknowledgement, incl certain consequences to help reclaim boudaries.
    External proffesional mediation might be hepfull at some point, wether focussed on restoring confidance in the group/organisation or not. There is obviously a point where this is not realistic anymore…

  14. I wanted to ask Tenpel about his experience with the NKT Survival Platform. Has this been supportive? I imagine it can be a good way for people in (or who have left) a specific (buddhist) group to be able to exchange with, find an ear, aknowledgement and support with their specific issues.
    Thank you.

    • Hi Frenzy, I lack time for a good and thorough answer – but its an important question, so I’ll try to give a brief and accurate as well as nuanced account.

      I became member of the NKS (New Kadampa Survivors) rather early and followed it I think for about two years. It was very useful right from the start BUT the NKT people tried by all means to undermine it. For instance they subscribed as members and posted NKT views and tried to undermine people’s judgement and stories by proselytising them to NKT’s pov – making them even more insecure than they already were. The NKT trolls’ behaviour saw a lot of distrust, and made it also a somewhat / partially unsafe space. (They also tried to convince Yahoo to shut it down.)

      Then there were people who really asked openly but sounded like those NKT trolls. So it was very hard for the moderators to judge who is an NKT troll and who is a genuine seeker (of “the truth” about NKT). Therefore it was very hard to make the forum a save space and unjust might have been done to one or another person. (I remember we also thought initially M. – a very known NKT critic now – is an “NKT troll” but we gave her a chance … she could just not express herself differently at that time than in the NKT newspeak or NKT language… – you are so “brainwashed” if you totally committed to NKT, its unbelievable, and it takes a lot of time to “deprogram” yourself!!!)

      However, things settled over time and people shared very very moving stories which helped people to understand their own experiences and stories better as well as to see that certain patterns of destructiveness manifest in different countries and at different places. From that pov, I think it was extremely helpful. People also understood, I am not alone, others had similar, the same or even more horrific experiences, and in general (besides a few) people answered by expressing understanding, giving consolation, which you would not receive within NKT nor usually by outsiders because the latter don’t understand or can’t understand where you are …

      A few people left disappointed. I was a bit concerned about that and I contacted one of them. But he replied that everything was ok. Though he left the forum disappointed, he said, this had rather to do with where he was in his process at that time, and he sees the benefits now he got from the NKS forum.

      I had to leave the forum at one point because it took me too much of my time and energy. Later I thought it might have been better if we had professional counsellors as moderators because it is extremely hard to find the right balance to stand with the negative experiences, to give space to them, to encourage to speak them out, and to let resonate these within the group – not oppressing them or denigrating/downplaying them, just to listen carefully – without falling into the extreme to create a self-circling negative spiral in which you are somewhat blocked to go ahead in your process. At the end, though self-help groups can be extremely beneficial, as long as the members have not been healed, how much can they contribute to the healing of others in the same situation? Also certain NKT patterns (like dominating or patronising others) manifested and stirred the wounds of members. So the benefit was also limited here and there, I think … That’s why later I thought, to have a professional mediator/ counsellor in such a forum might be a big advantage and could improve the benefit and outcome for members.

      Maybe other NKS members – who were really NKT followers – can tell what their experiences were in the NKS? These are just my thoughts.

      • Thank you for the above reply.
        Its good to hear it has, despite the difficulties, nevertheless had a supportive effect.
        I can see how it would be good to have a proffesional mediator/counsellor involved.
        And that one would have to take into account that sensitive information might leak as it would indeed be difficult to keep it save from ”infiltration”; that’s a tricky one.

  15. I am sorry to hear of your damaging experiences with NKT and how they also harmed NKS, Tenpel. I hope that you continue to rise above those who sought / seek to harm.

    Those in positions of power FWBO / Triratna do not want external ‘interference’ and they will continue to slap it down whenever they can. Safeguarding documents are worth nothing unless there is external scrutiny. The safeguarding officer is also their media and communications person. Thanks to contact in Adhisthana for advising us that Munisha has recently apologised (to an order member only forum) for referring to Sangharakshita / Bhante as blind instead of visually impaired. Her motivation, she wrote, was to protect Bhante from having to give an interview to BBC. If the safeguarding officer(s) are this close to someone, they cannot be impartial. This shows how ’empty’ the organisations safeguarding cosmetics are. Too little, too late by those implicated, I am afraid.

    A contact at Adhisthana also mentions the young German mitra, who Bhante / Sangharaskhita had a sexual relationship in early 2002 / 2003. This is also apparently on the order only forum in connection with the order’s media statement. One female order member writes that she has seen a recent mail / letter written by the young German mitra in which it is very clear that Sanghrakshita was involved in sexual activity with the young man. Senior order members maintain that Sangharakshita has not broken his golden kesa vows, which he was wearing at the time. Oral sex and mutual masturbation are sexual activity. This was yet again the leader and Teacher having sex with a mitra. Why does Sangharakshita and those around him (not the person talking to us, though) want to prolong the myth of Sangharakshita being celibate since mid 1980s? He does claim this in ‘Conversations with Bhante’ of 2009 and also says he never kept his sexual relationships secret. Why do the order not confess now? They do know.
    Unfortunately, Yashomitra;s letter of 2003 must have taken their minds off what Sangharakshita was up to with a mitra in Birmingham in 2OO2 / 2003.
    Just tell the truth, people. For your own sakes as well as the sake of those harmed. Metta.

    • Yes, no doubt Munisha et al are patting themselves on the back for ‘getting away with it’ again, lying to the BBC to avoid embarrassing truths ( though this will no doubt be glossed as looking after poor old bante.) and the knowledge that Lingwood was having sex with unwilling but gullible students carried on until at least 2002 will be no doubt conveniently overlooked For Munisha tthe most important thing, more important than the truth, is to protect the reputation of the order and its founder ( very Buddhist.) I would put money on it they are all writing to each other, congratulating each other on , once again, managing to perpetuate the great deception
      Of course there will be genuine voices, but they are not listened to because somebody somewhere has got too much to lose, too much invested, and the truth might damage whatever treasure that might be ( reputation, pension, status)
      If only they would realise that all they need to do is admit the truth, apologise publicly to the victims and compensate them for the abuse they endured. It’s as simple as that! Why not just do the right thing? It might cause loss and damage in the present but in the long term it would be a clean sheet, a fresh start And all this horrible mess that keeps coming back to haunt them would finally go away. If they don’t, it will just keep coming back to haunt them

      • I write on the Order forum to which you refer and I and others have pointed out that the response to the BBC’s questions was not entirely transparent and on various grounds. Firstly, although it is technically true that Bhante passed on the headship of the Order many years ago (I don’t off hand remember the date), he has since renamed the Order and more recently decided to refound it explicitly as the community of his disciples. So if he can rename and refound the Order it’s only technically the case that he is no longer it’s head. As far as his health permits he is the teacher, the de facto head, and the source of all authority, including that of the Preceptors College whose original membership he appointed.

        Then secondly there is the case of the German mitra. One thing I should say is that the man had no problems with the sex then or now. It was the fact that Bhante wanted to keep it secret he found so disturbing. As for Sangharakshita’s celibacy, he argues that as he was no longer able to have sex (following his prostate removal in the 1980s) and therefore did not orgasm, he was technically not breaking the precept. I am not sure there is anyone in the Order who takes that very seriously. But what some of us do take seriously is the picture the mitra’s letter points of a very lonely, vulnerable old man. I personally don’t blame him for wanting the intimacy. I couldn’t begrudge him it, but I do think transparency is essential. I also think it essential we collectively recognise all the good he’s done, the harm he’s done, his limitations and strengths as a human being and just leave it at that. I don’t want to disavow him, or reject him, but I do think the Order needs a realistic appraisal of its founder and that we will in effect at some point have to re-refound ourselves as a community of Dharma practitioners founded by Sangharakshita but not bound by the limitations of his teachings and attainments, his behaviours and his psychology. So it’s a subtle process we will need to engage in. For me rejection and idealisation are both utterly out of the question.

        • THnak you for confirming that Sangharakshita is still in a powerful position and that he changed the name from FWBO promoting Buddhism to Trirtana promoting Buddhism as presented by Sangharakshita. THis explains your internal disputes over which order those ordained before 2010 were actually in.

        • MR Anon, I can see that you are struggling to make sense of this. I understand that you love Sangharakshita. Love may be what is making you blind to him and yourself.
          Sangharakshita had active oral sex and masturbation sessions in 2002 and or 2003 with the young German student disciple mitra, 50 years his junior, who had been somehow been given to him – By whom? – as a personal driver, hand maiden and cook in his BIrmingham annex, a familiar situation for previous consorts, companions …. The young man was also in awe of him, starved of any chance to even meet women in the house and must also have been desperate to give and receive affection. It is an inherently abusive relationship, whether the parties recognise it as such or not, in a community that was already complicit in such abuses. THe demands for secrecy then and now compound the abuse.
          I feel great pity for the lost and lonely figure that is Dennis Lingwood and wish that he and you would enable Sangharakshita to drop the masks, pretences and pretensions that perpetuate tragedy for himself and others, including those who remain complicit in prolonging the denials and abuses.
          WHat staggers me is the lack of wondering how the young German guy might be feeling and how he might be faring. WHere is HE? How is HE? What responsibility does the order have for HIM? And all those who have gone before him … sexual partners, who spoke out … some sooner, some later and some not at all, because to do so might render them homeless and friendless … or bring up stuff from the past that is too painful to deal with. DOes the order owe them anything?

          • Hello Mettaman. Please excuse any errors in this piece as I am typing on a tablet. I think “love” in any personal sense would be stretching it. I like the man in some ways, respect him in some ways, and am very critical of him in others. People are in contact with the former mitra and are concerned about him. As far as we know he is in good nick these days. I have never met the man. I would take issue with you to some degree though about the Order’s part in this. The reason why Sangharakshita wanted to keep his relationship with the guy secret is that his seniormost disciples had strongly advised him to desist from sexual activities as indeed as far as we know he had done since the late 1980s. I don’t have the impression that anyone “procured” this young man for Sangharakshita. He simply left Windhorse Trading, went to live at Madhyamaloka and developed a friendship with Bhante. Being a handsome young chap it went from there. There is some dispute over the order of events but I remember this as happening during Sangharakshita’s first attack of sustained insomnia. He was in a terrible state a lot of the time and I cannot help but feel sympathy for that, just as I feel sympathy for the young guy who found himself in a secret relationship with himself teacher.

            • Thanks for your replies, Mr. Anon. It is interesting to note your responses to ‘love’. Devoted love as a follower in terms of worshipping his image and prostrating to him as a budding Urgyen Padmasambhava is what I was drawing attention to. THis is blind love. maybe you do not do any of those things?
              In Conversations with Bhante he claimed in 2009 that he has been happily celibate since the mid 1980s. HE himself said this if Mahamati and Subhuti are to be believed. Have you read it? The no mention of any sexual activity with the young German guy, who I found out yesterday is called Bjorn. He is prepared to tell his story.

              • I am perfectly aware of this and as I mentioned above I have heard Bhante’s rationale for his position and don’t think it holds water. To be honest I am not into prostrating before the image of any real flesh and blood human being whether or not they have bedded dozens of their disciples. Archetypal figures are another matter – I have found that sort of prostration helpful in a way that’s difficult to explain. In essence, although I respect a lot of what Sangharakshita has done and actually quite like him in many ways, I am not his devotee and am concerned that the Order is being refounded against its will as the community of his disciples. However, I am not alone in this – when surveyed I think something like 80% (and I may be wrong on the figure!) of members of the Order did not want to see themselves as Sangharakshita’s disciples – and this is not simply or mainly to do with the man’s sex life.

            • I like and respect some men and am critical of them in others. They do not form the focus of my devotional love and I am not placed in the invidious position of trying to excuse their actions and behaviours, whilst prostrating myself in front of their image. Maybe you do not do these things.
              You seem to be placing blame here, or at least responsibility, on the fact that he was told to be celibate?? In Conversations with Bhante in 2009 HE said that he had been happily celibate since mid 1980s and actually encourages his followers to follow his lead …. Have you seen his hierarchy of sexual states? Have you read CwB? Easily available via google. No mention of young German guy.
              Being a handsome chap … it went from there???? I laughed out loud just then In utter disbelief that you can write this without any comprehension of what this imparts.

              Actually, I would like to ask who decided to put a handsome chap in such close personal contact with Sangharakshita. Shouldn’t Sangharakshita have been protected from being exposed to the sexual tensions he claims distract heterosexual men from their spiritual practice?
              I am pleased that Sangharakshita is a warm, safe place where people care for him. If people really cared for him they would help him tell the truth and release him from later suffering. Where are those who suffered / suffer long term due to being ideologically and sexually experimented on?
              I found out yesterday that the young German guy is called Bjorn. He is prepared to tell his story.

            • So the guy lied AGAIN and you believed him AGAIN.Its the same old story’s ,lie upon lie upon lie
              Anyone who lies so habitually, never mind sexually manipulates students, is a habitual violator of morality and. Is.not a Fit guide
              Pick n mix your Buddhism if you must, but remember all the traditions agree for a person to be.a fit.teacher he must maintain pure morality
              If the roots are poisoned, the flowers are poisonous

            • There seems to be a layer in your above expression of sympathy and understanding, namely the layer of abuse, that is not fully adressed. This thus becomes part of conceiling and dismissive dynamics.

            • ”People are in contact with the former mitra and are concerned about him.”
              From the available accounts of (for example) several Om’s who resigned over thus related isses it seems there has been and is a mixture of concerns which in reality (in your own acurate wording) involves dissing, belittling or dismissing what people say.
              I also do understand your effort to keep a broader picture and positive connection…
              Though a communal need for this can easily lead to a distortion of some peoples reality in regard to suffering due to lack of healthy boundaries, to disempowering dynamics, resulting in people getting ‘sacrificed’ for the homogenety, and other needs, of the group. It is not difficult to see how this causes primary trauma (which allready accumulates on itself) to significantly intensify.

          • You write concerning Sangharakshita’s view that he has remained celibate because he did not orgasm In bed with his ‘grandson’-aged student disciple cum attendant / handmaiden. What does “I am not not sure there is anyone in the order that takes that very seriously” mean? If someone does not take Sr view seriously, then they must hold the view that he has broken his vow of celibacy and thus made the young man out to be a liar. Those not standing by and up for the young man are compounding cunning linguistics to protect the image Sangharakshita and those around him, including yourself, wish to publicly project and protect. It is refreshing to see you exploring your views of Sr here and being prepared to wish him to be seen as possibly fallible. I hope we can continue to a testing ground for your one sided views, that currently filter out anyone who challenges Sr and the orders version of events.
            If sex was only sex if an orgasm occurred, then a female or male victim of rape would not be able to claim they were forced into sex. If a seventy five year old Dharma teacher actively engaged in oral sex with a Student disciple young enough to be his granddaughter and asked her to keep it a secret, would that resonate with you at all? Would you still want him and yourselves to believe that he had not tecahnically been sexually active? The speech precepts are being made a mockery of as far as all this see concerned.
            Yet again, I have to ask how has the order supported any of those, who have spoken up about their real life experiences? I hope that Sr remains in a place where he is looked after and cared for. I also hope that he is held to account at some point. I wish more than this for those who have been harmed psychologically and emotionally by Sr and his ideology, sexual needs and cover up semantics. Anyone continuing to publicly support his stance on his claim to be celibate is perpetuating the power dynamic and the abuses. Please translate not taking his views on celibacy seriously into an active concern for those on the receiving end of damaging ideologies and sexual traps, past and present. THe long term effects of sex in the forbidden zone are well documented … as are the long term effects of all forms of sexual abuse and subtle power manipulations. Metta.

            • Hi. You obviously haven’t understood my meaning. I think Sangharakshita was rationalising big time re Bjorn and so I think do most members of the Triratna Order, although I suppose I should qualify that in that I haven’t surveyed all 2000 of them!

              • WHere does ‘. I think Sangharakshita was rationalising big time re Bjorn’ leave Bjorn? What / were / are the consequences of such rationalisation , institutionalised rationalisation, on Bjorn? Or indeed on previous sexual partners, who Sangharakshita remembers not having sex with?

                • Indeed: rationalisations are also part of the powerdynamics , part of the ”dissing, belittling, and dismissing”. Very intimidating dynamics seen the power differential between the victums and the abuser (s) (s – as it includes all kind of power abuse in the cover-up )
                  What then happens is the victum breaks up more and more and is now even more easy to be pathologised.
                  There will be gréy aknowledgement, but lack of consequences as/when there are no safeguarding structures, (grievance and reconsiliation) procedures and no external scrutiny.
                  Manupilation will be used to keep twisting reality for the ‘protection’ of the group identity.
                  So, Bjorn good on you man!

                • Forgetting a very powerfull powertool: ignoring. Silence. Quite a maddening one.

    • Thank you Mettaman. These are important information.

      I am a bit amazed to see that Sangharakshita is referrred to as Bhante, which means venerable, an address which is only used for Buddhist monks or Buddhist nuns (properly ordained according to the Vinaya) and not for lay people.

      I totally agree with you, “safeguarding documents are worth nothing unless there is external scrutiny.” Its totally unconvincing and insensitive – if not ridiculous – when the safeguarding officer is also their media and communications person!

      And when I get it correctly the organisation lied to the BBC claiming Sangharakshita is blind though he is only visually impaired. This doesn’t sound like the transparency, honesty, clarity and great will to clarify abuse as it is needed in such cases. I’ve not heard of or seen any organisation who was able to fix their problems of abuse relying only on themselves.

      • I think the cultic aspects of the movement still hold, but there’s a lot of us who like to think we’ve outgrown or seen through all of that without feeling the need to resign. Why not? Essentially because there’s a lot good in Triratna, especially the web of friendship built up over decades. I think we can evolve into something better.

        • Thank you for that. Its hard for me to judge all of it but as an outside observer I want to share a story of a former FWBO follower which lends creditability to your last point, spiritual friendship (not in distorted the sense as discussed here and as it happened/happens also in the FWBO/Triratna).

          One day in a Tibetan Buddhist group a participant got strong backaches – sth. like a prolapsed intervertebral disc. He could not move. Though the members called an ambulance, nobody accompanied him to the hospital or took care beyond calling the ambulance. After that – when I remember correctly – called him either or asked him how he is doing. When he one day came back he spoke about this experience and commented: in the FWBO this could not have happened.

          • ”When he one day came back he spoke about this experience and commented: in the FWBO this could not have happened.”
            But much worse did happen tenpel…

            • Yes. Thank you Frenzy. You’re right.

              • I’m not sure ignoring someone when they are ill is more or less serious than the sexual stuff. In a sangha or indeed any community, caring for each other is key. Otherwise we may as well give up because our practice counts for very little indeed. Think of the Buddha and the Case of Dysentery.

                • Someone who is ill definitely needs to be cared for and looked after. There are physicalM illnesses and psychological illnesses.
                  PLease explain, if you will, how you are linking this to sexual stuff …. ? Metta

                • Mr Arnon you say: ”In a sangha or indeed any community, caring for each other is key. ”
                  But/and:
                  ”What we have been guilty of though is dissing, belittling or dismissing what people say.”

                  There is no doubth there is a lot of good, but maybe this is not the time for emphasizing that…
                  The bottom line is there is an extremely disfunctional history having a large implact still on the current situation in Triratna in regard to abuse and safequarding.

                  • I’m not sure any Order Member would take the risk of going to bed with a student these days. It’s a definite no no. As for caring for each other, I was specifically referring to looking after people when they are ill, weak or old. As for the “dissing, belittling or dismissing what people say”, very little of that goes on in any crude way – so I think I may have given the wrong impression. Most Order Members would try not to do that. But when the group identity is challenged some do indulge in a variety of this. Generally it is subtly done, but done nonetheless. Indeed I’ve been on the receiving end of it myself. However, to be fair, I have also had the experience of questioning more or less everything about Sangharakshita and the Order and having been on the receiving end of kindly listening, at the end of which my friends are still my friends. So as far as spiritual communities with cultic tendencies go, we are pretty good.

                    • It has been stated that Sr will not apologise for something that caused and is still causing suffering as he was under the impression it was consensual and he, in CvB, stated that he didn’t feel like he was relating to them as the teacher.
                      With this standard of criteria nothing is going to be considered boundary crossing.
                      There are no actual procedurers for adressing things or consequences for boundary crossing behaviour, how are such mentioned (no-no) boundaries then confirmed!?

                    • Mr Anon, I would like to ask you could you tell us some more about what your presumsion is based that you are ”not sure any Order Member would take the risk of going to bed with a student these days”?
                      What would be the risk you mention..?

                      I wrote on the 12th ” that it’s a definite no no (your words) these days seems in line what Triratna’s statement is in the BBC item. From when on in your experinece? Has there been a written polocy?”

                      You express a strong opinion about the safeguarding situation saying that ”given the anarchic structure of the movement with its legally independent centres, it’s also difficult for “head office” to impose anything. The more I think about it though, the more I see that given our past, we really do need to make them as compulsory as we can.”

                      Though you say: ”As far as I understand it, and I admit to having only followed this topic very sketchily, there are guidelines that have been developed, but not everybody even knows about them.”

                      I find it odd , as you seem to know so much about Triratna, in regard to legal stuff, to the alligations made, events in the past, and you find it of great importance that Triratna faces it shadows, goblins or whatever, that you followed this topic only sketchily.

                  • Again – I was referring in the former to looking after people when they are sick, or old and in the latter to the way some of us at times respond to things that threaten group identity. We also do respond a lot better than that much of the time.

                    • Then we agree on the ”dissing, belittling or dismissing what people say when the group identity is challenged” ”and the indulging in a variety of this.” and that ”Generally it is subtly done”.

                      That ”it’s a definite no no.” these days seems in line what Triratna’s statement is in the BBC item. From when on in your experinece? Has there been a written polocy? It is not alighned with my experience. And there are still no means to adress things, as in procedures/structure/willingness/consquences let alone external scrutiny, still the same powergames. We must be moving in different circles.

  16. Concerning Vishvapani: Vishvapani was also consulted on the drafting of the Triratna media statement. On his own blog, Wise Attention, he is very concerned about cover ups and group think.. This piece and the comments thread also indicate, in my opinion, his blind spots regarding his Teacher and his own group: http://www.wiseattention.org/blog/2012/09/14/hillsborough-cover-up-and-group-think/

    Does anyone else have other concerns about this piece?

    In his letter to Norman Fisher (available on fba) Vishvapani states quite clearly that some of Sangharakshita’s / Bhante’s disciple ‘lovers’ were below the age of consent and did not feel they could say no.
    .
    Concerning Sangharakshita: Sangharakshita, btw, is known by many names including Bhante and Urgyen. Urgyen Sangharakshita is now also the title of yet another Triratna-linked a charity, easy to google, generating almost £50,000 to allow Sangharakshita and his office to guide the Triratna Buddhist Order. In their media statement, the Triratna media team say that Sangharakshita stepped back from leadership in 2000. They do not, however, say that he lives on site with several of them in a mansion (formerly Coddington Court / http://www.Adhisthana.org costing £5.9 million) and that he has a large sum of charitable funds to guide the organisation. One only has to look at the format of Shabda to see that he is still King soon to be Padmasambhava.
    Metta.

    • Thank you too for this information!

      At the moment I don’t have time to read Vishvapani’s piece you linked. I was the whole day busy with my former cult and how they spread or are promoted by media and politicians (unwillingly) in Germany due to a lack of information / knowledge – even our foreign minister visited them in July. Will try to read Vishvapani’s piece next week.

      • That sounds like a very similar situation, tenpel. I am happy to read your links in German. In the UK, the BBC, government departments incl religious affairs and education have unwittingly promoted Sangharakshita via their education porthole Clear Vision Trust. Many teachers have also unwittingly promoted the group because it is very difficult to see that FWBo is Triratna is The Buddhist Centre is Clear Vison is Karuna Trust is Breathworks is Uppandya …… is Sangharakshita aka Bhante aka Urgyen aka Mahasthviara aks Dennis LIngwood from Tooting. There is an interesting Dutch article and thread which I will link. Boehddischesdagblad. Ich wuensche Ihnen Mut und Erfolg. Mfg Metta

        • Thank you.

          If you can read German, maybe you can read e.g. this:
          http://blog.buddhistische-sekten.de/?p=396

          or this comment http://buddhistische-sekten.de/Gedanken_Gruppenleiter_Aussteiger_Aussenstehender.html

          One of the young men being abused by the former abbot gave as a feedback of what I wrote in the latter article that the mechanisms shown reflect exactly his situation – he said its as you’ve told my story. And this article was based on the Guardian article (Mark Dunlop) as well as other cases I heard or read of or followed via media etc …

          Let me know what you think about it.

          I think, the UK has a general problem with Buddhist groups due to their libertarian attitude which often leads to a “I don’t care” attitude. The NKT – which can be so harmful to people! – has made their ways into the most sensitive places of the UK society and are able to recruit new members (and probably future victims) in those places which include chaplaincy, schools, mindfulness classes but most dangerously the NHS. Here on my blog to women contacted me whose husbands were sent by the NHS to a local NKT center “to learn to meditate” because this would help them “to heal”. Both of them are non religious, one had a problem with alcohol the other was physically disabled. For me this is so wrong like sending people to Scientology to heal or to learn meditation. Its insane for me, totally crazy. The NHS will only produce more damaged people they have later to take care of …

          NHS officers as well as psychologists being totally uninformed, still recommend NKT meditation classes to their clients – even to those who were harmed by the NKT and need counselling to heal from the damage the NKT caused …

          Based on that, it is understandable (though not a good news) that “the BBC, government departments incl religious affairs and education have unwittingly promoted Sangharakshita via their education porthole Clear Vision Trust”.

          I think the UK Buddhists have really to fix something!

          In Germany authorities are more restrained and careful when it comes to religious groups. Though gradually a similar tendency seems to unfold (which is also based on a younger generation of journalists with no clue about religion or cults) and my own former cult group gets unwittingly promoted by e.g. the public state tv (even in a channel for children), or known media such as TAZ or FAZ etc, or our German foreign minister Frank Walter Steinmeier visited them in July 2016 etc. However, if you contact them and or if you contact the state run or Christian cult authorities, they are open to listen and to consider the criticism … One journalist openly admitted that she never had the idea that cults or cultish groups could exists also in Buddhism. In general, the public has still a very naive image of Buddhism and Buddhism in the West …

          The other religions have trouble with their public negative images, Buddhism has trouble with their public positive image ;-)

          • In Germany you have the DBU to regulate things. In the uk, all we have is the self appointed, non representative NBO, with its tiny shrinking membership because nobody trusts them And who are the movers and shakers in this group?Triratnas Munisha and the SOKA GAKKAI UK rep.And who supported them until a big fallout over the HHDL demos? The NKT! So, you report the cults to schools or government and who do they ask for advice? The NKT, Triratna and SGI
            And these players have also manipulated themselves into power at the EBU.So it’s a.pan European problem, not just the uk

            • Yes, we have the DBU and the DBU is not dominated by FWBO, NKT and Soka Gakkai – the latter two are not even member of the DBU. The NKT request for membership was refused many years ago. There was a discussion about SKI membership but when I remember or got it correctly – I have to check that – it was also refused because they don’t accept the main statement (Bekenntnis) of the DBU. BTW, also Bon applied to become a member and when I remember correctly, they were accepted …

              However, though we have far better conditions the DBU doesn’t regulate all things BUT they do a lot of good things. They run for instance an education for school teachers, and a study program with teachers from different schools and traditions so that no group is promoted via the DBU. This is very good because people learn from the start variety instead of being drawn (or even indoctrinated) with the views of one group.
              But, so far (because of a change of the DBU board, different priorities etc.) the planned Ethical Charter and Ethics’ Council did not manifest and there is no move whatsoever to make it manifest. That’s why, it looks like, I am now busy to get into contact with non-Buddhist established institutions … because the DBU won’t manage it to install something sane and save.

              People reported about the NBO that when NKT followers complaint to the NBO about abuse or bad behaviour / problems in the NKT the NBO forwarded these requests to the NKT members of the NBO. What can I say, if true, I think this is totally insensitive and speaks for itself …

              You are also right that the EBU has a lot of guru centered groups somewhat dominating the EBU. However, there are also some good people there, the question is, is the EBU just a another ship to promote and make controversial groups mainstream? I can’t comment on that but I know and spoke with a Anthropologist who works in the EBU and there are also a lot of good things he reported …

              • BTW, no name, one of the most used search term for finding this blog post about triratna is “triratna guardian 2016”. Is there anything written by The Guardian in 2016 about Triratna that could be of high interest for people who used google’s search engine?

              • One of the vice presidents of the The World Fellowship of Buddhists (WFB) is accused of having sexually abused a refugee child http://www.augsburger-allgemeine.de/bayern/Zen-Priester-soll-Fluechtlingsjungen-missbraucht-haben-id39296982.html

                He is also a rather loose but good Dharma friend of mine – he helped me and others in the context of cults and the first meeting about Buddhist cults in Germany of the German Buddhist Union (DBU) was in his temple. I need time to digest that … He has been arrested.

                • And the difference between him and the group in this thread is his board of trustees immediately publicly admitted that the allegations were probably credible. That way, the story is out in the open.and the problem can move towards resolution. In Triratna the problem is hidden and just lingers on and on, eating away at the groups credibility

                • In case, he has abused one or more children, he can still admit and apologize and try his best to work towards any help for his victims.

                  If he really regret his deeds, he could do a lot. He could be a good example of an abusive person who regrets.

                  • He has acknowledged his sexual relationships with his students, but clearly wants all to believe that Greek Love, homosexual sex with many unattached partners and avoiding boundaries between teachers and students is The Dharma. The order have been forced into getting some safeguarding policies, but they have no external point of contact, so are useless. THey Rae currently just window dressing with no follow through possible or even intended. JUst like JW and Scientology are fighting safeguarding with all their might. Keeping it in house is the order of the day. THe order control their own publication house and therefore control the narrative. Let’s hope the narrative is moved away even more from order control, so that victims’ truths can be shared even more effectively as has been happening more recently due to tremendous efforts from a few, who refuse to be bystanders. MArk Dunlop has bourne this burden for so very long and been vilified. Gary Beesley has been telling the truth for 20 years but been vilified. SO many have been scapegoated for speaking out or speaking up for those who spoke up or who were harmed. Maybe the tide is turning. It seems as though that now is the case. The order could also apologise for continuing to create the conditions where such abuses could take place and in which the narrative of those in power drowned out the voices of those who spoke up. The Boeddhistisches Dagblad on line is also running this story and a very dynamic comments thread. ‘ Ujarin’ Is digging a large moral hole, possibly legal one, for himself and Triratna.

                    • @mettaman

                      My comment relates to the case of the german Zen-Monk, see cooemt of Tenpel of Oct.10.

                      Sorry, if its unclear.

                    • To be fair Mark Dunlop was vilified in part for breaking windows at Padmaloka and generally the attitude encouraged in the Order is one of compassion or metta to its critics. It’s not that, as far as I know, anyone has ever been in anyway threatened for speaking out. That would be utter anathema. So you see I think we’re kind of ok….for a Buddhist community with some strongly cult characteristics. What we have been guilty of though is dissing, belittling or dismissing what people say.

                    • Mr Anon,

                      You wrote ”generally the attitude encouraged in the Order is one of compassion or metta to its critics. (…) ”What we have been guilty of though is dissing, belittling or dismissing what people say.”

                      That is a total contradiction.

                      You wrote ”It’s not that, as far as I know, anyone has ever been in anyway threatened for speaking out. That would be utter anathema. ”

                      ”As far as you know”. That i understand.
                      For the probable fact that probably quite some people left traumatised (or remained, damaged) i feel the word anathema might be in place.

                    • Learninglive2 says:

                      I have seen a manipulative email written by a long term order member to his spiritual friend, also an order member, ordering him to leave his wife and family or leave Triratna. The date was early this year, 2016. The writer criticised the recipient for questioning Sangharakshita’s integrity and blamed his wife for manipulating him into Listening to ‘malcontents’ I.e. Those who alleged harm and abuses.

                      I am so sorry to hear of the Augsburg arrest. I hope that you, Tenpel, are managing to work through your responses to the arrest and allegations.

                    • Thank you Learninglive2 and all others who commented.
                      At the moment I lack time to follow the discussion. (I didn’t read the last 20 or so comments.)

                      What you write here, LL2, about this manipulative email is very helpful for me. It helps me to see things in perspective and to get a more “realistic view”. What you write rather approves that there is still a lot of energy to cover up, to manipulate or to white wash things – also approved by the fact how the BBC was deceived by Sangharakshita’s “blindness”. Seen in context, its unlikely – if not unseen – that an organisation will really deeply change as long as their dealing with abuse doesn’t include external experts / organisations that really help to clean things properly up. The reason is, there are too many people who have benefit of the status quo. Such people might issue criticism only for the sake of pseudo-councelling – to silence outside critics or people being harmed. If Triratna would be healthy and if there would be clarity, I think, there would be people who are able to step back, asking: “What have we done, what have I done to make these abuses and suicide(s) possible? What are the driving forces of it?” Identifying Sangharakshita and his most committed students as the main forces for it – students who hail his distortions and abuse as “the way of the greeks” etc. – they should point out these distortions as perversions of Buddha’s teachings, perversions that cause harm and are just the expression of the sexual attachments of Sangharakshita and nothing else. Where are there strong inner-Triratna opposing voices or forces that expose these manipulations, distortions as what they are? If they are non-exisztent, then I think, the organisation might be, indeed, still very very sick – run by a blinded leadership.

                      With respect to Augsburg. Let’s see. The police arrested him already in July(!). They only do this, if the allegations are heavy and there is danger for repetition, escaping or cover ups.

                      Tomorrow and Tuesday I will meet with people from authorities on cults to get a better connection. I realised that you cannot contribute to a more informed public (enlightenment) when you only rely on Buddhist head organisations (like the German Buddhist Union, DBU) or if you run some websites or blogs. You have to network with the organisations who work on it already for years. I changed my mind and will focus now more on this. In the past others and I put a lot of energy to get the DBU to engage (Ethical Charta, Ethical Council) – all wasted time as I can see now. If a Buddhist head organisation doesn’t care really, individuals have to do it. In the UK there are also individuals who do the work with respect to FWBO/Triratna/NKT and the like. Luckily there is also INFORM as a well respected academic institution.

                    • Just as a thought … maybe the claimed self-purification with propounded new boundaries and ethical standards of Triratna without outer experts/organisations who control and help to install it + actions that change things right at the top, is comparable with the illusion within the FIFA to get rid / heal their corrupt structure and modes of behaviour …

                  • “With respect to Augsburg. Let’s see. The police arrested him already in July(!). They only do this, if the allegations are heavy and there is danger for repetition, escaping or cover ups.

                    Tomorrow and Tuesday I will meet with people from authorities on cults to get a better connection. I realised that you cannot contribute to a more informed public (enlightenment) when you only rely on Buddhist head organisations (like the German Buddhist Union, DBU) or if you run some websites or blogs. You have to network with the organisations who work on it already for years. I changed my mind and will focus now more on this. In the past others and I put a lot of energy to get the DBU to engage (Ethical Charta, Ethical Council) – all wasted time as I can see now. If a Buddhist head organisation doesn’t care really, individuals have to do it. In the UK there are also individuals who do the work with respect to FWBO/Triratna/NKT and the like. Luckily there is also INFORM as a well respected academic institution.”

                    With al lmy respect to the DBU-people who work hard and sincere, I met over the last 4 month 4 people, who contacted the DBU, with the intention to talk about ethic, regarding abusive teachers.

                    NO RESPONSE at all.

                    From my feelings, there is a big gap between all those well written contributions in the DBU-Magazine,
                    and what happens really there. A mechanism of repression or so.

                    So I consider Tenpels new approach very logical and promising.

          • Danke. Yes, I recognise the same traits and the institutional complicity in FWBO.
            The second piece uses Sangharakshita as an example of abuse of power. The stockholm syndrome theories are very interesting, too.
            I agree that positive images of happy Buddhists stop many from thinking critically. Two years ago, I would never have been able to imagine what I now know. The sects and cultic groups are tarnishing Buddhism. Being uneducated about Buddhsim, most of us do not know enough to smell and spot the rats. We cannot tell if a group is really safe or an unsafe one with a benevolent facade. Hopefully, pieces like the BBC piece and continued exposure via blogs such as this will help educate more of us about the NKT, FWBO / Triratna and others.
            By the way, Das Buddhistisches Tor Berlin is a Trirtana Centre. One of Sangharakshita’s elders, Padmaraja, who is completely devoted to Sangharahita led a recent workshop there. I have recently seen concerning video footage in which he tells a story, which encourages men to ignore their own child to develop spiritually. He uses very negative vocabulary to describe the mother and the baby and very positive vocabulary to describe the father, who succeeds spiritually by ignoring his own crying child. This is on the Padmaloka webiste and was part of a workshop for young men aged 18 to 35. Slowly, slowly the same seeds get sown in the heads of many who are attracted to this group.

            • Thank you. Can you send a link to the video? I would really like to see and watch it!
              It would be again another twist of the teachings because especially mothers are so deeply praised and hold in respect in Mahayana Buddhism. There is also the Sutra of the kindness of the parents, The Filial Piety Sutra, and there it is been told the total opposite as Padmaloka tells it. The mother is kinder than the father because SHE sacrifices her own spiritual progress for the welfare of her child! So again a Triratna teacher twists the teachings and misinforms people placing men higher than mothers …

              —–

              I agree with what you wrote about the lack of wisdom or intuition to “smell and spot the rats” etc.

              —–

              In general, I think its also important to see, that Triratna has also kind people (as the NKT and other groups too). I met some Triratna followers (after they left Triratna). All of them follow now different groups or teachers and they didn’t report any real or deeper damage (unlike NKT). So it looks to me, Triratna is – as long as you don’t become or are manipulated to become the sexual prey for the desire of the leader (or anyone) of the group, the damage can be also low if it exists at all. (Pls correct me if I am wrong.)

              • Ofcourse the group has many nice people.
                I am sure (/aparently) also Sangharakshita is (experienced as a) very nice (person).
                Although in the BBC item, I personally felt no sympathy for him as apposed to Mark who seemed indeed very nice and sincere.

                Anyhow i feel it is good to stay aware that and how damage done is woven into the structure and socialisations, into the teaching and all the different aspects of the orginisation, including sangha dynamics.
                Ofcourse ”damage done can be low, if (experieced) at all”… as long a you are not the victum of their powerabuse.
                The bottom line is their is an extremely disfunctional situation in Triratna in regard to abuse and safequarding.

              • “So it looks to me, Triratna is – as long as you don’t become or are manipulated to become the sexual prey for the desire of the leader (or anyone) of the group, the damage can be also low if it exists at all. (Pls correct me if I am wrong.)”
                Tenpel, you keep making statements like this. Basically what you are saying is “I dont know all the facts, and please correct me if im wrong, but it looks to me, based on my limited and partial understanding, as if membership of the group s not harmful”
                Im sorry but I think that is an ill judged, ridiculously sweeping statement to make. People have died, some are in therapy, others suffering long term psychological illness. The group is now on the police radar and on the verge of legal proceedings. The BBC just broadcast a piece about 4 men who are suffering long term confusion after their involvement.Litigation looks highly likely
                So I would advise that you avoid making such statements before you have a much deeper understanding of the group. The very fact that they continue to lie about their leaders eyesight in order to avoid public scrutiny should be enough to help you understand that there is still something very wrong with the order and its leadership

                • No name, there is a difference in what people who followed NKT have reported to me and what followers of FWBO/Triratna have reported to me. I can’t deny that.

                  As I said different times good experiences (or not being harmed) is never a “proof” that harm or bad experience or sexual abuse don’t exist. Good experiences and bad experience, harm and benefit can and will always coexist in cults. And there are also some people who are not harmed by cults and even people who only benefited – e.g. drug addicts when they leave the organisation after they got rid of their addiction and before they are poisoned by the distortions of the Dharma or the manipulations of the group … or loosely affiliated members etc.

                  I agree with you, “The very fact that they continue to lie about their leaders eyesight in order to avoid public scrutiny should be enough to help you understand that there is still something very wrong with the order and its leadership”.

                  • You potentially can get very damaged, that’s the problem.
                    And it’s not just one thing you can pin it on; that’s what makes it so hard to adress and so damaging also.
                    I was very pleased with your thread. It has been supportive and it’s bringing more information into the world. Thank you!

                    • Thank you. Yes, that’s the point, you can get very damaged potentially.

                      Thank you also for your feedback and to all who contributed to make the thread supportive by sharing their knowledge and views/experiences.

  17. Correction: His title is Urgyen Sangharakshita in this charity. The trustees are using their real names. One is now not surprised to realise their order names: http://opencharities.org/charities/1046398

  18. “I am a bit amazed to see that Sangharakshita is referrred to as Bhante”
    YOU HAVENT HEARD THE HALF OF IT!They also call him ‘Mahasthavira’ [reserved for monks with 20 years pure moral discipline-When he didnt even hold a valid ordination and repeatedly broke the monastic vows] and even URGYEN, implying he is a manifestation of Guru Rinpoche! One Order member even declared, with regard to his sexual abuse of dozens of young men, “I came to believe that his explorations should become legend, something like Padmasambhava and his consorts”. Thats how deluded these people are. It shows how little they know of real dharma too, and how duped they have been by his lies

    • Oh Buddha. I can only quote Hamlet, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”
      Thank you for sharing this because this indicates for me how far the delusions have gone and how much the system behind it might be upside down.

  19. They are a cult with very vulnerable people joining them. This man has yet to apologies for his unethical acts. The greatest danger is that he does not realise this and his arrogance carries him forward without self awareness and honesty.

    • Sangharakshita =Donald Trump
      Abused position of power to exploit others sexually then fails to acknowledge
      Triratna diehards are like republican voters who remain true to their leader despite his misdemeanours
      Republican Party =laughingstock of American politics
      Triratna =laughingstock of western Buddhism

  20. “Yeah, I just can’t control myself. I see a beautiful….. And I grab them by the…… I just have to……them. And you can, you can do anything you want when you’re a ………”
    Trump……..or Sangharakshita?
    And people say there is nothing wrong at Triratna?
    Testimony from former devotees clarifies that Sangharakshita was sexually exploiting young men, some under the legal age of consent from the mid 60s until 2003. And his followers place his image on a shrine and bow down to him and chant his praises on a daily basis. A worthy object of veneration? I would not let this person near my family pets, never mind my children. And his followers lie to protect him while his perverse doctrines on the family and relationships are paraded in schools across the uk. Shame on those who perpetuate this. Shame on British Buddhists for allowing this abuse to continue for so long without doing anything about it
    Be aware, the knock on the door WILL come. The evidence is being collected and the legal professionals are preparing their case.The authorities are waiting to be given the go ahead. The game is up if they are going to distance themselves from his deplorable actions, the time is now

    • That’s way too jaundiced a view of a man who has written dozens of books, given hundreds of talks, and dedicated decades to the Buddha Dharma. He has ordinary human needs and clearly didn’t realise the consequences of his actions. Whether his image should be on our shrines is moot. Personally though as he is our founder for better and worse I think I am happy to honour that. As I’ve said before, knowing him a little, I think he is all sorts of things – highly intelligent, well read, obstinate, very kind, and sometimes rather proud and touchy. It’s dangerous being a leader of anything for any length of time. We see it in politicians who if successful generally succumb to a tendency to inflation. To be the head of a spiritual movement for nearly 50 years, with thousands of people projecting onto you and with no direct peers to keep your feet on the ground, is bad for the health. It’s something people should avoid, unless I suppose if they are enlightened and he certainly has never claimed to be that. I remember once, at I think FWBO Day 1987, he looked around the hall and said he thought many if not most people present would go further than him and if they didn’t he would have failed as a teacher.

      If you personally were hurt by Sangharakshita, NO NAME, then I can understand your anger, which must be magnified by the fact that he won’t acknowledge that his actions may have harmed you, let alone apologise for them. However, it doesn’t mean that he or even less the movement he founded is complete pants (or indeed pants down!). It just isn’t like that, at least not in my experience.

      • Mr Arnon, you wrote ”If you personally were hurt by Sangharakshita, NO NAME, then I can understand your anger, which must be magnified by the fact that he won’t acknowledge that his actions may have harmed you, let alone apologise for them. However, it doesn’t mean that he or even less the movement he founded is complete pants (or indeed pants down!). It just isn’t like that, at least not in my experience.”

        Can you Mr Arnon: really understand his anger..?
        I say: first things first.
        It is the typical Triratna ignorance that you are displaying here.

        • I can understand it as far as I can ever understand another person, especially someone I’ve never met. That should be kind of obvious!

        • Doesn’t mean it’s “complete pants”? It’s rotten to the core, founded on lies by a liar and sustained by lies. It is a boys club, gentlemen only (or ladies only [second class]) It sounds lovely to surround oneself with friends who share the same views and care for each other ( excellent) but it’s just that; a group of like minded individuals who are willing to practice communal blindness with regard to everything about their leader, his behaviour, sexual abuse, isolation of dissenters etc etc etc parading as a genuine Buddhist tradition It’s fake, counterfeit, plastic and is only held together by those with vested interests in personal power and.those they manage to hide the truth from
          Thank heaven for the dissenters

          • It would be easier all round if it were simply like that. It’s not that there aren’t clearly elements of truth in what you write, but to me it looks like you caricature the worst aspects of our and his past and to a more limited degree present behaviour, ignore most of what’s good, and therefore present a hugely distorted picture. You also ignore the current tensions within the Order between Sangharakshita and the Preceptors College, who are currently very concerned to safeguard what’s termed as his legacy, and many of the rest of us – including the majority who rejected any definition of their relationship with Bhante as that of disciples. We are the Order too, just as much as they are. Some of this attempt to “safeguard the legacy” is expressed a little mystically, taking the name Adhistana (the relatively new Order HQ) and seeing it as a place from where Bhante’s grace waves can flow. While I think he does have an aura about him, some of which genuinely connects to his practice….. overall I find this sort of attitude embarrassing and indeed rather dangerous. The other aspect to this is his teachings and system of practice. A lot of that is fine, but I don’t buy the whole package for various reasons and let’s say my own practice and now that of hundreds of Order members has benefited hugely by looking outside our traditional system. Indeed, some of us (not me!) now seem to have progressed considerably beyond where Sangharakshita has got if we judge him by his actions. Actually, it’s all too complex and subtle to do justice to in a few paragraphs (or indeed one long one!) here. Let’s say to reduce everything done over half a century to sex doesn’t work, no more than it does to whitewash all that and pretend it wasn’t really damaging to some people. We live in a messy world and for me part of growing up has been to realise and accept that, and deal with it rather than decide “No, it’s all white”, or “No, it’s all black”! Overall, I tend to think this community worth sticking with. I may regret aspects of my involvement, but not the basic thrust, and certainly not the vast network of friendship and connection built up over decades. That really is precious and I am grateful for Sangharakshita for having made that and all the rest possible despite the failings you will probably now want to re-emphasise!

            • You might have a couloured view as a lot invested. Good luck to you man but you seem to be outnumbered here though.

            • I meant outnumbered in a need to keep such a broad perspective. It is not at all about the article anymore. How about taking Elie Godsi, the clinical psychologist who has been an expert witness on a number of high-profile abuse cases, serieus. He said: »This is all about the sexual gratification of a person in a position of authority or power within the group.«
              Really you must see that your input it quite provocative in the light of this..?

              • I agree with her »This is all about the sexual gratification of a person in a position of authority or power within the group.«

                • Learninglive2 says:

                  I agree here, too … ‘it is all about the sexual gratification of a person in a position of authority or power within the group.’ It has nothing to do with spiritual development however many hundreds of books Sangharakshita Dennis has written and had printed by in house Windhorse or however many hundreds of hours of lectures Sangharakshita Dennis delivered to devotees, who had fallen in awe of him, which have since been disseminated by in house media and however many prostrations have been done to the hundreds of framed photographs of Sangharakshita Dennis created by Dana contributions …
                  It is all about the sexual gratification of a person in a position of authority or power within the group … even if he has managed to convince most or many that it was spiritually beneficial. PLease read Tenpel’S posts on sex and spiritual manipulation. OR ‘grooming under the cloak of spirituality’ as in the recent court case of Bishop Peter Ball, who so many loved and adòred and who had also founded his own order.
                  Mr. Anon, thanks for sticking with this discussion as it cannot be easy. I admire your stickability. And the fact that you have listened and moved towards interlocutors on some points. P!ease keep considering the non-devoted stance of those offering advice, opinions and fact on the thread and please keep moving towards a compassionate understanding of Sangharakshita’s victims. He, and those who emulated him, did not target all. THose often most vulnerable in some way were his targets. ANd they too at their most vulnerable were devoted to him and had often given their all before he took more. metta

                  • There is no doubt that Sangharakshita used his position to have sex with lots of young men and that some of them felt and still feel damaged by that. I also think he rationalised this philosophically by referring back to “Greek love”, the normality of student-teacher, older-younger man relationships in the classical world (and from what I have heard in Buddhist monasteries down the ages). I can also see how the entire single sex “ideal”, “principle” and now merely “idea” suited him as a gay man, while at the same time recognising the value of some separation between the sexes. Monasteries are generally single sex for a reason! However, to reduce his entire life and work and the history of Triratna down to sex is absurd to nth degree. This is where some external critics of Triratna lose the sympathy of members of Triratna. There is enough to legitimately criticise without dissing the whole thing!

                    And then we need to look back to the time all this began. Homosexuality had only recently been decriminalised – the love that dared not speak its name was starting to emerge from the closet. A man like Sangharakshita, brought up in pre-War working class South London, would most likely have had a complex and troubled relationship with his own sexuality. It would not have been anything easy to come to terms with or even be that aware of. Then after spending the war in India and another 20 years there, he comes back to the West, either a virgin or even if you believe the rumours he has always denied, not very sexually experienced. What does he meet? The counter culture, the hippy revolution. “Turn on, tune in, drop out”. Our society was being shaken up as acid, psychedelic music and all that went with it blew away the dregs of Victorian morality.

                    So this Theravadin bhikku while teaching the Dharma as best as he was able, attracted lots of young people. He grew his hair, stopped wearing robes in daily life, took acid a few times, smoked dope, and had sex. He seemed to really like the sex and has said he had a very high drive. So he carried on. We can’t really call it “experimentation” – that’s him and us rationalising it. He simply enjoyed it. Most people were fine with it, some damaged. He was and is blind to the damage and I don’t condone that at all. However, we also should be wary about applying our modern ideas of “sex in the forbidden zone” anachronistically to what went on then. Personally I remember at university in the eighties, some of the tutors had reputations for bedding their women students and at the time nobody thought twice about it. Things have changed. In some ways this is clearly for the better, but I am also a little wary of heading too far down that path. Puritanism is best left dead and buried. So while I think sex between teachers and students is probably best banned, at least while they are still in that formal relationship and for all sorts of reasons, I baulk a bit at the level of hysteria generated. Also from what I have read and from my own experience as a child with all sorts of repressed stuff swirling around in the family (but never in any way acted upon) I feel that in most cases most of the harm done by any of this derives from the emotional charge given to it. The heavy guilt is passed back and forth between the “perpetrator” and the “victim”. So I feel a balance needs to be found where we can be honest, open, realistic and unhysterical about sex, while at the same time protecting people in power relationships (guru-disciple, tutor-student) from being manipulated and abused. And we must remember that it’s not just tutors that manipulate students for their own ends, but vice versa. It’s complex.

                    Overall, having spent a little time with Sangharakshita down the years I do think he rationalises his actions and desires and that he is not always honest with himself or others. He is proud and touchy at times, and certainly obstinate, but also very generous, empathic and kind. He’s a person, maybe not the ideal person to have founded a Buddhist Order, but that’s the one we’ve got. And I repeat, I don’t think it would be good either to disavow and demonise him, or slavishly follow and idealise him. To misquote the founder of another religion: “Let he or she who has committed no sexual indiscretions cast the first aspersion”.

                    • The question is indeed to put things into context. This includes the question if it is appropriate to reduce Sangharkshita’s entire life and work and the history of Triratna down to sex.

                      So, good food for thoughts.

                      However, I strongly disagree with your assertion that “in most cases most of the harm done by any of this derives from the emotional charge given to it”. I heard this position also from a Tibetan Buddhist teacher. But from all what I have read, watched and heard of people who experienced to be manipulated against their will into sexual relationships with a powerful person, the harm is experienced without emotional charges of a given society / views of a time. I read and heard reports from people who spoke up after many years (sometimes after 20 years or longer), having not spoken to any one or just their wife – but the harm effected or even ruined their whole emotional life, it ruined their self-esteem, their capacity to learn, sometimes it ruined also their whole working lives. It blocked their growth, their maturation, it interfered with their wishes to have enjoyable and balanced relationships and most often ruined it ruined all relationships etc.

                      I think you should take really time to read, listen to or to watch documentaries about sexual abuse – though it’s a movie even then movie “Spotlight” could help you to understand better the SUFFERING of those being effected by sexual abuse – sexual abuse based on the the abuse of trust or human needs for warmth or affection or some attention. I think you have really to take time to understand the dynamics of abuse before you can genuinely comment on it or been taken seriously by those who have a better understanding of such dynamics and harm. Your comment – which is primarily a long long excuse for Sangharakshita’s harmful behaviour – neglects the suffering of the people being damaged. Instead to open up for their suffering you defend Sangharakshita and put humans being harmed by the abuse of power and faith in a box. Their suffering comes according to you from emotional charges – which means the hysteria of a Victorian society. I my view, you twist reality here. IMO, you rationalise the harm by comparing given events with historical accounts like tutors at universities “for bedding their women students”. As the US election and the recent speech of Michelle Obama show, there is a history of sexual harassment, sexual predatorship by men, of grapping women at their body or genitals but this history is no justification for current bad modes of behaviour – modes of behaviour that most often deeply harm or hurt others and which can effect in a negative sense their lives and mentality deeply.

                      In Germany psychologists can’t have sex with their clients/patients – even for 10 years after the relationship has ended. There are legal laws who prohibit that. There are also ethical boards and councils etc that take care that these legal laws are followed. According to your logic this must be based on hysteria or Victorian Puritanism. Well, you missed to get aware about the harm of the abuse of power. There is so much research and there are so many testimonies … you seem to continue the arguments of the sexual predators.

                      Now, when it comes to man and young boys or teenagers. It is a projection that the young men want to have sex with the older man. There are again scientific accounts about this. Pedophiles project their own desire onto their objects of desire and rationalise and think the boy has seduced them. But the boy didn’t seduce the older man – its the older man’s projection or rationalising when he claims that – so do the scientists say and I agree with that.

                      As you have interwoven personal remarks I do this too. When I was young, there were these older men in the shower of the public swimming pool who offered to wash my back. I’ve never liked it and said no. There was a man who when talking to me tried to stroke the place of my trousers which rose his interest. I felt totally disgust and reported him later to the police. All these episodes of people (all men) trying more or less lightly to sexually getting sth from me were not nice but disgusting. These men – older than me – did not evoke my interest but repulsion. Unlike people of your peer group – of the same age. People with whom I talked about this agreed. Luckily there was nobody who lured, manipulated or exploited my human needs for warmth, affection, or attention for their personal gratification against my wishes as Sangharakshita and other sexual predators have done it to the faithful or needy, abusing others faith and openness or needs to meet their own sexual desires. Such things have nothing to do with Buddhist teachings and you need a skewed personality to not respect the boundaries of others, manipulating and exploiting them.

                      Therefore, I don’t subscribe to your point of view and regard them either as white washing attempts or quite ignorant.

                      Oh, interesting

                      And I repeat, I don’t think it would be good either to disavow and demonise him, or slavishly follow and idealise him. To misquote the founder of another religion: “Let he or she who has committed no sexual indiscretions cast the first aspersion”.

                      I take this deliberately personal (without being offended by it), because this is an attempt to put my (and other’s) efforts here in a box, repressing right criticism or right view.

                      Neither do I demonise nor idealise Sangharakshita. I’ve never ever manipulated anybody into a sexual relationship with me before I became a monk. Nor have the vast majority of monks or nuns I know, and I myself, after having become ordained have had sexual relations with anybody. Nor do others I know, or I myself, manipulate others or abuse religion and people’s faith to get from anybody personal sexual gratification. I know what to do and what the boundaries of others and myself are and so do others.

                      I’ve not written any line here to throw a stone either, to denigrate Sangharakshita or to get personal gratification by pointing out the wrongs of others.

                      Sorry, Mr Anon, but it appears to me that a partisan attitude might block your view onto what we discuss. It might be useful to listen, read, watch, study for a longer time dynamics and the harm of power abuse – be it emotional, financial or sexual power abuse. Otherwise I don’t see much of a basis of a fair discussion that includes the point of view of people who have been deeply harmed by these abuses. It’s not about a Victorian attitude it’s about HARM through the abuse of power & faith and how members of such systems which enables power abuse contribute to and sustain such harm by their lack of awareness, bias or ignorance.

                    • BTW, a high percentage of those having been sexually abused, manipulated or exploited against their will highly likely abuse later in their life also others.* There are statistics about it. Therefore a “victim of abuse” also needs support to not become a perpetrator of abuse later in life. That’s why clarity and therapy is of highest importance. Seeing this connection I wonder what Triratna will be for a place in the future when those being harmed as we well as the leadership rationalise the abuse as “spiritual beneficial” for most of them? This lack of clarity and interpretation of events might be a fertile field for the continuation of an unsafe structure that enables further abuse and prolongs the history of abuse within Triratna.

                      * I think this has to do with a confusion created by the experience of sexual abuse that leads to a distorted perception about the boundaries of self and others… (In prison I have to do also with men who abused children as well as who were victims of sexual abuse when they were children, this gives me some background for that thought…)

                      —-
                      BTW, yesterday at the cult authority (EZW) it was just nice to meet people who understand what you are speaking about. They have 50 years of experience. Nowadays, those who want to become Christian priests have to pass psychological tests. These tests check if they are capable to take on the role of a celibate priest or not. If not, they are not accepted to become celibate priests.

                      When I told that an adult woman justifies sexual exploitation by Sogyal as sex between adults, they immediately understood how wrong and ignorant this view is. They also encouraged me to find structures within Buddhism/ the German Buddhist Union (DBU) to address these problems and to continue to work on the realisation of an Ethical Charta and an Ethical Council within the DBU. I agreed. I lost my patience and will pick those topics up again… Though it might take longer to go through a rather new Buddhist Western institution which is much dominated by two groups whose teachers like to have sex with their students (Nydahl+Sogyal). Thinking of the generations to come, why not leaving a well prepared field that is safer than it was for me and others? Actual, that the group who worked on the Ethical Charta and an Ethical Council has fallen into a deep sleeping mode has also to do with the sickness of one member, change of board, new priorities – and politics of course. Its rather complex but it can be solved, I think. The EZW offered to help us Buddhists in that process – very nice, very kind!

                    • Learninglive2 says:

                      Indeed, Mr Anon has constructed a long, long apology for Sangharakshita. It reminds me of the narrative, deemed the official history of Triratna called ‘The Triratna Story’ by Vajragupta. Free on line now and included ..well, managed more like very carefully … at a strategic point in mitra study (grooming into acceptance of the narrative). It also reminds me of the long, long apology written by Vishvapani of BBC Radio 4 Thought for the day. https://www.freebuddhistaudio.com/texts/read?num=FBA97&at=text&q=zen&p=3
                      In this letter – free on line- to Norman Fisher in New York … THis is the fairytale version of the abuses of power and faith.
                      Some order members still refer to ‘the myth’ of abuse, particularly in reference to those who spoke out first and still even blame junior partner victims for being involved with more than one senior order member…. at a time when kalyana mitrata through the medium of sex was being presented as spiritually significant and spiritually beneficient for aspiring ordinands … The abuse was endemic, woven into the Dharma as presented by Sangharakshita.
                      Interestingly, the most recent man to speak out about the psychological damage done to him following a sexual relationship with Sangharakshita was 50 years his junior and also in awe of him and also in a situation where he had given up everything else for the FWBO and Sangharakshita. HIs mind collapsed when he told the truth to order member DHarmaghosha at Madyamaloka in Birmingham. THe young German guy is now an embarrassment to the order because he is saying he isn’t not complaining about being involved in oral sex wth Sangharakshita, with Sangharakshita being the active one. He has suffered because he was told by Sangharakshita to keep their sexual relationship a secret. AT the time Sangharakshita was wearing the golden Kesha and had in Conversations with Bhante .. freely available on line … told his interviewers Mahamati and Subhuti that he had been happily celibate since the mid eighties. THe young German guy has experienced many of the psychological and relationship fallout that Tenpel quite rightly profiles as characteristic of post abuse fall out. Do you know where the young German guy is, Mr. ANon? He is certainly not in good nick.

                    • Thank you Learninglive2. Very helpful comment and background information for me.

                      Maybe there is an opportunity to meet the German man or that he writes a comment here or even a testimony which could be posted separately? I would be much interested to listen and to understand better the Triratna organisation from the perspective of a person being harmed. So far I met only ex-FWBO who were not really harmed by sexual abuse or the abuse of power.

                      What I’ve read and heard from current members so far doesn’t ring really true / authentic / honest / transparent / based on a deeper understanding etc. to me. Though there is a type of admission to what has happened to a certain extend, there is also a tendency to make it lighter than it is and to play down the harm been done to the faithful disciples or students.

                      It seems, also that there is not any critical inquiry about the left overs and current residues of power and sexual abuse … In light of the lie to BBC about the “blindness” of Sangharakshita, I seriously doubt that there is the level of honesty, clarity and thorough critical inquiry it needs to overcome the distortions and manipulations and structures that enable(d) the abuse of power for a very long time.

                    • Thanks for all those comments. I genuinely find them interesting but don’t have the time to explore anything very much right now. Maybe though I should reiterate that I am not seeking to excuse anybody, just get my head and heart around the issues. I am certainly not in any way denying that the people who complain of being damaged are in fact damaged. That would be wrong.

                    • Tritana does indeed not attempt to conceil the actual sexual activity between teachers and students as such… but the (by nature, slowly, escalating) damaging effect. And cóntributes, by all sorts of indeed distortions and manipulations and structures, to more escalation and thus an incease of damage.
                      One (the victum of power abuse) cannot resore a healthy boundary situation being lower in hiërachy; one has no power, certainly over group dynamics…
                      Important for healing (besides change on an organisational level) is i think to gain more awareness in the dynamics. Your clarity and effort are a great contribution.

                    • Actually re: “Your comment – which is primarily a long long excuse for Sangharakshita’s harmful behaviour – neglects the suffering of the people being damaged. Instead to open up for their suffering you defend Sangharakshita and put humans being harmed by the abuse of power and faith in a box. Their suffering comes according to you from emotional charges – which means the hysteria of a Victorian society.” I don’t do this. I am not putting anybody in a box and don’t defend Sangharakshita’s actions. I have repeatedly said I think he rationalises his actions and that teacher-pupil relationships are best banned. I was simply trying to say that sex happens in a context. While in one society something is acceptable and we don’t think much about it, in another it is anathema. To imagine that sex is some objective thing that has an objective effect utterly outside any culturally given norms of behaviour is I think mistaken. And more generally I think our society has become hysterical and we are actually harming the people we wish to protect by loading too much onto it all.

                    • And finally I agree with you about the lack of honesty in the official response to the latest TV programme. Sangharakshita is not entirely blind, more like partially sighted. However, he does not meet people very much as he is very frail and has to martial his energy very carefully. So, in effect he really wasn’t in a state for a TV grilling – not that he is likely to have consented to it, even if he had been!

                    • Yes, it looks like “he is not entirely blind” see the video here from minute 20 onwards:

                    • Mr Anons repeated defense of Lingwood is sickening and thoroughly deceptive. It is a justification rather than a defenqQse and elsewhere appeals to pseudo Buddhist ideas to justify negative and harmful action
                      For instance….
                      “I was simply trying to say that sex happens in a context. While in one society something is acceptable and we don’t think much about it, in another it is anathema. To imagine that sex is some objective thing that has an objective effect utterly outside any culturally given norms of behaviour is I think mistaken. ”
                      “And more generally (AND )I think our society has become hysterical and we are actually harming the people we wish to protect by loading too much onto it all.”(IN OTHER WORDS, STOP BULLYING US, YOURE BULLYING US,)

                      You mean, it’s not all black and white when it comes to sex ( seem to remember you using those very terms elsewhere above) the rules are flexible

                      Sadly, thigs is where you get it so very wrong for, in Buddhism there ARE moral absolutes. There IS black and white, there IS right and wrong. Sex either as a layma or , while posing as a monk- he was never ordained accaording to his own admission See ’23 years ago’, with multiple partners, underage sex, sexual assault are all prohibited by the ancient Buddhist moral codes of the vinaya
                      Of course, we’ve all heard how popular the skilful means ideal is ( not to mention how useful it has become in justifying abuse) but the original scripture from which the doctrine is derived, the Upaya Sutra, makes it clear that ‘ bending the rules’ is the domain only of arya bodhisattvas ( IE on the Path of Seeing, with a direct experiential sustained perception of reality . ).It’s not an excuse for justifying neqgative acts just because you happen to have read about it in some book. And anyway, judging by his behaviour I think we can all draw our own conclusions as to whether the sexually abusive liar Dennis Lingwood has reached the Path of Seeing ( ironic the Order should be using excuses about Lingwood s ability to ‘see’ now the shit has hit the fan properly and it’s not going to go away.
                      What Lingwood AND OTHERS AROUND HIM did was blatantly flaunt the moral precepts with a flagrant disregard for the vinaya and the well being of their victims and now karma has come back to bite them on the arse.
                      And their excuse? Lingwood is a complex guy, with a strong sex drive(?) who wrote (rambled) many books, he is a poet, a blah, blah blah. And it was all a very long time ago ()1967-2004?) and we don’t need to think about nasty old right and wrong because if you bury your head in the sand enough and just allow yourself to be lied to by your leader and those around, everything will eventually work out fine and the nasty bogey men, mr right and mr wrong will go away and leave us alone.
                      So intellectual and self preserving

  21. That shows that what seems obvious to one doesn’t nec. seem obvious to another.

    • Indeed. It’s like the old thing about the blind man and the elephant. It depends which part you touch.

    • Yes, indeed. This is a little like the blind men and the elephant. Their description of it will depend on what bit they touch.

    • Posts taken directly from http://www.wildmind.org and answered by Scotsman Bodhipaksa, who is spreading the Dharma as presented by Sangharakshita in the USA.

      Sue: I was interested in your earlier post in connection with sangarakshita’s conduct. I also had read reports of sexual misconduct etc etc. hopefully he has realised the harm he may have caused ? unknowingly?. I do find it extremely unsettling to say the least to see his picture prominently displayed on the shrine in my local Buddist group meetings. To me it seems we are venerating a man who has caused harm to people in the most serious of ways possible? I respect my triratna group enormously and want to continue attending meetings and so on but this bothers me a lot.

      Bodhipaksa (Wilmind): Human relationships are very complicated things. If you think of many people’s relationships with their parents, for example, there’s often deep love and a debt of gratitude mixed in with an awareness of the sometimes harmful ways that parents have behaved. It’s like that with a lot of us in our relationship with Sangharakshita. Although he’s done nothing to harm me personally, I have benefited a lot from his teaching and from the movement he set up, and I respect him and feel gratitude toward him for that. At the same time I’m aware of the problems and hurt caused by some of his actions (although I wouldn’t describe them as causing harm in the most serious of ways possible.

      My post was blocked, I pointed out to Bodhipaksa that some people were very seriously damaged directly and indirectly e.g. family members and that the damage continues to this day. I also pointed out that his analogy of Sangharakshita as a parent is deeply deeply disturbing, given that Sangharakshita masturbated onto and frotted against his much younger disciples as spiritual practice. One would never accept this from a father; it is abusive; it is totally unacceptable as spiritual practice and in many cases illegal.
      Some of the guys were under the age of consent and were used for the power holder’s sexual gratification. Whether they were gay or straight, these guys were spiritually enticed into sex at a retreat centre. We now know that Sangharakshita was doing this at Padmaloka, according to the BBC and the three men who have so far come forward. Some of those spiritually-sexually groomed and used by Sanghrakshita emulated Sangharakshita and then sexually spiritually initiated others. Sangharakshita wrote the spiritual curriculum that allowed this to happen and men – and women – were judged on their spiritual aptitude by dint of their ability to reject opposite sex, practise same sex sex and turn their backs on their families … all in the name of Sangharakshita’s ‘spiritual friendship’.

      Since ‘Sarah’ posted safeguarding concerns on Bodhipaksa’s Wildmind website, he took all the comments down.

      Bodhipaksa has done a TEDx talk. Please note that this is not a TED talk.

      http://www.wildmind.org/about/about-bodhipaksa

      • Triratna seniors are stuck between a rock and a hard place as long as Lingwood survives. Remember the roasting Subhuti got for stating that S had behaved ‘unskilfully’ last time S looked like he was on the way out? Clearly senior OMs are keeping shtum and lining their nests in readiness for the post S Triratna. Remarkable that so called Buddhists, in a religion which recognizes the illusory nature of the self, should be driven by a very obvious desire for self preservation
        Of course, the big question ( after will S die before he is prosecuted) is who will younger Triratna members look to for guidance when S is gone. Those who knew about all the abuse but stayed silent or those who had the moral fibre to speak up and question their leaders behaviour? I know which I’d fresh people I’d respect.

      • Hi Sue,
        Thank you for your comment.
        Also good to bring it back to the initial topic a bit more. Although IMO the issues mentioned here all seem to have some relation with this and eachother. (interconnectness Bodhispaksa…)

        It is interesting the comparisment made by BP beween ones relationship with a parent and a teacher.
        His line of reasoning show indeed v little psychological insight.
        In a teacher/spiritual aspirant, class or retreat attendee – dynamic the teacher can invoke feelings of (parental) tranference. there is also documentation about this. Inequality between teacher and student, and the obvious and ligitimed yearning for a teacher’s personal verification of one’s dharma understanding skews the equation of power towards the teacher.
        There is grey aknowledgent, as also BD uses here and there. In realty there is a deceptive and ineffective safeguarding situation. For the damage around such entwinement of needs and crossing of boundaries there should be consequences to help to heal the wounds and restore a sense of boundaries. This is lacking big time in Triratna.
        I understand this is difficult for you as you also, as you said, respect your group enormously. Good to keep a broader perspective and to keep questioning things.

      • “’m aware of the problems and hurt caused by some of his actions (although I wouldn’t describe them as causing harm in the most serious of ways possible”
        It seems BODHIPAKSHA wouldn’t describe the suicides that resulted from the application of Sangharakshitas false doctrines as “serious” issues ( I believe the late eminent British psychologist listed three) ditto the serious mental illness and psychological suffering victims have endured.
        BODHIPAKSHA s sophistry is on a par with that of Goebbels in the run up to WW II. Sickening.

  22. BTW, Frenzy, Learninglive2, no name and Mettaman, what do you think of the book written by Vajragupta and published by Triratna’s publishing arm, Windhorse Publications, »The Triratna Story: Behind the Scenes of a New Buddhist Movement«? The review by James Colman (who is this man?) on Lion’s Roar recommends it: http://www.lionsroar.com/hard-and-valuable-lessons/

    • Whitewashes the Files and the Guardian articles completely, both massively important and still highly relevant issues. Propaganda

    • Colemans book and this article simply repeats the official party line. He clearly made no effort to dig. They managed the same thing with Bluck AFAIR As for Coleman he strikes me as an apologist, too willing to look at aesthetics at the expense of understanding mechanics

    • Hello tenpel,
      I enjoyed the review of The Triratna Story placed here previously by Mettaman. Again here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/review/R3NKF6NQAF30VR/ref=cm_cr_dp_title?ie=UTF8&ASIN=1899579923&channel=detail-glance&nodeID=266239&store=books
      It gives words so adequately to the hilarious black hole in the single sex ideal.
      I much apriciate James Coleman reference to the wistleblowers.

      Vajragupta mentions that:
      ”the FWBO was learning that sex in the sangha could be dangerous. If one party was older or more spiritually experienced than the other, naive faith in the former as a teacher, desire for their approval, and abdication of personal responsibility could easily occur. (Frenzy: note the onesided emphasis on projection of the one lower one in hiërachy) Powerful emotions could be released as people got involved in the spiritual life. So those who were liable to be seen as ‘teachers’ (note the downplaying apostrophes) or in positions of ‘authority’ (idem) needed to be very careful. from the mid-1990s onwards, most people in the FWBO would probably (probably..?) advise caution in the area of sex and spiritual friendship. There were calls for a ‘code of conduct’, and many FWBO centres did have an agreement that teachers and team members would not proposition anyone at meditation and Buddhism classes. Beyond this, it seemed difficult to make ‘rules’, as how would you enforce them?

      The Triratna story does no mention abuse of power, a mentioned big lesson leared is the realisation Sr is human.

      It apparently has turned out to be very difficult for Triratna to create effective structures, procedures, safeguarding officers etc.
      Note: the lialibilty in this can be subjected to legal inquiry and liability claims, besides a criminal offence aproach. I think this has not been done before but it seems currents developments will make the feasability of this increasingly bigger.
      Triratna would do good indeed, as Colemans writes, to extend their praise to the wisleblowers as they hold the key to possible healing of their dysfunctionallity. Instead of telling others to embrace the mud, should they not embrace it themselves, if they really aspire a Bodhi State?

      Much more can and hopefully wíll be said… I think the opportunity for that here, incl your sharing of expertise and active participation in the exchange is extraordinary and of great significance.

      • Thank you.

      • There is another critical Amazon review to the book here:
        https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/customer-reviews/R1J2TFFHNV7UJW/ref=cm_cr_getr_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=1899579923

        I added as a comment:

        From a monastic point of view – in order to avoid sexual attraction and conduct – you separate the genders. This makes sense in that context. However, here in the context of Triratna, where the leader and his followers claim homosexuality to be superior to heterosexuality and male spirituality is superior to female spirituality, and where heterosexual and gay men have been manipulated into sexual relationships with Sangharakshita to stress same sex groups appears just to be a means to promote the idea of homosexuality and the sex preferences of the leader of the group. This doesn’t make sense from a spiritual point of view, this does only make sense from the view of homosexual sexual desires. From a spiritual pov, if there is a homosexual preference it would be wiser not to run same sex groups because this stirs the sexual desires and projections of those who have a preference with this. More critical seen, the same sex groups sustain the sexual preferences and desires of Sangharakshita and can serve as a basis to recruit new boys and men to still the sexual thirst of Sangharakshita.

        I wonder why people can’t see these distortions and risks?

  23. Hello tenpel, you wrote:
    ”BTW, a high percentage of those having been sexually abused, manipulated or exploited against their will highly likely abuse later in their life also others. (*I think this has to do with a confusion created by the experience of sexual abuse that leads to a distorted perception about the boundaries of self and others…) There are statistics about it. Therefore a “victim of abuse” also needs support to not become a perpetrator of abuse later in life. That’s why clarity and therapy is of highest importance. Seeing this connection I wonder what Triratna will be for a place in the future when those being harmed as we well as the leadership rationalise the abuse as “spiritual beneficial” for most of them? This lack of clarity and interpretation of events might be a fertile field for the continuation of an unsafe structure that enables further abuse and prolongs the history of abuse within Triratna.”

    I apriciate you formulating this with so much clarity and fully subscribe to this point of view.

    My experience in Triratna involves while encountering boundary- and power abuse issues one is dependent for help on ordermembers who have also experineced power abuse themselves and/or are influenced by the general lack of clarity around such issues.
    Although i am sure there is a complex of dynamics: (and not denying the good of triratna incl positive developments in this area) reality shows there is still a huge lack of awareness and a lot of confusion in thus related issues and a strong tendency towards conceiling.
    This general lack of awareness and sensitivity around boundaries (and subsequent related suffering) reverberates on Triratna’s approuch to ‘safeguarding’ and there for the effectiveness of (apparent) developments in this area should really be questioned…

  24. jigmeyeshe says:

    https://alaya.thebuddhistcentre.com/index.php/s/jzirWGf2nJVWBgD#pdfviewer

    This is Triratna’s response to the BBC programme.

    • When the overall safeguarding officer is a dummy all the rest has no credit…

    • Triratna’s response to the BBC programme may not be entirely open and honest. For example, point 11 says that: ‘Although he remains a significant guide, Sangharakshita stepped back from any official role in the running of Triratna in 2000 …’

      ——————————
      https://alaya.thebuddhistcentre.com/index.php/s/jzirWGf2nJVWBgD#pdfviewer

      11.
      Although he remains a significant guide, Sangharakshita stepped back from any official role in the running of Triratna in 2000 when he handed on his leadership responsibilities to a College of Public Preceptors, senior women and men from all over the world.
      ——————————

      But Triratna has a charity called Uddiyana, whose stated purpose is to enable Sangharakshita ‘and his office to guide the activities of the Triratna Buddhist Community Centres and members worldwide. ‘ In 2014, they spent £49.9K doing this guiding:

      ——————————
      http://beta.charitycommission.gov.uk/charity-details/?regid=1046398&subid=0

      Triratna Buddhist Community (Uddiyana)
      Data for financial year ending 31 December 2014
      Income £43.8K
      Spending £49.9K

      Aims & activities
      Support and assistance for Urgyen Sangharakshita, founder of the Triratna Buddhist Community (formerly FWBO) – enabling him and his office to guide the activities of the Triratna Buddhist Community Centres and members worldwide. These activities include meditation and Buddhism, social work, body work, cultural activities and support for residential spiritual communities and ethical businesses.
      ——————————

      So Sangharakshita has no official role in the running of Triratna, but somehow manages to unofficially guide the activities of the Triratna Buddhist Community Centres and members worldwide.

      Clear as mud, really.

      • Thank you, Mark. I think it would be good to inform BBC / the journalist, that they were deceived about Dennis Lingwood’s blindness and the claim to have stepped down. Can anybody do that?

        • Their statements ”we, for many years, strongly discourage sexual relationships between members of the Order and those they teach, based on lessons learned from our past” and
          ”Triratna has an overall Safequarding Officer and all Triratna centres and enterprices worldwide are expected to have Safequarding Officers and polocies” are equally deceptive.
          I wondered also: how can one be to blind to talk?

      • Not.only that. Somewhere here, Anon states that Lingwood had refashioned the Order so that it was defined as” Sangharakshita and his disciples” So, while he is supposedly not in control, he is simultaneously calling the shots. Yet another case of the man ‘having his cake and eating it’ This also manifests in descriptions of the Order as a unified whole and elsewhere as a collection of legally independent centres. This gives them a get out of jail free card under varied circumstances

        • But you can make claims against a centre, them though being legally independent being part of an international organisation, as well as the triratna buddhist community, as a religieus chairity orginisation, for liability and/or individuals for infringing/unlawfull behaviour.

          • Ok then, hurry up, before Dennis dies. According to my understanding ( and here I rely primarily on Harvey’s text ob Buddhist ethics explanation of views on suicide and euthanasia ) it is far better that Lingwood experience the consequences of his actions now, while he can still make sense of them and regret and begin to purify them, than it is for him to simply suffer them in ignorance,as a being in the lower realms, his certain destination

  25. “And I repeat, I don’t think it would be good either to disavow and demonise him, or slavishly follow and idealise him. To misquote the founder of another religion: “Let he or she who has committed no sexual indiscretions cast the first aspersion”.

    I take this deliberately personal (without being offended by it), because this is an attempt to put my (and other’s) efforts here in a box, repressing right criticism or right view.”

    I intended this as a plea for understanding of our flawed humanity rather than an attempt to repress criticism.

    • Hi Mr. Anon,
      my thoughts are based on my understanding of the Dharma and Dharma practice. My conviction as well as my rational argument is, if you genuinely want to cultivate a Bodhisattva attitude the foremost qualities to be cultivated are love (wanting others to experience well being) and compassion (wanting others to be free / protect others from suffering) – both especially in the long run (there is a discrimination into short term and long term benefit and harm in the Bodhisattva ethics too).

      From that perspective, actions not based on love and compassion are your enemies. From that perspective anger as well as attachment are your enemies too. Now following your own sexual desires/attachment and manipulating others to have sex with you though they are not interested in it, is a greedy, selfish act, that ignores the well being of others and seeks the own temporare happiness at the cost of others.

      The methods being applied by Sangharakshita and order members like manipulating the object of your desire by teaching pseudo-Buddhist teachings or by applying other types of indoctrination or by emotional pressure / emotional blackmailing – it is emotional as well as spiritual blackmailing based on deep egoism when Sangharakshita claims your enlightenment is blocked when you don’t open up for a homosexual relationship* with him – are just the tools to fulfil your own needs and ends at the costs of others’ wellbeing. I can’t and will never ever accept that as a correct mode of conduct.

      The question then comes up for me and others how deep this egoism of Sangharakshita is and how strong his altruism is? I can’t answer that question with any certainty because you must be able to read his mind to do so, however, all of the things he has done that are regarded as “good” from pov of the members of Triratna (like his books, setting up of the order and organisation etc etc.) could also be very egoistic acts. There is no certainty that these are acts based on genuine love and compassion as many might project. Most often narcissistic personalities can set up huge empires that have also some benefit for others but still, they don’t do it really for others but for their own interest or gratification/needs or ends. From a spiritual pov, if it is so, in such cases there is not even a proper basis to rejoice in such selfish acts nor to praise them.

      I just found this passage in “Altruism: The Power of Compassion to Change Yourself and the World” by Matthieu Ricard which highlight my thoughts about sexual desire and genuine love:

      Love allows us to see the other with caring, kindness, and compassion. Thus it is linked to altruism insofar as one becomes sincerely concerned for the fate of the other and for the other’s own welfare. That is far from being the case in other types of relationships related to attachment. Earlier on in her career, Fredrickson was interested in what she regards as being the polar opposite of love, namely the fact of regarding the woman (or the man) as a “sexual object,” which can have as many harmful effects as love has positive effects. Here there is an investment not in others’ well-being but in their physical appearance and their sexuality, not for the other, who is then regarded only as an instrument, but for oneself, for one’s own pleasure. To a lesser degree, possessive attachment stifles positive resonance. Feeding such attachments signifies that one is concerned above all with loving oneself through the love one claims to have for the other.

      * The funny point is, that there is truth in it. As long as you have aversion against anything you can say your enlightenment is blocked. But your enlightenment is also blocked by being under the spell of selfish, sexual desires which you can’t control or let go and even involve others in – ha ha ha ! ;-)

    • I think yor plea for understanding and sympthy for the one(s) in position of autority, power and, supposedly, fiduciary care is IMO not the priority here.
      The dynamics exposed here resemble those in dysfuncional incestious families.

  26. This is an update on the apology situation. There has been some internal discussion, as far as such is possible, within the order. According to order member contact close to Adhisthana, one senior order member is ‘floating the idea’ to be disseminated that puts the importance of having the means and institutions (mansions and assets?) to spread the Dharma and thus reducing suffering in the world before apologising to ‘malcontents’, who did not progress spiritually and left the order. He is apparently also denying the experience of those who spoke out about sexual manipulation because they did not complain at the time it was happening. Apparently, another order member has written an account for order members only in Shabda or another order only place with title ‘Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour’ in which he apparently describes Mark D at the time the abuse must have been taking place and challenges Mark D’s later understanding of what was actually going on , reducing Mark D’s painful realisations to bearing false witness against S. One writer, possibly the same one, also writes that Sangharakshita never showed guilt or shame about having sex and that homophobia therefore had no place in the order thanks to Sangharakshita. He also says that mutual masturbation is not harmful. I think that there is a lot of tension in house for Trirtana and behind the scenes / Facade. THe communications office is largely drawing attention away from BBC issues and posting regular self congratulatory items. It must be difficult for the small number of brave order members, who do not agree with the ‘order narrative’ to speak or write up. Maybe they can do so here. Thanks to LBC (London Buddhist Centre) order member for this information.

    • Thank you.

    • Re mutual mastutrbation
      The Orders self serving rewriting of Buddhist disciplinary codes continues. Masturbation, mutual or otherwise, is considered an infringement in both Theravadin and Tibetan Mahayana moral codes. In Japan, where generally there are no celibate monks and where the practice of pederasty was culturally endemic from an early age, individuals may practice their predilections to their hearts desire- they’ve thrown the rule book out. The result? The virtual destruction of authentic Buddhist practice in Japan
      So which path do Triratna choose? The one that preserves and protects, or the one that goes against established codes and allows for the free expression of ones desires (ooh look, it’s the sixties again!)
      No need to answer-it’s rhetorical and any answers would lack scriptural support and appeal to moral relativism ( time, context etc etc, you know ” it’s not all black and white” WATCH MY LIPS- for ordinary mortals,IT IS. THE RULES ARE WRITTEN IN THE BIG BOOKS FROM THE TIME OF THE BUDDHA not by someone who likes to have his cake and eat it and dares to make such false transformations
      And has the nerve to claim this is the Buddha’s word

      • You are right. Mutual musturbation or single masturbation is against the rules of monks and nuns. The key aim is to overcome desire and not to create rules that sustain and increase desire. Sangharakshita (Dennis Philip Edward Lingwood) should know this. Nobody has to become an ordained. However, to create rules based on own your likes or dislikes is not at all in the spirit of Buddha’s teachings and his path to freedom – the Dharma – because Dharma is what counters attachment and not what sustains or fans attachment. Or as Dromtönpa, the Tibetan main student of the Indian master Atisha, put it:

        “What is the difference between Dharma and non-Dharma?” the teacher Drom[tönpa] was asked by Potowa.

        Dromtönpa replied: “If something is in opposition to fettering passions, it is Dharma. If it is not, it is not Dharma. If it does not accord with worldly people, it is Dharma. If it does accord, it is not Dharma. If it accords with the teachings of Buddha, it is Dharma. If it does not accord, it is not Dharma. If good follows, it is Dharma. If bad follows, it is not Dharma.” – from Tsunba Jegom, Precepts Collected from Here and There (Kadam Thorbu)

        It should create some caution that Devadatta was the one who – unenlightened – created his own rules.

  27. There’s too much to go into here but to pose the question: Has Sangharakshita in effect lied at times? I tend to think so. Does this make him “a liar”, ie. a terrible creature beyond the pale, no, but it does expose his moral and spiritual limitations and failings. I suspect the fundamental, essential untruth is the tacitly held and unchallengable view that he is a spiritual giant – in his words, probably the greatest Buddhist teacher since Nagarjuna. There is clearly a dissonance, as pointed out by his last lover, between the public Sangharakshita and the private man. I think that’s the key to the whole problem. As far as I can see the cultish aspects of Triratna derive from that split. It’s where he falls down and indeed fails for instance in comparison to his friend Allen Ginsberg. The strength of the latter is that there was no visible split. His poetry expresses both his sexual desires and abandon, and his love of the Dharma, of the truth. He puts truth first and as far as I can see does not and cannot pretend. Then again Ginsberg was simply a poet, not a bhikku and not the founder of a Buddhist movement. Even if Sangharakshita had just remained a scholar and writer none of this would be so highly charged, but when you set up a spiritual movement you put yourself in a very strange position. Your followers project onto you, despite your warnings, and you end up buying it (and possibly on some level wanted or needed it in the first place). Then throw something so mundane as sex into the mix and it all goes haywire. A whole rationalised ideology emerges and people split psychologically in all sorts of ways.

    And I would appreciate if you didn’t all seem to jump to the conclusion that I am making excuses. As far as I can I am trying to get a grip on all of this and although I don’t agree with all of your comments I do find it helpful to hear them.

    • Mr Arnon,
      I can see and apriciate you are ‘trying to get a grip on all of this’.
      I agree it is relevant from a wisdom perspective to reflect on a person never being a complete terrible creature beyond the pale, nor on the other side being behond moral and spiritual limitations and failings.
      So you judge the deed not the person.
      Confrontation with damage through unskilfull action and negectancy done leads/could lead/should lead? to the concrete being open to hear and aknowledge the damage done by unskilful action(s) and to compensation or take on other consequences and to the desire to, as skilfull as possible, try to make amends.
      Are you with me on that?

    • According to logic it cannot be put as an certainty that Sr’s ‘last ‘lover” was actually his last ‘lover’.
      As Sr, as Mr Arnon states ”in effect lied at some times”. This about this affair in 2003 or ’04, recorded in CwB in 2009. Also he said here to have no memory of having had sexual contact with at least one other actual ‘lover’, who had been under the age of consent at the time.

      ”Mahamati: In those few cases where people have been, at least in retrospect, unhappy about what happened, is there anything you can say about that?
      Sangharakshita: I am a bit puzzled by that. There was the Guardian article and there was Yashomitra’s letter in Shabda. Both the article and the letter contained allegations that were at variance with my own recollections, and I am therefore puzzled. In Yashomitra’s case, I remember him and being with him, being at Padmaloka and at Il Convento in Tuscany for his ordination course. I remember going for walks with him and so forth, but I have no recollection of any sexual contact with him. I find that puzzling, because I thought I remembered every encounter, even if the details sometimes elude me.”

      Re Mr Arnon’s ”Your followers project onto you, despite your warnings, and you end up buying it (and possibly on some level wanted or needed it in the first place). Then throw something so mundane as sex into the mix and it all goes haywire.”
      Noting that it going haywire referes to sexual boundary crossing and, according to statements and expert respons, to situations experienced and seen as abuse of trust and power. To the(Vg:) ‘dangerous relationships in the sangha’ with a disbalance in Power and Loyalty.

    • Mr Anon “There’s too much to go into here but to pose the question: Has Sangharakshita in effect lied at times? I tend to think so. Does this make him “a liar”,”
      This really shows how lost you people are. Tthe answer is “yes, it makes him a liar” try checking the dictionary definition He is a liar and you’ve been conned by a charlatan Try the duck test

    • Hi Mr Anon,
      thank you for you comment!

      I am not sure, when it is right to call someone a liar and when not. How many lies do you have to tell to be called a liar?
      I don’t know.

      Lying also includes to deceive others about your qualities. The biggest lie is the spiritual lie were you claim to have attained superhuman powers without having it. The Buddha was explicit about the demerits of lying for one’s spiritual attainments:

      One day the Buddha came to Rahula, pointed to a bowl with a little bit of water in it, and asked: “Rahula, do you see this bit of water left in the bowl?” Rahula answered: “Yes, sir.” “So little, Rahula, is the spiritual achievement (samañña, lit. ‘recluseship’) of one who is not afraid to speak a deliberate lie.” Then the Buddha threw the water away, put the bowl down, and said: “Do you see, Rahula, how that water has been discarded? In the same way one who tells a deliberate lie discards whatever spiritual achievement he has made.” Again he asked: “Do you see how this bowl is now empty? In the same way one who has no shame in speaking lies is empty of spiritual achievement.” Then the Buddha turned the bowl upside down and said: “Do you see, Rahula, how this bowl has been turned upside down? In the same way one who tells a deliberate lie turns his spiritual achievements upside down and becomes incapable of progress.” Therefore, the Buddha concluded, one should not speak a deliberate lie even in jest.

      In that context it is very interesting and also rings my alarm bells, when SR/Dennis is referred to as Bhante (Venerable), an address used only for fully ordained elders and it is even more alarming that, according to what you write here, he sees himself as “probably the greatest Buddhist teacher since Nagarjuna” – Oh my Buddha! Nagarjuna was seen as a 7th ground Bodhisattva who appeared on the level of a first ground Bodhisattva. What a self-perception is it to compare yourself with one of the greatest masters of (Mahayana) Buddhism? Is Dennis Lingwood also a narcissists as so many others in the context of power and sexual abuse?

      Thank you for sharing this information. It makes sense to conclude that “There is clearly a dissonance, as pointed out by his last lover, between the public Sangharakshita and the private man.” given the information which has been discussed here so far.

      Just as a side remark, I didn’t read all the comments here due to a lack of time and this comment by you I read only now!

      Thank you for asking me to not “jump to the conclusion that I am making excuses.” Maybe you are – as you write it – indeed in a process of sorting things out. I remember discussions in the New Kadampa Survivor forum were people sounded like NKT devotees who wanted to convince us but many of them had just to start to look on the issues from the point where they just were and so they sounded like defenders of the NKT tough this was not their motivation but they really wanted to make sense out of their experiences, the narratives and what has been said and just weren’t able to speak totally free from the NKT indoctrination.

      Though I can’t invest anymore so much time in reading comments and thinking carefully about them, keeping the arguments in mind etc. as I did it in the past, at least I can remind myself and take care to be more careful with my perceptions and judgements.

      Ok, I’ll try to be open, careful and more restrained with my perceptions and judgement with respect to what your motivation(s) is/are or might be. On the other hand, I have to confess, that I am also sceptical. The reason is that we have been deceived so many times by NKT trolls who started to pretend to be genuine seekers just to come out at one point as pro-NKT commenters. We have invested so much time in these – at the end – senseless discussions, that there is a risk now after all these experiences to become cynical, harsh, close minded, or to put others too quickly in a box etc. – not really listening to them and not assuming good faith. OK I’ll try to open up for your wish and I will take it to heart but I will also be sceptical and see how things continue to unfold …

      BTW, did you see the documentary »Holy Hell« by Will Allen?
      Just saw it. There were also young men, heterosexual mostly, who were coerced into a sexual relationship with the homosexual leader of the group. When words of sexual and power abuse spread for the first time via an email/letter, even one of those men who have been abused over a very long time rose up to say, that these are all lies – though he knew it was true because he was abused himself. In the documentary there are scenes where these men speak about how painful this was to have been manipulated against there will into a sexual relationship with the leader, and you can see them crying. They also tell, that they payed and even praised the leader after each abuse! I think this shows some of the dynamics of harm, self-manipulation etc but also the pain it brings.

      I think all followers of Triratna should watch it, and I do hope that there are people who make a similar documentary about Dennis and Triranta. The documentary doesn’t deny the good experiences either but it also doesn’t deny the harm and pains.

      • Thanks. I am very busy at the moment but will give it a look. I’m not here to “troll” but nor am I here simply to agree. I am a committed member of the TBO and want to help it flourish – not flourish as a cult but as a Buddhist movement. If this means deconstructing a lot of the myths and fantasy around our founder, then fair enough. I think the Order and movement is heading to a crossroads and none of us know what will happen following the death of Sangharakshita. My sense, which will no doubt enrage No Name, is that there is enough good and genuine in it (which reflects our founder just as much as the bad stuff) for this community to survive and prosper. But we really do have to deal with the shadow, the goblins in the closet or whatever.

        • I see. Thank you. Now I understand better. In a way for me it boils down to the question of TBO can be reformed or not.

          These reform approaches I know from the discussions about East Gernany before it united with West Germany and from discussions with NKT followers. These two systems were/are just too rotten or hard to be reformed really to the better. As an outsider of TBO I don’t know how rotten or hard (inflexible/ not really open) TBO is.

        • I don’t do rage
          It looks like you think the problems will go away after Dennis dies. Personally I would be more worried about the problems you will face before he dies
          As to whether you’ll be able to fix things post morten, I guess it’s a bit like cancer: even when the tumor is removed, the fact it has been in situ so long means there is always a danger of recurrence. It also depends on how far the cancer has spread before you caught it. In the case of TBO, that amounts to forty years.
          If you are gonna rebuild, you’ve got a big job ahead……and the past will always haunt you until you come clean and address the victims- people are living rough after their encounters with Lingwood: he meanwhile lives in a large mansion with its own grounds-is that fair? Or do you just blame karma- hop along now;)

          • I think there are various factors that have made our response less than 100% honest and frank: 1) The people in charge of the movement’s official communications feel constrained to respect Sangharakshita’s views on the matter. 2) There may be, as you suggest, possible legal ramifications, I don’t know. 3) If we accept that our founder acted in such a way, ie. having sex while still publicly wearing robes or the orange kesa, that he really hasn’t really progressed very far on the Buddhist path, and that he built up a whole system/ideology to rationalise his desires, then how do we relate to him? Certainly not as the great guru whose precious legacy of teachings and practices should be preserved intact for the good of humanity. Instead, we’d have to come to a much more mature and nuanced view of him and what he has given us. This isn’t going to happen at present because he is alive and has recently announced that he has refounded the order as the community of his disciples. The Preceptors College is now busy “enforcing” that line, but being nice, liberal types (in the main) it’s all a bit muddled, so the dissidents haven’t (yet?) been stripped of their kesas. Athough I have the impression that many of them don’t really buy this new line, none of the Public Preceptors is willing to challenge the 91 year-old Sangharakshita – partly out of loyalty, partly kindness, and partly self-preservation and cowardice. When he goes though, I think the incense will really hit the fan. It will be billowing everywhere and what I hope emerges out of the confusion is total honesty about our past and a much more flexible vision of what it means to be a member of this particular Buddhist order. – Anyhow, that’s about as best as I can put it all so succinctly!

            • I am sure you yourself have a sense of it having integrity and credibility Mr Anon.
              Being familiar with Triratna dynamics and rethorics myself i feel you haven’t shown much understanding and haven’t shown that you have taken the input here very serieus.

            • Thank you for your honesty Anon.
              One problem however is that former members who were victims of Lingwood are in a position where they are now strong enough and united enough to move the issue forward with the police. So I guess that leaves you/TBO stuck between a rock and a hard place. When charges are brought, if the Order are seen to have done nothing , then the senior OMs will be considered complicit in the cover up. OTOH, if they wait until he dies and the truth outs, surely the question will arise as to why nobody said anything when everybody knew. and who was responsible for the cover up
              Fortunately, the dilemma may well be resolved by the impending actions of external agencies. If not, TBO seniors will be forever damned if they do, and forever damned if hey don’t ( speak up) it’s your call. But either way, TBO is in for some serious hard times ahead. Blood on the carpet ahead at Adhistana.

              • I’ve only heard vague second hand rumours about legal concerns at Adhistana. We’ll just have to see what, if anything, comes of it.

                • According to contact at London Buddhist Centre there is open acknowledgement in Facebook order groups and similar that any apology would open up gates to compensation and some order members fear that undeserving ex order members and mitra might make claims …. So, it is interesting that they may consider some ex order members or ex mitra deserving.
                  Thanks to contact close to Adhisthana for reconfirming that a prominent spokeswoman for the group is willing, verbally only, never in writing, to say that some order members, including senior ones, would like to offer an apology, but that the order has been advised by its legal team not to as it would mean the loss of Padmaloka and possibly Adhisthana to settle compensation claims ….
                  Thanks to an order member contact at London Buddhist Centre for his concerns that a recent sexual crime involving two mitra is being dealt with in house …. He and two women order members have apparently raised concerns about this, but their concerns have been dealt with in house. He says that Maitryabandhu and Subhuti are fully aware, as is Parami , that sexual crime is involved, but that they are dealing with this in house. The LBC evidence has, according to him, been destroyed. This may be what dealing with it in house means. The mitra involved are apparently still mitra and seeking ordination. The LBC contact is very concerned because the sexual crime involved is likely to be repeated, he says ….
                  It is really positive to see that order members are now reaching out beyond the order to say what is really going on. Those who care will not be silenced.

                  • According to a contact it has been publically stated by an OM in respond the the BBC item, in a european country other that the UK, that when it is the teachers word against the student, the teachers word outweights the students’.

                    ” The rules are now emphatically tightened so these things can not happen
                    anymore, that is ‘taking distance’. But to judge people in retrospect, based
                    on later prescribed rules is not an option. In this case there appear to be
                    different truths of teacher vs. student, hence Triratna is not commencing.”

                    ” Certainly there were different views on the topic of relationships
                    between students and teachers in those years in the developing Western
                    Buddhism. And many of the then sexual relations were consensual, some were
                    at the time but the student later had regrets, and some will certainly have
                    been under peer pressure or other inappropriate influence from the Sangha /
                    teacher. But to make that distinction afterwards, and also to ask the
                    teacher and to observe that in his / her experience this was entirely
                    voluntary and mutual? Your word and that of the victim against theirs,
                    wrongdoing it was not was according to the teacher. ”

                    ” So for that reason any (implicit) Triratna apologies are the fact that
                    the new (though in fact around 25 years old) rules altogether reject such
                    relationships. Have students any evidence concerning their view of the facts
                    is correct, possibly checked in criminal proceedings, then the situation may
                    change. For now it is their word against the teachers-word, sorry …”

                    • Such an approach contradicts the fundamental principles underlying the legal systems of all democratic societies.This demonstrates the dictatorial nature of the TBO hierarchs, who clearly think they are beyond the reaches of the law. Fortunately, the law is not determined by these demagogues and while they are free to delude themselves in the above manner, their leader and those who mimicked him will be subject to the full force of the law.
                      I suspect this announcement is an attempt by Lingwoods closest disciples, complicit in the cover up to reassure him ( and themselves) that they are above the law and immune from its scrutiny. Nothing could be further from the truth. When the time comes, all these illusions will collapse and they will be faced with the consequences of their actions

                    • The v odd thing is that the chair of this OM’s local centre says in a private mail contact that ”there are as yet no local ethical guidelines, polocy and safeguarding structures, besides the by the Buddha formulated 5 respectively 10 precepts.”
                      So where are the mentioned ”new (though in fact around 25 years old) rules that altogether reject such relationships” and how are ”the rules now emphatically tightened so these things can not happen
                      anymore”? How does it exist for people who feel there have been breaches of ethics..?
                      Are animals are equal but there are some animals that are more equal. (just a literaly quote that comes to mind, no harsh speech intented, although the word pig i realise might feel offensive to some, it is by all means not meant that way, and with metta for the pigs also, and feeling offended would in the light of the absolute anyway also be relative)

                    • Also according to contact:
                      This OM refered, in his public comments, to speaking out about experienced difficulties and safeguarding concerns as ‘throwing with mud’, in regard to a recent situation.

                      When the recently concerned person contacted the president of the (a large UK) centre of her prev. boyfriend, a senior ordermember, the president mentioned ”not wanting to mud the waters any further.”

                      A third person, OM also, said about this, ”yeah he (the president) knows him well…” (sarcastically said) and ”i know what it is like… and then they move on to the next person.”(suggested: relationship in the sangha)

                      The president of her own local centre stated that ”clearly he (the senior ordermember) does not and has never seen himself as the/your teacher”, the fundament being though she going on his retreats.

                      The comparison was made in reference to this, by the OM stating things publically, of a relationship between a stewardess and a pilot, and suggested was that knowing of a/the powerdifferential the responsability for pos. negative consequences lies with the lesser one in hierarchy.

                      This was a topic in the same thread where the statements were made about the teacher’s truth being more credible.

                      The (concerned) person states she has due to disempowering escalation retreated from Triratna.

                      There is legal activity around this.

                    • According to contact: she was told , by a local OM boardmember of centre, who was her eventual contactperson around the issues: ”you are a wistleblower, you want to be carefull with that, for your own concern.”

                    • My view on abuse of power and position: taking into account the complexity around sexual intimicy and the (subsequent) consequences (also: in the group) for the one lesser in authority and power, and the keeping of healthy boundaries are the responsabilily of the one in the position of authority and power. Also the responsability of the organisation; creating and maintaining healthy boundaries as well as for ethical consequences. The organisations responsability even more so when the persons in position of power and authority are not proparly mentored.

                    • Some years back, when the Order claimed to have ‘cleaned up their act’, I wondered whether this could possibly be true or whether their ‘secret teaching’ had just been moved deeper into the indoctrination process, further from public view. Everything Frenzy says confirms the latter. Everything Anon says so nonchalantly confirms that poisonous ideas concerning the family, sex, the student-teacher relationship etc, persist, indeed flourish. The poisonous ideas of Lingwood et al are thus alive and well at your local Triratna centre. The question as to whether schools should be visiting Triratna centres in the UK immediately comes to mind Poisonous ideas from a poisonous mind are not good for our children. Time for a second government inquiry, this time without the assistance of Munishas QCA ‘friend’, John Keast?

            • Re Mr Anon: A point you seem to have missed, for example, is that to suggest (ethical) safeguarding guidelines, protocols and officers being in place when there is nothing there is v misleading.

              • As far as I understand it, and I admit to having only followed this topic very sketchily, there are guidelines that have been developed, but not everybody even knows about them. Given the anarchic structure of the movement with its legally independent centres, it’s also difficult for “head office” to impose anything. The more I think about it though, the more I see that given our past, we really do need to make them as compulsory as we can.

                • Re Mr Anon:
                  The point is Triratna has stated, in respond to the BBC item:
                  ”We, for many years, strongly discourage sexual relationships between members of the Order and those they teach, based on lessons learned from our past”
                  ”Triratna has an overall Safequarding Officer and all Triratna centres and enterprices worldwide are expected to have Safequarding Officers and polocies.”
                  This together with other statements that include both online available information as well in personal communication i conclude that Triratna is and has been claiming a safeguarding situation that is false.
                  I agree that the lack in communication between, and alighnment of, meta and local is unhelpfull.

            • Hi Mr Anon, just as a feedback. When I glanced your comment for approval, I thought its a comment by no-name ;-)
              I want to thank you for your input, thoughts and openness to discuss here with us. I guess its not that easy for you …
              I find what I read from you very useful and beneficial.

            • learninglive2 says:

              Mr. Anon admits that the order have not been 100 percent honest (i.e. not told the truth) in, for example, the order’s media statement to the BBC. I strongly suggest that he and others in the order read the Nature Neuroscience article published this week on the consequences of self-serving lies, white or otherwise, and deceptions. It seems that Dennis Lingwood is indeed a master, a master at deceiving others in India, Hampstead Vihara and in his own self-styled order, where he has long deceived the trust of disciples and communities. Many reputable newspapers are following up on the Nature Neuroscience article. It would be an enlightening experience for FWBO Triratna mitra and order members to discuss this at chapter and conventions, with their leader – and themselves as complicit – in mind, as it seems he still IS the leader, despite more less that 100 percent honest depictions of him as not the leader.
              He put himself on the order’s refuge tree …. he gave himself the aggrandising titles …. he wrote everything that has created Dharma confusion and havoc for so many, including the pain that some genuine Dharma seekers are experiencing – yet again – and yet again – on the wheel of suffering concerning the sexual-spiritual manipulations he has created and a host of lies, deceptions and distortions, dating back to India. Even this week, some such as Parami and Mahamati are echoing the deception that he has been celibate since mid 1980s.
              Is it likely that Sangharakshita Bhante Lingwood actively put another man’s penis in his mouth in 2002 and 2003 and that this was non-sexual / accidental?
              Actually No.
              Is it likely that he could have done the same, for example, with Terry Delaware and others and claimed he was not involved in sexual activity?
              Probably yes.
              Is it likely that he is not being 100percent honest in not remembering that he was involved sexually with young men under the age of consent, for example, Yashomitra.
              Definitely yes.
              Is it likely that he is not being 100 percent honest in not remembering that he was involved in sexual activity with a mitra 50 years his junior?
              Definitely yes.
              Is it likely that his senior devotees and spin doctors will now need to continue the lies and deceptions because they have done so now for so long that they have also affected their brain health and functioning?
              Probably yes.

              http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nn.4426.html

              • Ha, neuroscience approves what Bhikkhi Bodhi explained so well about Right Speech:

                The Buddha’s stricture against lying rests upon several reasons. For one thing, lying is disruptive to social cohesion. People can live together in society only in an atmosphere of mutual trust, where they have reason to believe that others will speak the truth; by destroying the grounds for trust and inducing mass suspicion, widespread lying becomes the harbinger signalling the fall from social solidarity to chaos. But lying has other consequences of a deeply personal nature at least equally disastrous. By their very nature lies tend to proliferate. Lying once and finding our word suspect, we feel compelled to lie again to defend our credibility, to paint a consistent picture of events. So the process repeats itself: the lies stretch, multiply, and connect until they lock us into a cage of falsehoods from which it is difficult to escape. The lie is thus a miniature paradigm for the whole process of subjective illusion. In each case the self-assured creator, sucked in by his own deceptions, eventually winds up their victim.

                “Cults” / groups which enable abuse of power – and thereby sexual, financial, emotional or spiritual abuse – seem to have the common characteristic to be highly deceptive systems that create and operate in a world of fuzziness which derives from skilful blends of semi-truths, with some truths and untruths. Therefore the antidote to cultish or deceptive systems is honesty and transparency. These are the real enemies of any deceptive/fraudulent system. Therefore, an honest seeker of the Buddha path, an honest admirer of the Dharma path, should ask him or herself, what are the demerits to support such systems for one’s own progress and where and when he or she might have deceived others and themselves also with lies. Truthfulness is crucial for the training – especially for Bodhisattvas. The Theravada texts list 10 perfections, one of them is truthfulness. The Buddha himself said about the demerits of lies:

                One day the Buddha came to Rahula, pointed to a bowl with a little bit of water in it, and asked: “Rahula, do you see this bit of water left in the bowl?” Rahula answered: “Yes, sir.” “So little, Rahula, is the spiritual achievement (samañña, lit. ‘recluseship’) of one who is not afraid to speak a deliberate lie.” Then the Buddha threw the water away, put the bowl down, and said: “Do you see, Rahula, how that water has been discarded? In the same way one who tells a deliberate lie discards whatever spiritual achievement he has made.” Again he asked: “Do you see how this bowl is now empty? In the same way one who has no shame in speaking lies is empty of spiritual achievement.” Then the Buddha turned the bowl upside down and said: “Do you see, Rahula, how this bowl has been turned upside down? In the same way one who tells a deliberate lie turns his spiritual achievements upside down and becomes incapable of progress.” Therefore, the Buddha concluded, one should not speak a deliberate lie even in jest.

                • BTW, when I left my own “Buddhist cults” – this Dharma teaching by Bhikkhu Bodhi played an important role for me. It was like the key to a dynamic that was a driving force of the whole deceptive and harming processes. Later I learned from HH the Dalai Lama “honesty and transparency are the foundations of faith” – another extremely helpful instruction for me, because cult leaders tend to demand faith without laying the foundations for faith. Their lack of honesty and their lack of transparency itself undermines their students’ faith. Students who have doubts about such leaders have correct doubts because there is no foundation for faith because basic spiritual qualities like honesty are very weak or absent … Another teaching which helped me tremendously was Buddha’s teaching about Intimate friends, e.g. verse 11:

                  (11) The devotee acquires the same faults
                  As the person not worthy of devotion,
                  Like an untainted arrow smeared
                  With the poison of a tainted sheath.

                • Let us hope that those connected to FWBO / Triratna will copy and share your post, Tenpel, IF, and it is an IF, they understand the Nature Neuroscience article and / or Tenpel’s exposition of The Buddha’s teachings as opposed to Sangharakshita’s deeply flawed stand alone teachings. And his deceptions.
                  Sadly, it seems that Buddhadasa, according to contact in Colchester Buddhist Centre, has cast Mark Dunlop and Yashomitra as the ones bearing false witness against Sangharakshita and the order because they did not immediately recognise they were being abused. It is so clear that they were spiritually enticed, with spiritual force, to meet LIngwood’s sexual needs . Years ago, an order member called Ananda wrote a description of how he was very much pushed into sexually gratifying Sangharakshita. Has anyone got a copy of that? Apparently, Sangharakshita stopped short of physical force, but tried all sorts of emotional, psychological and dramatic antics to get young Ananda to gratify him, including feigning near death experiences that only sexual activity could alleviate …He was also doing his best to split Ananda up from his girlfriend. Ananda is still in the order says Cambridge ex-order member. It would be interesting to hear how Ananda reconciles all this with Buddhism and the many allegations of spiritual abuse that keep coming out.

                  It seems, according to contact at London Buddhist Centre, that Mahamati and Parami are now casting Bjorn as the teller of untruth. He is the German ex-mitra, who has first hand experience of Sangharakshita definitely not being celibate in 2002 and 2003. The young man was told by Sangharakshita to keep his mouth firmly shut when it came to being honest about their sexual relationship. ‘Don’t tell the others’ is what Sangharakshita told his aspirant priest junior, starved of female company and affection in misogynistic single-sex Birmingham HQ and exposed to Sangharakshita and his teachings virtually non stop, including his pro homosexuality anti heterosexuality teachings for all. When Bjorn was exhausted by keeping secrets, he told Dharmaghosha. Bjorn was powerless as Sangharakshita then blanked him for telling the others their secret and Bjorn was frozen out by others at Birmingham HQ. Like many before him, Bjorn tried to hold onto what he thought was Buddhism and what he thought were genuine friendships. He has suffered in the web of lies and deceit that are characteristic of Sangharakshita’s behaviour towards those who tell the truth about him. And the complicity of all those in the know who have done nothing. DHarmaghosah tried bravely but got quashed, says our contact at London Buddhist Centre, for questioning Sangharakshita’s assertions in Conversations with Bhante that he has been celibate since Mid eighties. DHarmaghosha got firmly told he was wrong to bring it up in Shabda by Subhuti and Mahamati.
                  If Sangharakshita Lingwood, by 2016, does not understand that actively putting another man’s penis into his mouth is sexual activity, one has to seriously review what he said about his supposed non-sexual relationship with Terry Delamare and others in U.K. and / or India. Maybe he had it-isn’t-really-sex sex with young men in Young Men’s Buddhist Vihara in Kalimpong? He certainly surrounded himself with beautiful young men there, too, as many photographs and his writing can testify. And what about the stories of him being asked to leave the Hampstead Buddhist Vihara due to sexual activity in bhikku robes in the shrine room? Maybe he was having not really sex sex there, too? what about his supposed non-sexual relationship with well-under-the-age-of-consent Yashomitra? Remember too, that in Conversations with Bhante, Sangharakshita Lingwood narcissistically tells Subhuti and Mahamati that he is unlike other men in that his sexual pleasures are not confined to one bodily part…. who is to know where he experienced orgasmic pleasure in all these non-sexual relationships ….

                  • Who is Buddhasasa? If true, he is crazy with his arguments. Of course persons being sexually abused don’t come out with it immediately. It takes time to understand what happened to you, it takes time stop blaming yourself, to feel guilty, ashamed, embarrassed, confused etc … – its even harder to go to the public and to speak up.

                    In general it can take between 10–20 years sometimes – even longer – to speak up. Some systems are so rotten that it can take more than 30 years until the truth comes to light. This is a reason why they changed the laws in some countries regarding sexual abuse. In some countries sexual abuse can not be charged legally if not announced in the first ten years but statistics showed that most people need longer than 10 years to speak up and scientists explained why this takes naturally so long. I can’t remember all the details but there is discussion exactly around these topics. If he or anybody argues “Mark Dunlop and Yashomitra as the ones bearing false witness against Sangharakshita and the order because they did not immediately recognise they were being abused” this only demonstrates their deep ignorance about such matters or their agenda which neglects to understand the side of the people being harmed.

                    I mean, come on, anybody who has some common sense understands the level of deception and abuse given by the account of Mark Dunlop to The Guardian. What he shares is a common pattern in such contexts. It feels totally trustworthy. And I got quite a similar account with quite the same patterns from another context.

                    Years ago, an order member called Ananda wrote a description of how he was very much pushed into sexually gratifying Sangharakshita. Has anyone got a copy of that?

                    No, I don’t have a copy but would be much interested to read it or to get a copy.

                    It is very ugly what you write here but not your writing is ugly, the actions which are described are ugly, non-dharmic, disgusting, embarrassing, painful.

                    Maybe Bjorn or others could write testimonies? We could post them here and they could be send to INFORM. In such cases only publicity can help.

                    5. Particular concern was expressed about unethical conduct among teachers. In recent years both Asian and Western teachers have been involved in scandals concerning sexual misconduct with their students, abuse of alcohol and drugs, misappropriations of funds, and misuse of power. This has resulted in widespread damage both to the Buddhist community and the individuals involved. Each student must be encouraged to take responsible measures to confront teachers with unethical aspects of their conduct. If the teacher shows no sign of reform, students should not hesitate to publicize any unethical behavior of which there is irrefutable evidence.

                    This should be done irrespective of other beneficial aspects of his or her work and of one’s spiritual commitment to that teacher. It should also be made clear in any publicity that such conduct is not in conformity with Buddhist teachings. No matter what level of spiritual attainment a teacher has, or claims to have reached, no person can stand above the norms of ethical conduct. In order for the Buddhadharma not to be brought into disrepute and to avoid harm to students and teachers, it is necessary that all teachers at least live by the five lay precepts. In cases where ethical standards have been infringed, compassion and care should be shown towards both teacher and student. – Open Letter of Buddhist Teachers who met with HH the Dalai Lama

                    • Isn’t it about time somebody updated the Triratna Wikipedia entry which claims that the controversy over the FWBO has attracted little public interest and makes no mention of the recent BBC programme or article? I can keep an eye but can’t edit

                    • http://www.wildmind.org/blogs/book-reviews/the-essential-sangharakshita

                      Bodhipaksa writes, april 2009:
                      ”I don’t think Sangharakshita has written anything in response to the critical information about him and the FWBO, although there is a video in which he discusses his sexual activities. I don’t think he’d dignify his fiercest critics with a response. There are three principle actors. There’s Mark Dunlop, who was formerly an Order member and who had a sexual relationship with Sangharakshita. Some time after the relationship ended he became increasingly bitter, and then he started his campaign. The second (the author of the FWBO Files) is Gary Beesley, who is a religious education teacher and Tibetan Buddhist. He’s never had any direct experience of the FWBO. His campaign isn’t just against the FWBO, but also against SGI and the NKT, and is a kind of personal crusade. The third is Jurgen Schnake, who runs fwbo-files.com. He also has no experience of the FWBO. Schnake has nakedly asked for money in return for ceasing his activities. I don’t think that was his initial motivation, which seems mainly to be mischievous. He’s quite happy to make stuff up, like claims that the FWBO is a branch of scientology. Unfortunately none of these people has any great regard for honesty or accuracy, and they’ll say anything if they think it helps damage the FWBO (Dunlop has accused the FWBO of murdering children, and I’ve mentioned Schanke’s alleged Scientology takeover). I’d be astonished if Sangharakshita was to address their often outlandish accusations. We’re dealing with “fake moon landing” psychology here.”

                      Bodhipaksa removed on the 21rst of may 2016 the comments option with another article on his website.

                      Second last comment on this thread, 17th of may 2016:
                      Thank you, Sarah, for your comments. Since November last year, I have re-connected with the Triratna Movement, in one of their large Centres in the UK, after a decade of my being inactive. I have heard disturbing stories from a few young women about their recent sexual relationships with Order Members who were meditation class teachers and your words have spurred me on to raise the issue of ethical guidelines with the Centre Teams. To date, I personally have not heard any references or discussions about any such policies being in place or about challenges to Order Members who might have behaved unskilfully in this way (or any other way, for that matter!) I hope that I WILL discover that discreet, positive steps have been taken to deal with all such harmful cases and, hopefully, I will find time to return here to report any outcomes. Go well, with metta.

                      Last comment, 17th of may 2016:
                      ”Bodhipaksa, I appreciate that you are probably very busy but, if you have refused to include a contribution by (…) (about whom I know nothing and to whom I have no connection), then it seems to me that your rather cryptic response would only add to the fog of confusion and doubts about Triratna Buddhist Order & Community that are evident here and elsewhere online. Assuming that (…) ‘s comments were critical of the Movement – and even if you considered them too inflammatory or unreasoned to be worthy of publicity – I would appreciate at least some public explanation of your decision to censor, so that I can personally evaluate and maintain confidence in the open and honest transparency you seek to espouse and promote through this website.”

                      Bodhipaksa’s answer and last comment, 25th of may 2016:
                      ”Apologies to everyone who has commented here, but I’ve decided to delete all the comments on this page and close it to further comment, since it seems to be attracting some rather unhinged commenters, who I haven’t been publishing. I’m just weary of the whole thing.”

                    • Thank you. I posted a comment there and wonder if it will be kept and how and if Bodhipaksa will reply …

                      Bodhipaksa, why do you defame Mark Dunlop?

                      Isn’t it bad enough and deserves compassion what happened to Mark Dunlop and others who became the victim of the abuse of power and sexual abuse based on manipulations, emotional and spiritual blackmailing (if you don’t overcome your aversion against homosexuality your enlightenment is blocked), distorted teachings (about the superiority of homosexual relationship vs. heterosexual relationships or superiority of male spirituality over female spirituality) and the deceptions by Dennis Lingwood? Isn’t The Guardian piece by Madeleine Bunting, The dark side of enlightenment, 1997 clear enough how a deceptive system, serving the sexual desires of Lingwood, is destroying people?

                      I mean, do you have any idea or clue about the abuse of power and sexual abuse?

                      What about recent reports by the BBC? Do you think to attack the a whistle blower and a victim of abuse is the right way for a Buddhist or any sane human being? Here is the BBC article from September 2016: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-hampshire-37432719

                      Now, despising the critics as not having “any great regard for honesty or accuracy”, why turning a blind eye on the lies and dishonesty of the FWBO/TBO?

                      Note that just a month ago, the TBO lied to the BBC, claiming wrongly Dennis/Sangharakshita is blind and claiming wrongly that he stepped down from position in 2000. In fact, Triratna has a charity called Uddiyana, whose stated purpose is to enable Sangharakshita ‘and his office to guide the activities of the Triratna Buddhist Community Centres and members worldwide. ‘ In 2014, they spent £49.9K doing this guiding. See:
                      http://beta.charitycommission.gov.uk/charity-details/?regid=1046398&subid=0

                      BTW; I don’t know Jurgen Schnake but Gary Beesley a bit. The latter has done good work with respect to the NKT. The NKT has harmed A LOT of people. And it looks like NKT, TBO have some real similarities with respect to the abuse of power and exploiting and manipulating Buddhist teachings for the leader’s own ends …

                      In my eyes, you turn turn the things quite upside down in your comment by insinuating it were rather the male students who seduced Sangharakshita or that it was a mutual agreement. It was the other way around, it was Sangharakshita who manipulated heterosexual and homosexual men to have sex with him. The objects of his sexual desires didn’t have a wish for it as many of them said very clearly.

                    • Btw, Gary Beesley is author of the FWBO files. FWBO and Munisha know that.

                    • Maybe the writer of these two critical comments,Jean, could find us here to report any outcomes.

                    • Hi Frenzy, what “two critical comments” are you referring to?

                    • The link doesn’t work, Frenzy …

                    • Re: Sangham saranam gacchamiFriday, 29 January, 2010 12:07
                      From: “zenandthecity” Add sender to Contacts
                      To: fwbo@yahoogroups.com
                      In the light of Sangharakshitas recent attempt to elucidate on his sexual activity with younger O/M’s, which surely reflects some of his meaning about Sangha, eg. as the founder and head off the order, how can you separate his behaviour from his ideology…. which is reflected in the mitra course, its important to remember what these young men went through. What you have is a contrast between the emotional immaturity of the founder and the ideology he thrust upon the Order.
                      How can you trust the ideology?

                      here is Ananda’s (a respected senior O/M) account of his relationship with Sangharakshita

                      Ananda writes: ‘But then something very strange and disturbing began to happen. I wasn’t being given any special powers: instead my teacher began to show signs of serious un-guru-like behavior. He started getting upset when I didn’t want to visit him; he seemed to get very jealous of my inviting a certain girl round to stay with me, and he worked himself up into a lather when I refused to sleep in his bed on the few occasions when we went to Haslemere. I found this very upsetting, mainly because he was showing signs of being dangerously human, having emotional and physical needs, being angry, crying, showing irritation, being distinctly bitchy on occasion, and so forth. But also because he was teaching me non- attachment, and yet here he was showing all the signs of attachment to me. Things came to a head on our last visit to the cottage, when he asked me to sleep with him and I decided I’d be buggered if I was going to be Bhante’s bum-boy, to use the
                      immortal phrase, no matter what pressure he put on me, subtle or otherwise.. That night I underwent every conceivable kind of guilt trip, even wondering if I was going to be responsible for Bhante’s imminent death, as he was working himself up into such a state, crying, whining, moaning, sobbing, imploring – everything except threatening. (I could never imagine him doing that in a thousand years). I don’t remember too clearly, but I don’t think either of us got any sleep that night. I do remember feeling let down, cheapened, almost physically dirty, and I’d have given anything for that not to have happened. But at no time did he exert any direct kind of pressure or suggestion that I should do it for the sake of my spiritual health: he simply had an overwhelming desire that he could not gainsay, and he saw no reason why he should.’

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                    • Thank you for sharing Ananda’s account of his relationship with Sangharakshita!

                      Though its horrible, I and others need to read that to get a better understanding of the amount of delusions, manipulations and distortions…

                    • Hi Tenpel, in regard the link you say doesnt work, it says:

                      Error 404 – page not found
                      Sorry. You have requested a page or file that no longer exists. Perhaps, in a sense, its existence was always illusory..

                      Anyway not as ilusionary as he thought.

                    • Re Tenpel:
                      I refered to the two critcal comments copied in my comment of the 28th, they were both by a person who called herself Jean.

                    • Re Tenpel again around your question: which comments?

                      I will past them here isolated, as i find it so important because it brings together IMO the connection between the undealt issues from the past, the misleading safeguarding situation and impact on todays reality for at least some people.
                      Taking it can take some years before people even start to realise the dynamics or for escalation to unfold, taking into account how complicated it all is to come forwards with such experiences, with all the differnt dynamics (incl some dependency), it is not unikely that what has so far come to light is only the tip of the iceberg. I think you are right that it takes a lot of self esteem and clarity.
                      It is confusing also when you are in such a complex boundary crossing situation and dependency situation or are deaing with the consequences/fall out of a previous relationship and the references are to homosexual manupilations, v large age differential, things that append far way and long ago…

                      So i hope people will read this below bit of text well, and let sink in what it implies.

                      Second last comment on this thread, 17th of may 2016:
                      Thank you, Sarah, for your comments. Since November last year, I have re-connected with the Triratna Movement, in one of their large Centres in the UK, after a decade of my being inactive. I have heard disturbing stories from a few young women about their recent sexual relationships with Order Members who were meditation class teachers and your words have spurred me on to raise the issue of ethical guidelines with the Centre Teams. To date, I personally have not heard any references or discussions about any such policies being in place or about challenges to Order Members who might have behaved unskilfully in this way (or any other way, for that matter!) I hope that I WILL discover that discreet, positive steps have been taken to deal with all such harmful cases and, hopefully, I will find time to return here to report any outcomes. Go well, with metta.

                  • It wasn’t really sex.
                    He didn’t feel he was the teacher.
                    It didn’t happen at all.
                    It happened in the past.
                    It’s been openly discussed and aknowleded.
                    It wasn’t exploitative.
                    It wasn’t the teachers fault.
                    He wasn’t deceiving anyone by wearing robes as we are neither lay nor monks.
                    He is still alive so we can’t be totally honost/adress this.
                    But Triratna has learned from their mistakes and has long strongly discouraged blabla and has an overall safeguarding officer and all centres are expected to have safeguarding officers and procedures.
                    Thus: théy are bearing false witness…

                    • Meaning: so théy (Triratna; Buddhadasa/Mahamati/Parami (actually a woman) say: théy, Mark/Bjorn are bearing false witness. Thus giving ground /permission als for the dismissing of basically all boundary crossing complaints!!
                      According to contact refered to on 25th of october, she was told by OM contactperson: ” ‘it’ is nothing compared with what Sr did, that is our enheritance.”

                    • Regarding the error 404 message, this is standard FWBO Triratna practice. When the British Buddhism blog posted the FWBO document on how to bring the FWBO files down the Google ratings, an extensive and highly disingenuous plan to hide their past, the Order simply removed all the linked to pages from their own server. ( Thank goodness for screen grab! )http://britishbuddhism.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/triratna-buddhist-community-friends.html
                      You will note that the link to Anandas revelations has also been removed by their closure of the page
                      In summary, the FWBO Triratna are using online censorship in deliberate effort to hide their history and the truth about their teacher.” Open and honest”? I don’t think so.

  28. You’re rambling to the point of irrelevance
    There are questions to be answered and debts to be settled. Intellectual theorising doesn’t do either.

    • And the Ginsberg reference it’s an excuse
      Ginsberg was an abusive child molester.in India but no doubt you think being a poet excuses that
      There are many cult characteristics in Triratna and they stem from Lingwood and his willingness to manipulate You try to blame it on those who project but without him in the equation, the whole trip collapses So don’t try blaming others, except the early concubines, who replicated and normalised Lingwoods behaviour Kulananda et al
      Self appointed leader, answerable to no one, secret inner circle practices, feelings of elitism, damned if you leave, all these are part of the trip and they are all the macroeconomic manifestation of Lingwoods microcosmic ( though megalithic) ego. You have been duped and lied to Gy a selfish narcissistic abuser of innocents and have invested too much in it to let go

      • Alan Ginsberg crops up with Sangharakshita towards the end of ‘The Priceless Jewel’ apparently seeking tantric sex possibilities with a boy … and in easy to locate footage on line supporting NAMBLA, North American Man Boy Love Association, a pederasty Greek Love pressure group …. and in several other shared spaces with Sangharakshita … WHat else did they share apart from their craving of young men and Greek Love?

        • Ginsberg and Lingwood visited yogi Chen in Kalimpong to ask him if it was possible to practice tantra with young boys.Anon may never have heard of this just as she claims never to have heard about supposed gay tantric doctrines in Buddhist monasteries But claiming not to have heard something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Stupid though it sounds, this is the kind of excuse Anon offers

        • ” Chen’s hermitage was situated at the farther, lower end of the Kalimpong bazaar. When we reached it half an hour later, and were sitting in the tiny reception room with its numerous pictures of Tantric divinities locked in (hetero- )sexual embrace, Allen lost no time in putting his question. Could you do it with a boy? Rather to my surprise, Mr Chen showed every sign of extreme embarrassment. No, you certainly could not do it with a boy, he replied shortly, and at once changed the subject. Allen’s visit was not a success. When I saw Mr Chen a few days later he referred to the strange American I had brought to see him, and to his outrageous question, in terms of horror and disgust. How could anyone even think of ‘doing it with a boy’! So far as the Chinese Buddhist yogi was concerned the sexual practices of the Buddhist Tantra were, it seemed, essentially and unalterably heterosexual, which I could not help thinking was rather a limitation.”
          Sangharakshita Priceless Jewell 172
          Now we see where rumours of the doctrine were formulated for Lingwoods own devices. The wording of the last sentence is very interesting, considering Lingwood was later to claim gay sex was a way to ” overcome ones limitations”

  29. jigmeyeshe says:

    Persons here might find this description of how ‘sexuality’ is dealt with by monks in the NKT interesting in this context. The NKT has created its own ‘monastic’ rules – they do not study the Vinaya.

    WHEN IT IS NO MORE THAN ABUSE

    By Peter Graham Dryburgh

    “The hurt and harm of spiritual abuse is rarely inflicted upon people with the intention to wound anyone”. Major Scott Nicloy

    When we think of abuse in the year 2016, we think of horrific, intentional acts that are set out by a perpetrator, whose simple intention is to violate, humiliate and control another person by whatever means possible – for they need this, they thrive on this to succeed in their role, it is a must, it is the core, the life essence of the perpetrator.

    Sadly in this day and age, there is an unspoken danger, an abuse never mentioned, nor addressed by law no society in general, but we have passed new laws around psychological abuse in the UK (December 2015) to protect the oppressed, but it is still not recognised that within the realms of ‘spirituality’ that there is abuse, there is manipulation, there is control forced upon those who feel ‘devoted’ and (simply in my opinion), that this must change.

    A number of years ago, I was diagnosed by a psychiatrist as living with a condition called “Developmental Post traumatic Stress Disorder”, which is a culmination of many traumas in life to effect the mind, or the brain, and one of these contributors was most definitely ‘spiritual abuse’ at the hands of and the control of the ‘New Kadampa Tradition’, which cost me my home, my job and around £10,000 in debt, but most importantly, for a long time, it cost me my confidence and self esteem, my dignity and my heart.

    When you give nothing but trust, you sometimes leave yourself vulnerable; however, when you are manipulated into this trust, and manipulated into believing that you are doing the right thing, it can leave you quite damaged.

    I remember my first ever meeting with the NKT, it was nothing more than a simple meditation class in my locality, it was an interest I had. At that initial meeting I raised the question around their relationship with His Holiness The Dalai Lama, and I was greeted at the next class by the ‘resident teacher’, not the course teacher, to eliminate my fears and concerns regarding their ‘tradition’ – which I now realise was their first lie, their first mis-truth, and sadly the road into ‘spiritual abuse’.

    Everything seemed to happen so quickly for me, I was encouraged to leave an unhealthy relationship that I had been in for a number of years, give up my property, leave friends and family behind – all in the name of ‘seeking perfection’ and Dharma – I had had an interest in Buddhism for a number of years, but I grew up in fishing villages and islands on the Scottish coast, so accessing this spiritual path was jarred with obstacles, until I moved for employment reasons to Birmingham, and I had been presented with such an easy access. One might say that I should have been more cautious, one would think I may have spotted the signs, but I challenge this, because, with every form of abuse, the perpetrator ‘sugar coats’ the truth, it is given with false love and the offer of true friendship and a spiritual ‘brethren’, a family almost.

    So I started attending classes, moved into the centre, started paying for as much as I could in order to ‘gain merit’ on my road to enlightenment, which became the most important ‘mantra’ in those years, almost more important than spiritual prayers themselves, ‘gain merit, gain merit, gain merit’ is something that was taught so hard lined it became something I ate, slept and breathed for a long period of time.

    When the NKT offered me the opportunity to become ‘ordained’, I was so overwhelmed with gratitude that I was never able to refuse – it had almost become a situation where my dreams had come true – and this is where the real abuse started, it was customary to give ‘interest free loans’, pay for building renovation, cars, statues and even the resident teacher to attend ‘festivals and empowerments’ in foreign countries (I recall paying so that someone could go to Germany for ‘Highest Yoga Tantra Empowerment’ and also being told that I may not achieve enlightenment for ‘eons’ as doing so left me unable to afford to go myself). Sadly the more I gave, the more it seemed never to be enough, there was always a need for something – I was never allowed to give up my job (which was not an issue as I loved helping others, and worked full time in an alcohol and drug treatment service) as I was the only person who brought money into the ‘Centre’ that was not based on fraudulent benefit claims by the other ordained staff there.

    As time went on, my responsibilities matched my financial contribution; on times where I could afford to take out loans from my own bank, my responsibilities were great, and the respect I appeared to be shown matched this; on months where I had to pay back more to the bank than I could to the ‘centre’, I was almost shunned and kept to the side – but I did so ‘willingly’ as it meant I was balancing the negative karma from both this life and past lives, and who would not wish for this, especially in the road to enlightenment – which after the HYT empowerment, would only take 3 years, 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days – yet I never gained this empowerment, as I always paid for others to do so, generating the karma to allow myself to do so one day. I began to despair, for only one reason – that I might never find enlightenment – that I might never be free from samsara and able to actually help other people? I think this is when my doubts begun to set in.

    I began to realise that even working from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday to Friday outside of the centre, I would often be up til 2 a.m. working on the building, and up again at 5 a.m. to ‘get the shrine room (gompa) ready for the day, my weekends had become full of ‘cherishing the centre’ and I lost any friends (and was encouraged to do so as they were negative to the path) who were not connected to the NKT; it became my entire life, my world, my every waking and sleeping moment.

    Meeting Geshe Kelsang Gyatso (GKG) was a special and rare occurrence, and when I did, he would simply laugh and tell me that any worries were due to negative karma, and to simply see these issues as purifying negative karma, to see them as wonderful opportunities on the road to enlightenment, so as I had become so engrossed in seeing GKG as my living Guru, and a living embodiment of the Buddha himself, then of course I would thank him and feel that I had done wrong by even questioning the ‘challenges and worries’ that I faced in daily centre life.

    I used to welcome an NKT festival in Ulverston as it was almost a break, a holiday from responsibility. I was often challenged by ‘senior’ monks and nuns as I always missed the first session in the temple, morning meditation, as I used this for catching up with sleep – and frankly it was a delight to be able to shower and dress in peace away from the sometimes thousands of people who were there – it became my welcome break – and I think the beginning of realising that things were not right.

    I started to worry when there were death threats made against GKG and security precautions were taken – such as bullet proof vests were being worn by monks under their robes – and we were asked if we would take a bullet for ‘Geshe-la’. This is when it became real to me, realising that it actually can’t be a safe place, a genuine place to be, so I hatched a plan to leave, which was filled with obstacles. It was almost similar to the film ‘The Running Man’ – and with every sexual based scandal the NKT was facing with all the corruption and money laundering that was evident, with benefit fraud, and exploitation of innocent people, you think it would be easy to walk away when you are faced with these dilemmas – but it isn’t, there is the huge guilt of ‘breaking away from the Guru’, there is the being ostracised by your community, friends and even teachers.

    I made a decision to deliberately break my ‘ordination vows’ so that there was no way I could or would stay, and even that process wasn’t without challenges – I did nothing sinister, I simply masturbated to break my celibacy vow – thinking they would simply discard me for this – however, I was wrong, I was told to do the Sojong Practice and that was told it was a standard process, almost a ‘secret club’ that most monks would do this once a year, then renew their own vows at the ordination of others – I was even partnered with another monk who would talk to me about how ‘okay this was’ and told (and I quote) “we all do it”. The only thing that I had to change, was that I would have to do a month’s retreat and write a letter to GKG to apologise for doing this “without permission”.

    So there is no celibacy in the NKT ordained community – and this is when my mind became so entrenched in absolute terror – but terror of remaining there – as I was assigned another monk to ‘help me’ in my celibacy – and this turned out to be that if I did not masturbate myself – it was okay, the expectation was to ‘help each other’ – not a comfortable concept – he now (K Cho) runs and manages a prominent centre in Rome, so my mind was made up!

    I actually waited for the centre to ‘close’ for two weeks, and everyone went away to where they went to. I remained, and spoke with a student at the centre, and asked for her help. I lived in her cupboard for a number of week as I had nowhere else to go, I was not allowed to speak to anyone, and as I could not get transport I left my belongings there – of which I managed to fish some clothes and basics from a skip a few days later.

    If I was to be asked what my biggest mistake was to date, it was picking up a copy of ‘Transform Your Life’ in a bookshop all those years ago – it did transform my life, but not in a good way, not by any means…

    The author gives permission for this article to be posted elsewhere.
    All testimonies on this Facebook Page are protected by Creative Commons
    CC BY-NC-ND https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

    • Re jigmeyeshe:
      Interesting. It is good to aknowledgde, that these all sorts of power abuse and boundary crossings are not intented to create such damage, but that it nevertheless does and that the result (esp. without aknowledgment and consequences) is known to be multiple trauma/PTSS/DPSD etc.
      I agree the lack of awareness is broader than spiritual communities.

      • May I add, this NKT approach has nothing to do with the Dharma and the Vinaya or ordained life. It might come across as this would be the norm. IT IS NOT! I wondered if I should say something when Mr Anon wrote about it making the exception the norm already:

        I also think he rationalised this philosophically by referring back to “Greek love”, the normality of student-teacher, older-younger man relationships in the classical world (and from what I have heard in Buddhist monasteries down the ages).

        THIS IS NOT THE NORM!

        But there are – as in any institutional body – problems and as far as I can see there are rather rare exceptions from the norm. I’ve never witnessed or heard of the exceptions in any monastery directly. I heard or read stories here and there but the behaviour was never accepted as the norm but as being wrong – except, sexual predators or confused people see such behaviour as acceptable. What I know for sure is that there is clarity what the rules are and what is acceptable and what not. There IS NO “model” of “older-younger man relationships” “in Buddhist monasteries down the ages”.

        Only from Buddhist ordained or lay teachers (Thich Thien Son, Sangharakshita, Sogyal…) who like to have sex with their students (be it male or female), or who don’t educate their monastics leaving them in the dark about the rules (NKT) I witness an abuse of the teachings – a distortion – to either justify their own sexual desires and inclinations or not doing their duty which is to teach the Vinaya properly to the ordained and to do proper Sojong/Uposadha.

        • Ms/mr Anon
          “I also think he rationalised this philosophically by referring back to “Greek love”, the normality of student-teacher, older-younger man relationships in the classical world (and from what I have heard in Buddhist monasteries down the ages).”
          The difference being in Greece it was an accepted norm
          In Buddhist monasteries it’s called sexual misconduct
          And in Triratna it’s called ” the secret tantric practice engaged in by gay men in Buddhist monasteries
          Dominic Kennedy ( who left the FWBO) told me that in 96 when he was an order member

          • “the secret tantric practice engaged in by gay men in Buddhist monasteries” – well. This is more or less what Thich Thien Son, the abbot of the Frankfurt Pagode, did: he told the young monks that it is part of the monks training to have sex with each other and he claimed Thich Nhat Hanh and the Dalai Lama do it also that way. There is no “secret tantric practice engaged in by gay men in Buddhist monasteries” whatsoever. Self-serving fiction to justify and meet the own desires. Ugly!

            • And this is a false doctrine that Maitreyabandhu, ‘poet’, senior OM and openly gay man continues to propagate to his inner circle of friends, procured from new recruits to Triratnas flagship London Buddhist Center. Maitreyabandhu has always promoted the idea that gay sexual relationships are superior and allow one all the freedoms one could wish for without becoming entrapped in the complexities of heterosexual ones ( clearly, gay people don’t have difficulties in their relationships with other, like minded folk [ perhaps he needs to get out more?])
              He has taught these ideas ( borrowed from Lingwood.to feed his own libido) for years and there have been more.than their fair share of ‘ problems’ at LBC as a result. And yet, knowing the games he plays, the people who hold the power at Triratnas big London Center, that has a massive turnover ( sorry) of visitors/ potential Buddhist followers, allow him to remain in a senior position at the Center. The perverse ideas of Sangharakshita are therefore still perpetuated, with the full knowledge of the college of preceptors- talk about not learning from mistakes of the past- even now, while Lingwood is falling under police scrutiny, his perverse distortions of the Buddha’s teaching continue to be disseminated.

              • To be fair I’ve never heard anyone mention anything about “the secret tantric practice engaged in by gay men in Buddhist monasteries”. This is the first I’ve heard of it. As for ideas that being gay is more conducive to spiritual practice than being straight – there probably are pros and cons. I think one of the cons about being gay, judging by some of my friends, is that sex is available on tap, probably even more so now with apps like Grindr. So that must be a big distraction. However, an advantage is that they don’t generally end up with family responsibilities and so in theory at least, are free to devote more of their time and energy to the Dharma. The connection between gay men and spiritual communities is an old one.

                • And therein lies the difference betwixt Buddhism and Lingwoods perverse teaching . To escape the difficulties of family life, Buddhists monks and nuns practice celibacy and work to abandon craving. TBO teaching is the way to escape those same difficulties is to practice gay sex and continue feeding ones craving.. That’s NOT Buddhism Its called having your cake and eating it. Simply put, if it is not an antidote to delusion it is not dharma. TBO therefore preach false dharma and auger its destruction

  30. In his lifetime, millions knew Jimmy savile as an eccentric TV personality.
    One of Britain’sbiggest stars, he was a larger-than-life character who was known for tea-time TV favourites such as Top of the Pops and Jim’ll Fix It as well as stints on BBC Radio 1.
    He was also, to some, Saint Jimmy, a diligent fundraiser who raised £40m for charity. But, a year after his death in 2011, allegations of abuse surfaced.
    It transpired that he was, in fact, one of the UK’s most prolific sexual predators. He had been exploiting his status to prey on hundreds of people – girls and boys, men and women, but mostly vulnerable young females.

    A lot of history to erase-and Lingwood will have many more skeletons, believe me

    • This prominent case of Jimmy Savile shows the layers of blindness, self-deception, manipulations, projections, ignorance etc. which are the basis for these types of abuses. There is also a reason why often those things come to surface after the death of the abuser – his effective system of manipulation and deceptions collapses due to his death. It is interesting to note what level of self-deception even the old aunt BBC developed in that context. Therefore, I think, members of TBO should be cautiously reflect their role in that system that enable(d)(s) these types of power and sexual abuses. Sadly, those being harmed, there are only a few who speak up. Those are rarely supported but come under attack (see Mike Dunlop in this case) while the abuser has a large network of people who protect him, speak up for him, defend him, believe him, continue to support him. I think people should also ask themselves who needs to be protected the abuser or those being harmed and the possible future victims.

      Its good to hear a clear voice such as the one from the clinical psychologist, Elie Godsi, an expert witness on a number of high-profile abuse cases:

      This is all about the sexual gratification of a person in a position of authority or power within the group.

      However, such voices are rare. There are usually more people who are either silent, or defend the abuser, or distrust and even attack the whistleblowers of sexual abuse … These are patterns you can observe in all those cases of sexual and power abuse. However, one has to read articles and books, reflect deeply, or talk with people who have been abused and manipulated to understand these topics better. Its always easier to defend the status quo than to question it because from the status quo many is served from questioning the status quo a big loss might manifest which most people are going to fear.

      Again, at least people should watch well made films about these topics such as »Spotlight« which summarise these dynamics very well.

  31. Hi Tenpel,
    As this site comes up very hight when you search for Triratna and abuse i would like to use the opportunaty to put some general information here about how to deal with abuse.

    Some general notes/quotes, taking it out of triratna context:

    ”Ordinarily, when you tell about your experience with abuse you are rarely told something to the effect of: “I’m so sorry this has happened to you. You didn’t deserve it. It’s not your fault. You’re amazing for getting through what you have. I want to exact revenge on the person (or people) who did this to you. My respect and admiration for you go beyond what I can express. I want to help in any way that makes you know that I am with you and you are safe with me. Here are my ideas. Would that help you?”
    It would be very comforting to be told told these things. But instead of comfort, we get/are challenged to see the pain of the offender(s), to be grateful that it wasn’t worse, to forgive as I have been forgiven, and so on. Rather than feeling supported, we often are left with the message that we are insignificant and wrong for talking about it.
    We are told we’re all sinners. That we should let it go. Forgive and forget. That we are responsabe on some level.
    All too often, friends and family of a sexual assault victim either don’t accept that the perpetrator committed the crime, or they believe the person’s actions were misinterpreted, or they make excuses for the crimes committed.
    In their view, the perpetrator should be forgiven and seen for his positive qualities (or seen as someone in need of rehabilitation). This is an open betrayal of the person who was violated.
    Such challenges ultimately protect the violator and patronize the victim.
    Forgiveness is a topic that only the survivor should be able to mention. And it’s important to add that most survivors are not struggling with forgiveness. Rather, they’re struggling with stigmatizing shame and being asked to keep secret someone else’s violation of their rights.”

    Here some hopefully helpfull tips:

    Recognise that you are not the problem.
    Your love, endurance, patience and service wil not change the situation.
    Get information about the dynamics and powerfields that are of influences. (like gaslighting)
    Dont live in denial.
    Set boundaries.
    Assess your situation/relationship(s) and the consequences of the decisions you will make to address the abusive relationship(s).
    Seek profesesional help and support.
    If your concerns indeed relate to Triratna i would advice to look for feedback, guidance and support not just inside the sangha.
    Make new positive and healthy connections; healthy relationships are your birthright and you can achieve them.
    Dont judge yourself for your anger and confusion, it is a signt that you are starting to understand what has been going on.
    Be resourcefull tapping into self compassion.
    Know that you are not going to be forever damaged by this.
    Forgiveness of the abuser is a personal choice, not a necessity. You may have gone through so much trauma that it feels impossible to forgive, and that’s okay.
    Forgiveness towards yourself ís necessary to move forward.

  32. Interesting documentary by The Atlantic about Andrew Cohen and his cult – they also interviewed Andrew Cohen:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/video/index/501413/life-and-death-of-a-cult/

  33. Thank you, Tenpel, for the link above. It is interesting how the word ‘cult’ is reworded to avoid the word ‘cult’. The words of the last former member are indeed spot on for Triratna devotees of Sangharakshita … ‘We were intelligent – why didn’t we question?’

  34. http://www.padmaloka.org.uk/videos/padmavajra-young-mens-weekend
    Some very concerning use of language, misogyny and anti-heterosexuality sections on here … particularly 38.00 onwards
    All for a young men’s weekend ….
    It appears that someone or some at Padmaloka is or are still ‘encouraging’ men to leave their family if they are ‘serious about their spiritual development ‘ …. Padmavajras use of language is clearly anti women, anti mothers and anti family ….
    At least one German public preceptor or private preceptor is keen to ‘interview’ partners of prospective ordinands. This is tantamount to vetting them for compliance.
    Padmaloka is still at the heart of the men’s ordination process and was the focus of the BBC programme. Three men say that Sangharakshita enticed them spiritually into sex there.
    Whereas Kulananda, Cintamani and Vishvapani maintained in their Response to FWBO Files and / or Guardian article that cultic activity including ‘sexual misconduct’ was limited to Croydon and Padmaraja, the BBC programme clearly shows that cultic / sexual abuses involved Padmaloka and the group leader, Sangharakshita in three cases of alleged sexual abuse, at least one with someone under the age of consent. Whereas they maintain that Sangharakshita eventually stepped in to halt the cultic situation at Croydon, the BBC programme clearly indicates that at least three people were exposed to kalyana mitrata through sex with Sangharakshita.
    THe Triratna Story repeats their narrative.
    Sangharakshita was also involved in oral sex with a mitra 50 years his junior in 2002 / 2003 in Birmingham despite claiming to be celibate and despite wearing a golden kesa . Sangharakshita, via his senior order members, is still insisting he did not have sex, but that he does remember having a friendship with the young man in question.
    Sangharakshita never ‘remembered’ having sex with the young man, who wrote his Shabda article in 2003, either. It may be that it was disconcerting to have an order member 40plus years his junior writing about sexual abuses in 2003 at the same time as he was busy covering up a sexual relationship with a mitra 50 plus years his junior in Birmingham at the same time?
    The order is busy dealing with i.e Discussing in house about the BBC programme. THe young mitra has taken things into his own hands and has used his own Facebook page to tell the story of how he got involved with FWBO and its leader and the painful consequences of being told that what he experienced did not happen. JUst like the young man who wrote the Shabda article. IS this a coincidence?

  35. I feel the talk also gives insight in the power of the transformative experiences one can have on retreat, indeed related to getting in touch with ones deep aloneness, ones shadowsides, powerfull as well as vulnarabe qualities, and in a longing of being seen in ones individual uniqueness and desire for freedom (in a non escapistic way).
    It makes it v clear IMO how intens retreats can be, also how powerfull and charged the relationship between a teacher and spiritual aspirant and how one is needing a positive identification with the spiritual group.
    How serieus the all sorts of ethical boundary crossing and abuse of power/position therefor in such a spiritual community really is.

  36. In preaching distortions like this, Padmavajra. violates the second of the four root downfalls of the bodhisattva according to the system of Asanga.
    Breaking root bodhisattva vows is thousands of times heavier than a monk breaking his root vows.
    So it looks like Padmavajra will meet his teacher again in his next life, in surroundings somewhat more unpleasant than their current environs

    • Did you watch it? I checked it from minute 38. The combination of different factors make it strange. It’s ok on the one hand to inspire to renounce life and to dedicate totally to spiritual practice. The stories he is quoting are ok. BUT the setup and context as well as additional information given by Padmavajra make it somewhat distorted. 1) „young men retreat“ in the context of a male homophile 0rganisation gives the taste of a recruiting camp – the Buddha was beyond that in all ways!!! Good is that Padmavajra stresses that the Buddha focused always on the spiritual potential of any being – though Padmavajra shares only male examples of this quality. 2) inspiring people to renounce life but not to become monks but order members with self created rules and students of „guru Sangharakshita“ (PV is creating this image of Sangharakshita as the guru) is highly suspicious to me. There is a monastic order properly taught by the buddha those seeking to renounce samsara can join. 3) the stressing of „passionate friendship“ is an invention and sounds like justifying the emotions stemming from an unhealthy setup or deluded followers/teachers or after abuse – instead of countering those passions or unhealthy structures. VP stresses too much for my taste passionate emotions and the community in a way that it seems to justify an unhealthy group setup that triggers kleshas / strong negative emotions as something good. But the Buddha was explicit in his advice to avoid spiritual friends who are deluded. Also, neither the Buddha nor his followers were passionate! Nor has passion played a wholesome role in the Sangha. 4) Sangharakshita as the preceptor: becoming an ordained is a matter of the community and not of a single person. The preceptor is only part of that. Sangharakshita as the guru and preceptor without anybody higher or equal to him; cut off from persons of the same level who correct you … is that the situation in TBO? If yes, I think it’s highly unhealthy. All abusive teachers I got to know cut off themselves from peers or higher authorities who could correct them. Higher authorities might have been accepted but only in a 100% supporting role.

      • Emotion equals klesas The tantras utilise rather than renounce the klesas. Now you begin to see how Lingwood manufactured his doctrine of the tantric muse, not to mention how this idea is still current in TBO

      • From the dhammapada, 20th chapter, The Path, „of all things, passionessless is the best“ – this is what the Buddha said. But, this man in the video, Padmavajra, teaches the opposite when he calls for „passionate friendships.“ The Buddha didn’t teach passionate friendship. In the same chapter, he is quoted by saying “be passionless, O monks!”

        • It depends on your definition of passion doesn’t it? On your experience of whether it is feeling or desire based.
          What about egoless passion?
          What about the passion in compassion?
          The kleshas are graving, aversion and ignorance, if not: blind attachment to those.
          All feelings needs to be lovingly aknowledged. To see how they come up, and how experience then changes again. Desire has a felt experience also. It being helpfull to reflect on the nature of the experience, wheter it is restictive or spacious/free, when you are experiencing. As supposed to filosofying about it.

  37. The Buddha’s Warnings Against Demonic False Teachers
    by Dharma Protector, The Buddhist Channel, Jan 2, 2013
    — In the Surangama Sutra, where the Buddha warned of fifty demonic states that unmindful spiritual practitioners might fall prey to, he spoke of the possibility of how… ‘that good man [or woman]… greedily seeks skilful means [to further spirituality]. Then, Mara [the chief heavenly demon], having awaited to take this convenience, [sends a] flying spirit [demonic ghost] to possess this [or another] person. With one’s mouth preaching the Dharma of the Sutras, this person is not aware, that he [or she] is possessed by a demon, self-proclaiming to have attained unsurpassable Nirvana.
    [He or she] comes to others who seek skilful means, where the good man [or woman] is, arranging a seat to preach. His [or her] form changes momentarily, perhaps as a Bhiksu [Buddhist monk], for others to see… perhaps as a woman [or man], perhaps as a Bhiksuni [Buddhist nun]… This person [disciple and/or teacher] is deluded and confused, misled that he [or she] is a Bodhisattva. Believing in such [wrong] teachings, the mind is swayed to break the Buddha’s disciplinary rules, to secretly practise [acts of] craving.

    [His or her] mouth is fond of speaking about variations of [omens concerning] disasters and auspiciousness… Perhaps speaking of fires [at the end] of kalpas [world cycles], perhaps speaking of wars and fighting, terrorising [frightening] people, causing their families’ wealth [and properties] to be dissipated without reason. This is named a ‘bewildering ghost’, whom when old in years, becomes a demon, who troubles and confuses people. When the thought of being tired and satisfied arises, he [or she leaves to] possess another person’s body. The disciple[s] and teacher, [thereafter] all fall into troubles [difficulties] with the law. You should first be aware [of this, so as] to not [re-]enter rebirth, become confused [deluded] and unaware, [thereafter] falling into the Uninterrupted [Avici] Hell.’

    Due to the great weight of the Surangama Sutra’s moral authority, it is also known as a demon-reflecting mirror, as inner and outer demonic influences are clearly reflected in its final chapter on ‘Fifty Demonic States Of The Aggregates’, where the above teaching is listed – out of great compassion and wisdom by the Buddha, to prevent truth seekers from straying from the path to enlightenment.
    Those who truly strayed away due to demonic influences are those who have not learnt about the teachings in this chapter in time, or who wilfully refuse to see themselves reflected in it, as it reveals their true colours. Being so powerful for recognising demons, this Sutra will be the first that Mara seeks to destroy in this Dharma Ending Age, to urge forgetfulness of, so as to pave the way for his minions to take greater siege of this world. As such, this is a crucial time to recall and study this teaching. The above passage on doomsday sayers has been selected as it is representative of a common phenomenon in our times. Below is commentary on it.

    Demons can influence both teachers and students with the weaknesses of strong greed and delusion, which are not always obvious to the unmindful. We ought to note that just because someone appears to preach the Dharma correctly or even excellently to some extent does not mean that person will always do so. No individual teaching by anyone should be received without continual wise discernment.

    It is horrifying but possible that “demonic tendencies” can take place over a long period of time, especially in this Dharma Ending Age, when Mara’s workings are capable of being more elaborately tactical. For instance, a teacher who appears to build up much confidence in the masses through his or her proper teachings of the Dhama over some time might turn out to be possessed all along, or later, when he or she cunningly confuses followers by subtly advocating poisonous ideas that run counter to the Dharma presented earlier.

    As a glaring sign of having great egos and greed to gather attention and followers, false teachers might claim to be ‘supreme’ masters or ‘true’ Buddhas, or even manifestations of Arhats and Bodhisattvas. This is clearly against the orthodox Buddhist practice of not attracting followers with arbitrarily community or self-appointed status; but only with the pure Dharma (and exemplary moral conduct).

    Some false teachers might not explicitly claim to be enlightened, while continually dropping hints that they have some special attainments or abilities, or that they are ready to be born in Pure Land (or came from Pure Land), before possibly brushing away suggestions of being highly accomplished or enlightened out of false modesty later. Some false teachers know their disciples are openly claiming that they, their teachers, are ‘enlightened’, but never admonish or refrain them from continually doing so – because this is exactly what they want them to do – to advertise their ‘status’ to attract more followers.

    False teachers’ so-called supernormal powers (and special experiences) are hearsay, cannot be objectively proven, or can be analysed and disclosed to be sleight-of-hand tricks or psychological mind games. If they often manifest ‘true’ powers, all the more should they be stayed away from, as again, the Buddha taught that only the Dharma should be used to attract followers. Refusal to abide by enlightened advice means they cannot be enlightened. Faith in teachers only due to their ‘supernormal’ powers or fame is simply blind faith; not rooted safely in the Dharma.

    Demonic influences can occur at many levels – from the workings of inner personal demons (greed, hatred and delusion) to actual outer demons, from demonic mental suggestion to actual physical possession. Just as demonic influences can come from ‘trusted’ teachers, they can come from ‘close’ disciples too, who feed their teachers seriously erroneous information for propagation to the masses.

    As false teachers can even appear to be monastics, this is why we should rely on the Dharma and not any personality or the person’s fame and projected status. We must remember that as there are many evil cults with huge followings in history, mere popularity does not equate to truthfulness. It was a religiously held belief, for example, by many, that the earth is stationary, which is totally untrue. Amazing as it is, some still believe the earth to be unmoving (and flat).

    Long-time followers of teachers with now questionable teachings have to resist the natural urge to defend new unsound teachings out of blind loyalty, for true loyalty, as expected by the Buddha, is towards the Dharma; not any misguided person. (They should correct them instead, though real demons are unlikely to easily regret their ways.) Whether the Buddha is around in person or not, he should always be seen as our fundamental teacher.

    As deluded followers tend to rationalise unwholesome speech and actions of their beloved teachers, these teachers thus become more audacious in flouting the Buddha’s important moral guidelines, and gradually urge their followers to do the same, openly or secretly, thus sabotaging their spiritual progress. Acts of craving done might include public or indirect amassing of fame and wealth, and/or having sexual misconduct secretly in the name of ‘spirituality’.

    The Dharma is most easily destroyed by those who appear to propagate and defend it ‘well’ – by causing subtle but definite growing rifts in the Buddhist community. In fact, the Buddha taught that the Buddhadharma in our world can be destroyed only by those who seem to be ‘Buddhists’. This includes creation of schism in the Sangha, which is one of the direct paths to rebirth in the deepest hell for the longest time.

    With deluded followers uncertain of how to dis/continue following their once beloved but later wayward yet unrepentant teachers, while lacking ability to sift truth from deceit, their spiritual lives become confused, especially if they do not know any orthodox teacher to address these issues objecTively. There is, after all, nothing more treacherous than building a whole well with pure water, representing the true Dharma, only to add in a little yet lethal poison later – for drinkers who already have great faith in quality of all the well’s water.

    As it takes sharp analytical minds to filter fact from fiction, to sort the precious baby representing the Dharma from the bathwater representing defiled teachings, to see how spiritually and physically dangerous misinformation can be, especially when it involves the Dharma, it is best to altogether avoid teachers suspected to be false, by using the Buddha’s true guidelines for reference. Only teachers who abide by the Buddha’s teachings should be learnt from, especially in this age, when they will be increasingly rare and precious.

    • Someone wrote on Reddit: “And if they are so happy, I invite you read the resignation letter from 88 Indian orderr members- were they happy with S parading around in monks robes while screwing little boys? Don’t think so” – Does anybody know anything about this resignation letter? Is there a copy, source or so?

      • http://www.ex-cult.org/fwbo/fwboIndia.htm
        The resignation letter of 88 Indian order members of Mumbai region is included.

        • Thank you. Someone sent me now also the link. I quote it here to raise awareness about this letter. Interesting also how the finish the letter!
          I can now see more clearly that Dennis mainly wanted to be a central part of something, an object of devotion. “the guru”. The whole story resembles the process of the foundation of the NKT and its the motives + distortions of its founder Kelsang Gyatso.

          Resignation letter from 88 Indian FWBO members

          December 25th 1999

          Dear Sangharakshita,

          We, the undersigned, very much regret to state that we no longer consider you to be our teacher and guide in the Dhamma. By telling us lies and making false claims you have rendered yourself unworthy of being a teacher and guide in the Dhamma. By misleading us, the Indian Buddhists and staunch followers of Bodhisattva Babasaheb Ambedkar, you have committed a gross breach of the basic precepts of Buddhism. Please note that henceforth you have no place in the lives of Buddhists in India in general and the Ambedkarites in particular. As a mark of protest, on this 25th day of December, the 72nd anniversary of the burning of the “Manusmirti”, we are burning your photograph publicly.

          Incidentally, we feel it our duty to state the following for your information and guidance.

          Firstly, when you came to India, you told us that you wanted to help Dr. Ambedkar’s work grow, that you had personally shared some of his ideas about the propagation of Buddhism in India, ideas that you wanted to share with us and help the Ambedkarite movement to grow in a distinctive manner and style. You never made it clear that your real interest was to set foot amongst the Ambedkarites and secretly establish your own cult which claimed total allegiance to your person as “Guru” and founder of the so-called “international movement”, this at the cost of Ambedkar and his distinct vision of the revival of Buddhism in India. Neither you nor your disciples have any understanding of caste-ridden Indian society, the intricacies of socio-economic problems directly related with people’s religious status, nor of Dr Ambedkar’s way of dealing with this by way of Buddhism. Your claim that you are doing Dr. Ambedkar’s work is a blatant lie and by chanting his name you have betrayed both Dr. Ambedkar and his followers. What right do you have to do this, playing with our lives and interests?

          Secondly, while claiming to be a properly ordained Buddhist monk, a Bhikshu, you showed no respect for the devout feelings Buddhists associated with the robe by indulging in sexual misconduct, experimenting with drugs and teaching the “neutrality” of sexual activities. In our opinion, this final act of yours was nothing more than an attempt to cover up your misbehaviour as a monk while still holding onto the power and prestige which the yellow robe along with the epithets Bhikshu and Mahasthavir held in the eyes of the common people. Thus you have cheated us. Why didn’t you tell us right from the beginning that you weren’t a monk? Why didn’t you feel ashamed appearing before us in the yellow robe between 1979 and 1993? how can this falsehood be considered spiritual, nay, even common human behaviour? Yet you and your disciples talk of being a spiritual movement, a misnomer which amounts to a denigration of the truly spiritual.

          Thirdly, those funds raised by your disciples in the UK through Karuna Trust for supposedly carrying on some social activities for the benefit of poor and backward people are grossly misused by you for the propagation and preservation of your cult. Indians working full-time in these social projects are humiliated and forcefully repressed by threats of sacking and the withdrawal of funds. Poor as they are, for it is indeed hard to make a living in India, they are easy prey to this sort of pressure and are thus forced to nod to the dictates of your cult. In a free and sovereign land such as India, where Dr. Ambedkar worked to abolish the blatant enslavement and exploitation of the caste system, your disciples are freely enforcing yet another form of enslavement by humiliating and exploiting the poor, pressurising them into accepting both your cult and your “supremacy”. What authority do you and your disciples have to enforce this kind of enslavement upon us, and this at the cost of naive donors in the UK and other Buddhist countries?

          Finally, we wish to record our profound feelings of gratitude to Miss Bunting and the Guardian newspaper for unveiling to us the true nature of your cult and enlightening us as to the facts concerning your hidden interests. We pray that Miss Bunting may live long, serving humanity and benefiting Third World countries through her investigative journalism. May she be able to shed more light on the manoeuvrings of your cult in India. Despite all this, it is also our duty to thank you and your disciples for whatever good work you have done for us in India. All that remains now is for us to part peacefully. We pray that the Buddha may bless you and your disciples, bestowing truthfulness and reason upon you, that you might act humanely with Indian Buddhists.

          Yours in the Dhamma,

          Letter signed by 88 Indian FWBO (TBMSG) Dharmacharis (order members) and Mitras from the Mumbai (Bombay) area.

          • Slightly heavier than the NKT in some ways, though nothing as bad as Shugden deaths
            When these Indian members started to speak out, death threats were issued and thugs ( goondas) turned up at their homes. People from the Uk had to be despatched to India to help calm the situation, while other white FWBO seniors had to be called back from India because it was believed their lives might be in danger. An effigy of Lingwood was burned in the streets.
            Karuna have done some good work but who knows at what cost and how much money gets through?

          • This is a long post from a Karuna Trust contact:
            Since September 26th and BBC programme, Karuna Trust has removed any evidence that it is linked to Trirtana UK or Triratna Bauddha Sangha. There is no evidence of Sangharakshita.
            Subhuti is Alex Kennedy,Sangharakshita’s right hand man.
            This document is evidence of ‘concerns’. It was sent – in house – in 2012.

            SAFEGUARDING THE ORDER IN INDIA A MESSAGE TO THE ORDER IN INDIA FROM THE INDIAN PUBLIC PRECEPTORS’ KULA: Amoghasiddhi, Amritdip, Chandrasil, Jnanasuri, Karunamaya, Subhuti, and Yashosagar. August 2012
            The Triratna Bauddha Sangha is, as we all know well, a spiritual community of men and women who Go for Refuge to the Three Jewels. We look to the Buddha Shakyamuni as our guide and inspiration and it is his teachings that we practise and try to spread to others. In India, most of us have come to the Sangha through the inspiration of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar and our Sangha is devoted to carrying out his great vision of bringing Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity to India and the world by means of the Dhamma.
            The Buddha’s teaching is vast and timeless. Our own founder and teacher is Urgyen Sangharakshita and it is his particular presentation of the Buddha’s Dhamma that we follow. The Order is made up of his disciples and the disciples of his disciples. All Order members have been recognised as Going for Refuge to the Three Jewels effectively at the time of ordination, which means that they should be trying actively to let go of selfish clinging so that the Bodhicitta can be their guiding inspiration. When they join the Order, Order members leave behind the power mode and agree to live in harmony with each other on the basis of the love mode. As a way of ensuring this, they undertake to practise the ten precepts, which define what it is to live by the love mode.
            Order members are not, however, Stream Entrants necessarily. In most cases, their Going for Refuge is effective, not yet real. From time to time, we fall back in our efforts and cease to Go for Refuge effectively. If too many of us fail in this way too much of the time, the Order will cease to be a genuine spiritual community and will be just another group. There need to be ways of safeguarding the integrity of the Order, especially by guarding entry to and exit from it.
            This responsibility was originally carried by Bhante, who ordained all Order members for nearly twenty years and himself suspended and expelled a number of people. In August 2000 he handed on this responsibility fully to the College of Public Preceptors. Bhante gave to this international body authority for deciding who enters the Order and who is no longer a member. The College as a whole is made up of a number of kulas, consisting of at least five Public Preceptors – usually on a singlesex basis, although this is not yet possible in India. Each kula usually, although not necessarily, has responsibility within a particular region. Thus the Indian kula is at present responsible for ordinations of men and women in India.
            With the appointment of Amritdip and Yashosagar, there are now seven Public Preceptors active in India: Amoghasiddhi, Amritdip, Chandrasil, Jnanasuri,
            Karunamaya, Subhuti, and Yashosagar. Five of these are of Indian origin and this marks a very significant step forward for the Order and movement here. We are now able to tackle many long standing issues that have affected the integrity of the Order and movement for many years. We already made clear our strategy for renewing the Order in India in the paper of that name written by Subhuti on behalf of us all at the beginning of this year. We now intend to apply that strategy more vigorously and we want here to explain what more we will be doing and the basis on which we will be doing it.
            Under the working arrangements of the College, each separate kula is responsible for making final decisions about who joins the Order in their region and about who becomes a Private Preceptor. Although the Public Preceptors consult other Order members, they make the final decision as to whether or not someone is ordained. This gives them a duty to see that the training of mitras for ordination is adequate and for this they have formed Ordination Process teams of Private Preceptors and other senior Order members to help them.
            One of our great concerns in India is that, when mitras are ordained, they should go to situations where they will get a good experience of the Order. Otherwise new Order members will quickly lose their inspiration and their training will be undermined and even lost, as happens all too often at present. We are now looking closely at all Triratna situations in India and there are quite a number of them that we do not consider to be ready to receive new Order members. In the next year or so, we will be letting the Order members from those situations know what we expect them to do to create a proper setting for new Order members. Until they have brought that about and maintained it for some time, there will be no ordinations of mitras from those situations.
            The Public Preceptors’ College is not only responsible for introducing mitras into the Order, it is also responsible for ensuring that no one remains in the Order who is not acting in accordance with the ideals and precepts of the Order. From time to time the Public Preceptors will find it necessary to put various Order members on probation, suspend them, or even decide that they have effectively left the Order by their own actions. This responsibility is carried by each College kula, although the College’s working arrangements lay down that kulas must check with the Chairman of the College (at present Dhammachari Dhammarati) and the two Deputy-Chairs (at present Dhammacharini Padmasuri and Dhammachari Saddhaloka) before their decisions on these matters become final.
            Order members will be put on probation (given a warning with a trial period) when the Public Preceptors conclude that, though they have not broken any precept in a gross way, they are not engaging in their own spiritual lives at all effectively, are not participating much in the life of the Order, and/or are not making much effort to help spread the Dhamma. In other words, they are not Going for Refuge to the Three Jewels at all effectively. We will be making clear what we understand the duties and
            responsibilities of an Order member to be in the Indian context and we will then be letting various Order members know that we do not consider them to be fulfilling those duties and responsibilities sufficiently to remain in the Order. They will then be on probation and will need to demonstrate to us over a certain period of time that they are active and effective members of the Order, otherwise we may declare that they are no longer in the Order.
            We will also be suspending some Order members who commit gross acts of unskilfulness, bring the Order into discredit, or engage in other activities incompatible with membership of the Order. When an Order member is suspended, he or she will not be able to wear their kesa, attend Order events, including their chapter, or attend Triratna Dhamma Centres or teach. Suspension is not a punishment however. It creates a space within which the suspended person is encouraged to face up fully to what they have done and put it right, so that they can get themselves back into the Order. When someone is suspended, the Public Preceptors will try to form a clear plan with them, based on kalyana mitrata, that will help the person to resolve the issues that have led to their suspension. That suspension will be lifted once the Public Preceptors are convinced that they have sincerely repented their actions, confessed it to their preceptors and kalyana mitras, genuinely apologised to all who have been affected, and put right whatever they possibly can. They will then be reaccepted as Order members in good standing. In a few very serious cases, we will be declaring that someone is no longer an Order member because their actions have excluded them from the Order.
            As we have already made clear, Bhante has given the Public Preceptors responsibility for guarding the gates of the Order, both as to who comes in and who leaves. Their decision is therefore final as regards ordination, probation, suspension, and expulsion. Of course, they need to consult other Order members and take seriously any advice they are given. However, any Order member who publicly refuses to accept such decisions made by the kula thereby automatically is themselves excluded from the Order.
            Over the next year or so, the Indian Public Preceptors’ kula will gradually be addressing a number of cases of what we believe is serious misconduct of various kinds or serious lack of effectiveness as an Order member and this may mean that a number of people will be put on probation, suspended, or excluded from the Order. We want to make it clear, once more, that we are doing this not in order to punish people – that has nothing to do with a spiritual community. We do it out of our concern for the integrity of the Order and indeed for the spiritual well-being of the people concerned. We ask all other Order members to approach these matters in a spirit of maitri. Bhante made it clear in a recent conversation that anyone who is suspended, for instance, needs more kalyana mitrata than ever and should not be cut off from communication. That itself would be an act of violence that breaks the spirit of the Order.
            When we discussed our strategy with Bhante earlier this year, he stressed once more that he wanted all Order members to look very closely at their own conduct and to make sure that they are acting fully in accordance with the Ten Precepts and in the spirit of the Order. This is what we will ourselves be trying to do and we urge all our brothers and sisters to do likewise.
            ETHICAL ISSUES WE WILL BE LOOKING AT
            The boundaries of the Order are defined by the Buddha’s teaching as presented by our teacher – or more fundamentally by the Three Refuges and the Ten Precepts. In a sense that is enough, and it should always be the ultimate basis on which the Public Preceptors make their decisions about who enters the Order and who should be recognised as having left it. Nonetheless, it is not always clear, in certain cases, how the Refuges and Precepts are to be applied in various situations. This is especially the case insofar as the Order functions in a number of different cultures, each with its own particular conditions.
            The Indian kula of the Public Preceptors’ College, with the help of the Private Preceptors, Chapter Convenors, Chairmen, and Mitra Convenors during the recent ‘Three Strands’ retreat at Bor Dharan, has begun looking at a number of ethical issues that have arisen in the Order in India. In what follows, we have set out, on the basis of our discussions with other senior Order members, the principles as we understand them to apply in India, which may be different from how they might work in other cultures – even though the basic principles are exactly the same. We also describe the actions that we will be taking, with the help of other Order members, to apply these principles to our Order now.
            Whilst we will be acting on this basis, we welcome discussion, advice, and suggestions from other Order members and will modify this document accordingly. We will also be adding to it as new issues require clarification. It will thus form a kind of Vinaya or code of conduct for the Order in India that the Public Preceptors will modify from time to time in accordance with changing circumstances. Naturally, it should not be understood in legal terms and it is the spirit, not the letter, that we will be trying to apply. We ask all Order members to read it in that light by referring back to the Three Refuges and the Ten Precepts.
            VIOLENCE AND HARSH SPEECH IN THE SANGHA Breaches of the first, fifth, and sixth precepts
            The Public Preceptors are aware that there a number of Order members who in the recent past have used violence against another Order member, whether by way of a physical attack, threats, legal action, or harsh and slanderous speech. This sort of behaviour is completely against the spirit of the Order and we are determined to deal with it as quickly as possible.
            As long ago as November 1987, Bhante himself wrote to Order members about this:
            I have made it clear on several occasions that entry into the Order means that ‘we go from being governed by the power principle to being governed by the principle of the Bodhicitta’ – and by power I mean ‘the capacity to exert force,
            capacity to coerce, whether directly or indirectly, whether physically or psychologically’. I have also made it clear that the use of power within the Order is the negation of the Order.:
            Within the Spiritual Community it is impossible to act in accordance with the power mode, for by its very nature as a voluntary association of free individuals sharing certain common goals the Spiritual Community is based on the love mode. This means that should an Order member so far forget himself as to relate to another Order member in terms of force or violence he to that extent places himself outside the Spiritual Community and ceases, in fact, to be an Order member. Acts of violence between Order members are, therefore, the most serious breaches of the unity and solidarity of the Order that can possibly be imagined, even as the best conceivable means of strengthening that unity and solidarity are thoughts, words, and deeds of love. The Ten Pillars of Buddhism, Windhorse.
            Bhante went on to say, ‘Whilst no-one can be expected to move from the power-mode to the love-mode all at once, nonetheless overt violence within the Order is totally unacceptable.’ He said that ‘Any Order member who commits an overt act of violence, whether by physical attack, by threats, or by such means as legal action, against another Order member, regardless of the provocation or the rights and wrongs of the case, thereby puts in question his or her membership of the Order’. He later declared that any Order member who acted in that way thereby automatically suspended themselves from the Order. If they did not put the matter right very quickly they would be excluded from the Order. The Public Preceptors will be acting in accordance with Bhante’s words.
            We have also been concerned at the tendency for some Order members to circulate letters to Order members and others making serious allegations against another Order member. This is especially serious when the allegations have little or no foundation. This kind of slanderous speech will be treated by the Public Preceptors as an act of violence and we will immediately suspend that person from the Order.
            There have also been a number of cases of the very serious verbal use of harsh speech and the spreading of false allegations about other Order members by word of mouth. These too merit suspension from the Order.
            The Public Preceptors will gradually be meeting up with everyone we believe has been involved in such acts of violence to discover the full facts. If violence has indeed taken place then we will not the matter go until we are sure that the perpetrator feels genuine regret for what they have done, has confessed it fully to their preceptors and Kalyana mitras, has apologised to all who have been directly affected, and put right whatever damage has been done, as far as is possible. In the most serious cases we may find it necessary to suspend or even exclude that person from the Order.
            In future, such acts of violence will merit immediate suspension.
            Whilst what we have set out here concerns violence within the Order, obviously we are also very concerned about violence that Order members may commit towards others. Of especial concern is domestic violence committed by Order members, usually, although not always, by men against their wives or children. We want it to be clear that such behaviour is completely unacceptable and any Order member guilty of it will be immediately suspended from the Order and may be excluded if they do not fully repent and take steps to make sure it is not repeated.
            Order members should not generally use legal means to coerce other Order members against their will. Any Order member taking legal action against another, without the explicit agreement of the Order Convenor or Preceptors’ College Kula, will be deemed to have committed an act of violence. It should be noted that where Order members decide to go to court by mutual agreement, for instance to file for divorce, no violence has taken place.
            However, when Order members work for an organisation whose Trustees are Order members a different case arises. The Trustees have a duty at law to make sure that the Trust fulfils its aims and objects and, if it is dependent on money received from donors, that the resources of the Trust are used for the purpose intended. Any Order member who is employed by the Trust must then be subject to the disciplinary procedures of the organisation and may be disciplined or their employment terminated if they fail to fulfil the duties assigned to them properly or act improperly in other ways. So long as action is taken in accordance with the law, with the constitution of the Trust, with the disciplinary code of the organisation, as well as with the principles of natural justice, the Trustees and management will not be held to have acted violently and thereby to have breached the principles of the Order.
            If an Order member considers that a movement Trust has acted unjustly against him or her or denied them their legal rights, they may seek redress by taking the matter to the courts. However, they should only do so after all other avenues have been exhausted and after consultation with their Kalyana Mitras, preceptors or the Order Convenor.
            Of course, if Order members do discipline others or do take movement Trusts to court, this will inevitably affect the harmony and integrity of the Order. Every effort should be made by all concerned to avoid such actions.
            SERIOUS FINANCIAL MISCONDUCT BY ORDER MEMBERS Breaches of the second precept
            There have recently been a number of cases of serious financial misconduct by Order
            members. This of course is in direct breach of the second precept and puts in question membership of the Order. We will be approaching all Order members we believe to have been involved in such activity to find out the full facts. Where it does emerge that there has been misconduct, we will give the person involved a chance to pay the sum back in full, with appropriate interest, and, so long as they genuinely recognise what they have done, feel remorse for it, confess it in full to their preceptors and kalyana mitras, apologise to all they have harmed, and put right whatever can be, they will be able to continue as Order members. If they do not, then we will suspend them and, if they do not quickly confess etc., we will declare that they are no longer members of the Order.
            In future, any acts of serious financial misconduct will merit automatic suspension from the Order and will lead to exclusion from the Order if they do not pay back whatever has been misappropriated, confess etc.
            We are especially concerned about four areas in which misconduct has occurred:
            1. Stealing from movement trusts etc.;
            2. Taking or giving bribes in any context. However, this is especially serious when it happens in connection with the movement’s work;
            3. Engaging in personal business activities at the centre or doing pyramid sales, land dealing, etc. among mitras and sahayaks. We should generally avoid doing business through our contacts at the centre and within the movement, because of the strong potential this has had to destroy people’s confidence in the Order when they are disappointed with what they have been sold;
            4. Failing to repay loans, taken from the movement’s organisations or from other Sangha members, whether Order members or others.
            Anyone engaging in these kinds of activities may incur suspension from the Order.
            SERIOUS SEXUAL MISCONDUCT IN THE ORDER Breaches of the third precept
            Over the past few years, there have been a number of cases of adultery within the Order in India, sometimes prolonged over several years. Anyone in the Indian context who has sexual relations with someone other than their own husband or wife or who has sexual relations with someone who is married to someone else breaks the third precept and usually brings great pain and hardship to their own family and/or someone else’s. In doing this they destroy the commitment to the Three Jewels that they made at ordination and the Ten Precepts that represent the application of that commitment. In addition they severely undermine the integrity of the Order and give
            a very bad example to mitras and others.
            Although public preceptors and others have tried to deal with several of these cases through friendship and kalyana mitrata, adultery by Order members still continues to occur, so we feel we must make it quite clear that we cannot regard anyone involved in adultery as an Order member in good standing. Anyone who commits adultery in future should realise that they are thereby automatically suspended from the Order. They will not be eligible to wear their kesa, attend any Order gatherings, including their chapter, or go to a centre, far less to teach the Dhamma. They will only be reaccepted into the Order when they confess their fault fully to their preceptors and kalyana mitras and apologise to those they have wronged in both families. The public preceptors will only re-accept them as Order members when they are quite confident that this has been done.
            In a number of cases, an Order member has been involved in sexual relations with the husband or wife of another Order member or of a mitra. If another Order member’s husband or wife is involved there is effectively an act of violence against a fellow Order member and that must be taken even more seriously and may well lead to exclusion from the Order. Similarly if a mitra or the husband or wife of a mitra is involved then there is a serious breach of the trust that mitras should be able to have in the Order and this too may well lead to exclusion from the Order.
            We are aware of a number of cases of adultery within the Order over the last few years, some of them, we believe, still continuing. The Preceptors will be approaching all we have reason to believe are engaged in adultery or to have been so engaged since ordination to discover what the position is now and to help bring about a resolution. We should point out that concealment and lying will only add to the offence. We will be concerned to make sure that they have fully stopped, confessed to their Preceptors and kalyana mitras, and have apologised for and cleared up whatever they have done as much as is possible. If this has not happened or does not happen immediately, then that Order member will be suspended until it is and may face exclusion from the Order if no active effort is made to resolve the matter as soon as possible.
            We are aware that if such cases become widely known about, great shame and humiliation is brought to quite innocent people, such as the husband or wife and other family members of the adulterer. We will therefore not be making these cases public, even within the Order, and will work to resolve matters as discretely as we can. However, we will not in any way excuse those who have acted unskilfully.
            Our purpose in these cases left over from the past is to help anyone in this position to get back onto the path of skilful action and to restore the harmony of their families. However, we want to make it clear that in future we will be acting much more rigorously and promptly and anyone committing adultery will automatically be suspended.
            ACTIVE PARTICIPATION IN CEREMONIES AND OTHER ACTIVITIES THAT ABANDON REFUGE IN THE THREE JEWELS
            In two recent cases, Dhammacharis got married according to Hindu rites. In one case, the Dhammachari has been suspended, as has his mother, and in the other the matter is being investigated more closely, it being more complex to come to a conclusion what to do since he lives in the UK.
            In Going for Refuge to the Three Jewels, we abandon all other refuges: N’atthi me saranam annam, Buddho/Dhammo/Sangho me saranam varam. If we do affirm another refuge then we cease to Go for Refuge to the Three Jewels and thereby cease to be an Order member.
            We are quite sure that in neither of these cases did those concerned intend to commit themselves to a different refuge, but that is what they effectively did. They allowed themselves to participate in a public ceremony in which Hindu rites were used and without a clear Buddhist component. They may not have thought that this was anything more than the price they had to pay to marry the person they had chosen, each of the cases involving marriage to someone from a Hindu family. The point is, however, that a ceremony has a very powerful effect, both on those who actively participate in it and on those who are present or who hear about it later. That is why we each went through an Ordination ceremony, thereby publicly committing ourselves to the Three Jewels.
            In India there is, in particular, great danger in Order members submitting to Hindu ceremonies without proper care. Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar became a Buddhist to escape the oppressions and superstitions that are completely bound up with the Hindu religion and to bring Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity to India. He initiated a cultural revolution based on the Dhamma, but he was very aware that this revolution could easily be destroyed by a counter-revolution, as happened to Indian Buddhism in the middle-ages. Buddhism is especially vulnerable to Hinduism. That is why Dr Ambedkar gave us the twenty two vows, to protect us from falling back. If we do not adhere very strictly to Buddhist custom, we will again see Buddhism disappear from the land of its birth and the opportunity may never come again to revive it.
            One of the worst aspects of these cases is the effect that the ceremonies had on local Buddhists, who were severely disillusioned at seeing Order members acting in this way. Inevitably, some will believe that it is all right for them to engage in Hindu customs and practices, because Order members are doing it.
            In these two particular cases, it must be recognised that the circumstances of the marriages were very difficult, insofar as they were to people who were not from
            Buddhist families: in one case, the marriage was inter-caste, with the parents-in-law being staunch Hindus and opposed to the marriage, and in the other with the Dhammachari’s own parents also being Hindus and from a state where there are not many Buddhists. We certainly do not want to make it difficult for people to marry outside the present Maharashtrian Buddhist community. Indeed, if that does not happen on a much larger scale, ‘Buddhist’ will just become a caste label, as has already begun to happen. There is no doubt that some concession will need to be made to the other party’s religious feelings. However, this should be done in active consultation with Kalyana Mitras and friends in the Order to find a solution to these problems that does not compromise Going for Refuge to the Three Jewels and the effectiveness of the Order in spreading the Dhamma. This did not happen to any great extent in either of these cases. With help, they could almost certainly have found a way of getting married that satisfied the other parties without compromising Going for Refuge to the Three Jewels.
            In future, everyone should be clear that active engagement in such ceremonies will automatically lead to suspension and eventually to exclusion from the Order. Anyone who finds themselves in a situation where some concession is needed to accommodate the feelings of people from a different religion, should not act before they have discussed the matter fully with their kalyana mitras and preceptors, who will help them to find the best compromise.
            Of course, merely being present at an occasion when there is a non-Buddhist ceremony does not of itself breach the refuges.
            While on the subject of marriage, it should be clear that it is completely unacceptable for an Order member to receive a dowry at the time of marriage. Dowry is illegal in Indian law and often involves considerable hardship for the family that has to pay it. Of course, since it is illegal, dowry is paid under the guise of a ‘gift’, but this is still morally wrong. Of course, gifts can be given that help the new couple set themselves up, but not what amounts to a payment. It should also be stressed that Order members should not have elaborate and expensive weddings that waste resources, nor should they accept them for their own children. Care should also be taken that all ceremonies and events connected with the marriage of an Order member or Order member’s children are in accordance with Buddhist ethical principles. For instance, alcohol or non-vegetarian food should not be served. COMPROMISING THE SANGHA BY ENGAGING IN POLITICS
            Over the years, a few Order members in India have considered standing for election on various party tickets. All have been discouraged by Kalyana Mitras and Preceptors from doing so. Recently, a new Order member was invited to stand for his local gram panchayat. His preceptors and kalyana mitras advised him strongly against it, as did Bhante when he was approached. Nonetheless, he did stand, although unsuccessfully.
            Another issue connected with politics has arisen recently. A poster was put up outside the Mahavihara, wishing everyone well on Buddha Purnima. The poster had the photographs of four Order members, an unconnected man, and a local corporator, who was credited as the sponsor. One of the four Order members quite definitely and knowingly made the arrangements. It further emerged that he had been seen endorsing that politician on public platforms, albeit connected with his micro-credit society – which is a clear political front.
            Naturally, we encourage Order members to engage in politics in the sense of using their vote to endorse the candidate of the highest moral standards who is most likely to be effective in bringing about a better society. Order members may also actively campaign to encourage positive change in relation to broad issues, such as to end atrocities or to advocate equal opportunities for women. It may also be necessary to take up particular local issues, for instance, to do with the removal of illegal industrial works or the like.
            However, electoral politics in India is usually very corrupt and many active politicians are more or less criminals (it seems that the one who sponsored the poster has since been charged with assault). It is very difficult to get elected, even at gram panchayat level, without bribery, giving out free wine, and making promises that cannot be kept. This is especially the case where political parties are concerned. Even if one is relatively moral oneself, one belongs to a party that is filled with, and often led by, people who are deeply unskilful and unscrupulous. Political parties are usually the epitome of the negative group, manipulating the basest emotions for the sake of power. Very few Order members are likely to have the mindfulness and understanding to remain uncorrupted in these circumstances, even at the lowest level of politics and without a party ticket.
            In addition, if several Order members engage in politics, they are likely to come into conflict with each other, insofar as their political interests will diverge. ‘Political’ Order members will then infect the Order itself with their own divisions and campaigning, thus breaking the harmony of the Order.
            It will also appear to the general public that the Order and movement are affiliated to a particular party or politician. This is why the putting up of the sponsored poster was so unskilkful: the Mahavihara will naturally now be identified with the sponsor and his activities, which may even have included criminal assault.
            Nonetheless, there may be very exceptional circumstances in which an Order member is able to stand for election, especially at local level, without risk of corruption or of creating divisions within the Order or of giving the impression that the Order and Movement have a particular political affiliation. They should only submit themselves for election after consulting widely with local Order members and getting the full agreement of their Preceptors and kalyana mitras, as well as of the National Coordinating Council.
            It should then be clear that any Order member who, in future, becomes openly and actively associated with politics in this sense will automatically be suspended from the Order and, if the matter is not satisfactorily cleared up, may eventually be excluded. In general, any Order member who stands for election at any level of government without the full agreement of their Kalyana Mitras and Preceptors and of the National Council will automatically be suspended and, if the matter is not satisfactorily cleared up, will eventually be excluded. We will be approaching those who have previously been so involved and making sure that they have completely stopped their activities, recognised what they have done, and apologised to those who might have been affected. If they do not do this very quickly, they will be suspended from the Order and eventually may be excluded.
            Some involvement with politicians is however almost unavoidable, especially in the course of organisational work, whether to do with our Dhamma centres or social work. At times, we need their support in various ways. This is of course a potentially dangerous relationship, leading to all the problems mentioned above. This seems to be partly what happened at the Mahavihara. The politician was approached to put up a pandal and welcome arch at the centre. However, he quite naturally expected something in return – that is politics. It should always be clear to any politician helping us that they can expect nothing back from us, that we are not endorsing them nor are we necessarily going to vote for them, and that we may also accept help from other parties and politicians opposed to them. In general such relationships with politicians should only be handled by very experienced Order members who should make sure that they keep the Chairmen’s meeting and the National Council informed. It is the responsibility of the Chairmen’s meeting and National Council to make sure that the movement remains quite clear in this respect.
            COMPROMISING ONE’S RELATIONSHIP WITH ONE’S PRECEPTORS AND TEACHERS AND THE INTEGRITY OF OUR TEACHING AND PRACTICE OF THE DHAMMA
            The Order consists of disciples of Urgyen Sangharakshita and disciples of his disciples. We practise and teach the Dhamma in accordance with his particular presentation of the Buddha’s teaching. Any Order member who rejects this understanding of the Order thereby ceases to be an Order member and will be declared to have left the Order.
            All our centres teach the same common core of Dhamma and anyone going from one centre to another anywhere else in the world should find the same practices and the same basic teachings being taught. In this way we can successfully follow the path shown by our teacher and remain united through our common understanding and practice.
            In what Bhante has taught us there is everything that we need to enter the stream of the Dhamma. As Order members, we should not normally take teachings and practices from outside his presentation or go to other teachers, otherwise we are likely to become confused and to find ourselves with a different perspective from that of our fellow Order members. Any Order member who does so, without proper consultation, thereby effectively leaves the Order and may be suspended.
            From time to time it may, however, be useful for a particular Order member to investigate teachings and practices coming from sources not taught by Bhante. In that way we may discover something that can be incorporated into what is taught in the movement because it adds something useful. However, this will require a very clear understanding of the basic principles of Bhante’s presentation of the Dhamma and an ability to think critically about what they are learning from outside the movement. Not everyone is qualified to do this. Order members should not take teachings from other teachers or go on their retreats and courses without the full agreement of their preceptors and kalyana mitras, who will make sure there is a procedure for evaluating and, if appropriate, absorbing what is learned. Anyone who does go without that agreement may be subject to suspension from the Order.
            It is very important that people who start to practise the Dhamma through Triratna Bauddha Mahasangha are taught the particular presentation that is the basis of our movement. Other teachers should therefore not be invited to teach at our centres. The Public Preceptors need to be confident that mitras who are approaching ordination are clear about Bhante’s teaching. They will not agree to the ordination of anyone coming from a centre where that is not the case. We hope that the Chairmen’s meeting and National Council will ensure that all centres are allowing only qualified Order members to teach in accordance with our common approach.
            We want to be clear, however, that keeping this kind of clarity about what is taught within the movement does not restrict us in another way. It is important that we should be developing positive relations with other Buddhists. We do not want our movement to be cut off from the wider Buddhist world, both in India and elsewhere, since we may need help and support from other Buddhists and should cooperate with them whenever possible to safeguard and spread the Dhamma. Contact with other Buddhists also gives us a chance to communicate to them the very special approach that we have developed, under Bhante’s guidance. Properly qualified Order members should be encouraged to attend Buddhist conferences and to develop friendly contact with other Buddhists of all kinds. Buddhist conferences on various themes have been hosted at Nagaloka and these can be very useful ways of promoting understanding and good contact. However, they should always be under the guidance of skilled leaders, such as Lokamitra, who are able to make sure that our position is quite clear.
            At times it may be appropriate to arrange a meeting of Order members to which we invite guest Buddhists to address us about their work, Buddhism in their countries, and the like – partly to educate us and partly to create a connection though which our work can be appreciated. This should always be done under the skilled chairmanship of someone who is able to handle diplomatically any problems that chanced to arise. Both before and after the session with the speaker, there should be time to discuss and to sort out any confusions. At present, probably only Lokamitra and one or two others are in a position to chair such a meeting.
            ORDER MEMBERS WHO HAVE CEASED TO GO FOR REFUGE EFFECTIVELY
            At the time of their ordination, all Order members were acknowledged by their preceptors to be Going for Refuge to the Three Jewels Effectively. However, effective Going for Refuge is not stream entry and we will fall back from time to time if we do not make a continuous effort to practise the Dhamma. Quite a number of Order members fall back so far and over such a long period that they have in fact ceased to be members of the Order: one could say that they have become ‘Mitras with kesas’.
            Until now we have not done anything about this situation, apart from encouraging people to make more effort and to re-engage themselves with the spiritual life and with the Order. However, when there are too many Order members in this position, it begins to undermine the integrity of the Order. Order members who are effectively Going for Refuge themselves begin to be disillusioned and the Order is not able to give the kind of inspiring example that people in the wider society need. This has already started to happen here in India and we, in the Indian Public Preceptors’ Kula, believe that, unless we act soon, it will be more and more difficult for the Sangha to be a genuine spiritual community.
            It is our duty to make sure that the Order consists only of those who are going for Refuge to the Three Jewels effectively. That is, of course, primarily not an external matter. Going for Refuge is a complete re-orientation of one’s life so that it is based upon the Three Jewels. It consists in an active and continuing effort to develop skilful karma, let go of self-clinging, and to allow the stream of the Dhamma to carry one onward towards Bodhi. However, Effective Going for Refuge within the context of our Sangha will have general characteristics that can be seen by others. We wish therefore to set out what we believe to be some of the principal external signs of an Order member in good standing who is Going for Refuge to the Three Jewels effectively. We appreciate that this can never be completely definitive, but nonetheless consider that the general outlines of what can be expected are reasonably clear. We will do this under the headings of the four verses of acceptance that we all recited at the end of our Public Ordination ceremony:
            For the sake of Enlightenment, we accept this ordination; With loyalty to our teachers, we accept this ordination; In harmony with friends and brethren, we accept this ordination;
            For the benefit of all beings, we accept this ordination.
            For the sake of Enlightenment, we accept this ordination
            An Order member who is Going for Refuge Effectively will be: Living skilfully in accordance with the ten precepts, especially not eating meat, drinking alcohol, smoking or chewing tobacco, or using drugs; Practising Right Livelihood; Accepting full karmic responsibility, confessing faults, apologising, and making amends; Maintaining an effective meditation practice on a daily basis, through which they will be working on the five aspects of Bhante’s system of practice, especially spiritual death and rebirth; Studying the Dhamma for at least two or three hours each week, especially in the light of Bhante’s particular presentation, and reflecting upon it; Attending at least two of the following kinds of retreats of at least one week each every year: on meditation for Order members, led by an experienced Order member; on Dhamma-study for Order members, led by an experienced Order member; solitary, with guidance from an experienced Order member. Practising mindfulness in all aspects, especially of mental habits and patterns, and trying to ‘die and be reborn spiritually’;

            With loyalty to our teachers, we accept this ordination; Maintaining the 22 vows given by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Reading or listening to Bhante’s works every week; Practising and teaching in accordance with his presentation of the Dhamma; Not taking teachings from teachers outside the Order, without full discussion and agreement from Preceptors; Maintaining regular contact with kalyana mitras and Preceptors and consulting them on all major decisions in life;
            In harmony with friends and brethren, we accept this ordination; Attending festivals, celebrations, and other major events at the centre; Attending chapter meetings every week and engaging effectively with fellow chapter members in discussion and practice of the Dhamma; Regularly confessing faults and helping others to confess theirs; Attending Regional Order weekends and days at least three times a year; Attending all Order conventions in India; Not engaging in quarrels or factions; Working harmoniously with others in the Centre Councils etc.; Supporting, working with, and engaging in all the structures of the Order and movement: Centre chairman, Mitra convenors, chapter convenors, ordination teams, public preceptors, etc.;
            Keeping in daily, deep, and effective communication with friends in the Order;
            For the benefit of all beings, we accept this ordination. Giving dana for Dhamma work: trying to give 5% of income; Voluntarily helping clean, maintain, and organise the Centre; Supporting Dhamma classes and activities weekly; Learning to teach the Dhamma effectively; Making friends and developing kalyana mitrata with sahayaks and mitras on a daily and weekly basis; Helping mitras to prepare for ordination through deep friendship.
            If Order members are doing all this, then they will make good spiritual progress and the Order will be in good shape.
            The Public Preceptors have been surveying the whole Order, with the help of the Chapter Convenors, and have found that there are a number of Order members who appear not to be fulfilling these basic duties of an Order member, to a greater or lesser extent. Of course, there are Order members who would like to fulfil all these criteria, but who cannot do so because of illness, old age, long distance from other Order members, etc. Such people will continue to be considered to be Order members in good standing, so long as they have discussed their situations fully with their Preceptors, kalyana mitras, and the Order convenor. Such exceptions apart, there are three main categories to be considered:
            1. Order members who are so out of contact that no one has seen or heard of them for many years. We will be making their names known to Order members to see whether anyone has any definite information about them. If no one has, then we will simply declare that they have effectively left the Order. If later they try to return, they should be referred to the Order Convenor.
            2. Order members who are not participating in the Order at all but who are in social contact with other Order members. We will be approaching such people to ask them either to fully engage in the Order or to resign. If they do not, then we may declare them no longer to be Order members.
            3. Order members who are peripherally engaged in the movement, but have little or no spiritual practice or active involvement in the Order. This is the largest category and contains quite a few familiar faces, even people working in movement trusts. We will be approaching such people, pointing out what we expect of an Order member and how far short they fall, and putting them on probation for six months or a year. If they do begin to function fully and effectively as an Order member, as outlined above, they will be able to continue as an Order member in good standing. If they do not, then we may declare that they are no longer Order members.
            We hope all Order members will consider their own lives in the light of these criteria.
            Surely every one of us could be fulfilling our duties as an Order member much more effectively. We hope also that Order members in chapters will work with each other very sympathetically to help each and every chapter member to be a fully effective Order member. It is this spirit of kalyana mitrata that in the end is the true life blood of the Order.

            • ” Orderr members committing adultery” I wonder if this is sophistry? Are we talking about male OMs who are married, sleeping with other women or, surprise, surprise, are we talking about male OMs, married, then having sex with other OMs?
              I note to that, soon after the identification of MR Anon as Katherine Hopper/ Munisha, he she stopped posting. Why? Was it that she was revealing too much inadvertently, or was it that Hopper worked out who was posting and that person was instructed to stop.
              I am amazed at the extent to which the above post focuses on the individual as a component of an organization and instructs each on how best to behave for the good of that organization. Whatever happened to freedom of thought/ individuality? It’s all about organisational growth rather than personal growth.
              Can’t these poor people see what they have been sucked into?

              • The final section indicates that colonialism is not dead. Subhuti and co in U.K. are obviously more concerned about keeping the drip, drip, drip of the Dharma as presented by Sangharakshita / Bhante dripping into people’s lives, relationships and brains and the 5 % of income as Dana rolling in to promote the order. Big Brother, it seems, will be checking up on them in a very undharmic fashion. They are told to read or listen to Bhante at least once a week … but In another document we are told that Bhante / SR is not in any sort of leadership role? Do UK donors know who they are giving their money to when they are giving it to The Karuna Trust? Where can one see the accounts leading up to 2012? How conditional is funding? Do people in poverty have to show allegiance to the order to receive help? Do those they work with – and get money from – understand who Dennis Lingwood is?
                At least there is some consistency as UK order members are also being told to spread the Dharma according to Sangharakshita actively via chapters or face outing and expulsion as quote ‘dead wood’.
                On the other hand, there seems to be one set of rules and no sanctions for Serious Misdemeanors (and crime?) of U.K. OMS, especially leadership, and another set of rules and sanctions for Indian order members.
                By the way, I was told last week that Triratna rules do not apply to Sangharakahita / Lingwood as he is not technically (favourite word of Sangharaksharites) in the order; he was ordained into another order so only that order can supervise him … Indeed, their safeguarding policies cannot apparently include him either because he is not actually in the order …. which, in any case, he has stepped down from leading ….
                Has anyone else come across that excuse before?
                Can anyone give both names for any or some for The Karuna Team now listed on http://www.karuna.org
                Some have recently dropped their order names from the website and thus hidden the Trirtana-centric nature of their work.
                The CEO Padmadaka Ciaran also works for Breathworks (Triratna) by the looks of it, but he does not want Karuna Trust (Triratna) mentioned in his Breathworks information …. His Breathworks profile lists him as CEO to a large international NGO.
                I am sure that the CEOs of Oxfam, Amnesty and other reputable NGOs do not have identity problems or the need to hide who they are connected to. The current CEO of Karuna Trust used to be chairman of Padmaloka, the retreat centre at the centre of the BBC documentary … Anybody got dates for his chairmanship? There is absolutely no doubt that he knows of all the allegations made about kalyana mitrata via sex at Padmaloka with Sangharahita Banthe Lingwood and other senior OMs still in power …
                Double names, double standards, no standards, low standards, one name and not a name, hiding names and hiding connections, changing names …. None of these accord with safety, transparency or real safeguarding.
                Maybe Subhuti, from his kuti in Snowdonia, can shed some light on all this for us? After all, his name is listed in the ‘Safeguarding the order in India’ document.
                (Unlike some of the poor souls, who gave too much to Triratna, he seems to have inherited enough to buy a place with Srimala, a woman with whom he insists he is celibate, He did, however, invite unsuspecting locals in to witness the unveiling of a plaque to Sangharakshita …
                I wonder what they would make of this thread and the alternative truth about the order?

                On a different but connected note, does anyone know what became of Kovida John Hunter, who seems to have a series of worrying mentions from some ex-order members and some current ones, wrestling with resigning ….

                • By the way, I was told last week that Triratna rules do not apply to Sangharakahita / Lingwood as he is not technically (favourite word of Sangharaksharites) in the order; he was ordained into another order so only that order can supervise him…

                  How bizarre. In what order should Sangharakahita / Lingwood be? Does he consider himself to be a monk? Does he consider himself to be “a monk” while not seeing a contradiction in engaging in sexual activities and wearing lay clothes? Who should supervise him, if he lives on his own without being part of any monastic order or without being surrounded by monastic order members?

                  This sounds quite like the story of ‘Geshe’ Kelsang Gyatso with respect to how to disconnect (or even being expelled) from a healthy monastic environment, how to set up your own Western Buddhist cult outside of established Buddhist communities, with people who have no clue about monastic life or Buddhism but who worship you as an authority (an “authority” who can tell the most stupid things without being challenged or corrected and with followers who will even defend the most obvious distortions as genuine Dharma), placing yourself at the top as the final, sole and lasting authority with nobody above or equal to you … and as a wonderful result of this setup, nobody dares or can correct you. What a wonderful world! (for a narcissist)

                  • Sangharakshita is actively participating in the creation of his own memorial, a stupa and various pilgrimage accessories at Adhisthana …. He already call s himself Bhante and Urgyen and his worshippers intend him, as he does himself, to be raised to the archetypal status of Padmasambhava as soon as practicable ….

                    It is good that you offer this site and your experience of cultic controls, Tenpel. It is really excellent that others can see your journey into and out of an unhealthy group. You flag up many similarities between the Kalsang Gyatsa and Sangharakshita Lingwood.

                    How are you managing with the news of the Augsburg arrest of high profile Buddhist monk?

                    • The Augsburg arrest is a zen priest, married, having children… he’s not a monk.

                    • “and his worshippers intend him, as he does himself, to be raised to the archetypal status of Padmasambhava as soon as practicable …”
                      After “A season in hell”? [Thank you Rimbaud]

                  • Besides it being a rather intimidating piece of writing i noticed, as no-name did, adultry being reviewed in a supprising manner. Speaking out v firmly as opposed to the: we are not a celibate order, going for refuge comes first lifestyle second- approach.
                    Though adultry is punishable by law in India, that might have something to do with it. As is actually sex with persons of the same gender, as Sr might remember from when he fled India.
                    I noticed also the discouragement of legal action against another ordermember, as seen as an action in the power mode as opposed to the love mode…

                    • “Power mode v love mode”? And which scripture does that come from?

                    • I note also the absence of any pro Triratna voice in general for quite some time now. I doubt very much this is because they have nothing to say. It seems far more likely that commenters have been told to stay quiet, on the basis of the idea that if one of two people involved in conflict stays quiet, the conflict goes away. It’s a kind of ‘ use conflict resolution to squash criticism’ philosophy
                      Perhaps someone on the inside can confirm or deny this?
                      Either way, it won’t work. As long as the problem goes unacknowledged, as long as victims go uncompensated, this problem isn’t going to go away. Dennis dying won’t solve it either . When he passes, questions about a cover up will certainly arise

                    • Re Non-name:
                      It was interesting nevertheless to read the comments here of a committed OM.
                      The lack of further OM’s commencing could mean Mr Anon’s are reflecting in essence a common stand, general viewpoints and assumptions and, sorry Mr Anon, commonly accepted rethorics and blind spots.

                  • There seems to be (in the least..) some issues in regard to the perception of ”right view” as well as (subsequently / prev mentioned by Mettaman in regard to Mark and Bjorns accounts) ‘bearing (true or) false witness’…

                    To Dh Subhuti and all those in position of power: shów us the love mode; set an example ethically…

                  • There has long been collaboration between the two groups, kelsangs NKT and the FWBO . It was the FWBO who negotiated the NKT NBO membership and the FWBO PR dept that advised the NKT on rebuilding their public image after the Guardian article and earliest HHDL demos. They both worked together on fund raising from the uk gov Faith Communities Capacity Building fund). And who published Sangharakshitas massively plagiarised Eternal Legacy? The NKTs Tharpa publications Vishvapani also wrote some pro NKT stuff and they were sometimes featured in the FWBO magazineDharma Life- which, printed on shiny paper, didn’t even work as toilet paper. Dharma Life also featured stuff critical of HHDL, referencing the Nazi myth
                    How strong the relationship is after the NKT threatened the NBO with legal action I’m not sure but there is certainly a lengthy history of association. The legal threats to the NBO were IMO extremely damaging to the relationship. The NKT threatened to take the shirts of the backs of the NBO exec for their suggesting that they stop demos against HHDL in what was clearly an attempt at preserving reputation

                • Re Kovida- John hunter-take a look at Jnanaviras letter on ex-cult.org. Seems that, after using his senior position in the Order to procure a string of young men for sex, he eventually left the order in disgrace after it was discovered he had used £18,000 for personal purchases
                  As ever, ‘ for the good of the dharma’, this criminal act went unreported and the issue was dealt with in house. Nothing whatsoever to do with preserving reputation … Honest

      • Resignation letter from 88 Indian FWBO members:
        http://www.ex-cult.org/fwbo/MumbaiResign.htm

        See also:
        http://www.ex-cult.org/fwbo/fwboIndia.htm
        This contains 3 links, including the above letter, and also a letter from Bakul protesting about his expulsion. Bakul is an Advocate (= Barrister) in India, and his letter also contains a contact address, though I don’t know if this is still current.

        • Thank you. Strange that FWBO’s The Karuna Trust – besides all of the controversies – was able to win such celebrities as Dame Judi Dench and Sir Ben Kingsley … This seems to be a huge running network …

          • Founded on lies, by a liar.
            You can fool some of the people some of the time………but not all of the people all of the time. The truth is out

  38. It isn’t interesting that The Karuna Trust, a Triratna project, suddenly has no visible links to Trirtana and its FWBO / Triratna links on its website .. nothing … Maybe others could have a look and see where they have been put… There are a few order-like names shown as workers, but an innocent reader will not be able to see .. unless I am wrong … who is running the charity by looking at The Karuna Trust website.
    Celebrity patrons such as Dame Judi Dench are mentioned, but not who is behind the charity.
    They have also removed mention of encouraging freedom to practice Buddhist religion …

    Why do Triratna suddenly not want to be recognised or indeed noticed in their flagship charity? The changes have happened since the BBC programme was broadcast.

  39. https://dalitnation.wordpress.com/2009/01/02/friends-of-the-western-buddhists-as-enemies-of-dalits/
    Dalit Nation – The Only Authentic Voice of Dalits
    Friends of the Western Buddhist cults are Enemies of Dalits
    January 2, 2009 at 8:48 am · Filed under Uncategorized ·Tagged babasaheb ambedkar, Dalits, fwbo, sangharakshita, tbmsg

    Ever since we published our article on the Brahminical conspiracy to dilute Buddism through Vipassana (Refer – Beware of Meditation – Dalit Nation Dec 2007) there has been a huge turmoil in the Dalit Intelligentsia. We stirred a hornet’s nest more than a year ago by debunking this Vipassana myth. Many psuedo Dalit intellectuals who are sold out to Goenkawadis (who are manuwadis with a Buddhist mask) are pestering us to retract our statements on Vipassana meditation. We at Dalit Nation want to reiterate again that Vipassana meditation has no place in Buddhist Dharma. Buddhist Dharma is revolutionary and runs counter to the useless leisure class activity of Vipassana meditation. Vipassana is a creation of our Brahmin oppressors to quiet down the Dalit Movement.

    The Brahmins being a micro minority are ever vigilant to any threat to their hegemony. When Babasaheb converted to Buddhism in October 1956 the Brahminical forces started working against Buddhism through multiple channels. We at Dalit Nation would like to expose four of these movements. The first was the Mahayana of the Tibetian tyrant Dalai Lama (Refer Dalit Nation – Brahmin Deception through Dalai Lama). The second was through Goenka’s Vipassana meditation cult of Brahminical Burmese Buddhism. The third through the Sokka Gokkai cult of Nicheren Buddhism. The main practice of the Sokka Gokkai cult is Brahminical mantra chanting except that the mantra is that of the Buddha. The fourth, which not many are aware of in Dalit circles is the FWBO or the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order created by the misogynist, narcisstic and perverted British Buddhist monk Sangharakshita aka Dennis Lingwood.

    It is very sad that some of our bright and intelligent Dalit youths are caught up in this FWBO which is another Buddhist cult to smother the Dalit Apprising. The Editor of Dalit Nation had met Sangharakshita in London many decades ago. We wanted to talk about his association with Babasaheb and Dalit movement. We also wanted to know more about the dangers of Vipassana meditation. Sangharakshita had stopped the vipassana practice in his centres in UK as it lead to nervous breakdown and created lunacy. But instead of talking to us about these things the senile old Sangharakshita was so full of himself and his so called liberating teachings. It did not take much time for us to realize that this man was another subtle front for Brahminism in the name of Buddhism.

    It is not surprising for us that he learnt Buddhism through Brahmins like Bhikku Jagdish Kashyap. Sangharakshita also spent a huge amount of time in India chasing Hindu holymen and sadhus like Ramana Maharishi, Anandamayi Ma, Ramdas and many others. How can we expect that such a person is the friend of Dalits. Can this man be trusted for working on the Dalit cause. A Brahimincal hippy in Buddhist mould is what we at Dalitnation term such people.

    At the time we met Sangharakshita many Dalits were involved in FWBO. They were fooled into believing that Sangharakshita was a friend of Babasaheb Ambedkar. When we did more research on this man we discovered that not only was he not a friend of Babasaheb he was actually working against the revolutionary ideas of Babasaheb. This friend of Dalits had written an article in Mahabodi Journal (1959) that Ambedkar never understood Buddhism and his revolutionary book ‘Buddha and His Dharma’ should be renamed as ‘Ambedkar and his dharma’. Sangharakshita accused Ambedkar of using Buddhism to further his political ambitions. Babasaheb whose every life breath was dedicated to the Dalit upliftment was being told that he is using buddhism for his own self aggrandizement. Atrocious.

    Due to our expose of Sangharakshita in 1998 most dalits dissociated from this cult. This same Sangharakshita is back again in the garb of Trailokya Bauddha Mahasangha Sahayak Gana (TBMSG). He and his foillowers have created trusts and scholarships to gather funds and propogate the personality cult. Bright Dalit youths are lured into such cults. The fund managers of trusts like Trailokya Bauddha Mahasangha Sahayaka Gana which is the indian wing of FWBO control the mind of the bright Dalit youths. The Dalits who are part of these movements have expressed to us that their minds have been enslaved by these trusts and they have no time for the revolutionary activities envisaged by Babasaheb.

    We at Dalit Nation will spare no efforts to expose these criminials like Sangharakshita and vicious organizations like FWBO and TBMSG. Our Dalit youths should be one pointed towards the goal laid out by Babasaheb and we should avoid these cults like filth. These cults are no different from the Brahminical Cow Dung cults.

    • I am learning that the Dalits feel/ felt(?) opressed by mediation, though that it was seemingly the being left rendered powerless and treated unjust in certain acpects that was the issue.
      https://dalitnation.wordpress.com/2007/12/14/beware-of-meditation/
      Interesting how socialdynamic background and envirement is of such major influence in ones perceptions, needs etc.
      I can see the the contxtv but still not quite dont understand the alltogether rejection of the satipatthanisauth… whith is supposed to be a essential sutra/part of the Pali canon no?

  40. To those who have experienced harm by TBO/FWBO
    If you want to protect others from similar experiences or if you want that the public is better informed about TBO and what can happen there, I would highly recommend to write testimonies and to send them to INFORM, a research group on New Religious Movement who give accurate and unbiased information when the UK government or journalists are having questions or inquiries about a group. You find here some more details and a link to their website: Reporting Personal Experience On Religious Movements
    They might have only information from the past and if you want to change things it would be good to update them!

    With respect to my own former “cult”-group the Berlin Senate for NRM’s/cults (Sektenleitstelle) judged them as unproblematic when journalists contacted them because the information they had was 15 years old and no new information was coming in, so finally the documents were somewhat forgotten and there was no awareness about the problems anymore …

    • Thanks for the link to Inform. Very useful if everyone with concerns updates Inform. They have old information about FWBO and some needs updating as Triratna Buddhist Community, which is still a cult of personality with some harmful teachings that are easy to access and which are still being spread by some people, who think of Sangharakshita as the Buddha in our midst. I contacted them. It looks like others have since BBC documentary went out in September.

  41. BTW, sexual abuse manifests usually always in the same old ways of denial, brushing under the carpet, downplaying. See for instance the Jerry Sandusky case. The Penn State University management tried to solve it “internally”, played it down, silenced it, didn’t warn their students … now they were charged with a fine of 2.4 million dollar for this misbehaviour. They had to pay already a fine of 60 million dollars in the past. People in charge – chief coach Paternos & the president of the Penn State University Graham Spanier lost their jobs, the football team was banned from play off games for four years and all titles made from 1998 onwards were declared invalid … http://www.nytimes.com/topic/person/jerry-sandusky

    Compare these events with where Triratna is now …

    • With so much information from different sources and from UK wide Triratna centre connections being presented here, it must surely be obvious to others from Triratna reading this that sexual assaults, coercion, deceit and denials took place together with whole group denials, brushing under the carpet and downplaying, including in the most recent media statement to BBC. Sangharakshita led on all of this. There is far too much evidence of sexual assault for anyone to ignore. There is too much evidence that young men were groomed from a young age into Sangharakshita’s particular presentation of kalyana mitrata and that some of his cohorts of order memebers went on to emulate kalayana mitrata through sex, widening the web of damage and complicity. It is only when you get free of the group that you can see the traps here … love and devotion to Bhante are primary, his sexual assaults on others are secondary. There must be order members and mitra trapped in this web still, desperately trying to reconcile actions and ideas that cannot be reconciled. No amount of soul searching and internal discussions, always accompanied by reaffirmations of love and gratitude to Bhante, can make up for the harm caused by the abuses and after-abuses or gIve them back their wasted years, lost opportunities, trust, girlfriends, children and family time or their faith as was.
      If individual order members have realised that there is just too much evidence that sexual abuses and cover ups have taken place, are they Buddhist enough to do the right thing and make sure that external agencies investigate and follow through accordingly? Or will their devotion to Bhante and their roles and status in Triratna stop them? A full and public apology is needed at the very least. Public and formal. Triratna will be prolonging its own suffering until a public and formal apology is made. It is time to see Dharma put into practice instead of power mode cover ups and power mode legal advice to keep schtum out of fear of more media attention or valid compensation claims.

    • Indeed the dynamics seem to be v predictable… though not less shocking.
      I do not think they are buddhist enough to do he right thing. I think also it is a too complex and disfunctional situation… It is a v closed system. I feel most people in Triratna are indeed on some level trapped, they need to look away, downplay and worse and as Stephen says are in the grip of ‘trýing to reconcile actions and ideas that cannot be reconciled’… Even the most critical people are somehow to close to the fire to see and have their investment in the group etc.
      Once you see it you cannot nót see it anymore… That they are indeed hardly buddhists. With their structure where anybody who is ‘going for refuge’ is allowed to teach the dharma… v much watering down the clarity and depth. People getting v attached to their ‘orderstatus’. Senior teachers still using the sangha as a dating site, the watered down ethical standard of it all.
      Indeed time to see Dharma put into practice…

  42. And herein lies the rub
    The Order is divided between two groups: those younger, idealistic OMs, poor unfortunates who have been hooked in before they could explore the Buddhist world in all its variety and who can now see Sangharakshita et als actions for what they are, abusive and dishonest, and then a smaller, group of older OMs, who have invested most of their lives in blinding themselves to the reality of their founders actions and who, as a result, have been promoted by him to positions of power and respect which they are terrified of losing. So much to lose if they dare speak the truth, so much to cling to in a world that recognises clinging as the cause of suffering
    And thus, the Order is dividing along lines of truth and falsity, with the younger OMs being truth and the older, supposedly wiser ones clinging to their illusions and representing falsity. Truly, the FWBO/ Triratna is the world turned upside down.

    • “ultimately, the way a group reacts to allegations of misconduct may be a better indicator of its underlying dysfunction than the content of the allegations themselves.”
      This is great though in the FWBO Triratna case, I think “ultimately, the way a group reacts to allegations of misconduct may be as clear an indicator of its underlying dysfunction as the content of the allegations themselves.” would be closer to the truth- only slightly different but I fear the former statement devalues the suffering of victims somewhat

  43. Today I received this message via email:

    “I was sent this today: Could you post it on your page about Sangharakshita please. The following just seems to confirm to me how Sangharakshita did whatever he liked with very little care as to context or function in what he did, relating to Dharma as a whole in the Tibetan Buddhist context. And he completely lost sight of the need for an ethical foundation. And his sexist ideas – it’s atrocious how he managed to have so much influence….”

    The person attached the following quote of what was sent:

    I haven’t been round for a while bit just happened to pop by the other day and noticed this post and thought I might comment. I started a comment yesterday but it was all a bit messy and confused so didn’t post it.

    The subject is confused. I honestly don’t think Sangharakshita’s knowledge or understanding of Tibetan Buddhism and culture is really good enough to make an informed decision on dogyal and the NKT.

    Here are a few things I noticed whilst attending FWBO classes and listening to Sangharakshita’s teachings related to dogyal.

    Dhardo Rinpoche was an important teacher for Sangharakshita. Indeed, dogyal lamas seem to have been very keen to teach western students quite early on and many early western students of Tibetan Buddhism had connections to dogyal lamas. Nebesky Wojkowitz was a student of Domo Geshe Rinpoche, as was his friend, Prince Peter of Greece and Lama Anagarika Govinda. Lama Yeshe who later founded the FPMT was very keen to spread the Dharma west, and Kelsang gyatso seems to have shared this desire to teach westerners, agreeing some kind of teaching thing with Thomas Merton.
    The latter was also a student of actively anti-dogyal lama Chatrul Sangye Dorje, as was Sangharakshita. In one teaching I heard a recording of “Bhante”, who made a great deal out of his links to rime lamas, was talking about protectors and said, with a laugh, that sometimes a lama’s protector can disagree with another lama’s protector. He recounted an anecdote I can’t fully remember but it went something like; one of his Nyingma lamas came to him one day after having a bad dream and explaining that he can’t see another lama because their protectors don’t get on. Sangharakshita thought this was funny but seemed to lack the curiosity to find out what was behind this. My guess is it was a Nyingma lama avoiding a dogyal lama. In another teaching about his teachers he recounts an incident when one of Dhardo Rinpoche’s students was being magically attacked by someone. Stones were falling onto his roof. He tells Dhardo Rinpoche and later the stones stop falling. Sangharakshita tells Dhardo, who says he “did a little puja” with a wry smile. I guess this was a dogyal puja but again Sangharakshita misses the point and claims Dhardo was doing Buddhist white magic against Nepali black magic.

    Sangharakshita also seems to miss the history of sectarian division that the dogyal cult stirred up. He says that Dhardo Rinpoche wasn’t against Nyingma and used as evidence the fact that many of his previous incarnations were Nyingma lamas. This is the case for many tulku lineages and monasteries in Eastern Tibet, which were forcefully converted by Pabongkha and his followers from Kagyu or Nyingma to Gelug. Sangharakshita simply didn’t know about these things and, like many early western students of Tibetan Buddhism, just took what he could from where he could without understanding any of the complexities or differences.

    However, it seems to me that Dhardo Rinpoche must have been aware of the issue and sought to influence Sangharakshita to follow him more than the Nyingmas he was hanging around with. A couple of things come to mind. In one anecdote Sangharakshita recounts how Dhardo Rinpoche had a word with some drunk Nyingma monks. They were drinking and said it was alright because Guru Rinpoche drank. Dhardo criticised them and said it might be alright for Guru Rinpoche but was not alright for them as they were young monks with no realisation.

    In another anecdote, Sangharakshita explains how he bought a cheap Tibetan text a poor man was selling in the market. It turned out to be a Nyingma ngondro text. He takes it to Dhardo Rinpoche who helps him translate it. This struck me because the text would have undoubtedly contained the Vajra Guru mantra and the FWBO, as I knew them, always mispronounced the Vajra Guru mantra Om Ah Hum JETSUN Guru Padma Siddhi Hum. Was this through Dhardo’s deliberate misdirection? Dhardo himself was a student of Pabongkha and gave Sangharakshita Pabongkha’s Chittamani Tara practice. Pabongkha was very much against the recitation of the vajra guru mantra and, according to one anecdote I heard from a lama, used to have people that recited it thrown out of his teachings.
    I think it was Dhardo rinpoche who gave Sangharakshita a tangkha of Naro Kacho Vajrayogini with dogyal as one of the two protectors prominently displayed at the bottom. This picture was reproduced in Vessantara McMahon’s book Meeting the Buddhas. I really liked the book when it was first published. I bought the first edition but noticed that in subsequent editions the publisher (Windhorse – in-house FWBO) had cut the bottom off the picture with dogyal now missing, presumably that was to reflect the growing controversy around the subject rather than to hide Bhante’s dogyal affiliations?
    Sorry this is a bit of a ramble. I suppose my conclusion is that Sangharakshita never really knew enough to even know that dogyal was an issue, let alone deliberately take a controversial position. But that also, Gelug lamas did all they could to influence the newly interested western students into adopting their approach (the way they influenced western academia into viewing Madhyamaka their way was a big problem for ages) and this was driven by enthusiastic dogyal lamas. The NKT are the logical expression of this.

    As far as Sangharakshita promoting kelsang goes, I think the name dropping and comments he makes about others are largely designed to promote himself or lend himself authority rather than the other way round. Saying nice things about kelsang might be an attempt to attract the same kind of people that are attracted to the NKT.

    The feeling is in no way reciprocated, if kelsang lodro’s response to the FWBO is anything to go by, As I heard from him: when the Bodhisattva Centre first opened in Brighton the FWBO Brighton Buddhist Centre offered a gift of offering bowls to the new NKT centre as a gesture of Buddhist unity. Lodro said they never used them as the bowls weren’t right and the FWBO is corrupt and have no lineage.

    • it’s atrocious how he managed to have so much influence

      I think he managed it in the same way like Kelsang Gyatso: exploiting the naivety and faith of ill-informed but open-hearted Western seekers. And these open-hearted Western seekers became at one point their close minded, self-manipulating followers who’ve totally missed to question their teachers, to question what they taught & to question their behaviour … – instead, they tend to defend them by all means.

    • These anecdotes demonstrate how little S understood Tibetan language at the time ( there were very few translators in Kalimpong during this period) and, by extension, how he could therefore have not understood any of the higher teachings. The story of the rocks falling on the roof is actually taken from the life of the Fifth Dalai Lama ( something Dhardo would certainly have known since he was an avid.devotee of Dolgyal whose actions are recounted in the same series of stories.)
      His total mistranslation of Guru Rinpoches mantra, even though he supposedly received assistance from Dhardo ( which is again doubtful since, as a Dolgyal devotee, Dhardo would have seen as heretical) speaks reems. How cold he ever understand the texts if, even with assistance, he makes such basic errors.
      His emphasis on being ‘ given’ Chittamani Tsra, rather than using the word ‘ received’ is an example of S self serving use of language Another, pfrequent trick of his. He often uses the old NLP trick of humming affirmatively when he makes an assertion, a technique used to convince the listener of his correctness and their agreement.
      His claim to have been student of the eminent masters he lists have never been confirmed by the majority of the. Masters he lists; Jamyang Khyentses translator had never heard of him and Chatral Sangye Dorje even issued a letter.disassociating himself from such claimants.
      To sum up, Sangharakshita is a master of nothing except self aggrandisement and deception. His accounts of his time in India are peppered with exaggerations, half truths and untruths, as the above account and indeed the FWBO Files proved

  44. learninglive2 says:

    Considering the pain of current devotees: This may be useful for all of us.
    http://nctsn.org/nctsn_assets/pdfs/caring/intrafamilialabuse.pdf
    It may be helpful to those in Triratna, who are trying to come to terms – for the first time or yet again – with the most recent revelations of Sangharakshita’s spiritual manipulations involving sex and / or sex and secrecy. It is also useful for those of us not / no longer in Triratna to understand how shock, rage, confusion, disbelief and denial play out for the ‘family’ members not directly involved. In FWBO / Trirtana family, several ‘brothers’ with corroborating claims and stories have shown the long-term damage and despair created directly for adolescents by Sangharakshita’s spiritual-sexual abuses. Brothers and sisters have told us how the ideological and instituational conditions for such spiritual-sexual abuse were created and practised over decades. The abuses continues via denial and cover up. This linked article (albeit relating to children / adolescent situations) indicates very clearly how other family members are damaged, too.
    The most needy in Triratna will need to reaffirm their devotion to Sangharakshita as to do otherwise will throw them into a vortex of pain and despair. When the father abuses his power and trust to manipulate his juniors, it is a tragedy for all. In this case the father is a religious figure / leader and ALL his devotees are caught in the tragic web as direct or indirect victims of abuses of trust and power that started a long time ago. It would be interesting to hear from others in Triratna or formerly in FWBO / Triratna, who are experiencing or who have experienced the fall out from father figure abuses of his order adolescents / their Dharma siblings.
    It is important for all of us to understand the deeply tragic situation that ALL devotees past and present find themselves in. It would be useful for Triratna people to access external counselling to discuss their shock, pain, confusion and / or grief. Turning to ‘spiritual friends’ may compound the ‘pro-Sangharakshita truth’ presented as The Truth for longer. Mitra turning to order members for answers may get the current party line. There are rumours that one person in the order has openly expressed more sympathy for their damaged Dharma sibling(s) than in the past? Can someone tell us more about this?
    It would also be good to hear from someone once / still connected to Triratna, who recognises the indirect fall out detailed in the article.
    http://nctsn.org/nctsn_assets/pdfs/caring/intrafamilialabuse.pdf

    • jigmeyeshe says:

      Ironically, many of the ‘kalyanamitras’ in Triratna are counsellors themselves. Who are well aware of the issue of the ‘shadow’ aspect of the self.

      ________________________________

    • Re learninglive2:
      I apriciate your text, equally for content and tone…
      Thank you.

  45. Anti-family still and always: In August 2016, three weeks before the BBC programme was broadcast, the Triratna media team gave Sangharakshita / Lingwood yet another platform to teach his anti-family rhetoric. In this session, hosted openly on web via soundcloud, he teaches that spirituality will be impaired by taking on a family and tells us that order members are not individuals but bound to be be dutiful to his order. He tells us that as order members we should not be making individual decisions but need to consult our spiritual friends i.e. those immersed in Sangharakshitas teachings. Anyone considering making up their own mind is thus displaying, according to SR / Lingwood ‘individuality in the negative sense’ i.e. you are not as available to spread the Dharma as presented by him. Couched in language that suggests he has your best spiritual interests at heart, this piece reinforces his anti-family teaching and his desire to control order members to serve his interests.

    (Btw, Two men have reported that they have been told very recently by certain order member(s) at Padmaloka (focus of BBC programme) that family will impinge on their spiritual life in the order. One has been told he needs to leave his family if he is serious about making spiritual progress. Padmavajra’s name is being mentioned as someone with ‘hardline’ Sangharakshita views on family. A resident or visiting senior order member from Germany is definitely proposing ‘meeting’ possible female partners i.e. with the intention of ensuring compliance with the order.)
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
    Soundcloud post from August 2016:
    Interviewer (Vidyadevi or Kalyanaprabha?) What are your thoughts now about family within a spiritual life? Is there anything you can say about that?

    Sangharakshita: Well, I suppose there is quite a lot I could say and some of it would perhaps be a bit controversial but it’s not just a question of spiritual life in general. Within Triratna there is also a question of your relationship to family if you’re an order member – and if you are an order member, you are taking your spiritual life and you’re taking your practice and indeed your living of the Dharma very very seriously. So you have to consider whether or to what extent a family of one kind or another impinges upon that life or not so that’s a very serious thing and obviously one shouldn’t commit oneself to the three jewels as an order member without a lot of very serious thought and if you add to your personal responsibilities, whether as an order member or not, by taking on a family, well, you need again to think very seriously and to consult your spiritual friends because it will make a difference. So, I don’t think we should rush into any important change in our lives without due consideration and without consulting our spiritual freinds.
    It’s a not a question of ‘Well that’s my life. Hmmm? It doesn’t concern other people.’ If you are an order member in a sense your life is not your own. You’ve committed yourself to the buddha, the dharma and the sangha, so you’re not leading any longer if you did lead originally a purely self-centred life and you don’t think simply in terms of what YOU as an individual would like to do. You take into account the fact that you are an order member of an order as when you become an order member, you it#s goodbye to individuality in the negative modern sense.

    Interviewer: Has that quality of individual negativity become stronger, do you think, in the order or in society in general?

    SR: I think it has become stronger in society partly because there is a greater emphasis on one’s rights and decreasing emphasis on duty. Well, I wrote this more than half a century ago and I think what I wrote then still holds good.
    …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
    Warning: While teachings such as this are still propagated, a new recruit to Triratna could find themselves spiritually befriended by people who still hold to the rhetoric displayed in this interview and in many, many more public places let alone private spaces.

  46. Sounds like the continuation of denial – sexual abuse has been prevented for the last thirty years – an TBO representative claims…
    https://boeddhistischdagblad.nl/achtergronden/76604-76604/

    “Google translate”:
    Ujukarin, representing Triratna in BUN says, “I am and always a wholehearted follower of Sangharakshita, although he -mogelijk- his human side may have made mistakes in valuing the situation with students annex lovers thirty years ago. And that kind of risk of error ‘Triratna learned like many other programs which have Sangha. As thirty years we have rules to prevent this in the future and to my knowledge have prevented the last thirty years.
    So yeah, I do not see what I’m here to show more sympathy than did in the previous debate. I have sympathy for them apparently now feel the pain of something they did thirty years ago, knowingly and adults among themselves, whether or not under “pressure” of the teacher and Sangha because there are differences, the fact views, and we this could have prevented all together if the rules had been when the views of NOW stricter.
    But anyhow, now might still be situations where it could have gone wrong than we have now before the counselor alongside the hotline. My Sangha and I have nothing to hide … “

    • Re Tenpel:
      Translation by dutch contact:

      ”Ujukarin, representative of Triratna for the Dutch Buddhist Union says:
      I am and will stay wholeheartedly follower of sangharakshita, dispite him – possibly- on his human side could have made mistakes in estimating the situation with students annex lovers 30 years ago. And from that sort of ‘chance for mistakes’ Triratna has learned as many others have. Allready around 30 years we have rules that must prevent this for the future en as far i know also háve for the last 30 years.’
      So well, i dont see how i can show more sympathy then what we have in the previous discussion. I have symphathy that they aparently now feel the pain of something they did 30 years ago, with full knowledge as adults among adults. wether or not under ‘pressure’ of the teacher and the sangha, as the representation of facts vary. and that we with all of us together could have prevented ths if the rules then would, with the knowledge we have NOW, been more strict.
      But anyhow, would there be situations where something could have gone wrong, we now have for that the national independent counselor and hotline. My sangha and i have nothing to hide…”

      Compared here with statement from the chair (till v recent) of Ujukarins local buddhist centre at request (oktober 2016):
      ”There are not yet any local ethical quidelines, polocies and safeguardingstructures. except for those by the Budhdha formulated in the 5 and respectively 10 precepts (trainingprinciples).”

      Ujukarin says about this (here/Tenpels) thread: ”No i do not find it informative, rather disinformative. The background of the critique is deeply negative, has all sorts of non-buddhistic elements as a clinging to Victorian Familyvalues. family values the Buddhia would have been appalled by etc.”

      • Thank you Frenzy.

        Very interesting to get to know more about the discriminating and judging faculties of Ujukarin – representative of Triratna for the Dutch Buddhist Union:

        No i do not find it informative, rather disinformative. The background of the critique is deeply negative, has all sorts of non-buddhistic elements as a clinging to Victorian Familyvalues. family values the Buddhia would have been appalled by etc.

        I didn’t know that I am (or we are) “deeply negative” and that we are “all sorts of non-buddhistic elements as a clinging to Victorian Family values.”
        I am not deeply negative, I am not a non-buddhistic element. I don’t cling to Victorian family values. – Just to make that clear. I wonder how Ujukarin can prove or substantiate his claims? Or is it just an ad hominem attack by Ujukarin, if you have no argument slander your opponent?

        Ujukarin, please give good arguments, don’t slander your opponents.

        To make one point once and for all clear, I have no problem with homosexuality in any way and my website contains a well thought out article with a lot of further links about the subject of Buddhism and homosexuality. Also here I made very clear that the Buddha himself never ever said anything about homosexuality, however, he for sure taught the abandoning of desire. He taught that non-desire is highest bliss and that desire is a main cause of samsara. What FWBO presents with regard to sexuality is sprung from the desires and fantasies of Dennis Lingwood (promoted as “Bhante Urgyen Sangharakshita” by TBO). The presentation of Dennis and his students about sexuality and the superiority of homosexuality over heterosexuality or male spirituality over female spirituality are non-buddhistic not my (or our) refusal of these distortions! While for their assertions there is no Sutra or teaching by the Buddha for my claims there is. The Buddha indeed taught again and again that non-desire is highest bliss and that desire is a main cause of samsara. Therefore, according to Ujukarin’s own phrase combined with good reasoning it follows, the TBO leadership are “non-buddhistic elements” who are clinging to sexual desires and sell that as Dharma.

        • What struck me was the dissonance between the (Triratna) statements: ”Triratna has learned as many others have. Allready around 30 years we have rules that must prevent this for the future” and/but ”There are not yet any local ethical quidelines, polocies and safeguardingstructures. except for those by the Budhdha formulated in the 5 and respectively 10 precepts (trainingprinciples).”
          What ‘rules’ are we talking about here?
          Combined with his view that ”they aparently now feel the pain of something they did 30 years ago, with full knowledge as adults among adults. wether or not under ‘pressure’ of the teacher and the sangha, as the representation of facts vary.”
          Whát have they learned..?

          • Indeed, dissonance is the word for, whereas he claims there are no specific guidelines in Triratna centres other than the five precepts and Triratnas invented 10, Munisha and the BBC state that guidelines exist/ are in place ( as we know, they are not yet in place)
            In the Dutch Buddhist newspaper article, he refers to traditional Buddhist values as Victorian, presumably in elation to concerns expressed about sexual activity between his teacher and students. This is an appeal to ignorance and contemporary liberal values, whereas the Buddhist condemnation of such abusive activity is long established and not shaped by social mores- changing religion tto fit social mores is to pollute the wisdom of the Buddha whose teaching, according to Sangharakshita, transforms society to fit religion. More dissonance
            Most disturbing is his reference to polygamous relationships in Nepal. Setting aside the fact that Nepal is overwhelmingly Hind, one wonders what he is trying to justify here; is this not an attempt at justifying relationships with multiple partners? Does he not understand that even in polygamous Buddhist relationships in Nepalese society, the partners are committed to one another? Polygamy is certainly not considered a justification for sex with no strings, with multiple partners, beyond the perameters of the committed family relationship
            Most disturbing is the fact that this man is Triratnas representative in the Netherlands. The pseudo dharma he reaches throughout his responses, combined with the disdain and total lack of concern for his teachers victims, are both poisonous and venomous. If this person is representative of what decades of practicing Lingwoodism results in, Lord Buddha help him AND the people of the Netherlands

            • It would be useful to know where the man now is, who locked schoolboy Y into a room to initiate him into kalyana mitrata Sangharakshita style. There is no doubt in my mind that this was not a one-off incident. Where is that man? It is far more than likely that this behaviour has happened again inside and outside the order as he was not able to control his sexual urges. The same is clearly true of Sangharakshita, too, judging by the number of men who have already come forward in some way. Ananda’s description above is hideous. What is he doing to himself to allow such coercion of him to gratify a Man claiming to be a Buddhist Teacher to pass? He was not teaching you non-attachment to your girlfriend, Ananda. He wanted you and your beautiful young male body for sex, however nice he has been since. You know that, Ananda.
              Using sex to apparently spiritually unblock young men is behaviour that was encouraged and endorsed by Sangharakshita. The bottom line is that it was sex to gratify the older man be it Sangharakshita or others encouraged to do so. Indeed, many of his teachings groomed young men into this situation and could still be used in places where safeguarding has not yet penetrated. It does not matter whether one is heterosexual or homosexual if this is what happened to you in a retreat centre, a single sex house or a place of refuge. It seems that people inside the organisation are wanting to talk but can’t talk unfettered to those outside. It’s all in the family. A short name beginning with K keeps returning. He was a private preceptor and lived at Madhyamaloka until a few years ago. What sexual power did he still hold over his mitra? More importantly … who is he and where is he now? I am in no doubt that he will have repeated some of his disturbing behaviours inside and outside the order.
              There will be other young men who were ‘had’ by this man and SR LIngwood at Padmaloka and elsewhere. If you are one of them, please seek external counselling help if you now recognise what happened to you under the guise of spirituality. Do not rely on partisan spiritual friends or counsellors in TRirtana as he / she may try to keep it all in house still. They are trapped by family loyalties i. e to father figure SR. It will be too painful for them to detach and see things as they really are. Hopefully, some will move towards the truth more and more.

              • I think this is schoolboy Ys letter you refer to http://www.ex-cult.org/fwbo/Yashomitra.htm
                The rapist was K who left the Order after embezzling 18000UKP As for his current location, watch this space- should be some time soon. The plot is thickening very rapidly

                • The theft by K is mentioned at the foot of the following page, under the heading Sangharakshitas Procurer Embezzles Charity Funds
                  http://www.ex-cult.org/fwbo/Jnanavira.htm
                  Soon after this shenanigans, K started to be referred to as an’ex OM’ though I can find no resignation letter or letter of expulsion. Clearly, the issue was hushed up. However,his doesn’t appear to be the end of the saga of K
                  More soon

                • He is no longer in the order. He is known to and being ‘monitored’ by ‘appropriate authorities’.

            • Contact says that it has been stated by Ujukarin also that apparently it is considered v normal, as we speak, that a senior ordermember does not aknowldege himself being in a teacher position (thus dynamic) with the attendees of his retreats, who come esp. from abroad for their specific teaching. And to suggest there was such a teacher/student relationships and thus mixture of romantic/teacher-spiritual aspirant relationship is interpreted as, quotes: ‘’throwing with mud’’ and ‘’trying to blacken…’’ and ‘’not taking responsability’’.

  47. Liars, deniers and hypocrites-the new face of western Buddhism
    Shame on these people

  48. It is sad so many people don’t recognise and get stuck in pathological dynamics. Esp. those with influence and power over others. Good to know that in the light of interconnectness we ALL have influence.

  49. Truth eventually prevails and justice will be done- the law of karma ensures that
    The irony is that Lingwood et al, who dare to call themselves ‘buddhist’ try to ignore and resist its inevitability and reap the fruits of his evil acts in this life

    • Some very disturbing facts beginning to emerge about one of Sangharakshitas chief procurers of young men, ex OM Kovida ( as he is cautiously referred to by the Order) The extent of his activities and their duration, as well as the consequences are almost to shocking to comment on. However, once the facts have been corroborated, this blog will report all the facts

  50. I agree with frenzy’s comments about lack of safe safeguarding and the crossing of teacher-student boundaries in FWBO / Triratna groups. I can also confirm that some order members resort to ad hominem attacks if anyone questions the order and / or its leader Sangharakshita.
    There were no safeguarding policies in place in Norwich Buddhist Centre at the start of 2016.
    We (two female school / college teachers) have a close family member / friend connected to Triratna. We have both promoted this group in our schools in the past, but did not know of the damaging teachings of its leader until quite recently.
    We met the chair of Norwich Buddhist centre and the women’s order convenor at her house earlier this year.
    The chairman was very polite to us but clearly very, very uncomfortable talking about safeguarding.
    He said that Triratna did not need safeguarding because they have the precepts.
    I drew their attention to the ‘Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults’ guidelines which went up on The Buddhist Centre, Triratna’s website, last November and the definitions of abuse included in this Triratna document. I also drew their attention to the disclosure of abuse written in 2003 by a former order member, who was 17 and a schoolboy when he was groomed for sex via kalyana mitrata by senior order members including Sangharakshita at Padmaloka. He was under the age of consent.
    From Triratna’s document concerning vulnerable adults. Their children’s guidelines covers under 18s.
    What is ‘abuse’? Abuse is the harming of a person usually by someone who is in a position of power, trust or authority over them, or who may be perceived by that person to be in a position of power, trust or authority over them; for example by a Friend, Mitra or Order member who is helping to run [name of Triratna Buddhist Centre/enterprise] activities those newer to such activities. The harm may be physical, psychological or emotional, or it may exploit the vulnerability of the victim in more subtle ways.
    Types of abuse
    Physical
    • Bodily assaults resulting in injuries e.g. hitting, slapping, pushing, kicking, misuse of medication, restraint or inappropriate sanctions. • Bodily impairment e.g. malnutrition, dehydration, failure to thrive • Medical/healthcare maltreatment
    Sexual
    • Rape, incest, acts of indecency, sexual assault • Sexual harassment or sexual acts to which the vulnerable adult has not consented, or could not consent or was pressured into consenting. • Sexual abuse might also include exposure to pornographic materials, being made to witness sexual acts; also sexual harassment, with or without physical contact.
    Psychological/emotional
    • Threats of harm, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse, enforced isolation or withdrawal from services or supportive networks. • Humiliation • Bullying, shouting or swearing
    Abuse through neglect

    • Ignoring medical or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health, social care or educational services the withholding of the necessities of life, such as medication, adequate nutrition and heating
    Financial or material
    • Theft, fraud • Exploitation, pressure in connection with wills, property or inheritance or financial transactions; the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits
    Discriminatory
    • Language which is racist, sexist, or based on a person’s disability, gender or sexual orientation, etc

    The chairman of Norwich Buddhist Centre remained polite. He told us that all that this had happened in the past and was no longer relevant. He said that the order had discussed this for a long time and that the issues had been resolved. He said that in his opinion safeguarding and gone too far. He maintained that Triratna’s policies only refer to the present and the future and cannot be used to look at the past. He said all the relationships with Sangharakshita had been consensual .
    I reminded him that the school boy was under the age of consent, and in a vulnerable situation as an aspirant order member placing trust in Sangharakshita and other senior men.
    The women’s order convenor made ad hominem attacks to discredit the writer and other former order members who had made similar claims. She described them as ‘trouble makers’ and ‘jilted gay ex lovers’. She accused me of wanting to kill an old man.
    We explained that if either of us were shown a disclosure of abuse dated 2003 suggesting that the headteac her and / or senior staff had encouraged a 17 year old student to engage in sexual acts to make educational progress, we would be obliged to follow safeguarding procedures and hand over the disclosure to safeguarding experts and external authorities.
    The Norwich chairman and the women’s order convenor did not want to know.
    Since I flagged up safeguarding concerns, I have been the subject and object of ad hominem attacks in an email sent to my close family member. This was from another order member who was not present at that meeting. I have seen the email and am shocked at the levels of manipulation, nastiness and intrusion into family life.

    • Dear Joc. I am very sorry to hear about your experiences.
      I thank you from my heart for having written this very clear, frank comment. It is especially painful to see how Triratna reaches to the vulnerable in schools. Highly likely the best is to inform school authorities. If you like you could also share your observations and experiences with INFORM http://www.inform.ac
      Very best wishes, t

  51. It appears that Triratna is organising some safeguarding training now with a church organisation, but that the person who has taken Safeguarding on is also the person responsible for the PR of the group. This is a fundamental flaw in her and Triratna’s understanding of safeguarding.

    It seems that past allegations of long term harm to former order members in FWBO / Triratna will not be taken into account as the group’s leader cannot be criticised even lightly without assuring others of one’s gratitude and devotion to him. No one can be objective about someone they bow down to on a shrine.
    The email I have seen about me, from a long standing order member, says that the recipient must cease any relationship with me if he wishes to remain in the order and describes me as ‘an impediment’ to his involvement with Triratna. It also delivers ad hominem attacks on a former ‘companion’ of Sangharakshita.
    Seeing the email makes me understand how very difficult it is for anybody to speak up as one becomes a trouble maker for doing so. The recipient of the email is told that he is putting himself outside the order by maintaining his friendship to me and also for his part in questioning Sangharakshita’s behaviour. Those reliant on in house friendship groups or housing only must find themselves very lost and isolated for speaking up. Triratna friendships revolve around devotion to Sangharakshita and those who try to speak up from inside must be very brave souls indeed. There is definitely a Public face of Triratna, which is pleasant. There is definitely a private face which is very unpleasant. I have now seen that first hand.
    Since the BBC programme was shown I have been told that the local MASH, multi agency safeguarding hub have started work to get safeguarding in place and made schools local to certain Buddhist Centres aware of issues.
    Thank you for the information on Inform.

  52. It is also important to say that two other current order members have been very kind to me and asked me to explain what safeguarding involves, not just in documents, but in fully accountable practice. This is encouraging. Since February, two order members have shown that they are very concerned for the well-being of former order members, who have openly written or spoken about their long-term pain and suffering, consequences of trusting in the spiritual guidance of Sangharakshita and his – and others’ – promotion of kalyana mitrata via sex with them. They are concerned that anyone who openly speaks up then gets vilified, excluded and/ or shut down by senior order members and College of Preceptors. They cannot speak openly because they fear the consequences. They cannot speak as they find, but they are definitely brave and caring people who desperately want the order to change for the better and open up.
    A former order member, P, told me last week that there was a meeting in 2003 at Wymondham College and everyone was collectively invited by senior order members to share their experiences of sex with Bhante-Sangharakshita. This is shocking. Imagine asking a room full of people to speak up surrounded by devotees of the leader, some still promoting the embedded ideology of ‘being saved from neurotic heterosexual relationships’ or ‘being unblocked spiritually via sex’. It is shocking. He told me that while on retreat Sangharakshita wanted to have sex while others went to early morning meditation and puja at Padmaloka, I do not know if this man gave in or not to Sangharakshita’s sexual needs. He said that some men had a vasectomy – another spiritually beneficial undertaking according to FWBO teachings. This is shocking not in itself, but if taught as spiritual progress.
    Apparently, this event is described in a book?

    A safe organisation is more than happy for a safeguarding team, with no biases for or against the organisation and / or its leader, to hear the grievances in a completely neutral space. An organisation, whose priority it is to protect itself, its institutions, its media image and its leader at the expense of its members and openess/ honesty is not a safe organisation. An organisation with no external point of safeguarding reference is not a safe organisation, however many paper policies it has written. An organisation that shuts down its whistle blowers is not a safe organisation. There have been so many whistle blowers in the past. Most seem to have resigned as noone can speak up inside for long or detach themselves from Sangharakshita-Bhante without censur.
    It is also important to say that I feel for the many decent order members caught up in all this. It must be so hard to have a beloved father figure criticised. He was their teacher-mentor, but who was his? It seems as though he could turn his sexual needs into spiritual practice for others.
    It is also important to remember that the young men – and young women – who got involved did so because they enjoyed and benefited from meditation, mindfulness and friendship and / or sought spiritual guidance. They were not the troublemakers and villains of this mess.

  53. I have been following this topic for some time now. I just want to thank all of you for the discussion and the information you provide. I have been involved with a Triratna center for several years. I knew about the FWBO files from the beginning, but I nonetheless decided to give this center a try. My personal experience has been mostly positive and I met a lot of wonderful people there, which is the main reason why I am still affiliated with Triratna. However, I dislike the silence around the sexual misconduct of Sangharakshita. If it comes up, then the standard excuses à la “Yeah, we made mistakes in the past/ we experimented a lot in the past / it was all consensual” are provided. I never heard an OM question Sangharakshita’s behaviour or be critical of him. On the contrary, he seems to be unanimously admired and his photograph has a prominent place on the shrine. The one OM who I directly confronted with the FWBO files said that the people who run the FWBO files site are “full of hatred” (which may be true or not, but it doesn’t make the content automatically untruthful) and “hate Buddhism”. There is no whistleblowing culture.

    I am really ambivalent about my future involvement with Triratna. It seems that this kind of abusive behaviour has infiltrated almost every Buddhist group, so I don’t really know where to go instead. I recently checked out my local Shambhala group and it turns out (oh, suprise) that they have had similiar issues. At least they seem to work on a plan how to handle it better: http://shambhalatimes.org/2016/11/14/sexually-enlightened-society/

    I also found this article which I can really recommend: http://www.lionsroar.com/proactive/
    Unfortunately, Triratna is still far away from being proactive.

    • Thank you very much for your feedback and for sharing your knowledge and experiences!
      Thank you also for the links.

    • With regard to the motives and nature of the FWBO files author, I have had the good fortune of meeting the author, Gary Beesley, on several occasions
      When I asked why he had written the Files he told me he did it to rectify the wrongs and false doctrines Sangharakshita was preaching and to seek justice for the victims of his sexual abuse. He praised the sincerity of genuine lower level OMs but said the senior levels of the Order were fatally. corrupted As for whether he hates Buddhism, he has been a Buddhist for 40 years so that’s nonsense
      He has always struck. me.as being genuinely concerned for people and for the future of buddhism

    • “Abusive behaviour has infiltrated almost every Buddhist group” No, though you can be forgiven for thinking that especially given your terrible experience so far
      Why not try just being a Buddhist, applying your understanding to your experience instead of falling victim to this common disease among westerners; the misconception that one has to belong to a particular group before one can call oneself Buddhist
      Lord Buddha is your example- he wasn’t a member of anything!

    • BTW; I missed to give attention to this sentence “It seems that this kind of abusive behaviour has infiltrated almost every Buddhist group, so I don’t really know where to go instead.”. There are good and non abusive groups and as far as I can see they are still the majority. And in a way to practice Buddhism is not a matter of being part of any group or local “Sangha” but rather listening, studying and practicing the Dharma. If there are good teachers (and there are many) you could just go there, receive teachings and practice them. No need to get involved with any Dharma center and their policies if you don’t like …

      • @No Name and tenpel: You’re right when you say that one does not have to belong to a group in order to be a Buddhist. However, I found that being a lone wolf is very difficult. Years before I got involved with Triratna, I visited a Buddhist group for the first time. I didn’t feel very comfortable with them, so I left and tried to practice on my own. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out and I made no progress at all. I have read some books, but I didn’t manage to establish a regular practice. This only started to work when I joined Triratna. The second reason why I feel that practicing on my own is not a good idea is because I had some pretty horrible and scary meditation experiences, probably some old trauma resurfacing. I found it really helpful to have somebody to talk to, even if what they said wasn’t always particularly helpful. But there are people at Triratna whom I trust and who I can turn to when things get tough.

        • This is just the blind leading the blind. Nobody is genuinely qualified to comment on ones internal experience unless they have genuine long term experience under the guidance of a genuine master. Anyone who claims they are is just a fantasist
          If you have developed a practice you can now move on. If you need guidance, seek a genuine teacher , not the misguided egotists appointed by a lying sexual misconduct expert

          • … or confused Westerners who praise manipulative, psychological & spiritual forced sexual misconduct with young men below the age of consent as »the way of the greeks that has served the greek society so well« …

        • Thank you Roxazosin.
          In fact, I think it is very good, to have a well functioning, supportive group or spiritual friends / environment. Good spiritual friends are crucial. The problem in the West seems to be, that there is rarely a Buddhist group that can fulfil a healthy and spiritual nourishing function. Rather these groups are filled with people who have heavy loads of cultural and psychological backpacks, and their lack of healthiness which they want to heal in those groups meets with people who also have heavy loads of cultural and psychological backpacks. This can’t work as long as there is no majority of healthy, mature spiritual friends in such communities or a real beacon of light / extremely advanced Bodhisattva in such a group that can help all to transform.

          At the moment, I think, a group with a majority of mature and healthy spiritual friends is quite likely really rare and hard to find. The illusion seems to be that it is easy to find any such support. My and others’ experiences rather show the contrary.

          Since Triratna stresses spiritual friendship and has some unique, caring qualities to a certain degree, wich most find useful, it is natural, that people who are looking to find support in a group are drawn to Triratna (or similar groups). However, this group seems to be sick from the top and this sickness is not obvious at the beginning … so, sooner or later problems will occur.

          My own experience and observation is, those groups who feel well in the beginning, who show or manifest or pretend of having a caring or inspiring group culture (closeness, togetherness, caring) are most often the most controversial, exploitative, manipulative groups with aspects of (or even fully fledged) abuses of power. My observation is, less caring or affectionate groups don’t have these exploitative, manipulative or abuses of power issues, they let you live more or less as you are but they care less, and you feel more alone …

          It seems to be a vicious circle. Many of those who left the NKT and loved the group togetherness and support (though deceptive in the long run) tried to find that outside of the NKT and all of them with whom I spoke failed and were finally frustrated. Since many years my suggestion is therefore, don’t look for groups, look for good teachers and good dharma because at least this won’t let you down unlike if you place your hopes and energy in rather dysfunctional groups with members who come from a dysfunctional culture, dysfunctional families etc …

          Sounds a bit like painting things so black, but so far I don’t have good counter examples of healthy groups. And even where people praised groups (like Thích Nhất Hạnh) there were other problems (e.g. Thích Nhất Hạnh is accused of running a type of a »happiness cult« and according to stories I heard and people who have more insight into this group, this might be the case. However, this does not deny the qualities he and his groups obviously have.)

          I think, best is to let go to cling to find a healthy nourishing group because it is unlikely to meet one. It might be more timely and recommendable to cling to good teachers and teachings, to practice what is really helpful and to do wishing and dedication prayers to find good, healthy, mature, sustaining spiritual friends (in a community or without a community) in the future.

          Even better, if possible, it might be wiser to heal oneself first and then to become part of a healthier group. As Gandhi said: »Be the change you want to see in the world.« Problem is, if you need a group for growth so much and there is none, what can you do? At the end, only to give your best in the given circumstances and to practice as good as possible and putting energy in dedication and wishing prayers might be the better option than going through the hopes and fears and resulting frustrations of encountering different but rather dysfunctional Western Buddhist groups …

          BTW, the joyous effort a Bodhisattva/Bodhisattvi needs to cultivate includes the »power of steadfastness«. This power depends on cultivating the »pride about action«. Tsongkhapa in his Lam Rim Chen Mo describes that mental attitude as follows:

          Pride about action means that no matter who else may be your companion as you practice the path, you do not count on them but accomplish it yourself alone. Engaging in the Bodhisattva Deeds states:

          »I alone shall do it.«
          This is pride about action.

          Also Nagarjuna’s Friendly Letter (Suhrl-lekha) says:

          »Liberation depends on oneself;
          It never occurs through the help of others!

          The thought, »I alone shall achieve this without having any expectation of others,« is similar to pride, so it is given the name »pride about action.«

          Quite of an empowerment & encouragement, I always felt…

          Now, when you need advice (as I do too!) you can find it when you take care of creating and keeping good relationships to healthy and supportive spiritual friends. These healthy and supportive spiritual friends can come from different groups and backgrounds. I think there is no need to be part of a group to get good advice, isn’t it? In my case I have different teachers and spiritual friends whom I ask according to their expert level and availability and according to where I stand now on my spiritual path and according to my life situations. In that way I create my own mandala of supportive spiritual friends without having to become part of any group. (I am extremely happy when I live in a monastic environment. I love it. But I think in this time I have also a duty to work in Dharma centres to give something back …, and one of my teachers asked me to work in his Western center …, so I have to compromise what’s good for me and what needs there are.)

          If there are people at Triratna whom you trust and whom you can turn to when things get tough, great! If they are good spiritual friends, I guess, they will be good spiritual friends also when you leave Triratna or if you leave them and go a different direction. Again, I think, this is no reason to make oneself dependent on a group.

          • Thank you, tenpel. I’m curious, what do you mean by “happiness cult” in Thich Nhat Hahn groups? Is everybody obliged to “don’t worry, be happy”?

    • Roxasozin,
      Thank you for the to the article on proactice polocies, v interesting.
      The vipassna community Spirit Rock has allready developed a combination of ethical guidelines and polocies incl a grievance and reconsiliation procedure, which seems to be totally missing from Triratna’s new ‘model ethical guidelines’, which was posted by Munisha on the website of the buddhist centre just before the bbc item aired. Besides it actually not having been implemented yet it just says:

      3
      I undertake to abstain from sexual misconduct. With stillness, simplicity and contentment I purify my body.
      Triratna is a community of people practising the Buddha’s teachings together. As such it is natural that close relationships should develop between us, and that some of these may be sexual relationships.
      We encourage all members of our community to conduct their sexual relationships ethically, with awareness and kindness.
      People in teaching roles or similar have a particular responsibility in this area, particularly to those new to Triratna. We propose that they do not start a relationship while they are the other person’s main connection with Buddhism and Triratna, even when there is clear mutual attraction and wish to enter into a relationship. Rather, we would ask them to wait until the less experienced person has established other effective friendships within our community.
      We suggest that any proposed relationship between someone in a teaching role and a less experienced person is discussed openly in an Order context. Usually this will mean their chapter and/or their preceptor and kalyana mitras.

      For comparison see here the Spirit Rock polocies:
      http://www.spiritrock.org/teacher-code-of-ethics-2016
      http://www.spiritrock.org/teacher-ethics-and-reconciliation

      Especially with a history of (and still not proparly aknowledged) abuse and with all the concern and information about safeguarding about there is IMO no good reason why any buddhist organisation this day and age still hasn’t found effective safequarding means and ways. The powerfields that keep them from doing so must be very strong. Suggestions of háving safeguarding polocies when not so, having learned from the past when apparently still oblivious of the damage done, suggesting having (no or) resolved issues etc are mostly simply underbuilding these powerfields are still strong.

      Thank you Tenpel and No-name for your inspiring and empowering input on group and individual practice, spiritual friendship etc.

      • Also Shambala’s ‘Preventing and Responding to Sexual Misconduct and Harm: Draft Polocy’ is interesting. (at request given in first link of Roxasozin) It seems they have giving it some good thought in regard to for exampe communication and centralising and aknowledging the experience and needs of the person who feels harm(ed).
        https://docs.google.com/document/d/1RJfi-7IywUL742emHKZosfbpsBW2j547Cu754xopLt8/edit

        Here also Triratna’s Draft (status – not available yet for general public) ‘Protocol for dealing with serious breaches of the law and/or 10 precepts’ – The Triratna Buddhist Order 2016.
        It seems to focus on structures and quidelines for the adressing of ”allegations” and the question of wether someone is ”guilty” or not.

        ”For our own internal clarity and for legal reasons, we need a clear procedure to be followed when a member of the Triratna Buddhist Order has committed, or is believed to have committed, a serious breach of the precepts or law. This will apply to all Order members including those in particular positions of responsibility, such as Preceptors, Mitra convenors, Presidents and Chairs.

        Some obvious examples of breaches to which this protocol would apply are sexual activity which is illegal or which represents a clear misuse of authority or of the Dharma; alcohol or drug abuse and misappropriation of funds; or well-founded suspicion of such activities.

        1. Anyone becoming aware of a serious ethical and/or legal breach should, in the first instance, bring it promptly to the attention of the Chair of the relevant centre or enterprise. 2. Breaches involving the Chair should be raised with the President or Order convenors. 3. If the matter involves a person under 18 years old (or the local age of majority), it should also be brought to the attention of the centre/enterprise’s Safeguarding/Child protection officer, who should refer to their Safeguarding policies (if applicable). 4. Local Order members must not try to resolve the matter privately. They must ask for the help of the Order convenors, their President and the Public preceptors. 5. Experience has shown that it is extremely important to share information only with those who need to know; the person concerned is innocent until proven guilty; schism and much disquiet may result if information circulates before the facts are established. 6. Taking great care over confidentiality, the Chair should bring the matter to the attention of the President and Order convenors, who will collectively decide with whom to share the information further. 7. Taking great care over confidentiality, the Chair may wish to consult their Area council, where there is one, or the European Chairs’ Assembly Development Team, in case the same issue has been encountered elsewhere. 8. The President and Order convenors will set up a small working group of senior Order members. 9. Members of the working group will speak to the Order member(s) concerned, and any others involved, to ascertain the truth if possible. 10. If there are good grounds for believing the allegations to be true, the Order member will be asked to step down immediately from official and teaching responsibilities. 11. The working group will follow up the allegations in discussion with the Order member(s), the person making the allegations and any others involved, keeping in dialogue with the Chair, Order convenors, President and Chair and Deputies of the College. 12. If the allegations are criminal, formal legal advice will be sought and action taken accordingly. It may be necessary to report the matter to the police or other authorities.

        Saddhaloka, Chair of the College of Public Preceptors Parami and Lokeshvara, Order convenors Dhammarati, Convenor of the International Council.”

        • All in house, keeping things quiet. “If the allegations are criminal……it may be necessary to report.the issue to the police.” Bullshit. What considerations will be taken?.whether the repiutation oof the Order will be damaged? Elsewhere, if a criminal act is noted, it MUST be reported to the police. This is all just window dressing,with the primary aim of self preservation. And of course, it’s not in place, all just suggestions, not legally binding. More self serving lies AS ALWAYS

        • To knowingly conceal a criminal act is in itself a criminal act under uk law. This safeguarding policy is therefore bullshit. All it safeguards.is Triratnas reputation

          • Sangharakhita says in Conversations with Bhante from 2009: This whole terminiology of abuse has been very much overworked and I don’t think that any of my sexual activities in the past could have been described as remotely abusive.

            Mark Dunlop: I said I did not want to – followed by spiritual coercion. Lingwood pressurised him.
            Ananda: Did not want to – I do remember feeling let down, cheapened, almost physically dirty, and I’d have given anything for that not to have happened. Lingwood pressurised him.
            Yashomitra: patted on the bum by Lingwood after a serious sexual assault from K, uses Y for own sexual gratification later. Lies fully – says he never had a sexual relationship with Y. Lingwood and co groomed him.
            Prass: misused spiritually to provide sexual gratification; Lingwood wants him to believe he had given up heterosexuality for the sake of Dhamma; Lingwood grooms him. alienates Prass from mother of P’s child and his son.
            Mitra: Lingwood lies about being celibate since mid 80s. Oral and masturbation sex with mitra. Says he never had sex with mitra. Tells him to keep it secret. Mitra shunned when he speaks up.

            People around S collude in the whole thing.

            Haselmere – two guys
            BBC 1992 – one guy at padmaloka – abusive teachings flagged up
            BBC 2016 – three guys at padmaloka
            1997 Guardian – Three guys Croydon / elsewhere -abusive teachings flagged up again
            2016 Mitra – one guy – Birmingham
            Shabda: Lots of guys ‘teaching’ KMsex – culture of copying Lingwood and accepting it as normal.

            What is triratnas definition of What is abuse?

            • Thank you Stephen for this very clear and concise summary!

            • Dont forget Sachin Kumar Singh in India and Terry Delamare in the early days. Thats 9. Nor the meeting in 2003 where senior OMs were asked to talk about their experiences of sex with him-that takes it into double figures [while they claim this was not abuse because it was consensual, it breached fiduciary care responsibility, and thus Triratnas own safeguarding policy which, very conveniently, ‘cannot be applied retrospectively’) In a conversation between 2 OMs, they estimated ‘hundreds”.
              This ‘guru’ is in fact a prolific, serial sex abuser-all bow down before him

  54. Triratnavisitor says:

    To add to the discussion on the status and treatment of Sangharakshita within the Order, not only is he referred to as Bhante and Urgyen, he was described (in the last year) at a public talk at the London Buddhist Centre that I attended, by Jnanavaca, the head of LBC, as a Bodhisattva. This produced a sort of excited hush, a frisson, within the room. There is zero chance of them appraising him honestly as they would destroy their Order in the process, given the level of veneration for him and the idiosyncrasy of his presentation of the dharma.

    For OMs (such as Miss Anon) now to start saying he is just an ordinary, frail, flawed human being is disingenuous, as that is not the role he has played in the development of the Order, and, in a different way, it is not consistent with his behaviour. His deceitfulness and manipulative behaviour, together with the egotism displayed in Conversations with Bhante and some of his writings and video presentations, indicate a strongly narcissistic personality.

    In spite of this (and it is a paradox not unusual in religion) the centres do a lot of good work and there are very many very serious and committed practitioners of the dharma within the Order. They will have to continue their practice, but they will struggle to do that within an environment of Sangharakshita-veneration. They cannot simply up sticks and join another Buddhist movement (the Order has distinctive features that they won’t find elsewhere and that are too important to them, and many are dependent on it for money and housing). It is inevitable that it will split into two. The structure of the Order (each centre being legally distinct from the other (assuming that to be true)) will facilitate a split.

  55. Mark Dunlop is a very brave and courageous man, who against all the odds, had had the strength and mettle to keep writing, talking and telling the truth. Often in isolation, he has faced derision, contempt and personal attacks from Sangharakshita’s devotees as here:
    https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/alt.religion.buddhism.tibetan/w85Zck-OXAc%5B76-100%5D
    The personal attacks and denials continue to this day.
    The order’s continued denials, cover ups and reframing of people’s experiences is unravelling. In the recent Inside Out programme two younger men told the BBC similar stories of being lured into sex with Sangharakshita under the guise of spiritual progress and kalyana mitrata. There are more stories on the Dialogue Ireland website and even more that the order know of.
    Without Mark’s endurance the truth would have been buried.
    Mark is due a public apology from the order and a debt of gratitude for taking on the burden of truth for so long.

    I have never met Gary Beesley, who worked so incredibly hard to write ‘The FWBO Files’.
    Several pages of the order’s Response to ‘The FWBO Files’ have been deleted since The BBC Inside Out programme was broadcast.
    The writer of ‘The FWBO Files’ has also been personally attacked and vilified by the order.
    Gary is also due an apology from the order and a debt of gratitude for taking on the burden of truth for so long. He showed there was an embedded culture of abuse. He was right.

    The tireless work these men have done to tell the truth over decades will have saved some from the dangers of intimate involvement with FWBO Triratna.

    Independently of Mark Dunlop or ‘The FWBO Files’, a German ex-mitra has told his story of sex, denial and secrecy from 2003. Sangharakshita has lied about being celebate since the mid 1980s. The order are complicit in the cover up and lies.

    In the space of weeks, the order have been publicly confronted with three more stories of spiritual-sexual abuses, implicating its founder and leader Sangharakshita at Padmaloka and Birmingham. How long will the order maintain that the abusive culture was limited to Croydon and that Sangharakshita was not involved?

  56. In fact, going to Triratna followers for advice when in need may not be an instance of the blind leading the blind; perhaps it is more akin to the blind leading the partially sighted. For me, having the guts to look in and try and.come to terms with ones inner demons shows deeper spiritual awareness than blindly following the false and abusive doctrines of a self proclaimed ‘master’ who can’t even keep his penis in his trousers, without having the wisdom to investigate his pseudo Buddhist teachings and compare them to the teachings of the traditions. Who is the wise one here? Those who blindly follow or those who question?
    As for the support one receives from the sangha, I would suggest it is very easy to be taken in by love bombing and tactical targeting of potential converts- the NKT, SGI, the Moonies and Triratna FWBO all have well developed policies on how to draw people in- this advice is sometimes even visible on the web, in documents designed for centre coordinators and so forth.
    But the real test of a genuine sangha is how they relate to former members. If you think Triratnas sangha are a worthy object of refuge, why not ask Mark Dunlop, who gave up his inheritance and his chance of a family life to support Sangharakshita. How has he been treated by these ‘loving’ people?
    What about Yashomitras experience? For his devotion he was rewarded with rape and being branded a liar. There is a long and growing list of former members who can attest to how helpful Triratnas old boys club is for those who have dared to question. Regarding Triratna then, with friends like that, who needs enemies?
    Just look at how. they dealt with Gary Beesley, who revealed the truth about the Order, thus giving them the o opportunity to come clean and revitalise the Order. From the very beginning.he was branded a liar and a hate filled anti Buddhist and his vilification has continued right down to the pressing. The Order even manipulated the UK Network of Buddhist Organizations into defaming him and publicly stating that none of his allegations had been proven, thus blackening his name throughout the British Buddhist world for decades. And yet the reality is that all of his allegations have gradually revealed themselves to be true.
    Are these people really genuinely spiritual. Or are they politically motivated power seeking narcissists, who have aided and abetted a serial sex abuser in carrying out a lengthy program of sexual abuse of young men, young men who have then been left broken by their experiences, spat out and left at the side of the road to fend for themselves Are these people really the ideal spiritual friends?

  57. Two Buddhists (not order members) have set up a page on FB to discuss ways to move the Triratna ‘mess’ on. There are some caring Order members -rank and file – and some non-order members. Some want to shape and apology or more, but they are not the ones ‘in power’ in the hierarchy. This is where I am at.

    Dear All,
    I went to bed mulling over Dh U’s kind suggestion to offer what I might want to have included in a document for potential discussion with a group of preceptors and felt pleased that there was some drive to change things. I thank you all again.
    But I wake up in the middle of the night and am back in the nightmare moment of finding Yashomitra’s letter a year ago – cold – with the same horrendous mix and rush of anger and fear pulsing through me as then. I see a schoolboy, hardly 17, the same age as some I teach, being taken into a room in a ‘religious centre’ after prayers and being seriously sexually assaulted by an older priest. Who the hell is doing it to him in the room? Who is this guy? Where is he? This is not a one off offence – this guy is used to doing this. He’s done this before. And since. I can see and ‘feel’ the boy reeling in shock from what he has experienced. He feels cheap and dirty and confused and wants to accept it’s the ‘Buddhism’ he has been ‘taught’ already -the kalyana mitrata sex and leaving mother entering manhood stuff. I know instinctively that he has been groomed. He doesn’t. I can feel his disorientation and his shock. He needs help so turns to others but gets more of the same. The leader, who he is already in awe of, does not notice the boy for real; he sees a pretty bum to pat and endorses his experience as sex with a friend, a spiritual friend. The leader later has him in his room. He is kind and encouraging. Grooming has worked. The leader is happy. He has a huge pool of young men around him. He is loved and adored. He can take his pick. He is saving them from neurotic attachment to women. He calls it spiritual friendship. He has created a world where this is normal and no one challenges him. He is used to getting what he wants; spiritual practice for others meets a lot of his needs. He can always justify it. People think he is a spiritual giant. His most devoted disciples copy him and adopt his way of thinking. They surround him now. They can always justify anything, too. Almost. There are cracks now.
    I am writing this with the same intensity for compassion that I had then. The same intensity of compassion which has forced me to be involved. The same intensity of compassion that led me to search for J and D and Mark D and others – and there are others; we all know that – and tell them that I believe them. I searched for some of you, too. I searched for Gary Beesley. He wrote the FWBO Files. He is a Buddhist. I searched for Bj (mitra) and found him. We never told him about the others. Bj (mitra) worked out his journey for himself.
    I have spent hours talking to and with these men and others and filling in the gaps. They – and some of you – have helped me do that and also helped me to understand the inner world of Triratna that ‘outsiders’ do not normally see. I had only ever been shown the lovely outer world. Sometimes I felt very sick, hearing what went on under the guise of spirituality. I feel sick because I can see how those around the leader cover things up and tidy them away. One minimising sentence on the September BBC documentary – over 90 years of these guys’ (not Bj’s) joint suffering popped into a neat little sentence on The Buddhist Centre online. I wished that I could ‘unknow’ what I had been told. That is not an option. It may be for others.
    Last night I was mulling over how to speak as I find in a nice ‘Triratna speak’ way, so that I might stand a chance of those around the leader possibly agreeing to listen to me / us. ‘Feeling’ Yashomitra’s experience again so clearly last night has purged me of that. I have no desire to protect Sangharakshita or his order. Or to speak to them at all at the moment. I am working – as are others of you – outside the prescribed hierarchical routes. You are welcome to join me / us.
    Someone posting on the Buddhism Controversy blogspot last night offered this as food for thought:
    …………………………………………………………………………………………
    Stephen says:
    November 22, 2016 at 6:41 pm
    Sangharakhita says in Conversations with Bhante from 2009 – This whole terminiology of abuse has been very much overworked and I don’t think that any of my sexual activities in the past could have been described as remotely abusive.

    Mark Dunlop: I said I did not want to – followed by spiritual coercion. Lingwood pressurised him.
    Ananda: Did not want to – I do remember feeling let down, cheapened, almost physically dirty, and I’d have given anything for that not to have happened. Lingwood pressurised him.
    Yashomitra: patted on the bum by Lingwood after a serious sexual assault from K, uses Y for own sexual gratification later. Lies fully – says he never had a sexual relationship with Y. Lingwood and co groomed him.
    Prass: misused spiritually to provide sexual gratification; Lingwood wants him to believe he had given up heterosexuality for the sake of Dhamma; Lingwood grooms him. alienates Prass from mother of P’s child and his son.
    Mitra: Lingwood lies about being celibate since mid 80s. Oral and masturbation sex with mitra. Says he never had sex with mitra. Tells him to keep it secret. Mitra shunned when he speaks up.
    People around S collude in the whole thing.
    Haselmere – two guys
    BBC 1992 – one guy at padmaloka – abusive teachings flagged up
    BBC 2016 – three guys at padmaloka
    1997 Guardian – Three guys Croydon / elsewhere -abusive teachings flagged up again
    2016 Mitra – one guy – Birmingham
    Shabda: Lots of guys ‘teaching’ KMsex – culture of copying Lingwood and accepting it as normal.
    What is triratnas definition of What is abuse?
    …………………………………………………………………………………………..
    Is this really Buddhism?
    Thanks for the messages. Don’t be frightened to speak up. Don’t be frightened to do something.
    Joc x

  58. The Triratna order leadership is currently asking its order members to write into a group space (order controlled and order only) and write openly about anything involving ‘stuff from the past’ .This is a travesty of safeguarding. A safe organisation has an external and neutral route to follow. A safe organisation does not expect its members to make disclosures / talk about such sensitive issues en masse or in the space controlled by its power base. A safe organisation does not create a space where disclosures can be ‘tried’ and judged. Order member A. is right to press for an external safeguarding team and route. Ironically, Maitribala, who has shown most interest in educating the order about safeguarding, is locked out of his order account. The space for anyone to ‘share sensitive stuff’ is not in the space he is locked out of. It is in a safe and neutral space, which respects the confidentiality of the participants. Neutrality and confidentiality are the hallmarks of robust safeguarding. Order member A: I am still happy to talk to you about safeguardng! (And other things) with metta

    • Part of cult characteristics is the control of information. This sounds exactly like that characteristic. By reporting your feelings and experiences to the order in a closed group Triratna leadership is able to control and guide the whole process according to their own ambitions or ends. Moreover, it could be used to blackmail or manipulate those who don’t share the leadership pov on the events. Moreover, they could use the information to prepare for a media battle and threaten people to reveal secrets they shared in the group if they speak to the press.

      I totally agree with you:

      A safe organisation has an external and neutral route to follow. A safe organisation does not expect its members to make disclosures / talk about such sensitive issues en masse or in the space controlled by its power base. A safe organisation does not create a space where disclosures can be ‘tried’ and judged. Order member A. is right to press for an external safeguarding team and route.

      I would recommend anybody from Triratna who has to say/share something to do it with a professional neutral and save organisation such as INFORM. At least, this will protect their privacy as well as it can be a means to soberly inform the public and thereby to prevent future harm to open spiritual seekers.

      • karma dondrub tsering says:

        “Part of cult characteristics is the control of information. ”
        this is also true of a good number of human organisations, companies, governements, NGOs, you name it …
        unfortunately, this a long time time now since ” leadership is able to control and guide the whole process according to their own ambitions or ends” be it in this so called Triratna, or wherever you want, the problem is when it destroys “common decency” – not to mention Dharma

  59. Dear Tenpel – may I share your comment on another discussion? I will also invite them to join us here.

    Maitribala / Simon (Who spoke out on the BBC documentary) has told me that one argument he has heard this week to defend Sr being a sexually active teacher is that some lecturers at, for example, a uni went / go to bed with their students.
    Both ‘settings’ offer teaching and learning, there is an age gap, an experience of subject disparity and there is also an imbalance of knowledge and understanding of the subject matter. The fatal difference is that Sr’s teachings promote the actual act of sex between Teacher and student (male male / single sex) as part of his Dharma course. He has presented it as if it were part of the Dharma. It is his own invented curriculum. And he was the sole teacher and appraiser. He is still the sole Teacher with a capital T. That is why it was (potentially still is) so alarming. The Clear Vision/ Triratna video shown in the September 2016 BBC documentary show him at the front of a ‘lecture room’ of his student-disciples taking questions. He is defered to and refered to as Bhante and he is given a platform to extol the virtues of teacher-student sex as ‘creative’ and ‘inspiring’ and good for the FWBO. He cleverly plants the idea that it is modern attitudes that have impaired such creative and inspiring possibilities. This was filmed in house and placed on an FWBO / Triratna educational website used in schools. Munisha, whose dual role as both safeguarding officer and PR person is unethical, makes the excuse in the media response that it was in the adult section of the website and not the schools section of the website. That in itself is alarming. But it also indicates that she believes it is appropriate for adults to receive Bhante’s defence of and promotion of sex between teachers and students. That is damning in itself but it was on a website shared with under 18s. It would be laughable were it not so serious. And it is serious.
    Whereas responsible institutions e.g. Royal School of Music put checks and balances in place to minimise damage to students’ learning, Triratna are seen promoting Bhante’s ideas on sex between teachers and students still. Maybe it is still ‘invisible teaching’ to some. The BBC did not include his final line: “I have no regrets”.

    • Dear Joc, yes, you can share my comments or parts of it where it is useful. Yes, and pls invite them to join us here.

      Oh Buddha, it makes me speechless what you write. Thank you for sharing this.

    • Are Triratna really that disconnected from reality? If a university lecturer sleeps with a student he or she is subject to disciplinary action in any university. What planet do these people live on? They’re completely lost.

      • I can’t remember that sex between student and university lecturer was a model at all while I studied… This idea was just not there. We even didn’t have any discussion (nor interest) in it. Don’t know how it is legally.

        For sure, again Lingwood clearly aims to make his sexual desires or his preferences the norm for society and his followers – he successfully aims to fit the world into his very own cosmos of sexual desires and Triratna is his propaganda tool to achieve this. His blinded followers turn a blind eye on it or lack the courage or clarity and compassion to refuse these deluded non-dharmic attempts. – At least, this is the impression I get here following the discussion.

        Lingwood twists Buddhism to meet his desires. But what he says regarding this, has nothing to do with Buddhism. The Buddha taught the end of desire is highest bliss. The Buddha didn’t teach to fulfil one’s desires is highest bliss, instead the Buddha compared desire with “honey on a razor blade”.

        • In the uk, legally, sex between a teacher and student can happen once the he student is 21
          However, the law is override not by all unis safeguarding policies which recognise such as breach of fiduciary care. Invariably this would result in disciplinary proceedings and in most cases loss of post

        • Triratnavisitor says:

          Tempel: “The Buddha taught the end of desire is highest bliss. The Buddha didn’t teach to fulfil one’s desires is highest bliss, instead the Buddha compared desire with “honey on a razor blade”.

          Except that that is where you end up if you say that the Four Noble Truths are not really about the path to the cessation of suffering , they are about (“when adapted to the conditions of the West”) the path to self-realisation. That is the core philosophy of Triratna.

          • It looks like that you don’t like the clarity of the statement,

            The Buddha taught the end of desire is highest bliss. The Buddha didn’t teach to fulfil one’s desires is highest bliss, instead the Buddha compared desire with “honey on a razor blade”.

            Its just that. Why do you have to put a twist on that?
            Nobody said – and so far there is nobody on the horizon who is going to say – “the Four Noble Truths are not really about the path to the cessation of suffering”. … “When adapted to the conditions of the West”? It’s still the same, the abandoning of desire is highest bliss, following desire is like licking honey on a razor blade. Whatever you call “the core philosophy of Triratna” or “the path to self-realisation” when it teaches desire and increases desire it is not Buddha’s teaching. Buddha’s teaching is a about the pacification and the end of desire. If you can’t see that, I think you missed the very core of what the Buddha was teaching …

            ADVICE FROM A KADAMPA MASTER
            “What is the difference between Dharma and non-Dharma?” the teacher Drom[tönpa] was asked by Potowa.

            “If something is in opposition to fettering passions, it is Dharma. If it is not, it is not Dharma. If it does not accord with worldly people, it is Dharma. If it does accord, it is not Dharma. If it accords with the teachings of Buddha, it is Dharma. If it does not accord, it is not Dharma. If good follows, it is Dharma. If bad follows, it is not Dharma.” –Tsunba Jegom, Precepts Collected from Here and There (Kadam Thorbu)

            • Indeed ”It’s not just about philosophy, it’s about human suffering.” My experience is that the absolute can also be ‘imposed’ on the relative experience in a dismissive way. For example when one is reminded of desire being the root of craving and of the buddha’s emphasis on celibacy as respond to (suffering resulting from) breaches of ethics (when) thus misplacing responsability.

            • Triratnavisitor says:

              You misunderstand me. I agree with everything you say and admire you’re clarity. I am contrasting what you say (which is correct) with what Triratna says or seems to say, and deprecating the latter.

          • Hi Triratnavisitor, i read you like this:

            ”Except that that is where (with the honey on the razor blade, no highest bliss, meanng : in dual persective..?) you end up (as you feel one in Triratna does..?) if you say that the Four Noble Truths are not really about the path to the cessation of suffering (as you feel how Triratna does/acts in reality?) they are about (“when adapted to the conditions of the West”) the path to self-realisation. That is the core philosophy of Triratna.

            What do you in this context mean by self-realisation? Can you say some more about that?
            That one ends up feeling better about one-selve but is still clinging…? D’you have the experience many OM’s seem to have a sense of self-deception..? ;-)
            I feel there is a strong tendency towads essentialisme, conceptualisme, literalisme. If there is not they are not so advanced in ethics etc… and actually do cause harm.

            To tenpel: Buddhist ethics does not say desire is ‘wrong’ does it… It’s the clinging. Or aversion/to pretent not to cling, the selfcentredness… I can see there is a apparent connection with fundamental undstanding of the Dharma and breaches of ethics/integrity and other unwholesome dynamics though.

            • karma dondrub tsering says:

              Dear Sir,

              actually, Buddha-dharma seems to be about non-self, so where does self-realisation stand? this makes effectively “self-realisation” going somewhere into vaishnava-land (but many contemporary Buddhists make a disatrous use of “conscious(ness)” and “mind”
              but, as far as as “desire” is involved, I have to inform you that, unfortunately, “desire” is one of the three poisons,”desire” is not ‘wrong’, it is the root of all evils, craving …

              • In re to thread selfrealisation/desire.
                I understand developing a positive sense of self is part of shammatha.
                And that integration of shadow- / unconscious parts is part of the whole process of ‘awakening’. I dont know if you can call that ‘self’ realisation, i suppose one could no?
                It seems v important to understand or stress words have the tendency to seperate and to fixate and constrict reality …
                I like the tibetan notion that Nirvana is Samsara, they cannot be seperated… To see through the attachment to clinging/desire one has recognise it and stay with Vedana and practice common decency indeed… I tend to agree with the disastrous use people/contemporary buddhist make of ‘consciouness” and ‘mind’ and this is saddening.

                • “I understand developing a positive sense of self is part of shammatha.
                  And that integration of shadow- / unconscious parts is part of the whole process of ‘awakening’. I dont know if you can call that ‘self’ realisation, i suppose one could no?”
                  This is pseudo Buddhism. If you are going to make such claims, justify them on the basis of the Buddha’s word. Or cite commentaries by recognised Indian masters. AFAIAA there are no such concepts in genuine Buddhism It sounds very much like Lingwoodism,most of which is his ego fantasy

                  • The buddha is quote to have said “Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”
                    :-)

          • If Triratna Buddhism is not about the path to the end of suffering then it is not Buddhism
            As the 4 noble truths are the core teaching of the Buddha and the practice of Buddhism is about achieving the end of suffering any path which does not do this is not the Buddha’s word
            As for ‘ the science of self realisation’ it sounds like you’ve been reading the works of AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabuphada, the founder of ISKCON, rather than any Buddhist teaching. What Buddhist scripture preaches ‘self realisation’ At best it’s a Hindu idea, and at worst just hippy claptrap. Following the Buddhist path requires wisdom and an enquiring mind. Wake up and do some research!

            • What’s clear from this post is the poster ( and the whole of Triratna ?) are clueless about the nuances of tenets and the nature of the goal. This is not surprising considering tthe leader has focused on distorting the path rather than its outcome- the latter is completely outside his field of interest
              However, since due to embarrassment, it is highly unlikely that the poster will respond, let’s not get bogged down in the orders pathetic understanding of what constitutes enlightenment . Rather, we should focus on the distortions Lingwood has introduced into the Buddhist path and the horrific consequences that have transpired.
              It’s not just about philosophy, it’s about.human suffering

              • When Triratnavisitor writes:
                ‘Except that that [teaching that to fulfil one’s desires is highest bliss?] is where you end up if you say that the Four Noble Truths are not really about the path to the cessation of suffering , they are about (“when adapted to the conditions of the West”) the path to self-realisation. That is the core philosophy of Triratna.’

                it could be that they are reporting (and criticising) Triratna teaching as they have experienced it, rather than endorsing it. Saying something like, self-realisation ends up as self-indulgence in Triratna.

                That is one possible interpretation of their post anyway, though it is not very clear exactly what they meant.

                • One thing is for sure. In a group that emphasises mindfulness of breathing and metta bhavana while rejecting vipassana ( Lingwoods theory is that vipassana causes mental illness !!) there cannot possibly be liberation or nirvana. The metta bhavana and breathing meditation can, at most lead to the attainment of the brahma viharas, the samsaric absorptions of worldly gods. Still, Lingwood was never interested in liberating beings from suffering , just gathering followers and abusing the pretty ones. His ‘buddhism’ is just a means to an end.

                  • It must be said they have somewhat changed there attitude towards vipassana/insight practice.

                    Wikipedia says:
                    ”The founder, Sangharakshita, described meditation as having four phases.
                    The first two according to his system (‘integration’ and ‘positive emotion’), can be correlated to the traditional category of “calming” “samatha” practices, and the last two (spiritual death and spiritual rebirth) can be correlated to “insight” or “vipassana” practices.
                    For those not ordained into the Triratna Buddhist Order, the practices associated with the first two are emphasised, though the spirit of the last two is also taught.

                    These phases are:
                    1.Integration. The main practice at this stage is the mindfulness of breathing, which is intended to have the effect of “integrating the psyche” – improving mindfulness and concentration, and reducing psychological conflict.
                    2.Positive emotion. The second aspect of samatha is developing positivity – an other-regarding, life-affirming attitude. The Brahmavihara meditations, especially the ‘metta bhavana’ or cultivation of loving kindness meditations, are the key practices intended to foster the development of positive emotion.
                    3.Spiritual death. The next stage is to develop insight into what is seen to be the emptiness of the self and reality. Meditations at this stage include considering the elements of which self and world are thought to be composed; contemplating impermance (particularly of the body); contemplating suffering; and contemplating sunyata.
                    4.Spiritual rebirth. The WBO teaches that, with the development of insight and the death of the limited ego-self, a person is spiritually reborn. Practices which involve the visualization of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are among the main practices in this phase. At ordination, each dharmachari(ni) is given an advanced visualisation meditation on a particular figure.”

                    But still: the way a group reacts to allegations of misconduct may be a good indicator of its underlying dysfunction…

                    • The description of ‘spiritual rebirth’ ,is a term unheard of in traditional Buddhist teachings from which the order claim their teachings are derived. In fact, the whole concept of the ‘death of the limited ego- self’ and of a person being ‘spiritually reborn’ are fraught with contradiction and raise numerous questions about Triratnas understanding of what constitutes liberation and enlightenment. It sounds more like a kind of Buddhism lite, an extremely confused and conflagrated mish mash of post Buddhist, jungian and hippy, pseudo Buddhism rather than any genuine doctrine. I wonder for instance, whether there is any understanding of Theravada and Mahayana tenets, or whether practitioners consider the rangtong/ shentong dichotomy, or the similarities and distinctions between Dolpopas and Kongtruls interpretations of the goal? Somehow, considering the simplistic description of their path, I doubt it..
                      However, this is not a debate over philosophy. We are here to expose the inhumane abusive behaviour of the orders founder and his close supporters. I hope this will be the last post concerning doctrines, excluding those false ones widely used to facilitate abuse We can philosophise until the cows come home. But time is running, Lingwood is not getting any younger. We need to get more people to speak out, more people to report their abuse to the authorities so that the case is strengthened, the man is held to account and the order are forced to compensate the victims who were abused, while their ‘men of wisdom’ stood by and turned a blind eye

                    • Re Stephen:
                      They seem to feel powerfull and selfrightious. They have a habbit of closing ranks in the face of ‘criticism’. The dissidents must be pushed out when no longer possible to manipulate the situation. However unconscious this might be. They might be aware this man stands for a growing group of people.

                • Triratnavisitor says:

                  I am not a member or a supporter of this order, i have sometimes visited their centres to find out what they are about. Hence “Triratnavisitor”. In my post above I was trying to contrast Buddhism properly understood on the one hand with what I believe to be their core philosophy on the other. The Triratna philosophy seems to be about self-realisation, which is not what Buddhism is about, and which can degenerate into a philosophy of narcissism.

                  • Thank you for posting again and for your clarification. I agree with you. I apologise for having misunderstood you so thoroughly. I misinterpreted you are a Triratna follower who wants to convince us about how correct it is to preach sex with students…

                • Interesting. Thank you Mark. Just approved 2 further comments by Triratnavisitor. Let’s see…

    • Please note Munisha is also head honcho at Clear Vision, the educational wing of the group.Therefore, that video was uploaded with her knowledge.This is why she dare not speak out. She’s in it up to her neck. When this story breaks, she’s for the chopping block, as one of the principle facilitators of Lingwoods sick master plan

      • If there is an investigation by MASH into the current effectiveness of claimed safeguarding polocies in Triratna: I have extented mailcommunication in my possession around a recent concern and permission to hand it over.

        • Yes, the various MASH teams across the country (soon wider) can link up quite effectively. The police and social services are interlinked with MASH in various ways and yes, there are wheels within wheels now enabling the authorities to monitor particular places and particular ‘problem areas’.
          A very significant post has been made on a closed but friendly group and it contains admissions and an apology. The writer is apologising for his part. One can tell he was an impressionable teenager at the time, too. More on this later. Let’s hope that others now follow his lead. A friend has obviously enabled him to share his apology.

          • When can we expect apologies for todays harm done…in 30 more years..?

            • According to the official Triratna narrative sex with Sangharakshita or Triratna teachers is/was “beneficial” and such sex (even if psychologically pressured or manipulated with pseudo-spiritual explanations) enabled “spiritual growth”.
              Students being harmed who don’t subscribe to this narrative (or critics who don’t buy into it) but question it are attacked and defamed by leading Triratna order members. What is the learning process here? There is none, isn’t it?
              As long as this misconception of “sex with your spiritual teacher is good for spiritual growth” is not challenged or questioned by the Triratna leadership and leading order members as well as devoted followers, I think nothing will change.

              • Tenpel: thank you for your respond. Part of the enheritance is that breaches of fiductary care/ethics are consided v normal, wether or not considered beneficial.

  60. Override not should b ‘overriden’

  61. Just heard that the guy who spoke up on the BBC has been asked to resign by some other order member for his own integrity. Apparently the main reason is that he is not reverencing Sangharakshita. Personality cult or what?

    • What ah utter disgrace! What is he supposed to be referencing: Lingwoods ability to avoid prosecution despite years of abuse of innocents?
      Actually, it’s a blessing for the chap concerned- perhaps he can now practice Buddhism instead.
      Pin sure the people at the BBC will be interested to hear this. It might also encourage the abused to prosecute, after his sacrifice.
      The Buddha will embrace him while the denizens of hell await Lingwoods immanent demise. Both are worthy of our compassion. One man is liberated while another ventures deeper into darkness

  62. Dear Stephen and site readers, yes I can confirm that ‘Maitribala’ has received an email and that he has been ‘requested’ to resign by a local chair person possibly acting on his own or possibly being asked to effect this. Either could be the case. (Ironically, it’s the same chairman that was very polite but overwhelmed when I and a local head teacher suggested to him and a female order convenor that Norwich / Norfolk has disclosures of historic abuse that have never been dealt with despite being very common knowledge. We reminded them that their safeguarding policies should be activated as the Anglican Safeguarding Team did in the case of Bishop Peter Ball (aspiring priests in late teens and early twenties in the 80s) The chairman stated very clearly that he believes that safeguarding has ‘gone too far’ and that Triratna policies do not cover anything from the past. This seems to be the position Munisha Catherine Hopper (Safeguarding and PR) is also taking. I hope that she will correct me here if I am wrong.

    However, I do need to restate, as I said above, that there are several order members, who do not agree with such a request to resign and do not want M to resign. I can also confirm that some order members are working – as best they can – to bring about some form of resolution to a situation that has dragged on for decades, dragging them along with it. I can vouch for the emotional pain being felt by the order members and mitra I have been able to communicate with recently. It is very close to the painful family dynamics described in a previous post.

    Unfortunately, ‘outsiders’ only see ‘the official face’ of the order as presented for example in ‘The Triratna Story’ and The Buddhist Centre online. They only hear ‘the official voice’ of the order so it is, of course, no wonder that many outsiders are angry and frustrated at the lack of compassion for a whole array of ‘harmed people’ who got / get caught up in Sr’s ideology of kmsex, ‘abstaining from the world of women’ and being ‘taught’ to leave their families. This ‘we do care’ voice and face is not seen or heard beyond Triratna circles. I do feel privileged to have ‘spoken’ recently with a few order members who do care that this situation is resolved. It might be possible to engage with them here, but I think it is a scary space for them. It is not safe to be seen representing a view that questions the offical lines.
    Given that we have acknowledged the painful place those ‘family members’ might be in, would we on this thread be able to listen to someone from that pained group? It might be necessary for someone to hide their identity as these people do seem to be ‘putting themselves on the line’ to engage with me and others hoping to effect a deep and sincere apology for harmed cause and its long term denial. What do we think? Can we welcome them? (They may not accept, but I want to create a safe space in case one or more does).

    ‘Maitribala’ is absolutely fine. He feels released and liberated from reverencing Sangharakshita. He has also been locked out of two order only on line spaces, including The Buddhist Centre online. Thankfully, his moral integrity is greater than that of those who seek to control the narrative and run a space where people’s character and actions e.g. Bjorn’s, MD’s can be trashed without any right to reply. Bjorn did not know at all what they wrote about him. No wonder they need to lock Maitribala out of the website. He might call out other misuses of power.
    In fact, it was me and another two order members that located the Shabda articles about Bjorn. ‘Maitribala’ had never seen any information about Sr’s involvement with oral and masturbatory sex with a mitra 50 years plus his junior in 2003 / 2004. It had been ‘swept under the carpet’. (In Conversations with Bhante Sr claims he has been celibate since mid 1980s, so that is probably the reason they need to twist the narrative.) The other two order members also helped Maitribala see how Bjorn’s experience had been ‘managed’ and ‘massaged away’ by Mahamati and Subhuti. I have the documents as a pdf from them. If the reverencing of S IS the corner stone for the group, then it is a cult of personality. I know there are some order members who are members but not reverencing Sr now. How easy it is for one not to bow down to his image, sing his anthem or show gratitude to him on a refuge tree? It is hard to not conform as Maitribala has found out. Thankfully, he had good links to other friends in and outside the order.

    It is surprising that the order are so hesitant to take action when they have disclosure of ‘sexual inappropriateness’ laid publicly on their table. Yet someone has the power to quickly shut down communication access to someone who has shown immense moral integrity by flagging up misuse of power via sex, silence and denial. The writer of the email does do exactly what several of us on here predicted: Turns the courageous act of whistleblowing into an apparent abuse of the trust of others. You can have someone teach kmsex for years and get bowed down to, but if someone flags up a breach of morality, they are locked out of order spaces. This is cultic. The second reason given is that M does not show reverence to Sangharakshita. This is also cultic.

    I have a copy of the email sent.

    Anyway, what I do want to say is that there is a some grass roots movement for change that I can see since the BBC and Bj’s story came to light. I can also confirm that at least one order member tried to get Sr or the order to accept that kmsex was in appropriate at the very least. Sr did not want to accept it, so his order – and all in it – is still in a mess and viewed with suspicion and / or alarm by many outside. It is not possible yet to hear and see the dissenting voices, those who do want change.
    We need to nurture those who might be able to put the victims’ needs for acknowledgement and an apology on the table. Could you let me know that we are willing to create a safe space here for them?

    • Thank you very much Joc for updating us about these matters and developments. This is very kind of you!
      And the information is very interesting though I cannot follow everything. Who is Bjorn? What happened to him?

      —–

      Everybody is free here to post in the comment section. Comments are save in so far, that everybody can post anonymously and the ip or email been used for commenting are never shared. Sometimes I check the IP if I assume a socket puppetry and then I remind to stick to one pseudonym and not posting as one person under different pseudonyms.

      I am also very much interested that nobody is attacked or put down. If anything like this happened and I missed it, people made me aware of it in the past and then I deleted such comments or removed content from such comments while leaving a note that a passage from a comment or a whole comment was deleted. However, for this I need the support of those who do care about this too.

      In general I and most commentators take side and encourage those who have been harmed. The reason is that they need encouragement and support and the abusive organisations or abusive Buddhist leaders have already enough support and power and don’t need our support. However, I try to avoid at all costs to invoke images of an enemy towards those who are abusive or those groups who turn a blind eye on abuse. I try to follow the key principles of compassion and to avoid the manifestation of the three main kleshas, ignorance, hate and greed.

      A key problem of mine has become a lack of time. So rarely I can comment or act quickly.
      HTH

      —–

      BTW, if you think this comment section is not save, that is fine. But maybe you can post from time to time updates about the developments of those within Triratna who want to something about it? Thank you for your and others’ engagement. Thank you for not being silent, taking responsibility and also sharing these background developments with us. I wish you and everybody involved to change things to the better, strength, courage, clarity and compassion.

      Looking back to my experiences (East Germany, cults), it seems, bodies or organisations which are deeply rotten or which have a strong fixed ideological mental setup, can’t change really to the better – especially when the leadership itself is corrupt or rotten. So, though I wish you and the others good luck, please keep in mind also the option that you might run against walls and that you might waste your energy when you put it into change. However, it will be always useful to support, ease and listen to those being harmed.

      • Bjorn is the Germans ex-mitra’s name who came forward with his story of abuse publically.
        In respond to your last words above: considering there is no sign of party reformation, on the contrary, it seems important to keep trying to keep the dissident spirit up.

  63. I have, of course, suggested that they are free to work outside the power structures than limit them if they so choose. There is nothing stopping a group of people putting up a public apology themselves. for example, independent of those that seem to control the institution that apparently does not exist.

  64. This is a free listening space where anyone can post their experience
    If the persons concerned are frightened, use pseudonyms
    I am sure that everyone here wants to help them heal

  65. Is there any reason not to share the Shabda extracts and letter on this forum? Might enlighten us all.

  66. Potential posters here and those who comment must be aware of the incredible dichotomy their experiences have left them in. On the one hand, victims feel weakened spiritually, physically and mentally by their experience and will therefore find it very difficult to speak about the abuse and pain they have endured (Something Triratna seniors will see as their trump card and will feel happy about)
    On the other hand, these people who have been abused hold incredible power in their grasp, capable as they are of shattering the Orders top heavy perverted infrastructure with a single tap of a ‘send’ button, or a single phone call to the police
    Recently, within the last few days in fact, a somewhat uneducated British sporting figure claimed victims of abuse were emotionally weak. In response, the football player who revealed the abuse in soccer that currently dominates the press, said that in fact, those who speak out about abuse are the real men and that their actions were acts of the highest bravery.” It’s about saving lives” he said, “and there is no greater task than this”
    Ex FWBO who post here, either because they have been abused or simply because they are totally sickened by the arrogance and hypocrisy of the megalomaniac hierarchs and their current cover up campaign, should be treated with the highest respect: there is no greater task than protecting others from suffering and saving lives

    • Thank you, no name, I agree. Those who speak up are the strong once! And yes, “there is no greater task than protecting others from suffering and saving lives”.

  67. Just for your information. Since this brief post was posted the post is the most read or visited post on the whole blog. Attached the stats from last week:

  68. This was the third most read article across England on day of broadcast and is still attracting a large number of hits. Sit tight – other journalists are picking up on the story, Some order members know that this is on the cards; others seem to be putting their heads in the sand or still denying there is a problem. Some just do not want to know and won’t discuss with those who do. It is ‘off limits’ for some to even talk about it. Those with a sense of decency could get a joint statement together and publicly apologise for what has gone on in the name of the order they belong to. Four of the guys who have been incredibly damaged by kalyana mitrata with sex with Sanghrakshita and other aspects of his ideology that are self-created are showing concern for the mental health of order members and mitra hearing and reading things for the first time for real i.e. not via damage limitation. They know that stepping back from reverencing Sangharakshita has consequences – stepping back from cultic belief and dependence on a figure is hard. Very hard.. An order member in London has sent a contact a screen grab of someone confirming that a culture of km with sex was promoted and endorsed by Sangharakshita. This man was also 18 when he was ‘inducted’ into km sex practices at Padmaloka. Also under the age of consent. I have read this as a second hand comment on a different thread.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-37432719

  69. Re Tenpel: I will ask if he is okey with a link to his story here.

    • Thank you. For me as an outsider its hard to follow the details and stories. It was easier with the NKT because this was my cosmos of experiences and I could relate to all the details …

      • https://docs.google.com/file/d/0ByPI1gZWqGl7M2ZobXV0b2FLYWs/edit?filetype=msword
        Summary, by Björn:
        ”Dennis Lingwood is the perceived head of the organization ‘Triratna’ (formerly the ‘FWBO’). Seemingly out of gratitude for the transmission of Buddhadharma to the West, it looks as if his disciples were ready to fulfill him every wish. However, he did not leave the tradition as it is (which is impossible to grasp for one person, anyway), but he changed it to suit his own needs in terms of lifestyle and sexuality. His opinion was that women are occupied with reproduction and family, whereas men find it easier to transcend themselves. Thus, he encouraged heterosexual men to let go of their attachment to femininity, by having sex with men. It seems like there was a sex-rota for him at ‘Padmaloka’, the main center for ‘men who have asked for ordination’, in the seventies and early eighties – a rota to have sex with him. He also made up his own refuge tree, that people prostrated to (including myself); he changed traditional mantras, such as a mantra for protection during pregnancy, into his own longevity mantra, that many people recite, even now. When I was his assistant, employed at ‘FWBO Central’, he was quite free to build a relationship of trust with me. It seemed like he was ill, and in need of help. Officially, he was supposed to be celibate, as a so-called ‘anagarika’. However, as I was so in awe of him, I also tried to fulfill him wishes. He was intimate with me; not in terms of physical coercion; I was vulnerable to the projections I had on him; he got sexually aroused by that. When I told a colleague in this institution, Dennis immediately withdrew his ‘friendship’. Afterwards, I left my job, and a number of consequences ensued, gradually leading to illnesses (brain tumor), loss of employment opportunities, and loss of the family home. I tried to still protect Dennis’ reputation for quite a while, but when I heard that Dennis had done this with quite a number of young men, I went to the police; usually cases of sexual abuse are handled by the criminal police.
        The reason why I call it abuse is because this individual created a separation between a public world, where he can appear in public as an ‘anagarika’ (celibate/homeless wanderer), and privately as a lover who breaks young men’s attachment to reproduction and feminity.”

        • Bjorn has given permission for this email exchange with the author of the fwbo files to be shared with the audience of this site:
          Dialogues with the author of the FWBO files
          On Fri, 18 Nov 2016 at 20:09, Bjoern ………. @gmail.com> wrote:
          Dear G
          I hope you are well.
          I would love to connect with you; I am particularly interested in the tibetan Buddhist connections behind the ‘FWBO files’. I tried to still work with ‘order’ members, in clearing things up in the past; not fully understanding the sexual abuse that I was subject to. When I heard Mark D’s account of his sexual encounters with Dennis, I was shocked that it went on for such a long time; him and other people setting up the conditions for sex with young men. I’m horrified I got into such a thing; I broke off all contacts with ‘order’ members, and do not accept the ‘order’ at all any more.
          This is why I am also keen to discover the roots of the FWBO files, and the teacher that encouraged you to write them. We may connect over Skype, if you want to talk more personally.
          Since leaving Triratna/FWBO in 2004, I have practiced with Shambhala; the lineage going back to Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche.
          All the best
          Björn
          Hi Bjorn
          Nice to meet you.
          FYI The abuse didn’t start with Mark. S was abusing during his time in India ( remember, he was forced to leave by legal threats from a politician whose nephew, Sachin Kumar Singh, was abused by him.Pandit Nehru, who was a keen Anglophile was desperate to protect the reputation of the British and Buddhism and colluded with Christmas Humphreys to get him out of India without attracting too much attention. Humphreys convinced my friend Maurice Walshe to give him a job as sangha representative at Hampstead Buddhist Vihara. Maurice was Chair at HBH and told me that S soon started turning.up with young rent boys so they threw him out.This was not before he’d managed to trick Terry Delamare into having sex with him, which ultimately resulted in Terry’s suicide.( dr Elizabeth Tylden told me she attributed 3 suicides to men’s encounters with S.
          From my investigations, I was able to ascertain that S was having abusive sexual encounters from the beginning of his supposed founding of the Order: in conversation, two OMs concluded the number of people abused ran into hundreds. S has a prolific sexual appetite which he.was unable to control, a problem which persisted even into old age.
          While various Tibetan masters I studied with were concerned about S behaviour ( I have studied with around twenty masters from all four sects since 78) thel person who most encouraged me to write the Files was Maurice Walshe. Maurice Wass broken hearted about introducing S to the British Buddhst scene and felt personally responsible for the damage he was doing. Maurice begged me to right his wrong ( though he was not to blame)
          Glad to hear you still. practice, Trungpa was a great yogi but rather enigmatic.I have some reservations about Shambala but if it works for you then that’s cool. Personally, I find the Western need to belong to a specific group a little odd. After being a member of a few communities, nowadays I am just a Buddhist, trying to follow the tradition of the Big Lebowski!
          Hang loose
          G: Morning Bjorn
          Hope you’re ok? Sorry if my direct response to you shocked ( it IS shocking!) and hope I didn’t cause too much internal turmoil. I’m here if you need me.I will try to be more gentle/ diplomatic/ respectful
          Lots of love and respect
          Hello G,
          No, it’s fine; I just need time to respond, and I’m in touch with quite a few other people…
          Sometimes I’m having Skype conversations with people about this. Are you into that?
          Best wishes
          Björn
          G: I’m getting there; like you, it takes me time. But I want to help. We will talk soon.
          Stay in touch
          B: Hello G,
          Great! I guess there is no hurry…
          I hope your health improves.
          Best wishes
          Björn
          G: Well, there isn’t a very big chance of my healthp improving- I have a chronic degenerative neurological condition (Parkinsons ) so the best I can hope for is more good days than bad days! I’ve struggled to come to terms with it since I was diagnosed five years back and am JUST coming out of a very long period of deep depression as a result.
          What I’ve learned is that trying to fight internal psychological battles is pointless. If we want to go beyond depression and misery, we must first accept that these are both normal reactions to the suffering nature of the human condition. If one accepts them as normal, sane responses to the difficulties of life, one can gradually work through them.
          This goes for practice too; fightingt internal wars with the emotions just increases the mistaken belief in the reality of our hallucinated misery.Accepting the presence of suffering, samsaric thoughts and seeing them as normal, in perspective , against the backdrop of spacious awareness, allows us to gradually come to terms with and accept our experience
          Practice should NEVER be done to get rid of thoughts: it should be simply carried out, like cleaning the teeth or going to the toilet. It needs to be done no matter what one is going through, good or bad times, but not as an opponent to the emotions. Fighting emotions just gives them more power. Seeing them for what they are: flimsy, transitory, transparent and dream like, without rejecting them or trying to escape them gradually comes to fruition, as long as we don’t solidify them by fighting with them
          Please forgive me, I’m just thinking out loud, trying to help myself understand my own internal processes
          G
          B: That’s great, G. I’m in similar process, and it helps me that people accompany me!
          Reckognizing the dream as a dream…. I’m getting more and more hints that point in that direction, too.
          Sending love
          Björn
          G: Thanks Bjorn.
          It IS a dream. Dreams in sleep are the activity of consciousness. Likewise, the way we perceive space like experience in daily life, filled up with dualistic projections of self and other, is again, no more than the activity of consciousness
          I think we agree!
          G: And Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche stated very clearly that Lingwood ” had not received any higher tantric initiations, unless by false pretences”. I was told this by the person he said it to
          PS
          According to Khyentse Rinpoches translator in Kalimpong, who I communicated with in 96, Khyentse Rinpoche did not have any dealings with Lingwood. Therefore, he couldn’t have given him permission to teach. He may have sat in on an initiation or two, as many people do nowadays, without understanding what was going on!
          I’m sure the Buddha didn’t regard himself as a Buddhist. If one simply applies Buddhist principles to ones experience, does that make one a ‘ buddhist’? Or is it the case that ‘ buddhist’ is just another label we need to let go of?
          Keep it simple! Remember the three universal truths/ the three marks of conditioned existence: impermanence, selflessness and suffering. If we don’t recognise everything changes all the time, we cling to the image of a permanent self and therefore we suffer. The same goes for the label ‘budddhist”!
          Re the mantra, he also taught the Vajraguru mantra incorrectly
          Being a Kagyu, Sakya and Nyingma practitioner,(I did ngondro in all three) I have received the same White Tara initiation.
          Just hang loose brother. It’s a great idea to cs top calling yourself a ‘Buddhist’ and there’s no need to be part of any group. But learning to just let go of the dream and feeling love and compassion for all those beings trapped in the dream will always be good for you
          Do you want your letter to Shambala publicised?
          G
          B: Great!
          I wrote these things for a group of friends, connected to Shambhala; many of them fellow practitioners. If you are ready to, I could forward what you said to them, without mentioning your name. Maybe I could say (once again), that it comes from the person who has written the FWBO files… But that’s up to you. It might help clarify things for quite a few people…
          G: I don’t mind sharing my name with you but. I have to be careful with people who I don’t have knowledge of.
          You could say you contacted the FWBO Files author and he gave the following answers to your questions.
          B: That’s great, G, and I’ll keep to that
          G: My thoughts and good wishes are with you brother

          Clear Vision website hosts numerous intimate portraits and photos of the student mentioned above as Sachin.
          Sr wrote adoringly of his beautiful student.

          Sr claims he was celibate in India,but he also claims he has not broken his vow of celibacy whilst in bed with BJorn, so …… maybe he does not understand what sex and celibacy actually mean? There are so many stories connecting Sr to allegations of sexual activity with beautiful student boys in India, and in his own creation FWBO? Can Sr’s version of events always be the truth given that there are a growing number of first-hand accounts that counter the history as told by Sr and the narrative as derived from Sr. What patterns of behaviour and activity do folk on this site see in the various stories about Sr and handsome young men in his classes?

  70. Does Kulananda Mr Michael Chakolson want to update his letter to Guardian? Looks like Sangharakshita was the originator of all the mess-with-your-head-and-body-stuff. Padmaloka and other centres involved. The Guardian received a large number of letters following publication of this article, of which they published the following two:

    Guardian Letters, Wed 29 Oct 1997

    The true face of Buddhism.

    Your feature on the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order (The dark side of enlightenment, October 27) makes much of difficult, indeed tragic, events at one of our centres nine years ago. However, Madeleine Bunting does not make it clear that such events have never happened at my other centre and she thereby unfairly implicates the FWBO as a whole.

    The FWBO has learned many lessons and instituted safeguards to prevent a recurrence, but the article does not do justice to this. It is also not made clear that the activities of the centre’s chairman were based on distortions of the FWBO’s teachings, and that he left the order when his activities came to light.

    The article misrepresents the FWBO’s teachings in suggesting that these underpin abusive relationships. This is a serious charge to make against any religious community, and one would expect to see it substantiated. Instead, we have criticisms from three British Buddhists – one of whom even refused to be named. There are many disagreements and misunderstandings within British Buddhism and none of these figures would claim to be an impartial adjudicator.

    Ms Bunting ends up adjudicating on what is Buddhism. Rather than discussing the issues in a balanced manner, she quotes selective and inaccurately from FWBO literature, and her versions of Sangharakshita’s teachings on sex, gender and family life are gross misreadings of his deep concern with how the Buddhist path can best followed in modern society.

    On ordination, all FWBO members undertake to follow a traditional list of 10 ethical precepts, including abstention from harming others and from sexual misconduct. As in any community, there have been lapses, but these are viewed as such, and observance is ensured through peer scrutiny.

    Dharmachari Kulananda.
    FWBO Communications Office,
    St Mark’s Studios, Chillingworth Road, London N7 8SJ.

    Guardian Letters, Thurs 30 Oct 1997

    Dharmacari Kulananda’s reaction (Letters, October 29) to Madeleine Bunting’s article (The dark side of enlightenment, October 27) indicates that the leadership of the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order (FWBO) is still out of touch with what is occurring in some of its centres. Your report coincides directly with my own experience of this movement.

    In 1994 I opened my home as a meditation house for people interested in the dharma and meditation. A young man arrived to join the sangha, having left his home and girlfriend to explore his spiritual path further. I watched him trying to correlate his deep and natural love for his partner with an insistence from members of the FWBO that spiritual enlightenment could only be gained by leading a single-sex existence and relinquishing his relationship.

    On several occasions, the young man broke down, unable to relate his own commitment to the dharma with the treatment he was receiving. At no point did the people involved in instigating his distress examine themselves or accept any liability for it. As a result, he returned home and to his partner and turned his back on Buddhism – a great loss.

    The FWBO seems like Western evangelism in a different garb. In a climate where enlightenment and self-exploration are becoming one of our main growth industries, it provides career opportunities and a possible support structure in a milieu of fluctuating cultural and social change. As such, it has a great responsibility.

    If the FWBO reaction to this article is denial, anger or dismissal this would be unconstructive. They should regard it as a gift to inspire genuine investigation into their motives and behaviour and address the problems exposed in the Guardian.

    Anne Liddell.
    Bristol

    Guhyavajra (Feb 98) Shabda
    “I have been interested to follow discussions on the Guardian article…The media is a load of rubbish, most people know that. With regard to Ms. Bunting (I assume she is a Ms.),…it is well to remember that the aforementioned journalist is a spiritually stupid and ignorant person, a mud clam, an existential pygmy writing and commenting on a subject in which she is conspicuous for being brainless and clueless. An impertinent unspeakably arrogant self opinionated commentator without ethics or reason … In the final analysis Madeleine Bunting is spiritually so low she could crawl under a lice on stilts.”
     

    • Chaskelson doesn’t give a hoot.Hes had his good time, facilitated and engaged in abusive relationships, used his esteemed position in the Order to build himself an image then dropped the Kulananda label, hidden the FWBO links then set up his own cosy little business Sees it as a nice little earner , I’m sure. Cheap holidays in other people’s misery is what I call it. It’s amazing what a combination of arrogance, abuse and lies can do for a mans career http://www.michaelchaskalson.com/
      H

  71. I received this information this evening: Comment from former member “We were shown a video of why our FWBO work was so important. I saw a guy in India being able to buy a moped and another one building a house for him and his wife and child – all because of ‘development’ and business links. People in Windhorse were congratulating themselves but I was thinking I can’t even afford a pedal bike; I can’t afford new shoes and my family has not got what we need. Seeing Coddington Hall was the final straw for me. Have we been exploited? Yes. Lots of us struggling now because we gave too much to this. You were made to feel guilty for having a family. And they never stop asking for dana and more money for Sangharakshita. And all the sex stuff, too. I resigned.”

    So, Kulananda does not seem to value his links to Sangharakshita anymore? It seems that the names ‘Sangharakshita’ and ‘Triratna’ have become an embarrassment? The Karuna Trust has also dropped all mention of Triratna. Sangharakshita gets one mention in the search.

  72. “Neither lay nor ordained” So, in the hours of need that eventually befall us all, they get support from neither the family nor the sangha. This is why the more senior OMs who hold the positions of power are resistant to admittng to the abuse. You see, they’ve got their pension plan, their nests are feathered and their retirement home is bought. As for the unteemenschen of this world within worlds,the only way they’ll be secure is by keeping quiet and doing as their told. Which oppressive dictatorial political regime does this remind you of?

  73. I think dependency and oppression are v relevant issue in the group dynamics. But maybe more around a variety of things, like: identity, social life, status, work/income, needing it for spiritual progress/input/ friendships/retreats etc. I don’t think ”their nests are feathered and their retirement home is bought” though if you dont mind me say so…

  74. Your outrage (if i may call it that) is refreshing.
    I like the image of a sinking ship.

  75. Whose ‘truth’ is presented in ‘The Triratna Story’? (freely available on the net because Triratna have enough resources to publish in house and, of course therefore to control the narrative ) Whose versions of Hampstead events has become the ‘accepted narrative’? See pages 4 and 5 for starters ….
    This has been commissioned ‘by the Triratna Community itself’ i.e. devotees of Sr / those who have vowed to be loyal to Sr.
    Viajragupta is a member of same devotee group. He has vowed to be loyal to Sr. This is therefore not impartial, It is propaganda. It tells the story the order need it to tell and minimises the harm done to people, whilst glorifying Sr. It is used to ‘soften up’ newcomers and to massage away doubts and fears.
    Compare how V writes about the early days in Hampstead and Sr’s relationship to Terry Delamare with the narrative of GB (files) from Maurice Walsh who was also there. The files / MWalsh narrative is that Sr’s sexual activities caused grave concerns to Hampstead Buddhist Vihara. (You can see Maurice Walsh discussing his fears of Sr’s manipulation of young men on Dialogue Ireland BBC / FWBO embedded BBC video from 1992. In that Maurice Walsh quotes directly from FWBO writing. He assesses the writings as a form of manipulation. So does Rev Daishin Morgan. It is also available herehttps://vajratool.wordpress.com/2011/09/16/1992-bbc-documentary-concerning-the-fwbo-triratna-buddhist-community/ ….
    This has been commissioned ‘by the Triratna Community itself’ i.e. devotees of Sr / those who have vowed to be loyal to Sr.

    Is it possible that a ‘dodgy priest’ was moved on by the Catholic Church? Yes – Sr. in the same 1992 video talks about abuse in Catholic Church and in families, both of which he expressed ‘extreme and violent negativity’ towards. (See ‘Spotlight’ film to show how an institution protects itself – over decades – at the expense of people ‘used’ by clergy for sex and manipulation) Is it possible that Sr was himself ‘moved on’ to avoid scandal a) In India and b) in Hampstead Buddhost Vihara? This is what Maurice Walsh told GB, the writer of The Files. See BBC documentary from 1992 and locate Maurice Walsh.

  76. https://www.freebuddhistaudio.com/texts/read?num=FBA104&at=text&q=&p=7

    Growing Pains by Vishvapani
    An Inside View of Change in the FWBO by Vishvapani

    ”In January 2003 I heard that a long-standing Order member called Yashomitra had
    submitted an article to Shabda, the Order’s confidential journal, detailing his sexual
    contact with Sangharakshita and making some trenchant criticisms. A debate ensued at
    Madhyamaloka: Should Yashomitra’s piece be published? Should it be withheld? Who
    should decide? Should we ask Sangharakshita, anticipating that he might well say no?
    Was it fair on him to publish it – or even to ask him, given his current ill health? What if
    it killed him? But then, was it fair on Yashomitra not to publish? On one side was loyalty
    to Sangharakshita, a desire to protect him – especially now he was ill – and exasperation
    at the seemingly endless stream of criticism. On the other side, for Kulananda and
    myself, was frustration at the constraints on talking publicly about Sangharakshita’s
    sexual past. We had had the task of responding to the 1997-9 campaign against
    Sangharakshita and the FWBO that used the press and the internet; and in August 1998
    we had co-authored with Cittapala The FWBO Files: a Response. This document had
    offered only minimal comment on the accusations about sex: one reason was the request
    from Lokamitra and a a team of senior Order members in India that he had convened to
    say as little as possible to confirm that Sangharakshita had been homosexually active.
    They told us they were afraid of the response in their community, even fearing that there
    would be violence against members of the movement. The other reason was that
    Sangharakshita himself had said that he wanted to write his own account in his next
    volume of memoirs. But when he came to write that volume he covered only a period in
    which he was still celibate. By 2003 we could wait no longer.”

    ”2004: Who Are We Now?
    The turbulence that had rocked the Order in 2003 died down in 2004, but the movement
    was still profoundly affected by it. Looking back I see 2004 as one of the most difficult
    years the FWBO has been through, although the difficulties were diffused and for the
    most part not consciously articulated. I want to suggest some causes and some symptoms.

    Sangharakshita’s Position

    It would be wrong to suggest that Order members in general rejected Sangharakshita and
    his teachings in the wave of questioning of that was prompted by Yashomitra’s article.
    Many remained loyal disciples, felt deep respect and gratitude to him and continued to
    appreciate the Order and movement he had founded. But many also became aware of
    what they considered his faults and were reeling from the discovery. His books and ideas
    were usually not repudiated, but they were increasingly left unread as attention was
    attracted elsewhere, perhaps to the works of teachers whose appeal seemed less tarnished.

    There is no need to repeat the content of those criticisms but it is worth trying to describe
    their effect. For Order members a sense of distance from Sangharakshita was perhaps the
    most serious problem they could face. He was the Order’s founder and his role as
    preceptor had no authority behind it other than his confidence in himself and the
    willingness of others to accept ordination from him. Later, ordinations had been
    conducted by those who had been authorised by him. So for an Order member to reject
    Sangharakshita was, by extension, to reject the validity of their own ordination. Order
    members had trained by practicing and studying the Dharma as elucidated by his
    teachings, and to reject these would, in effect, be to reject the validity of the FWBO.”

    So they were hush hush about the behaviour of Sr that same year… Who apparently seemed completely oblivious of what was going in the Order after Yashomitra’s article they indeed decided to publish.(Ordermembers only). But he decided to put it online as well.

  77. “So for an Order member to reject
    Sangharakshita was, by extension, to reject the validity of their own ordination. Order
    members had trained by practicing and studying the Dharma as elucidated by his
    teachings, and to reject these would, in effect, be to reject the validity of the FWBO.”
    The myth of sangharakshita was his invention. The orders ordination has no basis in Buddhist tradition and was also his invention-he made it up! And as for the validity of the FWBO, parts of it ARE valid. These being the Buddha’s teachings The teachings of Sangharakshita are his fabrications, mainly to facilitate abuse, and are not valid- obviously! The real problem is OMs don’t have the guts to say this because it would display their own gullibility. It is their. characteristic arrogance, inherited from Lingwood that prevents this.
    The answer to the Orders problem is to practice humility and admit they were lied to, duped and deceived by a conman. Then perhaps they could start practicing Dharmas truth

  78. “So they were hush hush about the behaviour of Sr that same year… Who apparently seemed completely oblivious of what was going in the Order after Yashomitra’s article they indeed decided to publish.(Ordermembers only). But he decided to put it online as well.”
    NB ‘He’ was Yashomitra, the former Order member who was raped by Kovida and Sangharakshita while under the legal age of consent for consensual sex. So don’t be confused by Vishvapani’s apologist article or see it as a sign of the Order being willing to publicly acknowledge their shortcomings. This article is no ‘ olive branch’ indicating a change of policy or an openness to criticism.or. change; it is a ‘damage limitation’ exercise that one of the senior OMs wrote ( Vishvapani joined the Order at 14- draw your own conclusions about where he stands and why)
    It was written AFTER Yashomitras letter to Shabda ( a magazine intended ONLY for OMs, a secret place for discussion of issues and incidents considered too sensitive for public consumption ) and was placed online by Yashomitra himself.
    This article then is no Indication of a change, a new openness to public scrutiny of the orders lengthy history of sexual abuse. It is actually a very devious piece of propaganda designed to create that impressio but which actually hides much of the dubious conduct going on behind the scenes
    In some ways, I am reminded of the current situation, where a Facebook page has been set up by an Order member where former members can air their grievances and talk about the abuse that they experienced, with the long term hope of bringing about change in the Order. The page is a closed page and is moderated by an Order member. While I am sure the intention in this case is genuine, the end result is the same. The abuse lies beyond public view and the Orders reputation is protected.
    The aim is clearly to assess the grievances and establish a new framework of ethical behaviour for a new, post Sangharakshita Order. Noble indeed. However, the reality is, unless one is considered ‘safe’,BY AN OM one cannot view the pages content. So all revelations of abuse are kept out of the public domain and the Order continues on its merry way, with senior OMs such as Munisha no doubt rubbing their hands together gleefully, in the knowledge that genuine moderates in the Order are unwittingly doing their dirty work for them. Once again, we see that the road to hell is paved with good intentions
    IMHO the place for the revelation of widespread sexual abuse is to GENUINE safeguarding officers, the police and/ or ( in accord with HHDLs advice on dealing with Buddhist teachers reluctant to admit to or abandon their abusive behaviour) to the press. It is certainly not appropriate for such revelations to be dealt with ‘ in house’ behind closed doors, by members who bear allegiance to the very Order responsible for perpetrating the abuse in the first place, no matter how well intentioned they might be.
    I must apologise to these well intentioned people for saying this. But this is the end result of their well intentioned efforts and it is important that they are aware of this outcome.

    • Yes it sems a realistic ‘concern’ that dealing with the ‘difficulties’ will at best be used in a ‘damage limitation’ exercise again.
      The recent request put to Maitribala to resign from the order is in this light a v worrysome development. It has apparently been posted with the closed Order Facebook group in a section where normally high priorty information is placed. It would be good to know how this groups respond is to the request for Maitribala to resign.
      The ‘Truth and Reconsiliation’ group mentioned by Joc represents both om’s and non om’s attempting open dialogue and is initiated by non-om’s. Though dealing with different views and conflict, ‘safety’ issues etc ‘critics’ are welcomed here and receiving support. The group is also working on an attempt to adress issues as propar aknowledgement and safeguarding and trying to come to the creation of a document to be presented to ‘Triratna office’.

      • It seems these “non OMs” are largely composed of former devotees. The document to be presented to the Triratna office will not be seen in the outside world unless it is simultaneously published outside the Order. The moderator of the site is an OM. While their intentions are clearly honourable, it cannot be denied that this will likely colour any outcome. The promise for future reform in return for no publicity for instance, is far likely to be accepted by an ‘ insider’ than by a neutral. What we need is outside, public scrutiny rather than any private process which allows the Order to get off scot free AGAIN, a situation which will allow the lies about history to continue

        • There is a mixture of people in the Truth and Reconciliation group. There is criticism of SR and his ideology as well as defence of him and his teachings. The people who set it up are not OMs. Both are female. The group is working towards sifting through problem areas and looking for acknowledgement and solutions and – unless I have misunderstood – the vocal part of the group sees the need for any list of concerns to be lodged and discussed with an external safeguarding agency. In my opinion, no-one at Triratna central will ‘take responsibility’ for receiving or acting on this group’s concerns as no-one is apparently in control, so enlisting for example a MASH team will be crucial if the group is to have any effect. Hopefully, this group will move even more in support of those harmed as is starting to happen in some cases. Some were already there. For some, the BBC programme was news indeed and some are finding out things that they did not know before, such as the name of the schoolboy in India and information on Dr. Elizabeth Tylden. I hope that some of them will come and join the discussion here with a wide range of other Buddhists and thinkers. They will be most welcome.

  79. Thank you for your feedback No-name. Your first two statements i think might be correct. The third isn’t though as far as i know.
    I think the ‘outcome’ lies in the quality of the dialoque rather then aims involving a ‘promise for future reform in return for no publicity”. We can conclude from Jock comments there is attempt to create an as safe as possible space for people to speak out.
    I agree with ”what we need is outside, public scrutiny rather than any private process which allows the Order to get off scot free AGAIN, a situation which will allow the lies about history to continue.”
    I would be interesed to hear if you have more advice from which you think this specific group would benefit either related to the formulation of their aims or their dialogue.

    • Well, first and foremost I would suggest that all substantial evidence of sexual abuse or other forms of criminal activity are passed to any relevant, external MASH ( multi agency safeguarding team) for assessment and to provide an evidential basis for criminal proceedings.
      I would also use this current blog to post testimonies ( with permission and names removed) of former and current OMs who have endured abuse ( I believe there are at least half a dozen so far) The sooner groups of abuse victims can come together through a mutual understanding of shared plight, the sooner they will have the strength to speak publicly about what they’ve endured, legal action can proceed and compensation can be sought. It is also important insofar as, as well as including police , MASH teams include educational professionals Through the sharing of information across national MASH teams, Clear Visions ability to draw in vulnerable youngsters can be nullified, especially since Lingwoods sexual procurement doctrines are still being propounded at men’s ordination retreats in Norwich for example.
      If the Order remains unwilling to admit to past mistakes, apologise and compensate victims or to renounce Lingwoods false doctrines, I am afraid that there is no other alternative but for us to do it for them.
      As a matter of public record, I also think it only right that any document produced by the folk at truth and reconciliation should also be made public, as should the date of its issue and to whom it was sent
      I’d like to hear more about the Maitribala(?) case It seems that on the one hand the order claim they are open. Tto criticism while at the same time eliminating those who make valid criticism. Who made this decision and on the basis of what reasoning?
      More to follow

  80. Apparently a new safeguarding officer has been appointed to replace(?) Munisha Caroline Hopper in Triratna.
    It is good that Munisha’s dual role is coming to an end. Presumably she will stay on as PR? Question 1: When is the handover?
    Question 2: Who has interviewed and chosen this new safeguarding offcier?
    Question 3: Who are this person’s line managers?
    Question 4: Who is the external point of contact for the new safeguarding officer?
    Question 5: Where is the transparent and open document detailing a) Job Specification and b) Person specification?

    Can any OM, who has vowed to be loyal to his / her Teacher and reverence Sr do the ethical work needed with the disclosures of abuse concerning Sr? There is a conflict of interests. S/he would need to hand everything over to an external agency for there to be any sense of impartiality. In the case of Bishop Peter Ball an Anglican safeguarding team went to look at historic files. Where are the historic files concerning Sr? The Anglican safeguarding team did not know or have any allegiance to Bishop Peter Ball. If one has a vested interest in a person, one must hand over to someone who does not have a vested interest in that person. As an OM, one has a vested interest in Sr. It is a paradox to have a safeguarding officer in Trirtana as his / her hands are tied by the vows made at ordination to the person who is at the centre of the safeguarding nightmare. The only ethical and moral course of action is to have an external safeguarding team in to scrutinise impartially.

  81. The BBC programme caused a stir in Triratna but it is still not possible to see any sincerity of movement towards the apology needed to alleviate the suffering of those groomed under the cloak of spirituality by Sangharakshita (or his clones). According to a source close to Adhisthana dealing with the complainants concerns as raised by BBC and three former order members is low down on any agenda in official meetings at Adhisthana.
    A few order members have shown concern and a desire for change but there is otherwise casual and systemic inertia. In themselves order members are not bad people but they are working in a profoundly dysfunctional structure.

  82. “If all else fails, name names in newspapers!”
    HH Dalai Lama on abusive teachers

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