About Us

Gathered here is a collection of short articles composed by current and former members of the Triratna Buddhist Order (formerly The Western Buddhist Order), as well as links to works by other authors regarding New Religious Movements (NRMs) and "high demand" or cult-like organisations. These articles are from independent voices with decades of experience, offering insiders' views of the organisation and perspectives on its founder, current leadership and teachings that go beyond the usual hagiography found in official sources.

As current or former members of the wider Triratna community who have become concerned at the direction the organisation is taking, we hope that the information offered here is helpful in deciding if and to what degree you wish to participate in Triratna's activities and take on its worldview and practices. 

Among other resources, we offer some hopefully thought-provoking questions that we suggest you seek answers to before making any major lifestyle changes or commitments in order to follow the "Triratna Dharma Life".

Comments

[name redacted] I'm so sorry you feel you need to make this . It must be very painful for you to be so caught up in such ill will and aversion. I hope you get over it x

One of the site's main goals is to alert the pubic about the sexually abusive behaviour of Triratna's founder and the inadequate institutional response -- see for example Mark Dunlop's response to Sangharakshita's memoir about their "relationship" -- where Mark notes that

In his memoir, Sangharakshita offers no hint of apology or remorse for his behaviour towards me . . . it has been quite a shock to me to realise how cold hearted, devious and manipulative some people can be, even when they are people claiming to practise an ethical and spiritual way of life.

In exposing this double standard within Triratna it isn't at all surprising that the site admins should now themselves be accused of malice. Indeed this is a defense mechanism straight out of the cult handbook as you can read here in an article about what happens to whistleblowers in "high demand" organisations like Triratna

 

Yes, I am concerned that such condescension is seen as true of the whole order. I sincerely hope that our governance can respond skilfully to the objective content of your articles and critique. That way everyone can benefit.

You don't need a degree in psychology to recognise that disparagement framed in terms of "well wishing" is, in fact, a passive-aggressive attack.

Islamophobia is rife within Triratna. One order member is in Britain First and spouts lies and hatred. Many support the right to spread hatred and lies. Support goes to the top. 

When the Order refuses to act in the face of seriously unethical conduct for fear of upsetting mouthy people, what else can we do, Jnanaruchi?

And don't we all know how cutting can be the responses to seriously well intended concerns raised with those who don't want to hear.

This [comment by Jnanaruci] is a highly condescending, invalidating comment typical of cult members, blaming the victim for their reaction to abuse

Michelle Haslam,

I wanted to thank you for your bravery in speaking out about your experiences in Triratna.  It served as a wake-up call for me as I already had a number of concerns about the behaviour of some Buddhist order members in my Sangha.  I am a fifty-plus woman who was a Mitra for a few years.  I didn't observe any sexual abuse but I did notice subtle bullying behaviour to get people to do the bidding of order members.  There is a lot of "group think,"  and non Buddhist behaviour such as greediness, marginalising of others with different opinions and a significant amount of untruthfulness and spin which surprised me. The unquenched thirst for money shocked me.  Despite what they said at the mitra ceremony, they really do want your cheque book!  Virtually all of the fundraising is in aid of the centre, sustaining the every growing number of people on the payroll (pre-Covid) and funding the various associated retreat centres.  There is very little actual generosity shown to the ordinary local people from outside Triratna, whatever the marketing says.  It's a sophisticated money making operation and it does not deserve charitable status.  The safeguarding systems are feeble.  On a going deeper course I was advised, "don't have blind faith, trust in your own experience."  I am glad I followed that advice but I needed a voice of reason from outside (you) to give me strength and clarity to do this.  I decided to leave quietly because I didn't want to experience the confrontation that you and others have had to and I am not an activist by nature.  I am not as brave as you (hence my anonymous post) but my sincerity and thanks to you are heartfelt, you have saved me from heartbreak down the line.  I am still trying to follow the Buddha's teachings as best I can, but not Sangharakshita's version.  To be fair, there were some wonderful people in the sangha but, with a few exceptions, they were not usually the ordained members. 

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