This article explores the various strategies and defences that Triratna has continuously employed to protect “Bhante” Sangharakshita and the group's reputation, and to suppress the truth about the darker or more problematic aspects of both. This article drags each ‘dark art’ one-by-one into the light for closer examination.
College members, appointed to their positions for life by their peers, lack the accountability that was lacking in the case of the charismatic founder. Since any procedures or mechanisms aimed at ensuring accountability are devised by the College and are overseen by College members, it is impossible to ensure any kind of impartial review of their conduct. There is little inclination for those benefiting from the charisma of office to introduce lego-rational measures that might hold them accountable to insiders (much less outsiders) or to entertain any shrinkage of their role -- a role that, due to the mythmaking that surrounds them, only they are thought capable of fulfilling.
In 1987 the then Vajrakumara (Mark Dunlop) wrote a letter to the order gazette exposing Sangharakshita's sexually abusive actions toward him over a number of years. At this time there was little interest in Mark's allegations and no action was taken. Mark, fearing Sangharakshita would continue to engage in abusive behaviour with other young men, said his next step would be to talk to the press. At this point Sangharakshita expelled him from the order.
As was clear in Sangharakshita’s own life, his underlying desire for sex was never adequately addressed and a consequence of this is that it did indeed lead to suffering, for himself and for his partners and now due to recurring media exposure, the wider Triratna sangha. We would like to know why, if a retreat led by teaching couples gives the wrong impression, what kind of impression does it give for the founder of a new Buddhist order to sexually manipulate his disciples? This is the real issue.
This article, titled 'Leaving Mother and Initiation into Manhood'. was submitted by an Order member to a very early FWBO (Triratna) magazine, 'Mitrata', in 1977 and was reportedly very influential at the time. Yashomitra, in his letter (see testimonies) cited this document as having directly influenced his vulnerability to being sexually abused.
As Alan JW wrote in Buddhism controversy blog ( https://buddhism-controversy-blog.com/.../triratna-the.../ ) ; "[...] it gives a unique insight into the mind-set that promoted the, much discussed, concept of ‘Greek Love’ as a valid approach to the Buddhist path: according to the late Dennis Lingwood (Sangharakshita), and some senior members of his Order. An eccentric notion that has seriously damaged his, and his organisation’s, reputation.‘Greek Love’ is a pseudo-intellectual attempt to justify homosexually based mentoring relationships between, experienced members of the Triratna Order… and their proteges called Mitras: by definition an unequal liaison."
Another former Order member observed: "The obverse side of this celebration of the ephebe was the denigration of women and it came with immense psychological pressure for many men for whom it was unwelcome."
This article explores why Sangharakshita’s unique understanding of “conditionality” was a profound misunderstanding of the Dharma, the teaching of the Buddha. It is based on a public article, written by a Triratna order member in 2017, that explored Sangharashita’s “particular presentation” of the Dharma.
The Order depicted in this paper, and in the papers that have followed it, is very different from the Order I was told I was joining in 1993. In particular, the Order's relationship to Bhante, as portrayed in these papers, is fundamentally different from what I was led to believe when I was Ordained. This is not just the natural and organic development of what went before - it is, in some respects, a direct reversal of key principles that I had signed up to.