Charismatic Authority & Power

Triratna, like other cult-like groups, has an opaque an unaccountable approach to leadership and power based on "Charistmatic Authority"

The following content has been tagged "Charismatic Authority & Power":

"Just a bit of Pagan fun"

This is an account written in a private 'in-house' Triratna forum in 2017 by an Order member recounting sexual abuse by his teacher, Sangharakshita. I have omitted the writer’s name in an attempt to respect his privacy. However, I acknowledge that I am  - without any permission from the author - submitting an article that was originally published in a private context. I sincerely hope that this has no personal unwanted impacts on the author. However, my concern about that is outweighed by my belief that it is in the public interest to hear this story, as it offers a very clear, straightforward personal account of Sangharakshita’s predatory sexual behaviour; a pattern that this Buddhist teacher repeated with numerous other young male disciples over a period of at least three decades. It also offers a striking account of how Sangharakshita responded without understanding, remorse or compassion when this young man told him about the lasting harmful and confusing effects that his behaviour had had on him…and by numerous accounts this was his attitude to all those whom he had sexually abused.) 

Triratna's Charismatic Succession Problem

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. 

Sangharakshita's Expulsion Letter to Mark Dunlop

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.

The Order That I Joined

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.

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