When reflecting upon our interactions with various College members over the past decade, we found the arguments used to rationalise Sangharakshita's sexual behaviour and explain away or minimise his peculiar opinions about women or the dangers of heterosexual coupledom (used to provide an enabling environment for that behaviour) difficult to fathom. In coming to understand them, we have found cult expert Steven Hassan's exhaustive list of mind-control strategies useful. When someone in the order tells you something that you recognise doesn't make sense, such as the need to 'hold the contradiction' between Sangharakshita's 'sexual experimentation' and his depth of insight, rather than just going along with it, take a minute to see if you can recognise any of the mind control strategies used to justify that position on Hassan's mind-control list.
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.
Jo Taylor examines whether Triratna's mistakes from the past have been addressed properly, interviewing former members of the FWBO/Triratna
One of the UK’s largest Buddhist orders has been forced to report allegations of sexual abuse after a former follower claimed he was coerced into sex with one of its elders.
Triratna has been at the centre of a good deal of controversy in the past, and its spokespersons have claimed in their press releases to have now put their house in order.
So are we just raking over the past?