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On 16th February the Observer newspaper published an article referring to the Triratna Buddhist Community. The following letter to the editor was submitted in response and was published by the newspaper on Sunday 23rd February.
Triratna Buddhists respond to Observer front page
We were surprised and deeply disappointed to read the Observer’s piece about the Triratna Buddhist Order and Community last week.
Triratna is not a ‘sect’ in the pejorative sense, but an integral and well established part of the British Buddhist world, committed to Buddhist ethical values.
We have thoroughly investigated reports of our founder Sangharakshita’s sexual relations and, while the police confirm nothing they have been told is criminal, we do recognise some of his sexual behaviour was unethical - as did he when he apologised publicly in 2016. We sincerely regret the harm caused, are transparent about what took place, and are strongly committed to ensuring our safeguarding procedures protect everyone. We will continue this work in a spirit of openness and empathy.
We welcome thousands of people to our Buddhist centres every year to learn about meditation and Buddhism, to learn to navigate better the challenges of life. It is a privilege to offer this help and we endeavour to follow the highest ethical standards.
Chair of the College of Public Preceptors
Note: This is the original version of the letter sent to the Observer. They subsequently edited it and published it under a different title - ‘Triratna Buddhism is no sect’.
Read the initial statement to the Observer article on 16th February