A Message of Apology and RegretOn Fri, 23 August, 2019 - 22:04
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Read about the background to this statement and our next steps in Addressing our Collective History
At the end of 2016 Sangharakshita published a statement of his regret and apology for occasions when, as he put it, ‘I have hurt, harmed or upset fellow Buddhists, whether within Triratna or out of it.’ He confirmed that he intended his apology to include anyone who was hurt, harmed or upset by his sexual activity in the period between the late ‘60s and the ‘80s when he was not celibate.
It has been a slow and difficult process for our community, individually and collectively, to come to terms with our founding teacher’s imperfections. Soon after Sangharakshita made his statement the Adhisthana Kula was set up to look into the issues it raised, and we have now begun a review of our work over the past two-and-a-half years.
We want to begin by endorsing Sangharakshita’s apology more clearly than has been done before, with our own expression of profound sadness and regret for any suffering or harm that anyone has experienced as a result of the behaviour he refers to. We are deeply sorry for any hurt that has been caused as a result.
Over the years we have learned as a community that sexual relations between people in the positions of ‘teacher’ and ‘student’ or ‘disciple’ contain a power imbalance that can lead to suffering. Consequently, we have developed ethical guidelines for preceptors (those conducting ordinations in our community) and for those in teaching positions.
We want to ensure that anyone with negative experiences of Triratna or concerns about our community is heard sympathetically, and that their concerns are addressed effectively and promptly. We will be putting in place further arrangements to give people the option of reporting any negative experience to an external organisation.
We remain committed to ensuring that we have the necessary procedures and training in place to guard against unethical behaviour in the future, particularly through Safeguarding. Anyone wishing to report harmful behaviour is requested to contact Triratna’s Safeguarding Team at safeguarding [at] triratna.community.
The Adhisthana Kula (a grouping of senior members of the Triratna Buddhist Order)
Saddhaloka: Chair, College of Public Preceptors
Ratnadharini: Deputy Chair, College of Public Preceptors
Lokeshvara: International Order Convenor
Aryajaya: International Order Convenor
Dhammarati: Convenor, International Council
Parami and Mahamati: College members and former International Order Convenors
Read about Safeguarding in our community
Here is the accompanying document ‘Addressing Our Collective History’, which gives some context for this message and offers a sense of the next steps.