Responding To Triratna ControversyOn Sat, 18 February, 2017 - 22:31
Many of our readers and friends will be aware that over the years Triratna has periodically needed to revisit troubling issues relating to events in our past. These derive in part from allegations of sexual misconduct by our founder, Sangharakshita, in his relations with a number of adults in the 1970s and ’80s. You can read about the general background here: Our Development & Values
At present there is a renewal of interest in these matters at Triratna Centres and online, after they were the subject of a 12-minute BBC local television report in eastern England in September 2016. Obviously, we take them very seriously as a community and as an Order. We also see them as an opportunity to hear and learn from the new perspectives that are arising in this latest examination of our shared history.
Sangharakshita himself published a personal statement at the end of last year. It ends with these words: “I would therefore like to express my deep regret for all the occasions on which I have hurt, harmed or upset fellow Buddhists, and ask for their forgiveness.” He later confirmed that “his apology extends to anyone he has harmed in any way at all, including those who were Buddhists at the time if not now, and their non-Buddhist family and friends.” The spirit of this was welcomed in a further statement from the College of Public Preceptors (a key body in Triratna’s leadership).
Now a working group of senior members of the Order, drawn from the College and beyond, has established the “Adhisthana Kula”, at Adhisthana, Triratna’s headquarters in Herefordshire, UK. These six women and men have been meeting very regularly, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. They will be considering ways of responding to and - where possible - resolving the issues arising, consulting with others as appropriate. They write:
“One of the areas we have already started exploring is possible approaches to reconciliation, including whether this might involve an independent agency. These processes are very sensitive and need a great deal of patience, care, and empathy and may need to go on quietly, in the background.”
The Kula is blogging about the process of their work in a dedicated public space.
If you have any questions or concerns about this please see the list of resources below, or feel free to contact the Adhisthana Kula at any time: kula [at] adhisthana.org
Useful resources around historical controversy
- +Follow The Adhisthana Kula
- Our Development & Values: a public page on this site (Triratna’s main web platform since 2013), regularly updated, referring to past controversy and linking to material critical of Triratna
- Triratna Communications Team response to BBC request for comment about ‘Inside Out’ (September 2016, also in archive above)
- Sangharakshita’s Personal Statement (2016)
- Statement from the College of Public Preceptors endorsing Sangharakshita’s statement (2017)
- Statement from the College of Public Preceptors making explicit their pre-existing rule on sexual relationships between those conducting ordinations and those they ordain
- Triratna’s model ethical guidelines for those who run/teach at Triratna Centres (2016, reviewed and developed annually)
- Triratna’s latest model safeguarding documents (2016, reviewed and developed annually)
- Our public page on safeguarding in Triratna
- Various public posts relating to safeguarding in Triratna
- A list of all public resources around these issues on The Buddhist Centre Online