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As we reported over the holidays, on 21st December 2016, Triratna’s founder Sangharakshita went into hospital suffering with pneumonia. At the age of 91 this could have been very serious; however, making a good recovery he was able to return home to Adhisthana on New Year’s Eve.
On 30th December he released this public statement to the Order, reflecting on aspects of his life and his relationship to Triratna:
“Next year we shall be celebrating the 50th anniversary of FWBO/Triratna. It will be an occasion of rejoicing, thankfulness for the Three Jewels and re-dedication to the ideals for which Triratna stands.
For me as the founder of Triratna the occasion will be an especially poignant one. I have more than once said that I was not the best person to found a new Buddhist movement, but the only one that was available, and friends have sometimes assured themselves and others that my words were not to be taken literally but were only a sign of my humility. But this is not the case. At the time I meant them to be taken literally and I still mean them to be taken literally.
I being its founder, Triratna sometimes bears the mark not of the Dharma but of my own particular personality. That personality is a complex one and in certain respects I did not act in accordance with what my position in the movement demanded or even as a true Buddhist. I am thinking in particular of the times when I have hurt, harmed or upset fellow Buddhists, whether within Triratna or out of it.
These thoughts have borne all the more upon me in the course of the last week, when I was in hospital with pneumonia. As I was well aware pneumonia can be fatal to a man of my age and I knew that I could die, even though I did not feel that I was dying, despite being very ill.
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.
December 30th 2016”
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Update: 8th February 2017 Sangharakshita has 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. He further wishes to make it clear that his statement was a confession. As the acknowledgment of having breached the Buddhist ethical precepts, Buddhist confession can most fully be made to other Buddhists. His statement was therefore addressed to Buddhists, whether within or without Triratna, for the reason that the confession of evil is part of the spiritual context which he shares with other Buddhists.