Sangharakshita, Triratna, and should I leave

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Sangharakshita, Triratna, and should I leave

Post by Tez »

So a warning this is a long post, but you might find it interesting. It's about Sangharakshita and the Triratna scandal.

This is a follow up on the post I wrote asking if it was OK to study someone who had Behaved in an appalling way. This referred to Sang, the founder of The Triratna movement in the UK. I looked further into him and I was horrified. Essentially he was a sexual predator who used his position and manipulated buddhism to get straight men to have sex with him, one of whom committed suicide, with possibly two more doing the same. However learned he was on Buddhism (which is questionable), It invalidates his teaching As he clearly had no ability to walk the path he has encouraged others to follow.

As for the Triratna movement, they're still in denial as to his crimes. They started by covering it up, then they begrudgingly admitted the minimum they had to, releasing a report that called Sangharakshita's behaviour "unwise" rather than criminal and wicked. In the report, 13 % Triratna members questioned Said that either they themselves, or someone they knew, had “experienced sexual misconduct by either Sangharakshita or other Triratna order members, in past and recent times”. Triratna has made no effort at restitution to the victims. The report spent more time praising him than calling him to account, and it's hidden away in a barely noticed part of their website. One particularly egregious passage said this:-

"One irony of the current situation is that the understanding of ethics that we have learned, ultimately, from Sangharakshita has informed the criticisms of him that we make in this report."

Essentially it's saying that Sangharakshita gave them the ethical standards they needed to judge him as having acted unethically. This is a shocking statement! Apparently Sangharakshita was undone by his own enlightened teaching and sense of ethics. What teaching in ethics do you need to know sexual assault is wrong? They are trying to twist his crimes into another positive. Triratna was built on a bed of manipulation and abuse of the vulnerable, one they still refuse to reckon with.

The question I have is is Triratna a writeoff? I've really enjoyed my time at the centre and it's set me on my path to Buddhism. The people who go are kind and committed, and I have seen nothing to suggest the teachers are acting unethically. But a guest speaker recommended two books by Sangharakshita to me (before I knew about his crimes), one I bought which are sold in their shop. Ironically one of them was about the ethics of Buddhism. I'm angry the centre sells his books, and ideally they would dissasociate from him entirely, which isn't going to happen as he's too embedded in their philosophy. Part of me wants to keep going to the centre, but I'm appalled by their past behaviour and lack of contrition. I should note that my feelings of sadness and anger are nothing compared to the suffering of Sangharakshita.

So, should I stay and make my feelings known, or should I find somewhere else to help me walk the path? Thoughts and comments very welcome
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Re: Sangharakshita, Triratna, and should I leave

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

As I mentioned in the earlier thread, if I were you I would leave. Not just due to the scandal and how it was handled, but because IMO their take on Dharma is also shaky.

That doesn’t mean they are all terrible people, that everything you learned is invalid or anything. I just think your time is probably better spent with people who have a better, more grounded Buddhist education and who are not connected to sangarakshita.

Just my two cents.
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Re: Sangharakshita, Triratna, and should I leave

Post by Konchog Thogme Jampa »

Have confidence in yourself and just leave walk out that door and just keep on walking
4. From each and every dear companion we will part.
We will leave possessions for which we've strived so hard.
The body's guest house the guest, consciousness, will lose.
To renounce this life is what bodhisattvas do.

Om Mani Padme Hum

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Re: Sangharakshita, Triratna, and should I leave

Post by PeterC »

Should you leave? Definitely. Don't make a big deal of it, just stop turning up. There are so many sanghas with genuine, qualified teachers out there that there's absolutely no reason to get involved in something built around someone as unpleasant and unqualified as Lingwood
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Re: Sangharakshita, Triratna, and should I leave

Post by Könchok Thrinley »

Yes, you should leave.

Doesn't matter how much effort and energy you put into that community. Just don't go there anymore. Find a proper teacher.
“Observing samaya involves to remain inseparable from the union of wisdom and compassion at all times, to sustain mindfulness, and to put into practice the guru’s instructions”. Garchen Rinpoche

For those who do virtuous actions,
goodness is what comes to pass.
For those who do non-virtuous actions,
that becomes suffering indeed.

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Re: Sangharakshita, Triratna, and should I leave

Post by DewachenVagabond »

Find a community that doesn't have such a questionable lineage. And I'm not just talking about the failure of ethics. Sangharakshita's connection to a legitimate lineage was always questionable.
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Re: Sangharakshita, Triratna, and should I leave

Post by PSM »

FWBO was the first Buddhist related group I was ever involved in about 20 years ago. The people in the group were good people, but I'm afraid that a lot of the teachings were twisted/contaminated/made up and Shantarakshita is an ethical embarassment. Both of these fundamentally cripple that organisation in my view.

Since then I've been involved with proper lineage teachers who do actually 1) know what they are on about 2) walk the talk & 3) have realised people in their lineage to this day. Why settle for anything less? Leave.
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