The legacy issues involving inappropriate sexual activity by the founder of the FWBO / Triratna, Sangharakshita (Dennis Lingwood)




Padmaloka community ~ FWBO / Triratna from Dialogue Ireland on Vimeo. video “Padmaloka community ~ FWBO /




Triratna” was produced by BBC (East) and broadcast in the Eastern Region of England on 26 September 2016.  The BBC also produced a news report about this programme:

The BBC said they had spoken to three men who say they were pressured into having a homosexual relationship with Sangharakshita (Dennis Lingwood) under the guise of spiritual friendship. One man said he was under the legal age of consent for homosexual sex at the time.


Sangharakshita is the founder and leader of the Triratna Buddhist Order (formerly The Friends of the Western Buddhist Order or FWBO).

The BBC also interviewed a clinical psychologist who said “This is all about the sexual gratification of a person in a position of authority or power within the group.”

The Triratna group said that Sangharakshita had stepped back from any official role in the group’s running in 2000.  However, they may not be entirely honest in this, because Triratna also runs a charity called Uddiyana, whose stated purpose is to enable Sangharakshita and his office to guide the activities of the Triratna Buddhist Community Centres and members worldwide:


Data for financial year ending 31 December 2015

Triratna Buddhist Community (Uddiyana)

Income  £146.0K      Spending  £57.2K

Aims & activities
Support and assistance for Urgyen Sangharakshita, founder of the Triratna Buddhist Community (formerly FWBO) – enabling him and his office to guide the activities of the Triratna Buddhist Community Centres and members worldwide. These activities include meditation and Buddhism, social work, body work, cultural activities and support for residential spiritual communities and ethical businesses.

BBC (East) first broadcast details of the hidden side of the FWBO in 1992, in a video available on the Dialogue Ireland site:

Subsequently, the British newspaper The Guardian published an expose in 1997:

Following the Guardian article, Kulananda (Michael Chaskalson) wrote to the Guardian on behalf of the FWBO Communications Office, to say that the events reported in the Guardian article had only happened at the FWBO’s Croydon centre, had involved that centre’s chairman, and had never happened at any other centre (see letter at foot of Guardian article).

However, again the FWBO may not be entirely honest in this, because in 2004, senior Triratna member Subhuti (Alex Kennedy) gave a talk, in which he said that events similar to those reported in the Guardian article had also occurred at Padmaloka (a Triratna centre in Norfolk), and had involved Sangharakshita:

‘I have come to think that there are severe problems with Bhante’s [Sangharakshita’s] sexual activity in the past … in a sense he did not know what he was doing altogether and …some big mistakes were made … Wearing robes and having sex is just not on … As a spiritual teacher you carry a weight that does not allow you to simply be one human being with another human being. … That sexual activity was bound to lead to problems.’

Subhuti also mentions in his talk that he knew about this sexual activity happening at Padmaloka.

A brief resume of Subhuti’s talk can be found here:

Growing Pains
An Inside View of Change in the FWBO by Vishvapani

Page 27 of 37
Subhuti’s Talks, November 2004

Googling Triratna controversy, or similar, will provide a wealth of information.  Apart from the links provided above, possibly the main ones would be:

The second link above is to a page called “Outline of FWBO teaching on sex”, which gives details of some FWBO/Triratna teachings which can be used to discourage heterosexual relationships, and to encourage homosexual relationships (‘Greek love’) as a medium of spiritual friendship, and as a means of overcoming conditioning.  These teachings underpin the events reported in the above video “Padmaloka community ~ FWBO / Triratna”

The FWBO / Triratna itself has a large number of websites, including:

5 Responses

  1. The ‘Safe space’ Munisha alludes to, at the end of the article (see below), for Order Members only, is in fact carefully monitored by senior members of the Order; no confidentiality is possible or desired by the Preceptors who control Triratna activities. Likewise, the so-called ‘Truth and Reconciliation’ group is carefully monitored by a silent band of senior OMs – some of whom I know to hold views at odds with the values of glasnost, the founders of this Facebook site claim, disingenuously, to hold. In short it is a scam, that these founders and admin members have allowed to descend into a carefully monitored ‘talking shop’. People posting comments onto this site, and the Order Member only site, are at risk of their disclosures being freely passed around amongst the Triratna preceptors – a fact some are, perhaps, unaware of; and certainly not warned of.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The following article was published in The Observer newspaper in February this year. It is the second major newspaper article on the Triratna cult: the first being published in October 1997. It is a fair and concise summary of where the campaign to have this secretive group admit its long history of abuses – sexual, psychological and emotional – has reached, thus far. It should be considered along with my comments on the so-called ‘Safeguarding policy’ adopted by Triratna – see below – which are still very pertinent.


  3. Alan you have put your finger on this deceptive process.


  4. Triratna say that every centre is expected to have a ‘Safeguarding’ official. My understanding is that the ‘Safeguarding guidelines’ produced by Triratna central are only recommendations. Each centre is a separate legal entity, so they are free to adapt (change) these guidelines as they see fit. This means they are inapplicable as presented, and can be ‘watered down’ (by Triratna extremists running some local centres), so as to make their general intentions impotent.
    The underlying intention of these guidelines is to keep complaints, of misbehaviour by senior Triratna personnel, within the organisation’s internal structures. Those of us with long past experience of Triratna/FWBO culture, will recognise that the long-term effect will be to dissipate complaints, until the aggrieved party loses interest. This is how it has been in the past – an exercise in frustration!
    We have had a similar deception played on us before: in 1997 Kulananda claimed that procedures were in place to protect the public from abuses. This was a reference, presumably, to the appointment of ‘Presidents’, to oversee the activities, and general ethos, at each local centre. Unfortunately for the public, the real function of these Presidents was to ensure that every centre, and attendant ‘Order chapter’, towed the ‘party line’ (ie, conformed to the Preceptors’ control), not to protect vulnerable and idealistic attendees at their classes and retreats!
    It is time the Triratna Preceptors (who control it’s activities) stopped insulting our intelligence.


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