4 Friars Bridge Rd, Ipswich IP1 1RR, UK
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Update by user Jun 02, 2017

I can say it is the truth that the Ipswich Buddhist Centre and Triratna, as well as Buddhasiha, have been invited to apologize to me. This apology was asked for:- An explicit and profound private apology in writing (now very long overdue) for the protracted abuse I suffered in the movement between 2006-2008 because I was into heterosexual romantic and sexual relationships (a matter that all human beings have the freedom to explore) and an apology for the subsequent abuse (bad references, bad mouthing, etc) because I left the movement to explore relationships and my emotional life in general.

(A lot of this stemmed from the distaste of the Ipswich Order about the fact that I was heterosexual and did not want to live in Ipswich long term, and in my opinion, the bad-mouthing was a punishment for leaving their cult) The apology would naturally show sincere regret for the harm caused to Free Spirit in those areas. Attached is the proof that Buddhasiha of the Ipswich Buddhist Centre bad mouthed me (one of the things the apology is to deal with). He implied I was involved in an episode and behaved indecently (for standing up to an abusive company involved in cheating and abusing people) He also violated a confidentiality agreement as it was agreed he (or the company Windhorse) would not make any adverse ststements about me. Proof Buddhasiha is at the Ipswich Buddhist Centre can be found on their website.

The IBC was not interested in correcting their mistake or retracting their claims (which would have involved a simple 10 minute trip to a notary office), which indicates they did lie about me and thus the adverse criticism should stand, because of the potential harm to others. Anyone attending the IBC, may at first enjoy the meditations, but there is always a danger in the background that if you try and leave the Centre, it becomes cult-like, and that is when the abuse starts. The meditation in itself is sound, but getting more involved with the Centre or working for the movement is risky to one’s wellbeing. Some of the people in the movement are not honest and are of questionable integrity, something which stems from the sexual abuse issues in the 60’s which still plague the movement today.

The Ipswich Buddhist Centre have been informed of the outstanding complaints and have been given an opportunity to formally apologize. The monetary loss caused by this matter in terms of time, trouble, admin and of course spiritual lessons in why interfering with people's relationships / heterosexual discrimination is wrong is around GBP 15,000 (a conservative estimate).

Original review posted by user May 30, 2017

Cult behaviour, control, various abuses of nationwide Triratna movement reported in UK press, risk of abuse, caution advised. Caution is advised with this Buddhist cult who have branches all over the UK and the world.

The movement has featured in the UK press after their leader Sangharakshita formally apologized and confessed to past abuses. 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. I am still awaiting an apology from the Ipswich Buddhist Centre. I was involved with them for 4 years. I left to pursue my own path, including heterosexual romantic relationships, which they disapproved of.

All attempts in the past to get an apology has led nowhere, and they bad mouthed me in 2015, implying I was an attention seeker and being involved in an 'episode', in a bad faith attempt to portray me as the one in the wrong. I saw a lot of hypocrisy in the movement. Those with high paying jobs who donated large sums to the centres and who confessed to not having a meditation practice were mysteriously fasttracked to Ordination. Those who questioned the Order were sometimes subjected to ridicule, emotional abuse and severe restrictions were placed on their freedom.

In my opinion and experience the FWBO was an abusive movement within which I experienced deriding treatment, chastisement, disrespect and severe emotional abuse. It was only after I had fully left the movement and detoxed from that toxic control energy several years later was I able to recognize that it was unhealthy abuse.

Recent events have shown the movement is starting to apologize and take responsibility. I also want my apology.

Reason of review: Bad mouthing, abuse issues, lack of apology.

Preferred solution: Proper formal apologies and reparations.

I didn't like: Lack of self-responsibility, Lack of apology, Bad mouthing, Disrespect of spiritual masters, Cult behaviour.

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Anonymous
New York, New York, United States #1346884

The company that Buddhasiha sympathized with, because he did not like Free Spirit, went on to use the statement in a Court case against him.

However, it was very degrading for them and not Free Spirit.

They were awarded one of the smallest amounts in US history and came away with a puny award, of x 1,000 times LESS than asked for.

So it did not do Buddhasiha or the Ipswich Buddhist Centre any favors and shows that if you speak or write ill of a Master in bad faith, it backfires later.

Anonymous
London, England, United Kingdom #1336140

Can the Ipswich Buddhist Centre comment on these allegations please?

Anonymous1577212
#1335423

For accuracy, I will state I also received a part apology.

It was from a Mr Paul Edwards who attended the IBC often.

The apology was for making rules that I was not allowed to do internet dating (or suffer detriment in the workplace - The Ipswich Evolution Store which made profits for the Ipswich Buddhist Centre) and for controlling behaviour in general.

That apology does not go far enough, as it does not cover Buddhasiha, his false statements, nor does it address the detriment and damage done to me by the Ipswich Order because of its role in interference in personal relationships, and bad mouthing by some of its Order Members.

In my opinion, the Ipswich Order (or Chapter) were the original architects of that control and attempted interference in relationships.

The IBC now states in their abuse documents on their website that controlling relationships is abuse and the evidence of that in my case is 25+ pages of my autobiography. It should not take so much more 'connecting the dots' for the IBC to see that it would now be appropriate for me to receive a full formal apology.

Anonymous1577212
Manassas, Virginia, United States #1335362

ISome time ago, I reported what a Senior Order member and preceptor/kalyana mitra should very well know as abuse, namely being badly treated, shunned and degraded for pursuing a romantic relationship which led me to leave the Ipswich Buddhist Centre and live elsewhere for a year or so.

I complained to an Order member named Amoghavajra who was the chairman of the centre. He was also a kalyana mitra (someone who oversaw the ordination process).

When I reported the concerns, Amoghavajra's response, at the time and later, was a mix of these things:-

1.

He discouraged counselling outside of the movement and instead said that the matter should be talked about with the Order. This is not so good, as it could lead someone not to get a healthy outside perspective and is a way for the cult to deepen the control.

2. He said on many occasions that I had problems with my life and that was the cause of my upset at the time, but that is false, it was because I was not happy with the abuse and because the Order were anti-relationship.

3. He lent complicit support to Buddhasiha who was also involved in the discrimination and then failed to produce many documents asked for in an SAR (Subject Access Request) as he claimed they had been deleted.

4. He did not see it for what it was, and instead denied the problem. 5. Amoghavajra was asked about Mark Dunlop (another whistleblower).

It was suggested that maybe he could talk to him to resolve the problem, but he did not want to talk about it or think about it. He became irritated and defensive, as if he knew something more about the abuse and said nothing. He claimed that Mark Dunlop was making things up. 6.

It should be noted that Amoghavajra (the Chair of the Centre at the time) released 4 good glowing references about me in response to a SAR under the provisions of the Data Protection Act. 7. However, any attempt to secure an apology was ignored by the chair for some time. He refused to arrange a notary letter to clarify the disputed statements.

In my opinion, his default position is to work to cover up abuse in his center by belittling complaints and making out that those who complain have things wrong in their lives. 8. The default answer (at least back then, was to become more FWBO), but of course, the danger with that is that people lose independent perspectives and awarenesses that would spot abuse. Thus the reason why the Centre want people to be more FWBO is so that they can be controlled.

It should be noted the Chairman has stepped down recently, with the cause unknown, it may well be very unrelated to this matter. It would be honest opinion to say that abuse can happen when one person has the Chair for a long time in an organization, with Croydon being a historical example.

Anonymous1577212
#1335359

The Ipswich Buddhist Centre now admits that controlling relationships is abuse as per their safeguarding policy which is available on their website for all to see.

So the Centre does now at least admit what form the abuse can take and that it can happen by an Order Member.

It is interesting they mention controlling relationships because this is what happened. I want to put the full text here just in case it is deleted and so people can see what the complaint was about in terms of controlling relationships.

It certainly falls under that category:-

Anyway, in those days I was still exploring my relationship life along with with my sexuality – like we all do at some point in this reality.

It is part of being human. So I was still signed up for ‘internet dating’ and I would go and meet women in different towns – much to the disdain of the local Order.

Of course the Order had their own relationships and some of them running classes were also dating students on the side, something I would never advocate. Thus I saw the movement had no serious spiritual credibility as it was tainted by serious breaches of the sexual conduct precept. I am not *** myself and have no issue with homosexuality in itself – but sexuality and spirituality rarely mix well and can give rise to a host of serious ethics violations and abuses.

One of my own relationships became serious so I gave 11 weeks’ notice to leave the shop team. Those 11 weeks were hard work as my girlfriend at the time was sick and lived 200k away. I only had to give 4 weeks’ notice but I felt I owed the shop team a favour so I stayed longer. Such a decision later proved to be to my detriment.

When I left the shop to start with everything was fine and no complaints were ever made. …. I ended up going back to Ipswich for a year or so – which in retrospect was not such a great plan in light of what unfolded later. At the same time the Order did specifically invite me back to Ipswich and the Ipswich Buddhist Centre and thus invited me into their movement to be a mirror for any lessons that I later embodied for them.

So in 2007 when I wanted to work in the Evolution shop again the main Order member involved in its running – Saddharaja – became really challenged despite the Order inviting me back to the area to work and live. He sanctioned an illegal interview process in which I had to agree to not do internet dating and I was asked about my sexual practices. The shop team and himself claimed that previously I did not do much work, did not fulfil my responsibilities and (to quote them) needed to be put in a very small box. If I did not comply the box would get smaller and smaller!

I needed the work at the time so I was in a bit of a tight situation but very quickly things started to go downhill with this kind of control in place. If I was friendly with a female customer there was a follow-up interrogation to see whether I was trying to chat her up and it was forbidden to have a girlfriend visit the store in working hours (although others had the same privilege and used it often!). Thus working with the movement the second time around was like being in an emotional straightjacket. Relationships with females outside of the movement became very alluring as a result and I went on to have secret dates on my days off that the shop never found out about.

There was also a big deal about those in the movement should be looking to meet their need for emotional intimacy within the Order.

The only trouble with that approach was that emotional intimacy and friendship was dangled in front of someone in a ‘carrot and stick’ manner – thus if one complied with the expectations and demands of the Order one got friendship, if one did not – one got chastised, ridiculed or badly treated in some other way. Thus the notion of spiritual friendship within the FWBO was very conditional – at least in my experience

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