Report: #1377140

Complaint Review: Munisha @Triratna Communications Manager

  • Submitted: Mon, June 05, 2017
  • Updated: Tue, June 20, 2017
  • Reported By: FWBO Files — Alabama USA
  • Munisha @Triratna Communications Manager

    Nationwide
    USA

Munisha @Triratna Communications Manager Triratna Buddhist Controversy, FWBO Files, Dennis Lingwood (Sangharakshita) abuse scandal Lied to BBC to deflect abuse allegations and to avoid Triratna leader being interviewed, ignoring abuse complaints, systemic abuse issues in movement, poor handling of scandal, dishonesty Nationwide

*Consumer Comment: Complaint about Heterosexual Discrimination, Abuse and Bad Mouthing by Triratna Order Members and Ipswich Buddhist Centre

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Munisha is the communications person for the Triratna Buddhist Community (originally known as the FWBO - The Friends of the Western Buddhist Order). This movement is well documented for being a cult, with a history of serious abuse issues.

These have been discussed in reputable national newspapers and in a BBC documentary called Inside Out:-

bbc.com/news/uk-england-hampshire-37432719

theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/19/buddhist-sexual-abuse-triratna-dennis-lingwood

 

The core of the problem is that Dennis Lingwood (known as Sangharakshita) is at the centre of an abuse scandal for which he has apologized for to some extent, but as stopped short at making apologies and amends to people specifically harmed. [continued below]....

.....

This is detailed in many websites (Google The FWBO Files and Triratna Controversy).

Sangharakshita was publically denounced by 88 indian Buddhist Monks :-

medium.com/@eiselmazard/a-fragment-of-the-sangharakshita-scandal-from-india-65ed24df006d

 

The FWBO’s response to allegations in both the Guardian and the FWBO Files for the last 20 years has been overwhelmingly one of uncompromising denial. 

In summary, the issue of systemic abuse facilitated by false, non Buddhist doctrines and perpetrated by the founder and others was deliberately ignored. Through the calculated and wilful application of a straw man argument, the response whitewashed the actual issues and scapegoated a single, senior, now ex Order member as being solely responsible for actions which were, in truth, far more widespread and deep rooted. It was a thoroughly disingenuous, highly politicised response aimed, not at resolving the issue and offering help to those damaged, but rather at deflecting criticism and maintaining the toxic status quo within the Order’s upper echelons.

Finally, in September 2016, BBC East ran a piece in which three men alleged that they too had been abused at Triratna’s Padmaloka centre in Norwich and once again, the finger was pointed directly at Lingwood.

To avoid him being interviewed and confronted about these new allegations, Triratna’s PR representative Munisha deliberately lied to the BBC, claiming Lingwood was “blind”.

This deliberate, seemingly innocuous lie was seen by some within Triratna as an indication of a continuing tendency within the group’s leadership to deceive the public and younger community members about the past and led to a good deal of discussion and even dissent within the Order, not simply because of the new revelations of abuse but more so, the continued, disingenuous and self serving nature of the response.

The situation appeared so potentially damaging that, on the advice of senior Triratna figures, Lingwood issued a somewhat nebulous apology for “any hurt, harm or upset” he had caused and asking for “forgiveness”. However, the deliberate vagueness of the apology only added to the already considerable anger in the community. Why would Lingwood not name names and apologise for specific actions to specific people? Why weren’t victims acknowledged and offered help or even compensation? More importantly perhaps, why were hierarchs in the organization still refusing to come clean about the misdemeanours committed by their founder and his close associates in the name of the Buddha, behind the closed doors of their single sex communities?

Anger at the deliberate vagueness and insensitivity of the Triratna response finally spilled out into the public arena and on the 19th of February 2017, the Guardian newspaper published the following critical report.

Munisha claims that there is now a “safe space” for abused disciples but this is a space exclusively controlled by Triratna – there is no counselling by any qualified external source, nor is there any independent body investigating or helping those who have been harmed by the leader of Triratna, Dennis Lingwood (Sangharakhsita). And yet it is the culture of Triratna itself that forms the very basis for these abuses. The limitations of such in-house counselling are obvious: a) the Triratna organisation can maintain control over all information and reports of abuse, b) it can influence those reporting to follow an already well established and pervasive narrative that these abuses were also somewhat beneficial to many c) the blind spots of the Triratna leadership and their role in the whole setup of power and sexual abuse are not questioned or scrutinized at all. A mark of genuine organisations who take the suffering of victims of abuse seriously is that they invite independent professional organisations and experts to investigate these cases of abuse. 

The Triratna leadership has played a critical role in justifying a culture that enables systematic power and sexual abuse; many critics of the movement or victims of this abuse have been disparaged in public or in internal communications, deliberately undermining their credibility in order to preserve the reputation and financial status of the TBO and Sangharakshita (Dennis Lingwood). Up until now, the TBO leadership has neither acknowledged nor excused itself for having perpetrated these abuses.

Munisha routinely ignores abuse complaints when they are presented and it would be a fair comment to say that her, and her movements handling of the situation, is questionable, ineffective and does not address the issues.

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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/05/2017 03:00 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/munisha-triratna-communications-manager/nationwide/munisha-triratna-communications-manager-triratna-buddhist-controversy-fwbo-files-denni-1377140. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#1 Consumer Comment

Complaint about Heterosexual Discrimination, Abuse and Bad Mouthing by Triratna Order Members and Ipswich Buddhist Centre

AUTHOR: FWBOFilesAdditions - (USA)

The Triratna Buddhist Community are complained about by me for heterosexual discrimination, interference in one's personal relationship choices, illegal employment conditions in their Right Livelihood businesses as well as bad mouthing those who have legitimate complaints.There is proof of that bad-mouthing.

I was a consumer of the meditation classes and retreats offered by the Triratna Buddhist Communtiy (previously known as the FWBO) for around 4 years, attending some 15+ retreats, and attending meditation classes often. I also worked in one of their Evolution shops designed to raise money for the movement and the Buddhist Centres.

They tried mistreating me and bad mouthing me because I left their cult to explore heterosexual relationships. Ever since I made a complaint about that, despite the movement at the time having high praise for me, it instead began to lie about me, bad-mouth me, give bad references and speak ill of me behind my back, which I found out about.

The movement has ignored all requests for an apology and remains in denial

 

For more information about the scandal there are various websites in the public arena discussing the issues including allegations that the movement is a cult and abuses its movements:-

https://buddhism-controversy-blog.com/2017/02/19/whitewash-dishonesty-culture-of-abuse-in-the-triratna-buddhist-order-tbo/

http://www.ex-cult.org/fwbo/fwbofiles.htm

 

My complaint about the Ipswich Buddhist Centre is here

 

http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/ipswich-buddhist-centre/ipswich-/ipswich-buddhist-centre-triratna-buddhist-community-fwbo-ipswich-buddhist-centre-sangh-1374179

(they too have declined to apologize for their part, though to be totally accurate, a Mitra (Friend) of the Ipswich Buddhist Centre named Paul Edwards of Ipswich, unreservedly and sincerely apologized for subjecting me to degrading rules including restricting relationships in the workplace, and subjecting me to degrading conditions because I was heterosexual.

That matter is expanded upon here.

https://ipswichbuddhistcentre.wordpress.com/2016/10/26/ipswich-buddhist-centre-experience/

 

What remains is an apology from the Order (the ordained people in the movement), for the abuse experienced, because they continue to deny it despite Pauls sincere apology, presumably to avoid legal liability.

 

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:-

http://www.ipswichbuddhistcentre.org.uk/SafeguardingVulnerableAdults.pdf

It says

What is ‘abuse’? 

Abuse is the harming of a person usually by someone who is in a position of power, trust or authority over them, or who may be perceived by that person to be in a position of power, trust or authority over them; for example by a Friend, Mitra or Order member who is helping to run Ipswich Buddhist Centre activities those newer to such activities. The harm may be physical, psychological or emotional, or it may exploit the vulnerability of the victim in more subtle ways.

and

Signs of discrimination

Lack of respect shown to an individual

Other signs of abuse

Controlling relationships

 

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 gay 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 truble 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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