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Friends of the Western Buddhist Order

Fearsmount over scale of Buddhist-sect sexual abuse

“Followers allege they were coerced into sex in [the] 1970sand 80s with elders of UK’s Triratnaorder, … one of the UK’s largest Buddhistorders, [which] has been forced to report allegations of sexual abuse after aformer follower claimed he was coerced into sex with one of its elders. In aseparate development, the group’s founder has apologised for havingrelationships with its members—some of which, he has previously acknowledged,may have been against their will. Triratna, which has tens of thousands offollowers, is battling to protect its reputation, both in the worldwideBuddhist community and among its own members who are questioning the extent towhich the coercion was perpetrated and how long it continued. Founded by Dennis Lingwood in the 1960s, the sect,formerly known as the Friends of theWestern Buddhist Order (FWBO),is a wealthy community with 30 retreats in the UK and a further 20 in countriesincluding Australia, the US, Germany, and Mexico. In the 1980s its Croydoncentre was closed down amid newspaper reports that its members were beingmanipulated. Now its troubled history has resurfaced after Lingwood, 91, knownby his Buddhist name, Sangharakshita,made a shock confession late last year. After being treated in hospital forpneumonia, Lingwoodissueda statement expressing ‘deep regret for all the occasions on which I have hurt, harm[IT 8.2]ed, or upset fellowBuddhists, and ask for their forgiveness.’” (The Guardian, 2/19/17) 

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