Between 1997 and 1999 a concerted but anonymous campaign was conducted against the FWBO by unnamed critics. These critics produced a lengthy document called The FWBO Files which prompted some hostile publicity. The FWBO Files and the ensuing publicity are still available on the internet and will understandably raise concerns about the FWBO for some readers.
Soon after this campaign was launched, the FWBO Communications Office replied in detail to the charges with which we were presented, and its responses are available on this site. These accept that difficulties have sometimes arisen in the FWBO’s forty-year history, and describe how we have learnt from them and changed as a result.
One strand in the criticisms is the suggestion that, as a new and innovative Buddhist movement, the FWBO is somehow inherently flawed or illegitimate — these documents therefore include some discussion of the principles on which the FWBO is based. Hopefully this material will be of enduring interest to those wishing to understand the FWBO and its place in the Buddhist world.
The main documents — both criticisms and responses — are all quite long, so there is also a brief response.
Discussion and Debate
The FWBO Communications Office was appointed by the FWBO’s European Chair’s meeting and other central bodies, and its responses attempted to put the record straight. But no one can speak on behalf of all the FWBO’s members and such “official” documents are only one way of exploring this sometimes fraught subject. We want to be as open as possible about the issues raised by these criticisms, and so this site also links to other writing on us, both by people practicing within the FWBO and outsiders. These are arranged under headings as follows:
Links to a bibliography of academic studies wholly or partly concerned with the FWBO.
Reflections from Within
As a thoughtful Buddhist community, members of the FWBO have their own reflections and views on the topics that have caused controversy. FWBO Discussion (www.discussion.fwbo.org) is a new initiative that will share writing and debates on contentious issues by people from within the FWBO. It includes a range of views and suggests how the FWBO has changed and is evolving.
This material is arranged by topic, each of which includes links to other references.