The Guardian’s Article on the FWBO
Allegations against Sangharakshita
The article includes discussion of Sangharakshita’s explorations after his return from India. This requires some context. In his early years in Britain, Sangharakshita found himself with the task of creating a new Buddhist movement in cultural circumstances that had no parallels in Buddhist history. He could see that the project would not consist in merely transplanting Eastern Buddhist forms into the West — but what did it mean? He explored a number of different fields then being upheld as routes to deeper human experience, even perhaps spiritual experience, such as sex and “psychedelic” drugs, while of course continuing to meditate, study, and practice within the Buddhist tradition. These explorations were always of a personal kind; he considered them to be taking place in the context of friendships and did not advocate their use by his disciples. They formed part of the somewhat chaotic background out of which arose the intense creativity that accompanied the formation of the FWBO. He concluded that much of what he explored was not of spiritual significance and that sexual activity is in all probability inherently unskilful. As a result he abandoned it and, many years ago reverted to the celibacy he had previously long observed.
In the article serious allegations are made against Sangharakshita by Mark Dunlop. As presented, Mark’s story gives a strong impression of victimisation which simply does not correspond to the recollections of those who knew him and Sangharakshita at the time. Mark struck his friends as independent, even strong-willed, and his friendship with Sangharakshita — which lasted several years — seemed close and warm.