Interkula Survey “Triratna: How are We Doing Now?” Further FAQs – Q.6

There have been a number of questions raised about the methodology of the Interkula’s last survey “Triratna: How are We Doing Now?” conducted in September 2018, and in particular around Question 6:
“Q6: Do you know anyone, either yourself or someone you know personally, who experienced sexual misconduct by Sangharakshita or another Order member, but who has not yet been invited to participate in the Restorative Process?”.

What can be concluded from question 6 of the survey?

First, we would like to remind readers of the aim and objectives of this survey. The aim was to ascertain where people in the Triratna Community or those associated with it currently stand in relation to allegations of past sexual misconduct. The three objectives of the survey were to establish:

1) If people felt allegations had been sufficiently addressed.

2) If not, what else could be done to address them.

3) To make recommendations to the Sangha based on findings from the survey.

Second, we would like to remind readers that due to data protection requirements, we did not have consent to use address lists to reach people who may have wanted to answer the survey. Therefore, we used the means we had available to us to access people via online forums, which limited the types of people and numbers we could reach. As a result, the survey was not intended to reach a statistically representative sample of all people who have ever been involved in Triratna; a characteristic that is noted in the report. The Observer have seized on the percentage that answered Q6 positively, without reference to the sample population. They have assumed our sample is representative of the entire current population of Triratna.

This survey was not set out to quantify past misconduct. If the research question had been ‘what proportion of people feel that they have experienced sexual misconduct in Triratna?’, we would have designed it differently. In that case, we would need to define our timeframe, define sexual misconduct, and define the entire Triratna population as well as having access to those people. This piece of work would be very costly and difficult to do, as it would require a) all centres to participate in identifying past and present attendees within the timeframe we were looking at, and b) using other mechanisms, such as adverts, phone calls, letters and emails to try and reach the entire Triratna population or a statistically representative sample so that those who felt they had experienced sexual misconduct could come forward. This would then give a better estimate of the proportion of people who report they have experienced such misconduct in Triratna.

If the research question had been ‘What assists or prevents people who feel they have experienced sexual misconduct in Triratna from coming forward?’, then we would want as many people as possible who felt they had experienced this to be reached, and would not be interested in reaching those who did not feel they had experienced such misconduct. In other words, the sample population would be people who feel they have experienced sexual misconduct in Triratna. Again, we would need to define our timeframe, define sexual misconduct, and would then want to do individual interviews with those people. The interviews would then be themed to identify similarities and differences, and recommendations made based on those interviews. Again, this would be a large piece of work.

In either piece, ensuring anonymity to maximise the chances of people coming forward and using independent researchers would be highly advisable. It would only be ethical to do such a large piece of work if the organization was committed to acting on the recommendations.

In this survey, we were limited by resources so did not have independent researchers, but tried to maximise the accuracy in participant reporting by making the survey anonymous, asking for only direct reports of sexual misconduct in the respondent or someone directly known to them, and ensuring only one response per internet provider address was allowed.

As a result of the limitations of our reach and resources, the survey report provides an indication of the range of opinions and experiences of people who answered the survey. This gives the community a useful starting point for more detailed work in identifying where problems may lie, and this was the intention of the survey. We are aware that people who respond to surveys have particular characteristics, as noted in the original report, and that there may be an over-representation of people who have strong opinions either way on this topic. However, through the qualitative data we gathered (for which numbers of people answering are irrelevant), there were two clear gaps, resulting in a number of people stating they had not reported misconduct. First, there was a knowledge gap in information sharing, where people reported not knowing how to report misconduct or accessing the restorative process. Second, there was a trust gap, where people who reported they experienced misconduct or knew someone who had did not have confidence in reporting the harm or in the restorative process because it is in-house. Our recommendations are intended to address these gaps.

A pdf of these FAQs can be downloaded here.

Sources of Support: Where to go for support and reporting incidents.

We are aware abuse can come in many forms and local resources vary by country. If you have been affected by the issues raised in this survey and report, we have listed a few organisations that may be able to help you talk through your issue, and signpost you to other local services.

UK Victim Support:


Rape Crisis Network of Europe has a list of support organizations throughout the world.

Known or suspected abuse and assault within Triratna organizations can be reported to the Triratna Safeguarding Team at

Response to the Observer Article (21/07/2019) from the Interkula.

Response to the Observer Article (21/07/2019) from the Interkula.

The Interkula have noted the Observer’s use of its report based on the results of our Survey intended to “assess where the Triratna community currently stands in relation to allegations of past sexual misconduct in Triratna’s history” in an article in this Sunday’s Observer Newspaper.

We were saddened to see an article so critical of Triratna, particularly because we feel that if the issues discussed in the article had been effectively addressed, a very different, much more favorable article could have been written about us. We would likely have been perceived as exemplars of good practice, in this time of reports of abuse arising from other sanghas, such as Shambhala and Rigpa.

In response to today’s Observer article, we would like to reiterate the four recommendations we made in our report:

1. Consult organizational communications professions to help restructure method and systems for information communication to the Sangha, so that people feel more informed and involved.

2. Establish teacher training in prevention of sexual harassment and misconduct.

3. Establish a robust system of reporting concerns as they arise that the Sangha feel able to use without any conflict of interest. As part of this, a Committee independent of Triratna or an Ombudsman to handle misconduct reports is suggested.

4. Hire an external party trained in investigating misconduct in religious organizations to conduct an inquiry into past misconduct and implement that party’s recommendations.

We received virtually no response to these recommendations from the Ethics kula or the College when we first sent them to the then-Adhistana kula on Dec 3, 2018 and distributed them as widely as we were able to the Order. However, our recommendations can still be implemented, and we firmly believe all four are necessary to heal the harm caused by past unskillfulness and prevent future recurrences.

We also want to clarify, in case there was any question, that the Interkula did not send the report to the press, and we have no information about who did or why they did so.

Finally, we wish to correct the description of us as disaffected Order members. Each Interkula member has a long history with Triratna and positive friendships within it. Our surveys intend to collect information from the Sangha then distribute that information to whomever the survey was open to, along with other relevant bodies. Our recommendations come out of the data collected, and our hope is that people in the Sangha will continue the conversation in their own contexts and pick up on the results that may lead to action. As we said in our introduction to the report referenced in the Observer article:
‘We also wish readers to know that all the stages involved in this process, from creating the survey to compiling and sharing the results, has been done from a place of deep metta and concern for all those touched by Triratna and a wish for the Triratna Community to be the best it can be’
Our work is informed by deep care for the Order and community.


Following the publication of the results of the Interkula’s survey “How is Triratna Doing Now?” a Facebook group was opened to give anyone who was interested an opportunity to discuss the results.

It was part of the groups stated intention to only be temporary and for a further report to be written sharing the main points to come out of the discussion on the group. Accordingly the group has now been closed and here is a brief outline of the various discussions points raised

1) COMMUNICATION WITHIN THE ORDER AND COMMUNITY: Communication within the Order and Community was discussed the most. Topics of discussion included:

  • Who has access to which information could be clarified: what information does everyone have access to, which information is just for Order members, which information is just for some Order members (i.e., in certain places or positions)

  • A desire for greater multi-directional communication, especially greater back-and-forth collaborative dialogue between official decision-making bodies and the rest of the Order and community.

  • Communication structures are closely related to organizational structures. The merits of centralized vs decentralized organizational structures were discussed.

  • Group dynamics, especially in relation to dissenting opinions and whistle-blowers, are important to be aware of and are seen in Triratna regarding this issue.

2) EXTERNAL REVIEW: The second topic getting the most discussion was the desire/need for an external review.

  • There was emphasis on the motivation for an external review being to heal the divisions in the community that have arisen over past misconduct.

  • ​ An external review could also reveal ways our communication dynamics and structures could be improved. Therefore, improving communication and an external review are closely linked.

3) GROUP MEMBERSHIP: People from a wide range of backgrounds expressed interest in the conversations by joining the Interkula group, including Order members, Mitras, Friends, and people who long ago left Triratna. It was noted that only one person from the Adhistana and Ethics kulas responded to the report, and none of them joined the group.

4) METHODOLOGY: There was discussion about survey methodology and appreciation expressed for its rigor.

Final Report on “How are we Doing Now?” Survey

In Mid September The Interkula launched a 1 month survey: “Triratna: How are We Doing Now?” in order to try to assess how the Triratna Community feels now about allegations of past misconduct.

The results of this survey were due to be released within two weeks of its close and we were just preparing to publish our report on 30 October when we heard the news of Sangharakshita’s passing and so obviously took the decision to delay publication.

We are aware that people are still grieving, and that people will be processing their feelings on varying timescales. However, we also know that others are waiting on the report. Whilst we are conscious that for some this maybe too soon, bearing both these factors in mind we have decided to publish the report now. Continue reading “Final Report on “How are we Doing Now?” Survey”

InterKula – Research Principles.

Recently the Interkula has received a few requests to have access to the full questionnaire data after publishing one of our reports on Parenting in Triratna. In part, this seemed to be due to a concern that without the full data, readers could not be sure that bias had not been introduced into the report by the InterKula. We hope that this post addresses such concerns. Continue reading “InterKula – Research Principles.”

How are We Doing Now?

Approximately two years ago, the BBC documentary Inside Out described allegations of past sexual misconduct by Sangharakshita and other Order members. Since then there has been much discussion in official and unofficial Triratna contexts about issues raised by this documentary.

Several months after the release of the documentary, the Adhistana Kula was established to respond to these issues. A little later, the Interkula was set up by several Order members. Working independently from any other Triratna organization or institution, the Triratna Interkula aims to facilitate respectful and thoughtful discussion, and support change.

The Interkula’s current project is a survey to assess where the Triratna community currently stands in relation to allegations of past sexual misconduct. How much have we learned and moved on? What, if anything, is still left to be done? Continue reading “How are We Doing Now?”

Is Lifestyle Secondary Part 2: Questionnaire

The InterKula.Net’s recent post ‘Is Lifestyle Secondary’ opened up for exploration the place and experience of parents and families in Triratna based on the Adhisthana Kula’s statement that:

“…the idea that single people are spiritually superior to those in relationships or with families…forms no part of Triratna teaching today ”

As promised in that post the InterKula is now publishing a follow up questionnaire  further exploring this topic which you can find here.

This questionnaire is relevant for  anyone involved in Triratna in any way – including OMs, Ex-OMs, Mitras, Friends, Ex-Mitra/Friends or anyone else connected with Triratna. So please encourage as many people as possible that you know to fill it in.

It is divided into five sections and, as well as some general and introductory questions, it contains questions specifically for non-parents, parents and those who have parents who are or have been actively involved in Triratna. So it is extemely unlikely that you will need to answer all the questions!

The completed Questionnaires will only be looked at by members of the InterKula and none of the information gathered will be made available in the public domain except in a collated and anonymised form unless explicit permission has been obtained from the author by the InterKula.

Please tell as many people as you can about this questionnaire and encourage them to fill it in.  The more information that we are able to collect the more useful it will be, allowing us more accurately to know how Triratna is doing in relation to parents and families at present and what improvements can be made.