Our Starting Point
In December 2016, Sangharakshita made a personal statement in which he wrote:
“Triratna sometimes bears the mark not of the Dharma but of my own particular personality. That personality is a complex one and in certain respects I did not act in accordance with what my position in the movement demanded or even as a true Buddhist. I am thinking in particular of the times when I have hurt, harmed or upset fellow Buddhists, whether within Triratna or out of it.”
Following this, the Adhisthana Kula introduced themselves to the world on 28 February 2017 with a statement that included:
“… we would like to take this opportunity to make it clear that the following ideas form no part of Triratna teaching today:
- that sex is an aid to kalyana mitrata (spiritual friendship)
- that men are spiritually superior to women
- that any sexual orientation is spiritually superior to another
- that single people are spiritually superior to those in relationships or with families”
This was a valuable clarification, that naturally opens up questions and leads to a need for further discussion.
What Might be Next?
We have seen meetings happening at various Centres within our community, where people have come together to share of their histories, which has, by all accounts, been very healing. We’ve seen discussions on various online forums that have also opened up topics to a wider range of people than were able to engage previously.
Having discussed how we might respond to the need for ongoing exploration The Inter Kula would like to add an element of co-ordination to these otherwise organic interchanges.
We will initially seek to seed conversation through publishing simple discussion posts around a topic. Rather than state a single opinion, our plan is simply to open up the topic and offer questions that we hope will draw out greater clarity and mutual understanding than would be possible on our own.
To assist with this, we may publish simple surveys alongside each topic that will help us all gauge opinion as we explore these areas.
Seeing the variety of venues in which controversies have been explored over the last year, shows that is there is no longer a single exclusive venue for such discussion. We feel that as we move into an age where the Internet has embedded itself deeply into our society, as a community we must adjust and take this into account.
Face-to-face conversation will always remain the most immediate form of communication, whether one-to-one, or in groups. We hope our posts will be explored in many face-to-face situations.
Face-to-face meetings are by their nature limited by time and geography. What online communication brings to the picture is the possibility to meet with members of our community regardless of geography, health and income. What we lose in immediacy, we gain in breadth of communication.
Neither form will capture everything, therefore it is important that we use as many means as we can, so as to be accessible to as many people as possible. Our immediate aim is to facilitate and hopefully help coordinate these ongoing discussions.
As part of this coordination effort we would love to hear outcomes from discussions, whether ‘anonymised’ summaries, or personal stories, or suggestions that might be shared with other groups meeting around the same topics. We won’t share anything in public without your permission.
There are only so many hours in the day, and all members of the Inter Kula are volunteers. It is our sincere hope that people will feel willing to step forward and help with shared projects in areas that we raise.
If you wish to communicate directly with the Inter Kula, please feel free to mail us on firstname.lastname@example.org. Please bear in mind that we are all volunteers, and will do our best to respond to messages as and when we can. A more effective way to communicate is likely to be on the various online forums where our material is discussed – you can expect Kula members to be active on these forums.
As we head into the second 50 years of Triratna, we, the Inter Kula look forward to doing our small part to make our community even more of a force for good in the world than it is already.