Resignation letter from 88 Indian FWBO members


December 25th 1999

Dear Sangharakshita,

We, the undersigned, very much regret to state that we no longer consider you to be our teacher and guide in the Dhamma. By telling us lies and making false claims you have rendered yourself unworthy of being a teacher and guide in the Dhamma. By misleading us, the Indian Buddhists and staunch followers of Bodhisattva Babasaheb Ambedkar, you have committed a gross breach of the basic precepts of Buddhism. Please note that henceforth you have no place in the lives of Buddhists in India in general and the Ambedkarites in particular. As a mark of protest, on this 25th day of December, the 72nd anniversary of the burning of the ‘Manusmirti’, we are burning your photograph publicly.

Incidentally, we feel it our duty to state the following for your information and guidance.

Firstly, when you came to India, you told us that you wanted to help Dr. Ambedkar’s work grow, that you had personally shared some of his ideas about the propagation of Buddhism in India, ideas that you wanted to share with us and help the Ambedkarite movement to grow in a distinctive manner and style. You never made it clear that your real interest was to set foot amongst the Ambedkarites and secretly establish your own cult which claimed total allegiance to your person as ‘Guru’ and founder of the so-called ‘international movement’, this at the cost of Ambedkar and his distinct vision of the revival of Buddhism in India. Neither you nor your disciples have any understanding of caste-ridden Indian society, the intricacies of socio-economic problems directly related with people’s religious status, nor of Dr Ambedkar’s way of dealing with this by way of Buddhism. Your claim that you are doing Dr. Ambedkar’s work is a blatant lie and by chanting his name you have betrayed both Dr. Ambedkar and his followers. What right do you have to do this, playing with our lives and interests?

Secondly, while claiming to be a properly ordained Buddhist monk, a Bhikshu, you showed no respect for the devout feelings Buddhists associated with the robe by indulging in sexual misconduct, experimenting with drugs and teaching the ‘neutrality’ of sexual activities. In our opinion, this final act of yours was nothing more than an attempt to cover up your misbehaviour as a monk while still holding onto the power and prestige which the yellow robe along with the epithets Bhikshu and Mahasthavir held in the eyes of the common people. Thus you have cheated us. Why didn’t you tell us right from the beginning that you weren’t a monk? Why didn’t you feel ashamed appearing before us in the yellow robe between 1979 and 1993? how can this falsehood be considered spiritual, nay, even common human behaviour? Yet you and your disciples talk of being a spiritual movement, a misnomer which amounts to a denigration of the truly spiritual.

Thirdly, those funds raised by your disciples in the UK through Karuna Trust for supposedly carrying on some social activities for the benefit of poor and backward people are grossly misused by you for the propagation and preservation of your cult. Indians working full-time in these social projects are humiliated and forcefully repressed by threats of sacking and the withdrawal of funds. Poor as they are, for it is indeed hard to make a living in India, they are easy prey to this sort of pressure and are thus forced to nod to the dictates of your cult. In a free and sovereign land such as India, where Dr. Ambedkar worked to abolish the blatant enslavement and exploitation of the caste system, your disciples are freely enforcing yet another form of enslavement by humiliating and exploiting the poor, pressurising them into accepting both your cult and your ‘supremacy’. What authority do you and your disciples have to enforce this kind of enslavement upon us, and this at the cost of naive donors in the UK and other Buddhist countries?

Finally, we wish to record our profound feelings of gratitude to Miss Bunting and the Guardian newspaper for unveiling to us the true nature of your cult and enlightening us as to the facts concerning your hidden interests. We pray that Miss Bunting may live long, serving humanity and benefiting Third World countries through her investigative journalism. May she be able to shed more light on the manoeuvrings of your cult in India. Despite all this, it is also our duty to thank you and your disciples for whatever good work you have done for us in India. All that remains now is for us to part peacefully. We pray that the Buddha may bless you and your disciples, bestowing truthfulness and reason upon you, that you might act humanely with Indian Buddhists.

Yours in the Dhamma,

Letter signed by 88 Indian FWBO (TBMSG) Dharmacharis (order members) and Mitras from the Mumbai (Bombay) area.