Suella Braverman, Cultural Marxism, and the Triratna sect

In March last year, the Conservative MP Suella Braverman was under fire for stating that “as Conservatives, we are engaged in a battle against Cultural Marxism”, leading to accusations of anti-semitism. Cultural Marxism is basically a conspiracy theory that alleges that “left-wing” ideologues and academics are taking over national institutions in order to subvert the nation by undermining its supposed ideological and cultural foundations. The reason she was accused of being anti-semitic for promoting this idea is because the idea has its origins in the Nazi idea of Kulturbolshevismus (or, quite literally, “Cultural Bolshevism”), which was a term the Nazis used to refer to modernist culture and art which they deemed to be degenerate and therefore a destructive Jewish influence, and its early proponents from the late 1980s to 1990s included people like William Lind, who for some reason felt compelled to note that the Frankfurt School’s membership was “to a man, Jewish”, not to mention the fact that the connection between Cultural Marxism and Kulturbolshevismus is often barely hidden by its proponents (for example, the alt-right wiki Metapedia used to publicly refer to Cultural Bolshevism as another name for Cultural Marxism, only to later change the article to remove all references to Cultural Bolshevism, presumably to hide any connections to Nazism). Although this does not entail that Suella Braverman is an anti-semite by itself, given that there are many people who believe in the Cultural Marxism theory who merely associate it with progressivism and modern “left-liberal” tendencies with no knowledge of its connections to Nazi ideology (perhaps Suella Braverman is one of them), the fact remains that Cultural Marxism is an idea that does have anti-semitic connotations and premises not least because of its Nazi origins.

But why am I talking about all of this? Because it turns out this same Suella Braverman was recently revealed to be a member of a “controversial Buddhist sect” – and by “controversial sect”, we literally just mean a cult. The cult in question is known as the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order, otherwise known as the Triratna Buddhist Community (or just Triratna). This sect was created in 1967 by a man named Dennis P. E. Lingwood, also known as Sangharakshita (a Sanskrit name that was given to him in 1949 by Buddhist monks), after he spent many years of his life in India, where Triratna members claim he grasped the full doctrinal essence of Buddhism and where Sangharakshita claimed he spent most of his days as a wandering asectic. Triratna was one of the fastest growing “new religious movements” in the UK, and claims to be the only real vanguard of Buddhism in the Western world. To this end they sometimes bill themselves as Western Buddhists, attack Asian schools of Buddhism as “merely ethnic” and therefore somehow inauthentic (despite apparently claiming to be linked to said Asian traditions), and claim that their local Buddhist centres are the only official ones (for instance, they call their Birmingham branch “The Birmingham Buddhist Centre”).

There are numerous distinctions between the doctrine of Triratna and that of other Buddhist sects. For starters, the aim of Triratna meditation is to transform the individual into a “higher being”, whereas the aim of almost every other form of Buddhist meditation is to achieve nirvana through the realization of the ontological reality of sunyata (emptiness) in all things, in accordance with Buddhist teachings. The idea of becoming a higher being through mediation is not itself outside of Buddhist teachings, but the aim appears to be “to become a higher type of being than you were before you began practising it”, which doesn’t seem to have much relevance to the core of Buddhist doctrine, and it seems to be drawn more from the philosophy Friedrich Nietzsche than Buddhism, and it’s worth noting that Nietzsche was apparently one of Sangharakshita’s favorite philosophers, and that the Triratna sect itself made numerous efforts to reconcile Nietzschean philosophy with Buddhism, such as in Sagaramati’s “Nietzsche and Buddhism”. There is also a codified sexism within the sect, based on Sangharakshita’s belief that “angels are to men as men are to women”, which seems to suggest that men are superior to women. In fact, Sangharakshita believed women to be less capable of spiritual evolutuion and enlightenment than men due them being lower in his “Hierarchy of Being” than men. Although there may have been some sexism in early Buddhism, there is no “Hierarchy of Being” in Buddhist doctrine. Furthermore, while the Triratna sect uses the ostensible existence of “a strong women’s wing” as proof of not having a sexist attitude towards women, consider for a moment that even other traditionally patriarchal religions, such as Islam, Christianity and Hinduism, don’t have “women’s wings” within their sects. Indeed, why the need to separate women and men in this way in any religion, if not for the purpose of constructing a strict gender segregation within your movement that doesn’t even exist within traditional Buddhist monasticism.

But the most striking distinction found within Triratna, the thing which sets it apart from all other forms of Buddhism, is the sect’s attitude towards the family and in particular towards heterosexuality and homosexuality. Whereas the old Buddhist texts and philosophers established the honoring and establishment of the traditional family unit as a foundation of Buddhist virtue, the Triratna sect despises the nuclear family, its founder and members believe the nuclear family to be a profound source of artificial social conditioning and even child abuse, as well as believing that heterosexuality (or heterosexual relationships) traps humans in the animal state. Sangharakshita even went so far as to say that the nuclear family and people who live in nuclear families are enemies of the spiritual community who need to be destroyed. His solution, therefore, was the establishment of homosexual (or “single sex”) communities as the basis for a new society, on the grounds that he believed that such communities were the best way of counteracting conditioning and thus paving the way for enlightenment. And in true cultish fashion, he advises heterosexual people to avoid contact with their heterosexual partners, and the sect even advises members to cheat on their partners by having sex with mutiple strangers in order to destroy their sense of attachment. The justification for all of this comes from Sangharakshita’s belief that heterosexual behaviour is nothing more than the result of social conditioning, and that social conditioning acts as an impediment to enlightenment. He tries to stress that both homosexuality and heterosexualtiy are equally the result of social conditioning, but this is simply a cop-out that falls on its face when you consider that he and the Triratna sect seem to hate heterosexual relationships in particular, the fact that they advise that heterosexuals cheat on their partners but not homosexuals, the fact that they favour the establishment of “single sex” communities against heterosexual communities, and the fact that homosexual sex is widely encouraged by the sect’s inner circle.

And here we come to the main reason why the Triratna sect has been in the news, both in the past and now in the present – under the aegis of Triratna doctrine regarding heterosexuality and the family as an obstacle to enlightenment, Sangharakshita sexually abused several young men within his inner circle through the use of psychological suggestion supported by religious pressure. Men such as Mark Dunlop, whom Sangharakshita seduced and manipulated into having sex with him by convincing him that many men, including him, were actually bisexual (and thus compatible with homosexual sexual activities) but were unable to admit that to themselves because of social conditioning. Dunlop is certainly not the only case, not least considering that a report produced by Triratna members (of all people) contains many accounts of sex crimes carried out by Sangharakshita and his coteries. Sangharakshita preys on young men by convincing them that they are nothing more than a mess of social conditionings, ironically conditioning the young men under the guise of trying to break their social conditioning (we used to call this brainwashing), and from there convince them that their heterosexuality is nothing but a result of this conditioning, and that in order to fight this conditioning they must participate in homosexual sex even if they were not actually homosexually inclined. After this, the next step is to convince them that it is possible to transcend mundanity through a type of homosexual sex that involves a male Triratna member and a “mitra” (a word meaning “friend”, in this case they claim it refers to someone who has contact with the group or something) – in other words, a male Triratna member having sex with a male “friend” for whom they have sexual urges. This doctrine creates the set-up for sexual abuse that is lubricated through brainwashing and psychological conditioning.

And if that’s not bad enough, the Triratna sect also encourages the indoctrination of children. In fact, not only do they try to push their ideas about the evils of heterosexuality and the virtues of having sex with “mitras” as a way of fighting social conditioning and attachment to adults, they also try to push it on teenagers. In 1996, they listed “avoiding over-identifying with one’s sexuality” as a major principle of Buddhism. When you know nothing about Triratna, this seems vague and sounds like you could apply it anywhere else, but when you remember that Triratna encourages adultery and enforced homosexual sex as a means of overcoming attachment to heterosexuality, it becomes clear that this is Triratna trying to subtly convince kids to accept their doctrine on sexuality so that they too might become amenable to the abusive sexual practices of its leadership.

All of this makes me wonder what exactly Suella Braverman, a conservative MP who says that her party is engaged in a war against “Cultural Marxism”, is doing in such a sect. There is nothing conservative about many of the Triratna sect’s most distinctive beliefs, other than maybe Sangharakshita’s contempt for feminism. In fact, the sheer contempt for the Triratna sect towards heterosexuality and the nuclear family is completely antithetical to what we would recognize as socially conservative politics, whose ostensible aims include precisely the preservation of the nuclear family rather than its destruction. If anything much of Triratna’s beliefs on sex resemble exactly the thing that we would expect “Cultural Marxists” to believe, given that they are supposed to be advocating for the destruction of the nuclear family and the delegitimization of heterosexuality for the purposes of making society more pliable for communist takeover (which is, of course, an absurd premise). But I suppose if we take into account Cultural Marxism being a fascist idea, I could take note of how Triratna’s doctrine about spiritual evolution had been compared to Julius Evola’s The Doctrine of Awakening.

So we have a strange incidence in which a Conservative MP is found to be a member of a Triratna sect, which is pretty much just a front for Sangharakshita’s predatory sexual desires, which are then carried out by the sect at large through its doctrine and practices. As the Attorney General of England and Wales, she has an important position in the current cabinet as the main legal advisor to the government. That potentially means Triratna gains some influence over the government’s decision-making, at least depending on the extent of her involvement with the sect. We could have in our midst a situation similar to South Korea, wherein the then-head of state Park Geun-hye was involved with a weird shamanistic cult known as Yeongseygo (or The Eternal Life Church) and through this the cult gained an influence over the government tbrough bribery and intruige.

Sangharakshita, pictured in black and white