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Sangharakshita

bhante

Sangharakshita is a unique figure in the Buddhist world.
 
For 20 years he lived in India, where he was ordained and studied with a range of Buddhist teachers. He became inspired by all major aspects of Buddhism, and has since written and lectured prolifically both in the West and the East. In the light of modern scholarship and his own spiritual experience, he has brought out and emphasised the core teachings that underlie and unify the Buddhist tradition as a whole. In founding the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order (now known as the Triratna Buddhist Community) in 1967, he sought to clarify the essentials and outline ways of practice that are spiritually alive and relevant to the 21st century.

A Brief Biography of Sangharakshita
 
Sangharakshita is one of the founding fathers of Western Buddhism.
 
He was born Dennis Lingwood in South London, in 1925, and had a Church of England upbringing. But from an early age he developed an interest in the cultures and philosophies of the East.

Cornwall Triratna Buddhist Meditation Group

But from an early age he developed an interest in the cultures and philosophies of the East. Aged 16, after reading the Diamond Sutra, he had a distinct realisation that he was a Buddhist. He became involved in London’s germinal Buddhist world in wartime Britain, and started to explore the Dharma through study and practice.
 
Then conscription in the Second World War took him to Sri Lanka as a signals operator, and after the war he stayed on in India. For two years he lived as a wandering mendicant, and later he was ordained as a Theravadin Buddhist monk and named Sangharakshita (‘protected by the spiritual community’). Sangharakshita lived for 14 years in the Himalayan town of Kalimpong, where he encountered venerable Tibetan Buddhist teachers — so he had the opportunity to study intensively under leading teachers from all major Buddhist traditions.
 
All the while he taught and wrote extensively. He is now the author of over 50 books. Most of these are expositions of the Buddhist tradition, but he has also published a large amount of poetry and four volumes of memoirs, as well as works on aspects of western culture and the arts from a Buddhist perspective. After 20 years in India, Sangharakshita returned to the UK to teach the Dharma. In 1967 he set up the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order — a new Buddhist movement for the modern West.
 
Sangharakshita has been a translator between East and West, between the traditional world and the modern, between timeless principles and relevant practices. His clear thinking, depth of experience and ecumenical approach have been appreciated around the world. He has always emphasised the decisive significance of commitment in the spiritual life, the value of spiritual friendship and community, the link between religion and the arts, and the need for a ‘new society’ that supports spiritual values. Sangharakshita played a key part in the revival of Buddhism in India, particularly through his work with the followers of Dr Ambedkar (formerly known as Untouchables). Around one third of the Order is in India, where the movement is called the Triratna Bauddha Mahasangha (formerly the TBMSG). Throughout his life Sangharakshita has been concerned with issues of social reform.
 
Now in his 80s, Sangharakshita has handed over his responsibilities for the Triratna Buddhist Community to a group of senior members of the Order. From his base in Birmingham, he is now focusing on personal contact with disciples, and on his writing.

On other Triratna websites
 
Visit Sangharakshita’s website to see some of his personal poetry and prose. You can also find a list of links to articles and other writing by Sangharakshita on the Triratna Buddhist Articles website.
 
FreeBuddhistAudio (formerly Dharmachakra) has an archive of recorded talks by Sangharakshita (and other members of the Triratna Buddhist Order). These are available for free download. Transcriptions of all of Sangharakshita's recorded talks, seminars, question and answer sessions are also available, again for free, from FreeBuddhistAudio.
 
Clear Vision has an archive of filmed talks by Sangharakshita. (Clear Vision also have a picture archive, as well as resources for teaching Buddhism in schools.)
 
You can buy a large number of books by Sangharakshita from Windhorse Publications. He also offers a small selection of books for free download from his personal website.

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