Sangharakshita


Sangharakshita, photo by Siddharth Maitrak Sangharakshita is the founder of the Triratna Buddhist Community (formerly Friends of the Western Buddhist Order). He has written over 30 books on Buddhism, as well as autobiographies, essays, and poetry.

Born Dennis Lingwood in South London in 1925, largely self-educated, he was very interested in the cultures and philosophies of the East and at the age of sixteen realized that he was a Buddhist. The Second World War took him to India, where he stayed on to become the Buddhist monk Sangharakshita ('protector of the spiritual community').

Sangharakshita spent twenty-five years in India studying with teachers from each of the 3 major Buddhist traditions during which time he founded a nonsectarian Buddhist center. He was closely involved in India's "Dharma Revolution" of the fifties. This peaceful revolution, begun by Dr. Ambedkar, consisted of hundreds of thousands of former "Untouchable" Hindus embracing Buddhism. This revolution continues today with thousands of ex-untouchables finding self-respect and support through the compassionate teachings of Buddhism.

On returning to England in the sixties, Sangharakshita founded the Triratna Buddhist Community and the Triratna Buddhist Order (formerly Western Buddhist Order). His aim was to help Buddhism take firm root in the West in a form unburdened by the cultural accretions of any particular nationality or tradition. It is a translation of the universal principles of Buddhism for modern, secularized societies. Sangharakshita, now in his 80's, is no longer involved in the day-to-day activities of the Triratna Buddhist Community.