Sangharakshita was born Dennis Lingwood in South London in 1925. From a very early age he developed a strong interest in Eastern cultures and philosophies, identifying as a Buddhist from the age of sixteen. He served in World War II in Sri Lanka, and afterwards chose to remain in India, where he studied and lived as a wandering mendicant. Eventually he was ordained as a Theravadin Buddhist monk, taking on the name Sangharakshita, which means protected by the spiritual community. After twenty years of living and studying under leading Buddhist teachers in India, he returned to England to establish the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order (FWBO) in 1967.
A translator between East and West, between the traditional world and the modern, between principles and practices, Sangharakshita’s depth of experience and clear thinking have been appreciated throughout the world. He has always sought to discern the core teachings that underlie all Buddhist traditions, and to re-express them in ways that are relevant and spiritually vital in today’s culture. In particular, he has emphasized the significance of commitment in the spiritual life, the paramount value of spiritual friendship and community, the link between religion and art, and the need for a “new society” that is supportive of spiritual ideals.
Today the FWBO is known as the Triratna Buddhist Community. Sangharakshita has handed over to his senior disciples most of the responsibilities for this truly international Buddhist movement. From his base in Birmingham, England, he is now focusing on his writing and on furthering the personal relationships he has developed over the years.
A number of Sangharakshita’s Books can be downloaded for free