Our Founder

Sangharakshita was born Dennis Lingwood in South London in 1925. Largely self-educated, he held a strong interest in Eastern cultures and philosophies from a very early age. At sixteen he realised he was a Buddhist. After serving in World War II in Sri Lanka, he took the opportunity to stay on in India. There, he lived as a wandering mendicant, and later was ordained as the Theravadin Buddhist monk Sangharakshita (“protected by the spiritual community”).

In Kalimpong, where Sangharakshita lived for many years, he met many teachers from the Tibetan tradition. It was during this time that he had the opportunity to study under leading teachers from all the major Buddhist traditions.

After twenty years in India, he returned to England to establish the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order (FWBO) in 1967, and the Western Buddhist Order (called Trailokya Bauddha Mahasangha in India) in 1968. In 2010, the movement changed its name to Triratna Buddhist Community.

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 particular, he has emphasized the significance of commitment in the spiritual life and the paramount value of spiritual friendship and community.

Now that the Triratna Buddhist Community is an international Buddhist movement, Sangharakshita has handed over most of his responsibilities to his senior disciples in the Order. From his base in Birmingham, England, he is now focusing on personal contact with people and his writing.

Learn more about Sangharakshita at the main Triratna Buddhist Community web site.