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The Thought of Sangharakshita

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Sangharakshita (1925-2018) was a Buddhist writer and teacher, founder of the Triratna Buddhist Order and Community (previously FWBO). Apart from his practical achievements, Sangharakshita was an original thinker on the adaptation of Buddhism to modern conditions, an autodidact whose intellectual creativity was stimulated by both cross-cultural experience and practical contingency. His thinking is little known or appreciated outside the movement he founded, but over-dominant within it. This means that there is a shortage of balanced critical discussion of his work that finds any middle way between hagiography and dismissal. Sangharakshita has also been an object of controversy in recent years, but his more controversial views and actions need to be seen in proportion to the whole of his thinking.

This book surveys Sangharakshita’s most important and original ideas with an eye that combines appreciation and critical awareness in equal measure. It celebrates Sangharakshita’s pioneering syntheses of Buddhist and Western ideas, but warns against the inconsistencies and dogmas that are also found in Sangharakshita’s work – dogmas whose negative practical effects can also be traced.

Published: Jul 1, 2020


Section Chapter Authors
Chapter 1
Introduction Robert Ellis
Chapter 2
Making Buddhism Universal Robert Ellis
Chapter 3
Practice Robert Ellis
Chapter 4
Interpreting Buddhist Tradition Robert Ellis
Chapter 5
Controversies Robert Ellis
Chapter 6
Conclusion Robert Ellis

Reviews

Very stimulating and thought provoking. There hasn't been anything like it so far, and I think it will contribute to the process of clarifying and re-evaluating some of Sangharakshita's ideas and teachings. In my view, that process is necessary and could be very helpful to practitioners in Triratna.
Vajrapushpa (Ulla Brown), member of the Triratna Buddhist Order

A significant and very useful book, something that will be in the background for years to come in the interesting new era of post-Sangharakshita studies.
Kamalashila (Anthony Matthews), author of Meditation: The Buddhist Way of Tranquility and Insight

A very valuable contribution to the discussion of Sangharakshita’s ideas. This book should be interesting to those who study new religious movements as well as the introduction of Buddhism to the West.
Michael Chaskalson, Founder and CEO of Mindfulness Works and author of The Mindful Workplace and Mindfulness in Eight Weeks