Sangharakshita is a unique figure in the Buddhist world. 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. Aged 16, after reading the Diamond Sutra, he had a distinct realization that he was a Buddhist.
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 emphasized the core teachings that underlie and unify the Buddhist tradition as a whole.
In founding the Triratna Buddhist Community (previously known as Friends of the Western Buddhist Order) in 1967, he sought to clarify the essentials and outline ways of practice that are spiritually alive and relevant to the 21st century. 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.