Sangharakshita: a new voice in the Buddhist tradition
Even thirty years ago Buddhism was an oriental curiosity attracting scholarly interest and just a few seemingly eccentric devotees. Today it is a gathering force in Western life, sowing the seeds of a spiritual, cultural, philosophical, artistic, and even economic revolution. Among the personalities at the heart of this development is a remarkable Englishman: Sangharakshita.
Having become a Buddhist at the age of fifteen, Sangharakshita was one of the first Westerners to make the journey to the East and to don the monk's yellow robe. He lived for many years in a town on the Indo-Tibetan border, and made a series of friendships which left him uniquely experienced in the main traditions of Buddhist teaching and practice. His involvement with the'mass-conversion movement' of ex-Untouchable Hindus to Buddhism exposed him to a revolutionary new experiment in social transformation. And more recently he has founded one of the most successful Buddhist movements in the modern world. The nucleus of that movement is a new kind of order whose members - neither monks or nuns nor laypeople - are pioneering a 'living Buddhism' that seems ideally suited to our times.
Highly respected as an eloquent and outspoken writer and commentator, he has never been afraid to communicate his insights and views, even if they challenge venerated elements of Buddhist tradition. But what are those insights and views? How have they arisen and developed?
Here, one of Sangharakshita's leading disciples offers an account of his evolution as a thinker and teacher. In particular, the book focuses on his contribution to several key issues. These include the decisive significance of commitment - or Going for Refuge - in the spiritual life, the philosophical centrality of 'universal conditionality', the paramount value of spiritual friendship and spiritual community, the progressive nature of spiritual life, the vital areas of correspondence between religion and art, and the need for a 'new society' supportive of spiritual aspirations and ideals.
The Unity of Buddhism
The Metaphysical Principle
Going for Refuge
The Fundamental Code of Ethics
A System of Spiritual Discipline
The New Society
The Making of a New Buddhist Culture
A New Voice
Reciommended Reading and Listening