Sangharakshita, founder of Triratna Buddhism, dead at 93

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kirtu
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Sangharakshita, founder of Triratna Buddhism, dead at 93

Post by kirtu » Wed Oct 31, 2018 1:32 am

Sangharakshita, founder of Triratna Buddhism, dead at 93
The sometimes controversial Buddhist teacher founded Triratna — one of the most popular sects of Buddhism in England — and helped established Ambedkarite Buddhism, which has millions of followers in India. Sangharakshita, Buddhist teacher and founder of the Triratna Buddhist community, died this morning in Hereford, England. He was 93 years old.
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Re: Sangharakshita, founder of Triratna Buddhism, dead at 93

Post by Grigoris » Wed Oct 31, 2018 12:44 pm

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Re: Sangharakshita, founder of Triratna Buddhism, dead at 93

Post by WuMing » Wed Oct 31, 2018 7:18 pm

:bow:
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Re: Sangharakshita, founder of Triratna Buddhism, dead at 93

Post by Knotty Veneer » Fri Nov 02, 2018 10:31 am

Sangharakshita was an interesting character. Quite an important figure in the history of Buddhism in the UK - less well known in the US.

He was one of the first British people to ordain as a Bhikkhu in India in the 40s or early 50s, I think. However, he was extremely eclectic and studied with several different traditions while in India and always promoted, to my mind, a rather colonialist/orientalist view of Buddhism.

The Triratna Community (originally the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order) he founded draws on many of the extant Eastern traditions but does not have any real lineage connections to any of them, and indeed, interprets the original teachings through its own lens – even going so far to create its own refuge tree. It is, from the POV of those of us in orthodox traditions, something of a mixed bag of teachings.

When Sangharakshita returned to England in the early/mid-60s, he probably new more about authentic Buddhist practice than anyone else. This was just before the likes of Trungpa R, Ajahn Sumedho, or Jiyu Kennett had arrived in the country. One wonders if his influence on Buddhism in the UK would have been so significant if he had arrived after these.

In England at the time, the Buddhist Society (an offshoot really of the rather woo-woo Theosophical Society) and small Theravadin groups funded by wealthy Buddhist dilettantes, were the Buddhist establishment. Originally a guest of these groups, he soon scandalized them with his non-traditional take on the teachings and his homosexuality. He soon split from these groups and founded his own organization which was more in tune with counter-culture arising at the time.

Sangharakshita’s sexuality has, to a significant extant, overshadowed his other work. He did engage in relationships while still professing to be fully ordained. He did create an atmosphere in the FWBO where gay men could feel welcome, but also where some were coerced into gay sex and told it was a part of their spiritual practice. He certainly slept with some of his students as did many of his senior students. This led to the closure of at least one FWBO centre in the 80s.

When these scandals broke in the 90s, Sangharakshita retired from full time control. The Triratna Community, I suspect, will not be much impacted on a day-to-day basis by his passing. In fact, for any organization that has had a scandal-prone founder, the Triratna Community’s example in taking over control from the founder without imploding in the process, would be one to study.
“If you are going to put people on pedestals, at least wear a big hat” - Jake Thackray.

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Re: Sangharakshita, founder of Triratna Buddhism, dead at 93

Post by well wisher » Sun Feb 17, 2019 12:06 am

93 years! That is great achievement isn't?
Especially when you compare against average life expectancy of medieval ages or even wartime.

May all dharma masters reach the Buddha purelands of their own choosing! (should he or she have chosen so).

------

Some random info tidbits to compare:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gautama_Buddha
Died c. 483 or c. 400 BCE (aged 80)

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Re: Sangharakshita, founder of Triratna Buddhism, dead at 93

Post by PeterC » Sun Feb 17, 2019 1:23 pm

well wisher wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 12:06 am
93 years! That is great achievement isn't?
Especially when you compare against average life expectancy of medieval ages or even wartime.

May all dharma masters reach the Buddha purelands of their own choosing! (should he or she have chosen so).

------

Some random info tidbits to compare:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gautama_Buddha
Died c. 483 or c. 400 BCE (aged 80)
Are you seriously comparing Dennis Lingwood to Sakyamuni Buddha?

If so...you should *really* reconsider this

well wisher
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Re: Sangharakshita, founder of Triratna Buddhism, dead at 93

Post by well wisher » Sun Feb 17, 2019 2:03 pm

PeterC wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 1:23 pm

Are you seriously comparing Dennis Lingwood to Sakyamuni Buddha?

If so...you should *really* reconsider this
I will not 100% rule out the possibilities of historical record inaccuracies, as several other wise people have already pointed out regarding the debate of different sutra canons; Did I over-do it in the historical comparisons? :shrug:

Anyways: if the historical benchmark says that 80-something age is remarkable for such as great sage and possibly "root-guru" considering the historical environment, then ANY dharma-masters who exceeded such a historical benchmark, while following his footsteps, must be doing at least something right!

It wouldn't be limited to Sangharakshita alone; A lot of dharma teachers have exceeded such a benchmark, even in recent historical records, plus consider the 80+ age dharma teachers that are still alive!
Praise to all of them! So yes i think "this" itself is worth serious consideration, as well as all other such masters.
if you consider life itself to be one of the most valuable resource in this world; then there is still plenty of hope in our world!

But not everyone might agree this is that life itself most important prize or resource, like some might say money is more important: that's why human society is so complex, yet so very interesting, isn't it?

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Re: Sangharakshita, founder of Triratna Buddhism, dead at 93

Post by PeterC » Mon Feb 18, 2019 2:32 am

well wisher wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 2:03 pm
PeterC wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 1:23 pm

Are you seriously comparing Dennis Lingwood to Sakyamuni Buddha?

If so...you should *really* reconsider this
I will not 100% rule out the possibilities of historical record inaccuracies, as several other wise people have already pointed out regarding the debate of different sutra canons; Did I over-do it in the historical comparisons? :shrug:

Anyways: if the historical benchmark says that 80-something age is remarkable for such as great sage and possibly "root-guru" considering the historical environment, then ANY dharma-masters who exceeded such a historical benchmark, while following his footsteps, must be doing at least something right!
...
I'll assume you're saying these things in good faith

If your comparison was just on age, fine, he lived to an old age.

If by comparing him to Sakyamuni Buddha you're somehow placing him in an exalted category of Dharma teachers - well, he did teach the Dharma, but he's been a long way outside what's considered normal in the Dharma for a very long time from a doctrinal perspective. The 'controversies' - the claims about who his teachers were and how close he was to them; his being run out of India; the sexual misconduct; etc etc - these are all public record.

It's normal to not speak ill of the dead, but really there's no injunction in the Dharma of that kind, and in many cases we need to speak honestly of the dead. Like all living beings I hope he has a good rebirth.

well wisher
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Re: Sangharakshita, founder of Triratna Buddhism, dead at 93

Post by well wisher » Tue Feb 19, 2019 2:19 am

Agreed, I don't intend any ill will. :namaste:

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