The North London Buddhist Centre is part of an international Buddhist movement called the Triratna Buddhist Community (Previously known as the FWBO) that aims to make Buddhist teachings and practices available in a form appropriate to the West.
Our teachers are members of the Triratna Buddhist Order, men and women with a substantial experience of putting Buddhism into practice in the West.
The story of our Buddhist community starts with its founder Sangharakshita, who was born Dennis Lingwood in South London in 1925. Largely self — educated, he realized he was a Buddhist after finding a copy of the Diamond Sutra in a second hand bookshop. He subsequently started to study and practice Buddhism intensively, becoming involved in the germinal Buddhist world of wartime London.
Sangharakshita was conscripted and posted to the Far East during the second half of the war where he stayed on after the cessation of hostilities, eventually becoming ordained into the Theravadin tradition and receiving his name which means “he who is protected by the spiritual community”.
Towards the end of the '40s Sangharakshita moved to Kalimpong, in North Eastern India, where he studied with teachers from several of the major Buddhist traditions including leading Tibetan Buddhist lamas. It was during this time that he became more widely known in the Buddhist world for his non — sectarian approach to the whole Buddhist tradition, especially through his book A Survey of Buddhism and as editor of the Maha Bodhi Journal. He also helped in the revival of Buddhism in India, particularly through his participation in the movement of conversion to Buddhism of millions of people who were considered 'untouchable' under the Hindu social system. Sangharakshita learned from working with them that Buddhism must address people's social conditions as well as their minds.
After returning to Britain, and several years involvement with the British Buddhist scene as it then existed, Sangharakshita decided to start a new Buddhist movement. The Triratna Buddhist Community was subsequently born in London's West End in 1967, to be followed by the first ordinations into the Triratna Buddhist Order (then known as the Western Buddhist Order) the following year.
Sangharakshita was clear from the outset that the order at the heart of the new movement should be based on the key Buddhist principle of 'Going for Refuge' to the Buddha (the embodiment of enlightenment), the Dharma (the teachings leading to enlightenment) and the Sangha, or community of realized practitioners. He intended the movement to grow naturally from the efforts of Order members to practice the Dharma under his guidance and share what they had learned with others.
More information about the Triratna Buddhist Community is available on the main Triratna website.
An amazing resource Site with Sangharashita's audio talks, seminars & transcripts as well as of other important figures around the movement: Free Buddhist Audio.