Urgyen Sangharakshita, Buddhist teacher, author, and founder of the Triratna Buddhist Order and community, died after a brief illness on Tuesday morning in Hereford, England, at the age of 93.
The Triratna Buddhist Order published a statement to share the news of Sangharakshita’s passing:
With great sadness we inform you of the passing away of Urgyen Sangharakshita, today, 30th October 2018, at approximately 10 am in Hereford Hospital. He had been diagnosed with pneumonia and this morning the consultant said that he also had sepsis, from which recovery was not possible.
Please join with us as we direct our metta towards Bhante, recollecting his wonderful qualities and remembering with gratitude all that he has given to so many of us. Local Centres around the world may be holding daily meditations and pujas and you may wish to arrange additional activities in your communities and homes.
Bhante asked that the following mantras be chanted at the time of his death: Shakyamuni, Green Tara, Manjushri, Amitabha and Padmasambhava.
After a few days Bhante’s body will be laid out at Adhisthana where the funeral and burial will also take place.
Born Dennis Philip Edward Lingwood in Britain in 1925, Sangharakshita was one of the first Western practitioners to be ordained as a Theravada monk in the period following the Second World War. Sangharakshita was the author of more than 60 books and has been described as “one of the most prolific and influential Buddhists of our era,” (Smith and Novak 2004) and as “the founding father of Western Buddhism.” (Berkwitz 2006)
He spent more than 20 years in Asia, where he had a number of Tibetan Buddhist teachers, and was active involved in the Dalit Buddhist conversion movement founded by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar in India in 1956.
A sometimes controversial teacher, Sangharakshita founded the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order in England in April 1967. In 2010, the FWBO became known as Triratna Buddhist Order. Sangharakshita formally retired in 1995 and stepped back from the movement’s leadership in 2000.
Smith, Huston and Philip Novak. 2004. Buddhism: A Concise Introduction. New York City: HarperCollins.
Berkwitz, Stephen. 2006. Buddhism in World Cultures: Comparative Perspectives. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO.