Sangharakshita was born Dennis Lingwood in South London, in 1925. At the age of sixteen he developed an interest in the cultures and philosophies of the East early on, and realized that he was a Buddhist.
During the Second World War as an army recruit he went to India, where he stayed on to become a Buddhist monk. He studied for many years under leading teachers from the major Buddhist traditions, before going on to teach and write extensively. He also played a key part in the revival of Buddhism in India, particularly through his work among followers of Dr B.R. Ambedkar.
After twenty years in India, he was invited to England where he stayed to establish the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order (FWBO) in 1967, and the Western Buddhist Order (called Trailokya Bauddha Mahasangha in India) in 1968. He has brought out and emphasised the core teachings that underlie and unify the Buddhist tradition as a whole, linking the traditional world and the modern. Sangharakshita's depth of experience and clear thinking have been appreciated throughout the world. He has always particularly emphasized the decisive significance of commitment in the spiritual life, the paramount value of spiritual friendship and community, the link between religion and art, and the need for a `new society' supportive of spiritual aspirations and ideals.
Sangharakshita recently handed on most of his responsibilities to his senior disciples in the Order. From his base in Birmingham, he is now focusing on personal contact with people, and on his writing.