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Sangharakshita (1925- )

Sangharakshita (Dennis Lingwood) is the founder of the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order (FWBO), and the Western Buddhist Order (WBO). He has been steadfast in his promotion of the importance of vegetarianism. By the success of his organizations Sangharakshita made a significant contribution to the promotion of vegetarianism in Western Buddhism.

Sangharakshita is criticized within the Buddhist community because he does not accept the traditional view of lineage within Mahayana, nor the importance given to monastic ordination in Theravada.* However Sangharakshita remained in contact with his - mainly Tibetan Buddhist - teachers throughout their lives and is still in contact with Chatral Sangye Dorje. Moreover, those teachers he was closest to, such as Kachu Rinpoche and, especially, Dhardo Rinpoche were in full support of him as a teacher and of the movement he founded. Members of the WBO visited Dhardo Rinpoche regularly until his death and received teachings and initiations from him.
Dhardo Rinpoche often commented that he regarded Sangharakshita's disciples as his own disciples. He also commented, when asked why he had never gone to the West to teach, that he felt there was no need, as Sangharakshita was able to teach Westerners much more effectively than he could have.
Sangharakshita also became friends with Ayya Khema in the later years of her life, and their friendship was characterised by a mutual respect for each other as teachers and practitioners.

Almost all members of the order he founded are vegetarian, events at FWBO centres are always vegetarian, and food on FWBO retreats is often vegan.

* When browsing the internet one might notice that some consider Sangharakshita controversial because of his sexual relationships with students. This an issue of the past. Sangharakshita is celibate a long time already.

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