The Triratna Buddhist Order and Community is a worldwide movement of women and men who try to engage with the Buddha’s teachings in the conditions of the modern world. Neither monastic nor lay, we are simply Buddhists, at varying stages of commitment and understanding, adopting to the best of our ability in our lives the ethical standards of the Dharma.
Triratna is a Sanskrit term meaning ‘Three Jewels’: the Buddha, Dharma (his teachings) and Sangha (the community of all those who follow the teachings). The founder of the Triratna Buddhist Community and Order, Sangharakshita, considers the defining act of a Buddhist to be Going for Refuge to these Three Jewels. This is the central principle or orientation of the Triratna Buddhist Community and everything we do. At our Buddhist Centres we teach meditation, study the Buddha’s teaching together, engage with the Arts, support each other through life, and engage in our local communities. We also promote projects in which Buddhists can live and work together, and explore how to turn our work into a spiritual practice.
In the Buddha’s time there was no mass media to compete with — no internet or television. And the Buddha never had to be concerned about globalisation or global warming. So we believe it is vital to explore and establish how his teaching of human potential is still crucially important, how Buddhists can be socially engaged and contribute to a better world. In the last 48 years the Triratna Buddhist Community has changed a great deal. Sangharakshita has now handed on responsibility for our community’s spiritual vitality to his followers and we are entering a new phase of growth and consolidation: learning from and building upon our history, and developing into a broad-based, mature and experienced spiritual community playing a significant role in bringing Buddhism to the West.
Ours is an ecumenical movement, aligned to no one tradition or school, but drawing selectively on the whole stream of Buddhist inspiration. We now have Buddhist Centres running activities in 27 countries around the world.