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Who is the FWBO ?

The Friends of the Western Buddhist Order (FWBO) is one among many Buddhist movements seeking to establish Buddhism as a genuine path for modern people to follow. It was established in 1967 by Urgyen Sangharakshita, an Englishman who lived for many years in India, where he studied, meditated, and worked for the good of Buddhism. There he came into contact with accomplished teachers from all the main Buddhist traditions. In setting up the FWBO, Sangharakshita wanted to establish a new Buddhist movement that responded to contemporary needs, whilst keeping faithful to the ancient and unchanging essence of the Buddha's 'Dharma' or spiritual vision.

The Western Buddhist Order (WBO) is at the heart of the FWBO, and includes men and women of many different nationalities who are committed to following the Buddhist path in fellowship with one another. A radical aspect of the WBO is that it goes beyond the age-old monk-lay divide, recognizing that it is commitment to the realization of Enlightenment that is the crucial aspect of ordination. Lifestyle - whether 'monastic' or as a 'householder' - is secondary. The WBO is also radical in that there is no distinction between the ordinations of men and women. In participating in the work of the Order, women can - and do - hold the same responsibilities as men, including the responsibility for ordaining other women.

Members of the WBO work together with others to run public Buddhist Centres. Some run rural retreat Centres; others are full-time artists; whilst others (especially in India) are engaged in social projects. Some work in team-based Right Livelihood businesses; and many work in a whole variety of 'ordinary' jobs. Some live in single-sex residential communities, a radical alternative to family life. Others live with partners and children, bringing Buddhist values into their homes.

The FWBO has Teaching Centres in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Britain, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, India, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, USA, Venezuela, and Wales. The most up to date list of addresses will be found on our web site at: