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The Triratna Story: Behind the Scenes of a New Buddhist Movement [Paperback]

3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Jun 2010
The Triratna Story charts the growth of a Western Buddhist movement founded in the Sixties as the 'Friends of the Western Buddhist Order' (FWBO) and recently renamed Triratna Buddhist Community. From its inception in London, to its development worldwide, The Triratna Story takes you behind the scenes of a unique modern Buddhist community. Extract: 'This is the story of a circle of friends dreaming a dream, and working to make it a reality...It's the nitty-gritty story of how a community evolves. It's a story of idealism and naivety, growth and growing pains, hard work and burn-out, friendship and fall-out.'

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The Triratna Story: Behind the Scenes of a New Buddhist Movement + Puja: The Triratna Book of Buddhist Devotional Texts (Paperback) + What is the Dharma?: The Essential Teachings of the Buddha
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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Windhorse Publications; 1 edition (1 Jun 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1899579923
  • ISBN-13: 978-1899579921
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 13.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 278,345 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Vajragupta was born Richard Stauton in 1968 and grew up in Bromley, London. He studied psychology and sociology at Aston University, and first came in contact with Buddhism in Birmingham in 1990. He was ordained in 1994 and given the name 'Vajragupta', which means 'secret, or hidden, diamond-like truth'.

He was director of the Birmingham Buddhist Centre from 1997 to 2005, and teaches Buddhism and meditation at classes and retreats across the Midlands. He is also Director of the Triratna Development Team.

Product Description


An excellent synopsis of the history of an important Buddhist movement through a half century of social change: a fluent narrative of pioneering spirit, triumphs, setbacks and learnings. --David Brazier, OAB, PhD, Head of the Amida-shu, author

A courageous and important book... it defies all expectations to tell the brilliant, troubled, and inspiring history of this unique Western Buddhist movement... this is a valuable and instructive text. --Zoketsu Norman Fischer, Founder of Everyday Zen Foundation and author of 'Sailing Home: Using the Wisdom of Homer's Odyssey to Navigate Life's Perils and Pitfalls'

The Triratna Story is an account of the first 43 years of the FWBO s - now the Triratna Buddhist Community s - history. In his book Vajragupta combines thorough research his listening ear with wise reflection and, using his storyteller s touch, conjures up vivid scenes from the early history, from meetings, ordinations, public lectures, personal experiences. Above all he tells the story with a strong desire for balance and fairness; not avoiding the more painful, troublesome and confusing episodes and issues in the history of the Triratna Community. Both concise and comprehensive, the book describes the key events from the story so far and puts into a context some of the ideas and approaches that are still current, or perhaps that still exert their influence indirectly. That is particularly helpful for people relatively new to the Triratna Community. For those of us who have lived through a considerable chunk of its history it might fill in a few gaps in the chronology of events - sometimes useful to be reminded of - and gives us an opportunity to reflect on our personal histories. The story of the first four decades, as told by Vajragupta, offers us a pause for reflection, as well as encouragement and inspiration for the next chapter. --Vajrapushpa

About the Author

Vajragupta is the author of the best-selling, Buddhism: Tools for Living your Life.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Cleverly-worded-side-stepping 29 Jun 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
May I start off by saying this is an extremely well written book, even I wouldn’t deny that. And, as one other person has pointed out, this is recommended reading when you become more involved with the movement. It promises to be a ‘reflection of the mistakes made, and lessons learned’, and to some extent it is that. However, I think it does gloss over many of the controversies, which I didn’t notice until I really paid attention. Concerning the controversy around the book published in 1995 ‘Women, Men and Angels’, and written by Subhuti, this is said:

‘Eventually, in 2003, Subhuti [said] “I regret that the article was published in the way that it was, giving it an official weight and authority” [Subhuti] had also come to the conclusion that it was difficult, if not impossible, to measure spiritual aptitude.’ (pg 81/2)

This is not an apology or an unqualified retraction then. Perhaps Subhuti has done so at some other time, but I cannot find it in this book. Note also, Subhuti’s own slide on the matter, where the book now becomes a mere ‘article’.

I think Sangharakshita’s hierarchy of evolution theory (which formed the basis of Subhuti’s book, and a video can be found on youtube published by Clear Vision Trust) is at the heart of Triratna still (entirely my own perspective of course), but I will give you an example. The most obvious one: that there is separation of the sexes at all. Would you not find it really weird if you went on, say, a cycling holiday, or a wine tasting course, and you were split into single sex groups? Would that make sense to you? Is it alright? I bet you wouldn’t think it was alright, if you heard people were being separated out on the basis of ethnicity, because that is inherently racist, not to mention illegal. End of.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Growing Pains of a New Buddhist Movement 7 Aug 2010
This long overdue book is a frank and unexpurgated record of the growth of an exciting and unconvetional western Buddhist movement. The author remains objective and bravely details the errors and failings of the early years as well as the amazing energy and commitment made by many of its pioneers. It should be essential reading for anyone involved in the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order (now known as the Triratna Buddhist Community) currently or in the past. With this book on sale at Triratna Buddhist Centres around the world, there should be no reason to repeat suggestions that past mistakes have been ignored or glossed over. Reading Vajragupta's book has been a cathartic and inspiring experience.
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5.0 out of 5 stars E\xcellent 19 April 2014
By benledi
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A great way to find out the origins and the story behind Triratna, the ups and downs and way it has been formed to date.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading 21 Mar 2013
By Karen
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An open account of the origins and develpment of the Triratna movement. It was recommended to me by an order member as essential reading for anyone getting involved with the movement. Its interesting and easy to read.
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