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Urgyen Sangharakshita began studying Buddhism at the age of sixteen. After twenty years studying in India in both the Mahayana and Theravada traditions, he returned to England in 1967 and founded the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order (FWBO), which now has over sixty-five centers worldwide. He is the author and translator of over thirty books on Buddhism. Karen Stout (Vidyadevi) has worked with Sangharakshita as an editor since 1987, as well as editing many other books for Windhorse Publications, UK. She became a member of the Western Buddhist Order in 1993 and was given the ordination name Vidyadevi. The Sanskrit translates as "shining one or goddess of intuitive wisdom and aesthetic appreciation"-an aspiration, not a description, she hastens to add!-but an appropriate one because of her interest in the affinities between Buddhism and Western culture. She has traveled widely and feels special connections with Aryaloka Buddhist Center in New Hampshire and the Buddhist movement in India, both of which continue to be the source of joy and inspiration. She lives with her partner in rural Herefordshire, UK, close to the border between England and Wales.
"I have always looked to Sangharakshita's books for inspiration and ideas on how to better translate the principles and practices of Buddhism for Western audiences and practitioners today."--Lama Surya Das, author of Awakening the Buddha Within "When Sangharakshita returned to the West in 1964 he was equipped with a grasp of and direct experience of Buddhist teaching and practice that was unparalleled in his time, indeed, in the breadth and scope it very probably remains unique."--Nagabodhi, founding chairman of Windhorse Publications "Sangharakshita offers a rare combination of historical knowledge, cross-cultural awareness, and spiritual insight."--Professor Alan Sponberg, University of Montana "His contribution to the transmission of the Dharma form East to West has been immense."--Professor Damien Keown, University of London.