The Triratna Buddhist Community was founded in 1967 by Sangharakshita, an Englishman who spent twenties years in India learning, practicing and giving the Dharma (teachings) of the Buddha (Siddartha Gautama became Buddha – one who is awake.
Triratna means the three jewels of Buddha, Dharma, Sangha or one who is awake, his teachings, the community of other enlightened beings.
Triratna draws on the essences of all traditions in Buddhism. Within that is a definite system of practice unique to Triratna. It draws out those teachings that speak to the universal nature and dilemmas of humans.
People come into relationship with the Triratna sangha (community) in three ways.
- A friend is someone who gets benefit from the teachings and meditation and is content to be part of the community and keep their involvement in Buddhism as a valued friend and contributor.
- A mitra is a specific kind of friend who has seen and studied enough with Triratna and now wants to go deeper with the Dharma in the context of Triratna, feels they are a Buddhist and is trying to practice the five precepts. It’s a personal undertaking. Anyone can ask to become a mitra.
- An order member is someone who has completed a training that includes study, practice, retreats and connecting with order members. One becomes an order member once other order members agree that the person’s life is oriented around Buddha, Dharma and Sangha and the spark of the spiritual has been witnessed. Any mitra can ask to be invited to join the ordination process.
- The order they join has no legal standing and is a free association of individuals.