Buddhist leader returns to London for week of ‘urban retreat’

East London Advertiser, November 6, 2008

London, UK -- THE founder of the Buddhist Western Order returns to London’s East End on Sunday (November 9) to open a week of ‘Urban Retreat’ events for the public.

The Venerable Sangharakshita—now 83—established the Order in a converted East End fire station 30 years ago.

He returns for the London Buddhist Centre’s 30th anniversary on Sunday afternoon for a public interview in which he gives his vision for the future of the centre.

The religious leader then unveils at 5pm a specially-commissioned triptych, a three-panel painting of Buddha and two disciples.

The ‘Urban Retreat’ is a week of activity, November 9-16, for people from across London to learn a range of simple daily practices which the centre says will help make modern life less stressful and more meaningful.

Sangharakshita was serving in the British Army during the Second World War in Ceylon, where he first came in contact with Buddhist practice.

He went to India after the war and wandered as a beggar and teacher for 20 years, carrying out pastoral work, before returning to Britain in the 1960s where he founded the Western Buddhist Order.

The Order took over the old Bethnal Green fire station in Bethnal Green’s Roman Road in 1978 and turned it into the London Buddhist centre.