About the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order
The Friends of the Western Buddhist Order (FWBO), or simply "the Friends," is an international Buddhist movement with centers in Europe, Scandinavia, India, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, North and South America.
It was founded in 1967 in London by Urgyen Sangharakshita, an Englishman who had returned to the West from Asia with twenty years experience as a Buddhist monk and scholar. While in Asia he studied under teachers of the Theravada, Chinese Ch'an, and Tibetan Vajrayana traditions. His thorough understanding of the teachings of Buddhism and his solid grounding in Western culture have enabled him to present a body of teachings that are particularly suited to the Western student.
At the heart of this contemporary Buddhist movement is the Western Buddhist Order (WBO), an association of several hundred men and women who have formally committed themselves to wholeheartedly pursuing their own spiritual development and facilitating that of others.
Order members, Mitras (people who are deepening their contact with Buddhism and the Order), and Friends (those who participate in FWBO activities but have made no formal commitment to practicing the Dharma within the context of the FWBO) often live, work, and practice together - some of them running public centers, some working in team-based right livelihood businesses, and many living in Buddhist residential communities.
The FWBO is a remarkably diverse organization, including people of many nationalities, from all walks of life, and living a wide range of lifestyles, both lay and monastic.