The Thought of Sangharakshita - A Critical Assessment - Robert M. Ellis

Robert M. Ellis [+-]
Middle Way Society
Robert M Ellis has a Ph.D. in Philosophy and a Cambridge BA in Oriental Studies and Theology. Originally from a Christian background, he spent about 20 years practising Buddhism, including as a member of the Triratna Order. However, he now describes himself as a Middle Way practitioner without exclusive loyalty to any one religious tradition. Over the last 20 years he has developed Middle Way Philosophy, initially in his Ph.D. thesis. This is best described as a practical and integrative philosophical approach, incorporating many elements not only from Buddhism but also from psychology, neuroscience, and other aspects of Western thought. In 2013 he founded the Middle Way Society ( to develop and apply Middle Way Philosophy beyond the limitations of the Buddhist tradition, both in theory and practice. Robert has earned a living for more than 20 years as a teacher and tutor of philosophy and related subjects. He has previously published both academic and introductory books about Middle Way Philosophy, and recently a parallel book on Christianity, ‘The Christian Middle Way’.


Sangharakshita (1925-2018) was a Buddhist writer and teacher, founder of the Triratna Buddhist Order and Community (previously FWBO). Apart from his practical achievements, Sangharakshita was an original thinker on the adaptation of Buddhism to modern conditions, an autodidact whose intellectual creativity was stimulated by both cross-cultural experience and practical contingency. His thinking is little known or appreciated outside the movement he founded, but over-dominant within it. This means that there is a shortage of balanced critical discussion of his work that finds any middle way between hagiography and dismissal. Sangharakshita has also been an object of controversy in recent years, but his more controversial views and actions need to be seen in proportion to the whole of his thinking. This book surveys Sangharakshita’s most important and original ideas with an eye that combines appreciation and critical awareness in equal measure. It celebrates Sangharakshita’s pioneering syntheses of Buddhist and Western ideas, but warns against the inconsistencies and dogmas that are also found in Sangharakshita’s work – dogmas whose negative practical effects can also be traced.

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Ellis, Robert. Practice. The Thought of Sangharakshita - A Critical Assessment. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Jul 2020. ISBN 9781781799291. Date accessed: 17 Nov 2019 doi: 10.1558/equinox.38960. Jul 2020

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