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

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


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’.


One of the core strengths of the movement that Sangharakshita founded is its emphasis on practice, and its emphasis on the interconnections between elements of the Eightfold Path. Apart from meditation, Sangharakshita emphasised ethics, friendship, the development of social institutions, and the arts. He also insisted on the value of Buddhist ritual. All of these areas of practice have been of substantial practical help to Western Buddhists, but there are also various unnecessary dogmatic assumptions in his framing of them. Controversy has been particularly created by his ideas on ‘vertical friendship’ as a re-presentation of the guru-disciple relationship, and his limited emphasis on accountability in social institutions.

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Ellis, Robert. Practice. The Thought of Sangharakshita - A Critical Assessment. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 72-122 Jul 2020. ISBN 9781781799291. Date accessed: 19 Jan 2022 doi: 10.1558/equinox.38960. Jul 2020

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