Great Buddhists of the Twentieth Century
'Buddhism began not with books but with lives…'
This has been an extraordinary century for buddhism. In the Far East it has been callously undermined and persecuted by Communism. In India, it has returned as the chosen faith of millions. In the West it is establishing itself as a spiritual path whose relevance cannot be compromised by the forces of social change of scientific discovery.
In this sequence of 'mini-biographies', Sangharakshita presents five individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the fortunes of Buddhism during a momentous era. Two of them - Anagarika Dharmapala and Dr B.R. Ambedkar - were chiefly responsible for bringing Buddhism back to India. The others - Alexandra David-Neel, Lama Govinda and Edward Conze - were Westerners whose commitment to Buddhism, though unfashionable at the time, defined them as trail-blazers of the highest order.
Their lives provide us with tremendous inspiration. At the same time they offer a challenge. Each of these people left the world they grew up in and went forth to fashion a new world for themselves and others. Their lives demonstrate that when we go for Refuge to the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha we too must be prepared to go beyond ourselves, beyond what is expected of us, beyond even what we think is possible.