The Sangharakshita Library
Lying geographically and symbolically at the heart of Adhisthana, the Sangharakshita library is the heart of what was originally known as ‘the Land Project’. This was Bhante’s vision of a library to preserve his legacy as a teacher and as the founder of Triratna, a library to house all the books he had collected and written. We now have that library, with 11,000 books in Bhante’s collection alone.
The collection began with the hundred or so books Sangharakshita brought back from India in the 1960s. These are now worn and faded but have been given pride of place as a way of acknowledging their importance in the development of his teachings.
There is also a huge archive of other material which provides a wonderful picture of the development of Bhante’s teaching and of the whole Triratna movement.
The Lending Library
The former Dharmavastu library which provides the core of our lending library. Retreatants at Adhisthana will be able to borrow books from this collection while they are staying. This library is in the process of being catalogued, organised and added to, in order to make it more up to date and useful for borrowers.
The entire library is the largest collection of Buddhist books in Britain, outside of universities.
We are working on making the full lending library catalogue available, so check back here in future.
Building the Library for the Future
We now have the delightful task of bringing Bhante’s library to life as a place of inspiration and creativity for the Triratna Community, preserving and building on his legacy for the future.
This will mean developing it as a place of study, reflection and practice and includes running events that compliment the study retreats that already take place here.
Examples of ways in which the library is being developed include celebrations of Bhante’s writing, workshops on writing the Dharma, exploring ways to record the history of the movement and share our memories, staging exhibitions and occasional concerts and making the library more accessible online.
The library at Adhisthana has previously hosted exhibitions in the central atrium.
These exhibitions range from topics such as Sangharakshita’s life, the Triratna movement’s history, and artwork created by the Sangha.
You can see three of the previous exhibitions that have been held at Adhisthana below. In future we hope to make more exhibitions available to view online.
In conversation with Saddhanandi, Bhante selects objects from each decade, and reflects on his life in service to the Buddha’s Dharma.
50 years, 50 voices
Starting to capture the vibrant, messy reality of what it’s like to help co-creating the new lineage of the Triratna Buddhist Order.
a life in verse
Again in conversation with Saddhanandi, this exhibition is an exploration of Bhante’s spiritual life through poetry.
Could you become a Friend of the Sangharakshita Library?
SUPPORT THE LIBRARY
The library is full of potential and we are inviting people to share in its development by becoming a Friend of the Sangharakshita Library (FOSL). The aim of the Friends is to support and take care of this collection, and help make it accessible to visitors.
Tasks that might be undertaken by the FOSLs include cataloguing, covering and repairing books, special dusting – keeping the collection clean, volunteering to be ‘on duty’ so visitors can access Bhante’s collections, creating and running our second-hand bookshop.
We run work retreats to do some of these jobs but will also welcome help at other times. In return for your help and support we run special themed Friends weekends which will give you a chance to read, study and reflect in Bhante’s library and celebrate his writing.
Whether or not you would like to participate in these events, you can become a supporting friend, making an annual donation to help fund the work of the library.
If you want to know more about becoming a Friend, offer donations of books, or for more information, contact the librarian, Danasamudra.