Charles Allen was born in India, where six generations of his family served under the British Raj. He established his reputation with his celebrated oral histories, broadcast on BBC Radio and published as Plain Tales from the Raj, Tales from the Dark Continent and Tales from the South China Seas. Among his other publications are: Soldier Sahibs: The Men Who Made the North-West Frontier, Kipling Sahib: India and the Making of Rudyard Kiping and Ashoka: The Search for India’s Lost Emperor.
Lama Anagarika Govinda (1898 – 1985) was born Ernst Lothar Hoffman in Waldheim, Germany, the son of a German father and a Bolivian mother. In his twenties and thirties he became increasingly interested in Buddhism, first studying in Ceylon and then in India, making several visits to Tibet in the 1930s and 40s. He spent his final years living in the Bay Area of Northern California. His books have become 20th century classics of Buddhist literature including Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism, Creative Meditation and Multi-Dimensional Consciousness. The Way of the White Clouds, with its poetic writing, its insights, and its picture of a country and a society which has now gone, has reached an audience far beyond the confines of the Buddhist community
Steve Hagen is a Zen priest, a long-time teacher of Buddhism and the author of How the World can be the Way It is. He began studying Buddhism in 1967 and in 1975 became a student of Zen master Dainin Katagiri. Hagen was ordained a Zen priest in 1979 and later studied with a number of other teachers in Asia and Europe. In 1989 he received Dharma Transmission (endorsement to teach) from Katagiri Roshi. Hagen lives in Minneapolis, where he lectures, teaches meditation and leads retreats at the Dharma Field Meditation and Learning Center.
John D Ireland
John D. Ireland (1932-1998) was born in North London, England. He became a Buddhist at age eighteen and soon began studying Pali. From the 1960’s onward he was a frequent contributor to the Buddhist Publication Society’s Wheel and Bodhi Leaves series of booklets. But he is perhaps best known for his combined translation, The Udana & the Itivuttaka (Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1997), in reference to which he wrote to a friend shortly before his death: “I feel I could die contented in the knowledge that I have done something to repay the great happiness the Buddha-Dhamma has brought me in this life.”
Vicki Mackenzie (born 1947), an author and journalist, was born in England and spent much of her early life in Australia. The daughter of a naval officer, she graduated from Queensland University and became a reporter at the Sun newspaper in Sydney.
Later she moved on to London where she worked as a features writer on the Daily Sketch and the Daily Mail. She went on to write for the Sunday Times, The Observer, the Daily Telegraph, the Sunday Telegraph, the Daily Express, the Mail on Sunday and many national magazines.
Since taking a month-long meditation course in Nepal in 1976, her primary interest has been to make the profundity of Buddhist philosophy accessible to the general public. Her books on Buddhism and reincarnation include:
• Reincarnation: The Boy Lama
• Reborn in the West: The Reincarnation Masters
• A Young Man of The Lama: A Tale Of Drugs, Hot Sex, and Violence in The Fall Of Tibet
• Cave in the Snow: A Western Woman’s Quest for Enlightenment, 1999, ISBN 1-58234-045-5
• Why Buddhism?: Westerners in Search of Wisdom
Child of Tibet (Co-authored with Soname Yangchen).
K R Norman
Kenneth Roy Norman (born 1925) is a leading scholar of Middle Indo-Aryan or Prakrit, particularly of Pali. He saw military service in India and Malaya and studied classics at Cambridge University, and spent most of his career teaching Prakrit at Cambridge University.
He was a visiting professor at SOAS and Berkeley, and President of the Pali Text Society from 1981 to 1994. He is a Fellow of the British Academy. His translations include the Sutta Nipata, Therigatha and Theragatha. Of great specialist interest is his lecture, A Philological Approach to Buddhism, The Bukkyb Dendo Kybkai Lectures 1994, given at SOAS.
Sangharakshita is a unique figure in the Buddhist world. For 20 years he lived in India, where he was ordained and studied with a range of Buddhist teachers. He became inspired by all major aspects of Buddhism, and has since written and lectured prolifically both in the West and the East. In the light of modern scholarship and his own spiritual experience, he has brought out and emphasised the core teachings that underlie and unify the Buddhist tradition as a whole. In founding the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order (now known as the Triratna Buddhist Community) in 1967, he sought to clarify the essentials and outline ways of practice that are spiritually alive and relevant to the 21st century. He has written numerous books on Buddhism and Dharma, and his talks and seminars are widely available in various forms. He is one of the leading Buddhist figures in the 20th/21st centuries.
F. L Woodward
Frank Lee Woodward (1871-1952) was an unusual English figure who made a significant contribution to the wider understanding of Buddhism in the West. A classical scholar who became interested in Eastern religions, he learned Pali and after a period as headmaster in the UK, took up a similar post in Galle, Sri Lanka in 1903. By 1919 he was looking for peace and seclusion in which to continue his translations of the Buddhist scriptures for the Pali Text Society. Woodward settled near Launceston, Tasmania, and about 1927 bought a house in a neglected orchard in the Rowella district on the western bank of the Tamar River. A vegetarian, a mystic and a man of whimsy, he practised yoga, wore a turban and lived alone, surrounded by Buddhist scriptures on thousands of palm-leaves. Maintaining an extensive correspondence, he recorded the scores in every match played by the Bluecoat School’s Old Blues Rugby XV.
Among scholars, Woodward is revered for translating eighteen of the forty-two volumes of the Pali texts into English and for compiling the vast concordance of the Pali canon which occupied the last fifteen years of his life. At the popular level, his volume, Some Sayings of the Buddha (Oxford, 1925, 1939), has contributed to a wider understanding of Buddhism. Reduced to near poverty, Woodward died on 27 May 1952 at Beaconsfield Hospital, West Tamar, and was buried in Carr Villa cemetery, Launceston.
Sister Vajira and Francis Story
Born Hannelore Wolf in 1928 in Germany, she became a Buddhist nun in 1955 in Sri Lanka. Suffering from ill-health, she became a translator of Pali texts. She disrobed in 1962, returned to Germany and died in 1991, aged 63. Francis Story (1910-1972) (Anagarika Sugatananda) was born in England in 1910 and became acquainted with Buddhist teachings early in life. For 25 years he lived in Asian countries — India, Burma, and Sri Lanka — where he deeply studied the Buddhist philosophy of life. With that background and endowed with a keen analytical mind, he produced a considerable body of writings, collected and published in three volumes by the Buddhist Publication Society.