This illuminating collection of previously unpublished talks traces the development of Sangharakshita’s presentation of the Dharma in the West from 1965 to 2011. It includes some of his characteristic teachings in their earliest forms (the levels of Going for Refuge to the Three Jewels, for example), and makes other talks accessible for the first time in published form. We see the unfolding of the Buddhist movement he founded, from Sangharakshita’s talks before the movement began, his early teachings that foreshadow aspects of its nature, and then its beginnings in a basement in 1960s London. Other talks cover development of the sangha over the years, and Sangharakshita’s reflections on what would help it develop in the years to come.
Drawing on a wide range of sources, from the Pāli canon and The Tibetan Book of the Dead to Beowulf and William Wordsworth, there are many intriguing perspectives: an exploration of Buddhist psychology, the histories of great teachers like Padmasambhava and Atīśa, reflections on going forth, creativity, the demons around and within us, the role of the will in the spiritual life, and much more. The final talks in the volume, given towards the end of Sangharakshita’s life, are more personal, and they include reflections on dreams, old age and rebirth.