Kulananda was born Michael Chaskalson, in South Africa in 1954. He migrated to England in 1972, where he encountered the Triratna Buddhist Order whilst studying for a philosophy degree at the University of East Anglia in 1976.
Ordained in 1977, he has since devoted himself to the development of the Triratna Buddhist Order. He has played a key part in the development of several Triratna Right Livelihood enterprises (including Windhorse Trading, now perhaps the largest Buddhist Right Livelihood business in the West), as well as several Buddhist centres.
He was, for a time, secretary to Sangharakshita, the founder of the Order, and is now a member of Triratna's Preceptors' College Council, the body to whom Sangharakshita has been handling over his responsibilities.
At present he spends most of his time writing, teaching, and maintaining his contacts with the those Triratna centres of which he is president.