Vessantara is a senior member of the Triratna Buddhist Order, who also has extensive experience of practice under the guidance of Tibetan Buddhist teachers.
Born Tony McMahon in London in 1950, he gained an MA in English at the University of Cambridge. He became interested in Buddhism in his teens, and first had direct contact with Buddhist teachers in 1971. In 1974 he was ordained into the Triratna Buddhist Order and given the name Vessantara, which means ‘universe within’. A year later he gave up a career in social work to become more involved with the development of Buddhism in the West. Since then, he has divided his time between meditating (including years in intensive retreat), studying, and assisting the development of several Buddhist centres, including retreat centres in England, Wales, and Spain.
Vessantara is much in demand as a Buddhist teacher and has led retreats and courses around the world. He has written several books, including Tales of Freedom and two books on Buddhist meditation: The Breath and The Heart.