“S” is for Sangha
Sangha is one of the Three Treasures in Buddhism: Buddha, Dharma and Sangha
These can be framed as:
Buddha is an example of the capacity for awakening.
Dharma are the teachings on the laws of nature and the practice of awakening.
Sangha is where we manifest our awakened nature through interactions with others along with “grass, trees, and walls.”
The word “Sangha” in Pali means “comprising” or “assembly.”
In Sanskrit, the word means“bound together”; even “nailed together.”
In my opinion, the implications are clear: It’s our practice in Sangha which shows how we are all interconnected. Nothing and no one is left out. All can be seen and meet.
When you’re not willing to do this yourself, it’s in sangha that it gets reflected back to you.
Sometimes we’re not ready for this. Maybe that’s why it’s easier to keep it at “my practice.”
I remember once at a Practice Period (at a monastery), a staff person asked the Practice Leader,“I’m so busy (with my job), I don’t know if I’m really practicing here. When do I get to do my practice??”
The Practice Leader answered, “‘Your’ practice? ‘Your’ practice?? What’s that? Do you really think you are practicing alone here?”
We do not practice alone. We practice with and for others. What we do, whether we call it “practice” or not effects — has impact — all around us.
Or, another way to put it is: Practice isn’t about “meditating to fix myself or to make myself better.” I always say the the biproduct of meditation is more calm and ease.
..And, it’s only through interactions with others/all beings that we can really know and see whether we are contributing to less harm.
We had a good discussion on this in the current A2Z class series How We Brought/Are North American Buddhism: Past & Present Asian American Perspectives. It’s been full of great interactions; not all of it “easy.” AND, it is through engagement that we learn more; about ourselves and about others.
Come join us. It’s a drop-in class. Check out this last week’s talk and discussion:
For full details on the book and terms referenced in the talk, go to Heartwood