Seattle Insight Meditation Center | Jul 2016
We spend a lot of time in contemplations around the Buddha and the Dhamma. Rarely do we spend time contemplating the nature and importance of Sangha even through most of us are aware that Buddha held the Sangha as the whole of the practice. Throughout the month of July, we will explore the nature of Sangha, both the Noble Sangha which has existed for over 2,500 years and our Sangha at Seattle Insight. This week we will consider what makes Sangha a place for refuge.
At a glance Buddhism and/or mindfulness appears to be an individual practice. Each of us meditate, study and contemplate the Dhamma individually leaving us to mistakenly believe that liberation of the mind is personal. True investigation, however, arises in relationship. We need the tension, uncomfortabilities, laughter and passion that comes from “relationship with” to experience the depth and freedom of liberation. This week we will consider the shadow side of Sangha - division.
Kalyana mitrata – spiritual friendship – is at the heart of Sangha. This spiritual friendship keeps us all strong and committed as we walk this path to awakening together. We sit with one another and at the same time we sit for one another. Together we can have the courage to move into the unknown, to abandon our habits of mind and to step into our Buddha nature. We can experience both the relative and ultimate realities of practice. This week we will consider what it means to be a spiritual community.
When we open to the gift of Sangha there is but one response – gratitude. Gratitude is made up of connection, appreciation, generosity and love. Being a part of Sangha provides us the opportunity to serve others, express our generosity and to inspire a fellow practitioner. Gratitude goes hand in hand with forgiveness. Together they diminish the influence of greed, hatred and delusion and fill our practice with motivation, reassurance and enthusiasm. This week we will consider the role Sangha plays in cultivating Metta.