The Importance of Sangha

Tomorrow, I’m going to the Earth Holder Retreat at the Deer Park Monastery where the importance of sangha in Buddhist practice is realized.

The Practicing Pamphlet which I received clearly states,


Deer Park Monastery – Photo: Jerome Freedman

We have come to practice together as a community. We do not encourage isolated practices or solo retreats. We are part of a body – the Sangha body, the community. Our practice is that of Interbeing. Our joy and our sorrow contribute to the collective joy and sorrow of the community. Our transformation and realization on the path can nourish us all. The community can also be of great support if our heart is open. Our insight and development must be realized in the community. There is no individual, separated happiness. We take refuge in the Buddha, dharma and sangha every day. Without the sangha, the teachings of the Buddha would have died many centuries ago.

Susan Moon, a writer and a lay dharma teacher in the Soto Zen tradition, writes,

As Buddhist practitioners, we take refuge in the Three Jewels of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. Sometimes, in our enthusiasm for meditating, bowing, chanting, and lighting sticks of incense, we emphasize the first two jewels and neglect sangha, or community. Working for social justice provides ample opportunity for the cultivation of sangha.
—Susan Moon, “Ten Practices to Change the World

For the past seven years, I have facilitated the Mindfulness in Healing Sangha at the Pine Street Clinic in San Anselmo, California.

This has given me an opportunity to share the teachings of the Budda, dharma and sangha with many people.

All are welcome to attend.

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