Thread: Importance of Sangha?

  1. #1
    Forums Member JadeRabbit's Avatar
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    Hi all

    I've recently left a Sangha who I realised wasn't helpful and now feel a little lost. Do you think it is important to practice with a Sangha (in person), or do you feel that a virtual Sangha (here, for instance) is sufficient, along with studying the suttas and listening to talks?

    Thanks, JR

  2. #2
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    Jade,certainly you are the one to answer your own question. You must know why you left.
    Listening to talks etc etc is only that. I'm sure you know by now that Buddhism is not a head thing,but how you really live.

  3. #3
    Hi JR,

    I think that an offline sangha is an important means of contact and support from other Buddhists, and is preferable to the internet if we can find one, especially as on the internet we never know quite who we're dealing with ! Even just visiting somewhere occasionally can be inspirational if there's nowhere nearby.

    However, if that's not possible, and if you're aware of the limitations, then my personal opinion is that an internet sangha such as this one can be very friendly and helpful, together with you possibly listening to selected talks from recognised teachers and studying the suttas.

    The good thing about our group here is that we have a space where we can all be relaxed and sharing in our interactions with each other - and nobody is trying to set themselves up as a 'teacher' which can sometimes happen on the internet.


    with metta,

    A-D

  4. #4
    Forums Member srivijaya's Avatar
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    Jade, I'm in a similar situation, albeit I left them a long time ago. There's still no viable alternative in my area so I practice alone. I can confirm that with good instructions etc. it can be very productive.

    The good thing is that BWB is non-sectarian, so you can ask questions without worrying about treading on someone's toes. Everyone brings their own experience and advice, so it's a good mix. There's no party line to follow.
    Last edited by srivijaya; 07 Mar 11 at 14:21.

  5. #5
    Forums Member Esho's Avatar
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    Hi Jade,

    I was a very enthusiastic reader of Thich Books and there he makes a huge emphasis in having a sangha and I then idealized that. I found a nice little Soto Zen group of people and I thought they will be like that beautiful Thichs's sangha and I discovered that they were very common people with the same shortcomings of everybody. So, after a while, I understood that even when having a sangha is good it is not so important as Thich tells endlessly in his books. I stopped going so frequently to the dojo and I just go once a week so to practice sitting meditation.

    Another issue is that, IMO, to be surrounded with people that thinks alike all the time do not fits with me. Here, in this forum, I can read and learn from others experience and to know that there is a huge amount of different ways of practice which give you an insight that the way we understand and practice is not the only one. This is a very liberating insight and makes practice less stressful.

    Last edited by Esho; 07 Mar 11 at 14:32.

  6. #6
    Forums Member JadeRabbit's Avatar
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    Thank you all for your kind replies, it's interesting to see your different perspectives. I'm sure things will work out.

    I also wanted to say how grateful I am for the opportunity to share my questions with this on-line community, I really appreciate it.

  7. #7
    Forums Member srivijaya's Avatar
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    Glad to help. It's what we're here for.

  8. #8
    Forums Member Esho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by srivijaya View Post
    Glad to help. It's what we're here for.
    Sure!

  9. #9
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    A Sangha can be very helpful, especially a teacher. Teachers recognize the common mistakes that people make along the path, the common wrong views and "traps" they can get stuck in, and steer us back onto the Middle Path. I think it would be very rare for a lay Buddhist to find their way all the way to full enlightenment without a Sangha, without a teacher. Possible though, I'm sure!

    As for forums like this one being a kind of Sangha, well sure. However, though there are plenty of knowledgeable people to learn from, forums don't have "teachers" per se. You never really know just how true someone's words are, how right their thinking is, and this can be difficult for a beginner that isn't sure what to think.
    Last edited by Cloud; 16 Mar 11 at 04:04. Reason: typos

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