What is Community?
by Geri Amori
Early in our time on the path, we get introduced to the idea of the Three Jewels as the pillars for progress on the path. The three jewels are the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha. The Buddha as teacher is fairly obvious. Here is a guy who left his family and his kingdom to figure out enlightenment. When he did, he made the generous decision to share what he had spent years figuring out with others so that they could share in this wonderful understanding. It’s pretty clear this is a treasure.
Then there is the notion of the dharma, or truth, as a jewel. This is the stuff the Buddha figured out. Thank goodness he spent his life doing it and all I have to do is to get it….really get it….in every fiber of my being get it. Ok, that may take many lifetimes, but at least he gave us all a shot at it.
The third jewel is the one called sangha, or community. This is the confusing one. Which community? Who’s in the community? Why do we need the community?
Some people say that it’s a practical thing. The sangha is the community of fellow travelers who understand what you are doing because they are doing the same thing. They are important because they can help you see your blind spots and support you in your efforts.
But who are they? Are they all the Shambhalians in the world, or mostly the folks locally? What are they supposed to do to help me? What am I supposed to do to help them?
Some people come to our center and they really want to be left alone to do their own thing. “I just want to come meditate and maybe take a class or two, but don’t demand anything of me.” Others are disappointed that we don’t ask them to do things or try to connect with them personally.
Who do you consider the sangha? Please respond to this blog and pipe in. Together perhaps we can figure it out.