Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Exploring Sangha #Reverb10

December 7: Community
Prompt: Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?
(Author: Cali Harris)
My explorations of Sangha online and in real life during 2010 do not seem to have amounted to anything specific on first glance.

I am a fellow of
The Western Chan Fellowship but because the nearest group is over 20 miles away I very rarely connect with them or attend the meditation evenings. I aim to attend at least one retreat with them each year, but for various reasons haven't in 2010. There are some other local Buddhist groups, but I haven't discovered any yet that I feel moved to participate with.

I also read a few Buddhist blogs such as
Ox Herding, Cheerio Road, Jade Mountains, Zen - the Possible Way and Mountain Practice (from my blog list on the right), some more religiously than others (could resist sorry!) I occasionally comment on these blogs and connect with some of the author/practitioners via twitter.

My wife and I practice together now and then, and we share the same practice space, so in a sense the other is always present when we practice even if they aren't physically there. We are Dharma partners as well as life partners, something I am deeply grateful for. And I'm clear that my family is the most important community that I am part of, it is the very foundation that my life springs from, it is where my daily life and practice are grounded.

So what to make of it all? Of this web of loose communities I relate to?

Am I really a solo practitioner without Sangha?

Perhaps I am, I certainly value my solitude highly.

And yet, reflecting on this tonight, I don't really see myself as a
Sangha-less solo practitioner. True enough that through much of 2010 I have practised physically on my own. But even then, even when I sit alone in a room, even alone in the house sometimes, I am sitting with all those who also practice. I sit with those I've mentioned above, I sit with the esteemed masters I've only ever read about, right back to Siddhārtha Gautama, the Buddha, and with all the other countless unknown beings also practising awakening.

We can think we are alone, solo practitioners. Our surroundings, feelings and thoughts can conspire to support this view. But really we can't escape, when we practise, we are part of the Sangha. We are part of the living, breathing community of all beings. We simply can't do it alone. We practise together with all those from the past, the future and the present. They support our practise as we support theirs.
As we awaken, they awaken, and as they awaken, we awaken.

There is no alone.


I'm participating in
Reverb10 and reflecting on my Dharma practice (i.e. life!) in 2010 as explained briefly in a previous post. Feel free to join in on your blog and/or add your comments on my reflections.

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