Article by Myoju Bella Jhunjhunwala
Zen practice is often perceived as a solitary endeavor, picture the dark robed practitioner sitting still in zazen practice, delving deep into herself to find her Buddha Nature. While it is true that the practice takes personal discipline and commitment, remember that only a ‘Buddha together with a Buddha’ can actualize the truths that we set out to discover in the first place.
The community of practitioners provides us with an opportunity to deepen our zazen and fertile ground to test our practice of the Precepts. We can all attest to the intangible strength and support our sitting gains when we practice as a group rather than by ourselves. In fact, we can then carry this strength back to our solitary cushions at home. The spirit of the sangha buoys and sustains what can sometimes feel like a repetitive and bewildering practice. The sangha can also be a mirror for all the ways we fail to keep our precepts. Domyo once likened the sangha to a rock tumbler, we polish and smooth each other’s blind spots and rough edges!
There are a few concrete steps we have taken to ensure cohesiveness and communication in the sangha.
– Develop and maintain an online membership directory
– Hold at least one sangha social event per quarter
– Send welcome packets to new members
– Pair new members with active members of at least one year.
Please feel free to share any other ideas you may have to enhance this strategic goal. Sangha connection like our practice, is a work in progress and with your help will deepen and develop over time.