Posted: 07/26/2010 in sangha, Spiritual

The Sangha

I’m at the point in my practice of Buddhism where I have started to explore the sangha experience.  Until now, I have spent my time studying, contemplating and meditating. I’ve been an island. However, to keep the motivation to trudge the path, I realize some sort of community experience is needed. Twitter has helped greatly, as dharma teachings are present in even those 140 character blurbs by many of those I follow. Writing this blog has also helped, as I am able to put fingers to keyboard and explore my impressions along the path. Reading the many blogs in the Buddhist Blogospere is also a way to connect to others in practice. However, I do feel I need more.

I have done a bit of searching for an actual real-life sangha in my area, and other than the Lion’s Roar Dharma Center, I have not found much in the way of a group setting that can fit into my wacky schedule. I had the pleasure of attending a dharma talk by Choden Rinpoche this past weekend at Lion’s Roar, and that was a wonderful experience. I would love to attend some sort of retreat, and have researched the possibilities, and unfortunately it’s not in the cards right now due to work and family obligations, among the other “bullshit” I’m dealing with in my life, namely financial, but I digress.

Last week, my friend @ZenOutlaw came up with a wonderful idea of an online meditation group. It is the Online Meditation Crew and I would encourage anyone who is interested, no matter your tradition of study, to join the group and have some togetherness meditation, virtually. It is a great feeling to know that, in a way, I am participating in a sangha. There is accountability as well as the motivation to practice. For those of us that are not able to be a part of an actual sangha, this is the next best thing: a cyber-sangha. Check out the first post to see how the process goes, or if you are a Twitter user, add the crew members there for the call to meditate. It could be a scheduled meditation once or twice a day, or it could be a “stop. drop. meditate” sort of thing, where we stop what we’re doing and just sit.

You may say that it isn’t the same as a traditional sangha due to the fact that there is no dharma discussion. But if you check out the website, you will find that each post has a comment area where crew members can detail their impressions from the meditation, and I anticipate the potential for some very deep dharma discussion to happen in this cyber-sangha. Of course it isn’t the same, but I believe it is an optimal supplement to the traditional sangha experience.

Until I find an actual sangha that I am able to participate in, I will use these tools to expand my understanding of the dharma and to keep my feet on the path. I welcome any comments, whether it be constructive criticism or your own experience with this issue.

With metal metta! \m/

Photo Credit

  1. ZenOutlaw says:

    You rock, MetalBuddha! \m/ Your authentic voice and open spirit are the foundation of the cyber-sangha that is the Online Meditation Crew. Thank you for being present on the path and for sharing your practice.

  2. Wonderful! I appreciate your dedication. Do you know about Jack Daw, over at Zen Dirt Zen Dust blog? He wrote some very thorough posts on the topic, including links to many of online resources available. You may want to check it out!

  3. Blotter Mag says:

    fantastic idea, had similar thoughts myself, great to see people picking this up. I’ll check out the links now….

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