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1.2 Community (saṇgha), “Find your circle”

In the middle of our exploration of a set of Buddhist foundational practices, I gave a talk on community, or saṇgha as a hugely important support for practice, based on a phrase my friend and fellow Spirit Rock teacher Erin Selover used in a conversation we’d just had: “Find your circle.” We were talking about what students really needed as they began engaged contemplative practice, and she was emphasizing how deeply community is needed, especially given how isolated and separate so many of us feel.

This is a digression from the classical sequence, but brings in something that may have been assumed in the early Buddhist context. These foundational teachings were given in the context of community, often to people coming from established faith communities (with other teachers) or social groups. The wounded nature of postmodern Western society in terms of community is highlighted here. How can you even give dāna if you don’t belong to a community and practice in relation to a community? How would you even know who to give to? Restoring as best you can your relationship to community in this sense can be thought of as a prerequisite even to these “foundations” of practice.


Meditation

Resting into your body as home

(Recorded on 1.15.19 at Insight Meditation Satsang, Berkeley, CA)

Talk

Saṇgha, “Find Your Circle”

(Recorded on 1.15.19 at Insight Meditation Satsang, Berkeley, CA)

Explore Erin’s powerful work in Dharma and Social Justice, here.

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