mahhhhabodhiuIn Western Buddhist practice, the “Sangha” has commonly come to be known as the teachers and practitioners with whom we follow the path. It one of the Three Jewels, the other two being the Buddha and the Dharma.The Buddha is our guide, he is like a mapmaker who has traveled to the place we want to go and has shown us how to reach our destination. The Dharma, the Buddha’s teachings on how to get there, is the map.

Those who have maintained these teachings in an unbroken lineage, the Sangha, are our companions on this journey. Past and present, their writings and actions support us as we go, protect us and prevent us from going the wrong way.

Locally, our Sangha is the people who make up our group, who come to our gatherings to learn and grow together in an atmosphere of mutual respect and support . . . in a sense forming a family. There is a story in the Buddhist sutras: Ananda, the Buddha’s long-time personal attendant and monk-disciple, asks Buddha: “Is it true what has been said, that good spiritual friends are fully half of the holy life?”The Buddha replied, “No, Ananda, good spiritual friends are the whole of the holy life. Find refuge in the Sangha community.” Merging Tibetan Buddhist dharma practice with our Western way of life requires respect, collaboration, friendship and a sense of ourselves as kindred spirits working and exploring and playing together. There is wisdom and higher consciousness in that, naturally leading to compassion for ourselves and sentient beings everywhere.

The Sangha community that is the Chenrezig Project is a growing, safe and supportive environment that consists of people from all backgrounds, experiences, religious faiths. We are all on the same side, the same team. A community that embraces and supports Buddhist philosophies and practices — a Sangha — is not something we are merely born into or choose to join, it is something we are challenged to create.

The rewards are enormous. We invite you to join us.