Jonathan Foust

December 4, 2008

The Power of Community

Filed under: Dharma, Humor, Observations — jonathanfoust @ 9:07 am

 

Me, hanging out with like-minded people

Me, hanging out with like-minded people

There is a story in the sutras: Ananda, Lord Buddha’s long-time personal attendant and monk-disciple, asks Buddha:

“Lord, is it true what has been said, that good spiritual friends are fully half of the holy life?”

The Master replied, “No, Ananda, good spiritual friends are the whole of the holy life. Find refuge in the sangha community.”

The three refuges – where we can go when we are lost, confused, in fear or doubt are:

  1. Taking refuge in awareness itself, known as taking refuge in the Buddha
  2. Taking refuge in the truth, or taking refuge in the Dharma
  3. Taking refuge in community, or Sangha.

Intentional community helps remind you what is most important in your life.  If you want to get in shape, a workout buddy who is there to poke you when you don’t want to move, who is there to share stories of inspiration – who might need you to help keep her going – is of inestimable value.

That’s why ashrams, monasteries, churches, synagogues, mosques and meditation groups form.  We align with those who want what we want – and it works.

Tich Nhat Han is famous for saying, “The Buddha is the Sangha.”  It is through each other that we discover our true nature.

Andrew Harvey said many years ago, “We are moving from an age of Gurus to an age of Wounded Healers.”  

I think that’s true.  The age of one teacher who has all the answers has passed.  We are all wounded in some way – and at the same time we carry the potential to heal ourselves and others.  Releasing greed, hatred and delusion, cultivating honesty, sincerity, empathy and compassion, we realize we are in this together.

As my dear friend Danna Faulds writes in one of her poems (I’m seriously paraphrasing here, Danna!), we come to understand that:

Life is not a relay race

That we will all cross the finish line together.

How might you more align with people who want what you want?  A few suggestions:

  1. Find a partner of some kind.  Someone with whom you can share what you are discovering in your practice.
  2. Commit to a regular sitting group and actively cultivate friendships there.
  3. Schedule some retreats to explore deeper the potential of meditation.
  4. Check out a Kalayana Mitta Group (spiritual friends), which meets once a month to sit and share what’s going on in practice and life.
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2 Comments »

  1. “Andrew Harvey said many years ago, “We are moving from an age of Gurus to an age of Wounded Healers.” We are all wounded in some way – and at the same time we carry the potential to heal ourselves and others. Releasing greed, hatred and delusion, cultivating honesty, sincerity, empathy and compassion, we realize we are in this together.”

    How very right he was! And you!

    You may therefore be interested to know I am writing a book on just this! We can find the wounded and the wounded healer throughout our lives – and if we can heal our own wounds and be a Wounded healer to others there is a huge social significance – for our current world and for the course of our future evolution.

    What do you think?

    Comment by Eleanor — December 5, 2008 @ 5:05 am

    • I’d love to read your book! This is a favorite topic of mine … how we heal (and empower) the healer. This suggests an age of true humility and deep transformation. The sangha will be the Buddha …

      Keep me abreast of your research and writing! Thank you!

      Comment by jonathanfoust — December 5, 2008 @ 8:39 am


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