Dogen Sangha Blog

  by Gudo NISHIJIMA

Japanese / German

Thursday, November 29, 2007

How Important is it to belong to a Sangha

I am, at present, mostly a "lone" practitioner. There are sangha in the Soto tradition relatively close. However, I am not a member and have not participated with any group.

How important is it to be a member or participate in a sangha and for what reasons.

Thank you
Dennis

4 Comments:

Blogger Mysterion said...

In my opinion:
The Three Jewels of Buddhism are:
1) That the Buddha lived,
2) That the Buddha taught (Dharma remains),
and
3) That the Buddha created the community (Sangha) in which we can improve our practice of Zazen.

Zazen by alone is less beneficial than zazen in a community because of the regular schedule, the fellowship of others, and improvement of the posture by watchful 'other' eyes. (For example, my wife speaks up: "Straighten your back!)

Of course you should find a sangha that has a daily schedule that matches your own. (e.g. early morning, morning, mid-morning)

2:05 PM, December 02, 2007  
Blogger GUDO NISHIJIMA said...

Dear Dennis San,

Thank you very much for your questions.

(Dennis San's question) I am, at present, mostly a "lone" practitioner. There are sangha in the Soto tradition relatively close. However, I am not a member and have not participated with any group.

(Gudo) I think that it is not always necessary for us to belong any kind of sangha, but if we belong to sangha, we can study the method of practicing Zazen and the theory of Buddhism.

(Deniss San's question) How important is it to be a member or participate in a sangha and for what reasons.

(Gudo) If it is difficult for you to get a Sangha so far, there is no problem for you to practice Zazen alone.

With best wishes Gudo Wafu Nishijima

8:01 PM, December 02, 2007  
Blogger vinegar said...

Thanks you, Nishijima Roshi, for your response. It is very helpful.

Dennis

3:37 AM, December 04, 2007  
Blogger vinegar said...

The groups I have attended put an significant emphasis on "liturgy" for lack of a better word. In one group we spent more time bowing, chanting and observing various types of etiquette than we did sitting zazen.

I would prefer to find a group that focuses more on the actual sitting and instructional talks rather than the more "liturgical" elements.

I realize for many people these are not "empty" practises. However, for me, right now, it is not important.

I can understand the help with scheduling your sitting so you do sit regularly, help with posture and zazen practise and instruction. Perhaps I will find a group where these are the primary focus.

3:42 AM, December 04, 2007  

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