Thursday, April 22, 2010

I take refuge in the sangha

The third precept, and the last of the treasure or jewel precepts, is taking refuge in the sangha. While taking refuge in the dharma precept is honorable for its purity, the sangha precept is honorable for its harmony. "Honorable" means to me "known for" or even "graced by."

Sangha initially meant a group of monks who practiced together. Now it is all those who attend a temple. But I like the idea of "ALL those."

In 1986 we held hands across the world, defining a larger sangha than those of a temple in Austin Texas. But it is really the still even larger sangha in which I wish to take refuge. How large? Imagine ALL. It is the sangha of harmony that includes ALL of that and a little breathing room (actually lots!).

Refuge is a troublesome word for some. One does take refuge from a storm. What is the storm that one takes refuge from (or to) in the precepts? Is it the relative world filled with greed, hate, and delusion? Is it suffering?

I read (I believe it was in a book by the controversial Alan Watts) that when practitioners assemble for a long practice period, they are like oarsman on a ship. They all support each other,  and if any of them fail, the journey will be in trouble.

Stay tuned for tomorrow... emptiness and cubism... got to sleep on it first.

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