Purpose of the sangha

Ultimately, a sangha is there to support and help people on the path to awakening. The end result of this is an increase in the friendliness, compassion, empathic joy and equanimity experienced by sangha members. These are the four tell tale signs of awakening (the brahma viharas).
The specific contribution that the sangha can make for its members is:
  • increasing their understanding of the dharma 
  • encouraging, challenging and supporting them to apply the dharma in their daily lives and in the sangha itself, and
  • nourishing us through a sense of community.

Insight meditation

The hallmarks of insight meditation as an approach to the Buddha’s teachings are:
  • The use of the Pali canon (the earliest written account of the Buddha’s discourses) as the core reference for understanding the teachings of the Buddha
  • For personal progress, a reliance on the development of wisdom through personal insight supported by tranquility practices rather than devotional practices or the adoption of living gurus
  • A focus on application of the dharma in modern lay life

Principles for a thriving sangha

The Beaches Sangha tries to operate along the following lines to help ensure a thriving sangha that is achieving its purpose:

This means…
This means not…
1. staying on purpose
  • staying focused on the sangha’s purpose
  • being distracted by theory or practice that doesn’t help achieve the purpose
2. open inquiry
  • being willing to question any idea, assumption or practice
  • having any sacred cows
3. realness
  • being honest with ourselves and others
  • using language and practices that are relevant and meaningful in this time and place
  • pretending that any of us know it all or have it all together
  • being swept away by ideas or practices just because they are ‘traditional’ or they feel good or 'spiritual'
4. walking the talk
  • making a concerted effort to turn theory into practice
  • learning by doing
  • behaving exactly as we’ve always done from week to week
  • ‘sitting out’ when it comes to self-reflection or learning how to apply the dharma in real life

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