Approached simply on a social level, there is no workable way forward; we must look to the level of Dhamma to find solutions.
|Magha Puja, the February (or March) full moon, is the time that we celebrate Sangha. Over the centuries generations of disciples have found freedom of heart through living according to established principles. They practised well, directly, insightfully and with integrity. Also emphasised is concord - getting along together and supporting one another, both materially and spiritually, and also emotionally. On one occasion, the Buddha listed six things which, taken together, enable us to have a sense of that balance of insight and responsiveness. He asked that his disciples practise friendliness through body, speech and thought towards one another - both openly and in private; that they share what they receive, not hoarding things up for themselves; that they train diligently according to the established discipline, which supports concentration and helps to free the heart; and finally that they live together maintaining the insight that ends all suffering. These, he said, were ways of conduct to be remembered, cherished and held in great esteem, conducing to sympathy, unbroken and harmonious concord.|
Our community, settling itself into western soil, having been transplanted there from an eastern culture, faces many contradictions. What is understood and accepted in one culture is quite alien and not readily accepted in another. Approached simply on a social level, there is no workable way forward; we must look to the level of Dhamma to find solutions, living in a way that will allow this remarkable inheritance to take root and to flourish. Only then can it become a refuge in this society, with its very different cultural norms and individual conditioning and expectations - both from where it first began 2500 years ago with the Lord Buddha, and more recently with Luang Por Chah and the forest masters of Thailand.
Saddha, or confidence, says, "Yes, this is definitely possible, and definitely worth doing." The voice of discernment recognises, "Yes, but it's not straightforward." Many factors need to be considered. It may take time, but if we try to by-pass these issues the whole ideal structure, having no firm foundation, may come toppling down. So we need to listen carefully to one another and to the voices of our own hearts. If we are willing to listen - even to that which is uncomfortable or inconvenient, painful or embarrassing - then the light of Dhamma can show us the way: "Yes, this feels right; this is the way we should go."