It’s a family affair
For over 10 years I studied and did my best to practice Buddhism. I did this on my own and completely independently. My belief was that Buddha found enlightenment all by himself, so why couldn’t I.
Then I met this little monk from Sri Lanka who shattered my perceptions. The first thing he said to me was, “You are stuck!”. Normally, anyone telling me this would have meant little to nothing to me. But for some reason, his words resonated like a Gong in my head! I immediately knew that I was in fact stuck. But I had no idea.
The second thing he told me was, “You do not have Sangha“.
He then went on to explain what Sangha meant and why community is important. I have to admit, at that time, I really did not understand. But his words were touching my heart, and I knew this was a truth even if I did not understand fully.
The third thing he said to me was even harder to swallow. He told me to “Be humble”.
I have always thought myself to be humble, but once again that Gong went off in my head. I was not humble. I was proud and full of my own ideas.
So there I sat, beaten to a pulp by this little man from Sri Lanka. I cried. I was naked before him, and knew he could see me better than I see myself.
After ten years of study, I had to go back to Kindergarten and start over.
Today I realize how very little I know. But I see I am a seed, just like you. Together we are the beginning of a garden, that grows into a field, that can spread across the countryside.
This, to me, is Sangha.
Before, I was one seed amidst a field of weeds. Sure, I struggled to grow. But without a Teacher and Noble friends, I was getting nowhere. I was indeed stuck!
Now I have a community, a Family of seedlings. Others who’s love, kindness, and compassion are given freely and generously. This is the water and sunshine that grows the seeds.
I am blessed in so many ways, and certainly the Sangha is one of the many precious gems that Buddha has given us.
This is why I bow to Buddha. To say thank you for your teachings. For planting the seeds that became people like Bhante Sujatha. For the path of love that Buddha, Bhante, the Sangha and the Dharma show me every day.
See, we truly are Family.