No More Sanghas

Today we are burdened with sanghas,

Groups that parade as vehicles for awakening,

Groups that construct a space for sitting and walking, but also for inclusion and exclusion,

Groups that need members to survive, money to pay the bills, and your commitment to their way,

Groups that are numbered and distinct – the Zen group, the Tibetan group, the Secular group, the Non-Group group,

Groups that preach the way is universal, open to all, but create email lists to announce their services to a few.

You can sit with us once, twice, three times or four, but eventually we want your name and number, your hard earned dollars (anything will do, we have cookies to buy to feed those inside), your continued participation in what we do, what happens behind these walls.


Buddhism will flourish when there are no more sanghas,

When these boundaries are laughed at,

When groups cannot form because there is no one to exclude,

When money is unnecessary because there is nothing to support,

When it is seen that no space is necessary to build for meditation, that your very body and mind is the lotus of awakening,

When there is no commitment needed, just a sincere heart, a pure mind, and a pounding question – What is it!

Some will say this is idealism, this is unpractical, this is naive:

They mistake Buddhism for a cheap trick, sowing the seeds of continued hatred, greed, and delusion.

We need only take a lesson from our fellow Christians:

When two or three come together in Meditation, the Way is revealed.

But why stop there!

When even one takes up the Path, the Way is revealed.

No members, no group, no walls – no this or that – no sanghas.

Just Sangha, Just Dharma, Just Buddha –

Just This, Just Here, Just Now!


4 thoughts on “No More Sanghas”

  1. A nice anarchist rant. Maybe someday too no more families, no more communities and towns, no more circles of friends … no more … no more.

    It is not the Sangha, group, community or any useful tool which is the problem, but what we choose to do with it, how we choose to make it, how we choose to experience it.

    Gassho, Jundo (Treeleaf Sangha)

    1. Hello Jundo!

      A warm bow to you. We don’t know each other, but I am glad you stopped by. Thank you for all you and Taigu do! One day, I hope to pour you some tea and share in its silent taste!

      I didn’t think of the rant as anarchist, but I appreciate the comment. I agree with you – it is not the thing itself, but what we make of it. But do you think that some things trigger unwholesome makings more than others? In the city I am from, there are lots of sanghas and lots of dedicated practicing sangha members, but little interaction between the sanghas. And even more – suspicion of those teachings and practices from other sanghas. These fictitious boundaries are more powerful than concrete walls – at least we can jump over the latter or paint on them to make them shout!

      Thank you again for your comment and your practice!

      with a smile, kusa

  2. Hi,

    I look forward to that tea.

    I think that some Sangha might have an atmosphere of exclusion and suspicion of others, but I find them rare. Most I have found have wholesome and open attitudes to other ways of Zen or Buddhist practice, and toward all the other religions of the world. Very few folks (some) in the West are “my Way or the Highway” Buddhists these days.

    At the same time, there are different styles and approaches, and different Sangha emphasize different things … much like the Karate Dojo teaches Karate while the Ai-Ki-Do Dojo teaches Ai-Ki-Do. Both Karate and Ai-Ki-Do are powerful and beautiful Practices, but you cannot fault the Karate Teacher for not teaching Ai-Ki-Do in their Karate Dojo.

    There are some closed, narrow minded Sangha, almost cultish in attitude sometimes, as some recent events in Buddhist news has shown. However, I find them the exception.

    Keep sitting!

    Gassho, Jundo

  3. Kusa, I like your blog!

    Jundo, if you think anarchism is anti-sangha, anti-family, anti-community, or just some idiotic or destructive nihilist non-philosophy etc then you don’t know much about anarchism.

    Anarchism is often used as a ‘dirty word’ by those who have a vested interest in retaining the hierarchical power that anarchism is opposed to. A number of the Anarchist philosophical strands have been given a new lease of life, and validity, with the advent of postmodernist thought, and the perceived need to challenge hierarchical structures that came with modern industrialization such as the non-democratic, even anti-democratic, vertical power structures and inequalities that still effect/corrupt organizational structures in society very much including many democracies and their democratic processes.

    Kesu, sing it out, Bro! When the desire to be this or that or them or us has dropped then may I learn about Sangha from a real teacher!



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