In Buddhism we are asked to take refuge in the Three Jewels: the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. This Wednesday we discussed what Sangha ment to us.
Sangha roughly translated means community. We discussed the many different communities that we all take part in. We asked ourselves: What does it mean to be apart of a community? What does it mean to build a community? How do I contribute to my community? How do I destroy or impair my community? And we thought about the importance of each person in our respective communities.
During this discussion I realized I belong to many different communities. I have my family, my friends, my classmates, the members of DBT, fellow students at SDSU, the people of San Diego, and in truth the whole of planet earth. We all identify with our different communities while showing and growing different parts of ourselves in our respective communities.
One thing that really stuck out to me was the idea of asking how you can help your community from a non-egocentric point of view: by asking what does my community need from me instead of of assuming what it is that I can give to my community. In thinking about and asking how I can better help my community I am able to contribute something of value to the people in my life instead of possibly harming or hindering them due to my own ignorance.
In a community it is also very important to understand and respect all of it's members differences, in this way we practice unconditional care and love for our fellow humans and creatures of earth. If we allow ourselves to only identify with one of our communities (typically consisting of people similar to ourselves) we begin to lose the connection we have to all people. This connection to not just one but all of our communities is essential to understanding and peace.
This is why the most important part of being in a community is actually quite simple: You just have to show up and be present.