I have been reflecting on where we are as a sangha, and concluded that we are, well, right here! That we are here, is a sign of the vitality of the teachings of the Buddha, and of those who have transmitted the teachings generation to generation over the past 2600 (or so) years.
In our recent memory, Shoshin Bob Kelly Founder of Sokuji Zendo (us) and Shoken Winecoff Roshi , Founder of Ryumonji Zen Monastery (our larger sangha) are the teachers we have seen, heard and felt in our bones. Even if you didn’t know either of these teachers, you know their teachings in the people you sit with on Thursday nights, email with, drink tea with and communicate with as part of your practice. As we navigate everyday life, sangha often feels like the glue that holds the “triple treasure” together!
Verse of the Triple Treasure
I take refuge in the Buddha.
Vowing with all sentient beings, acquiring the Great Way,
awaking the unsurpassable mind.
I take refuge in the Dharma.
Vowing with all sentient beings, deeply entering the teachings,
wisdom like the sea.
I take refuge in the Sangha.
Vowing with all sentient beings, bringing harmony to all,
completely without hinderance.
We take refuge in the sangha, “bringing harmony to all, completely without hindrance”. The wisdom of this is borne out in modern day neurobiology, which affirms the human biological need for community, belonging and connection!
Regarding the title of this blog, I confess it’s a paraphrase. The story goes that when the Buddha began teaching his dharma after his awakening, there were many who liked what they heard and approached him, wanting to become his disciples. His response to them was “Don’t believe me, see for yourself! (another paraphrase) So he sent them away, advising them to return to study with him, once they had practiced with the Four Noble Truths….to join him when they could see for themselves that the teachings were sound and practical in navigating life in the flesh, with feet on the ground. He asked them to practice with an inquiring mind in the everyday human world allowing life itself to verify the teachings. I find it a delightful endeavor to continue putting the buddha’s wisdom to “the test”. As we share stories of navigating life with the Dharma as guidance, we grow and benefit all beings.