The Sangha

Topics: Buddhism, Sangha, Gautama Buddha Pages: 13 (3044 words) Published: January 5, 2014
The Sangha

The word Sangha = assembly or association.
Sangha = monks + nuns or monks + nuns + lay persons.
Traced back to the period of the Buddha.
Desire to share experiences and for followers to understand the Dharma. Responsible for spreading the Buddha's message and teachings. Text
The word Sangha derives from Pali or Sanskrit and means assembly or community. Use of the word Sangha refers to one of two things. First, it can refer to the Monastic Sangha of ordained monks (bhikkhu) and nuns (bhikkhuni), and second, it can refer to the whole Buddhist community including the lay persons who have adopted the 5 precepts.

The Sangha can be traced back to the time of the Buddha in a way. He had attracted many followers after his enlightenment and he busily preached and shared his teaching. One thing that is certain is that the Buddha's enlightenment was not something for himself only; he wanted to share his experiences and he believed that if no-one understood the Dharma after him, his enlightenment would have had no purpose. So, through the establishment of the Sangha, his followers, others were able to benefit in all parts of the world.

Sangha members were responsible not only for disseminating the Buddha's message but also for safeguarding that message during his lifetime, and for a long time after his death. Through the Sangha it is possible to attain the dharma and to receive support on their path towards Nirvana. Questions

1. What is the meaning of the word Sangha?
2. What is the derivation of the Sangha?
3. Who is part of the Sangha?
4. Identify 2 main purposes of the Sangha (so far).
1. Sangha - community / assembly.
2. Pali / Sanskrit - Ancient languages of India.
3. Bhikkhu - Ordained monk.
4. Bhikkhuni - Ordained nun.
5. Lay persons - people who have accepted the first 5 precepts, without being ordained. 6. Dharma - the teaching of the Buddha.
7. Nirvana - the end of dukkha... a state of mind.
Sangha (2) - 3 Jewels/3 Refuges

3 Jewels - Buddha, Dharma, Sangha
Cannot exist without each other
Buddha = no religion without him
Dharma = guidelines on how to gain enlightenment including the Buddha's teachings Sangha = responsible for looking after and spreading the teachings. An example to others. Text
Every religion contains elements that are essential to it, acting as an anchor or pillar. Similarly, Buddhism has 3 Jewels or Refuges which are each equally important. Without one, the others would not exist and so all three can be seen to be totally codependent.

Buddhists turn to the 3 Jewels for Refuge: a safe place, somewhere to receive support and guidelines. Taking Refuge is a way of recognizing that individuals need help and direction and is a recognition of a commitment to follow the Buddhist way.

The 3 Jewels are:-
1. Buddha
2. Dharma
3. Sangha

Obviously the Buddha is important: the enlightened one. Without him, Buddhism would not exist, and neither would the Dharma. Without the Dharma, we would not know the truth. The Dharma offers guidelines on how to achieve enlightenment, outlines the truths, educates and is a means of directly contacting the Buddha himself. As the Buddha said:

"He who sees the dharma sees me, he who sees me sees the dharma."

The Sangha is just as important as the Buddha and the dharma. After the Buddha's death, there was no specific successor, and therefore the responsibility of keeping, looking after and spreading the teachings fell upon the Sangha's shoulders. The Sangha contributes to the practice of the teachings, and being an example to others.

When Buddhists refer to "taking refuge", we gain an understanding of the relevance of the Buddha, dharma and Sangha to them. The 3 Jewels are chanted three times as a way of emphasizing the importance of a clear mind, and rejecting the world's luxuries and material things. Questions

1. What are the 3 Jewels / Refuges?
2. What is the meaning of the term...
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Essay on Formation of the Sangha
  • Abiotic and Biotic Factors of the Dzanga-Sangha Rainforest Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free