The Benefit of a Sangha

Q & A with Sri Avinash

The Benefit of a Sangha

Q & A with Sri Avinash

Question

How important is it for a spiritual seeker to find themselves a sangha or spiritual community?

Question

How important is it for a spiritual seeker to find themselves a sangha or spiritual community?

Anything that can help us is good.

It’s like if we haven’t got much money and we have to pay a bill, we open up the piggy bank and it’s just heavy with small coins. Then you look in another bedroom and you find another piggy bank, you get another fifty or sixty dollars of coins—everything helps.

So being in a sangha or community helps. Helps tremendously.

Anything that can help us is good.

It’s like if we haven’t got much money and we have to pay a bill, we open up the piggy bank and it’s just heavy with small coins. Then you look in another bedroom and you find another piggy bank, you get another fifty or sixty dollars of coins—everything helps.

So being in a sangha or community helps. Helps tremendously.

The first help it gives is that you don’t feel weird. If you’re doing spiritual practice in this world, people look at you like you’re weird. Friends look at you—“Weird.” Family looks at you—“Weird.” The bus driver looks at you when you’re meditating in your seat at the back of the bus—“That’s weird.”

That will destroy your motivation to do spiritual practice. It puts doubt in us—”How come no-one else is doing it? How come I’m the only one?”

That’s how I felt myself when I was on the spiritual path. And I tell you what, I made sure I didn’t bring it up at work or at the tennis court! Because even though I was strong-minded and I loved my path and I loved the goal of peacefulness, it doesn’t help when you have a lot of opposition that thinks you’re weird.

So the sangha is fantastic.

The first help it gives is that you don’t feel weird. If you’re doing spiritual practice in this world, people look at you like you’re weird. Friends look at you—“Weird.” Family looks at you—“Weird.” The bus driver looks at you when you’re meditating in your seat at the back of the bus—“That’s weird.”

That will destroy your motivation to do spiritual practice. It puts doubt in us—”How come no-one else is doing it? How come I’m the only one?”

That’s how I felt myself when I was on the spiritual path. And I tell you what, I made sure I didn’t bring it up at work or at the tennis court! Because even though I was strong-minded and I loved my path and I loved the goal of peacefulness, it doesn’t help when you have a lot of opposition that thinks you’re weird.

So the sangha is fantastic.

The Benefit of a Sangha - Sri Avinash Do on the Satsang peetham with his Mala, chanting his mantra. Tibetan Singing bowl in front

Now, when I went to Amma’s sangha in India, suddenly I wasn’t weird anymore. Suddenly kindness, selflessness and present moment practice were promoted and admired! That helps. That’s encouraging.

And when you forget to do spiritual practice there’s always a person walking around with their mala doing spiritual practice. So you remember—you get your wrist mala, and do some mantra practice yourself.

The Benefit of a Sangha - Sri Avinash Do on the Satsang peetham with his Mala, chanting his mantra. Tibetan Singing bowl in front

Now, when I went to Amma’s sangha in India, suddenly I wasn’t weird anymore. Suddenly kindness, selflessness and present moment practice were promoted and admired! That helps. That’s encouraging.

And when you forget to do spiritual practice there’s always a person walking around with their mala doing spiritual practice. So you remember—you get your wrist mala, and do some mantra practice yourself.

So in a sangha, other people who have similar goals, who are similar minded, act as a trigger for you to remember. They help you. And every time you practise, you help them. You’re almost challenging each other to defeat the mind. There’s no opposition in this sport. It’s actually your own mind that is the opposition.

In that sense, we all come together in a sangha so that we can help each other conquer our own minds. By ourself, sometimes it’s challenging to conquer our mind, but group effort makes it a lot easier.

So in a sangha, other people who have similar goals, who are similar minded, act as a trigger for you to remember. They help you. And every time you practise, you help them. You’re almost challenging each other to defeat the mind. There’s no opposition in this sport. It’s actually your own mind that is the opposition.

In that sense, we all come together in a sangha so that we can help each other conquer our own minds. By ourself, sometimes it’s challenging to conquer our mind, but group effort makes it a lot easier.

So the purpose of the sangha is to help us maximise the chance to have victory over our mind. And victory over our mind means we all become happy!

So the purpose of the sangha is to help us maximise the chance to have victory over our mind. And victory over our mind means we all become happy!

It is also tremendously beneficial for a sangha to have an enlightened Master to guide it. Because even if you have a sangha of a thousand people, it’s possible that the whole thousand people get defeated by the mind. But with an enlightened Master, the Master makes sure the whole ship is going in the right direction towards peace, not destruction. The Master will make sure that victory will happen over our own mind.

It is also tremendously beneficial for a sangha to have an enlightened Master to guide it. Because even if you have a sangha of a thousand people, it’s possible that the whole thousand people get defeated by the mind. But with an enlightened Master, the Master makes sure the whole ship is going in the right direction towards peace, not destruction. The Master will make sure that victory will happen over our own mind.

© Sri Avinash Do Mission Inc.

2018-06-09T15:16:20+00:00

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