This evening’s session focuses on the “Recollection of the Sangha” (Saṅghānussati). Looking at what the Sangha is, its purpose and role, its qualities and potential. The Buddha refers to the Fourfold Assembly or Sangha which comprises the laymen and laywomen, monks and nuns like the four legs of a chair, these four groups make the Sangha stable and this is what the Buddha made a determination to establish as mentioned in the Mahāparinibbāṇa Sutta DN16. The Sangha of monks and nuns can be regarded as the real “kalyāṇa-mitta” (after the Buddha) and they are said to have certain qualities as handed down in the classical texts, namely:
“Such ones are worthy of gifts, worthy of hospitality, worthy of offerings, worthy of respect;
They give opportunity to make the unsurpassed merit in the world”
We should look for aspects of their conduct as well which, over a long period of time, reveals their inner world, signs that suggest they have a confidence in their path and the teachings, a joyful demeanour, a sense of stillness to them etc. As the Buddha states in SN 45.2, “spiritual friendship is the whole of the holy life”. This is because it leads to seclusion, dispassion, cessation, maturing in release. The opportunities to engage with other monastics in community allows for deep talk on Dhamma with one’s spiritual companions; talk on wanting little, contentment, opening the heart. Furthermore, practising virtue or sila together teaches you how to live in harmony “regarding each other with kindly eyes” and it can bring up joy of living with such virtuous companions in the holy life, a sense of muditā. Followed by a meditation session and Q&A.
This teaching is part of a special 8-day online retreat called “Why We Suffer & How We Get Free,” given by Ajahn Brahmali and Ven Canda in support of Anukampa Bhikkhuni Project. The teachings explore two of the Buddha’s famous causal sequences, Dependent Origination and Dependent Liberation, which together reveal the entire course of human experience, through this world and beyond to Nibbana.
Anukampa is a UK Charity and pioneering project that is raising funds to develop the first Theravada Bhikkhuni Monastery in the UK, where women can train towards full ordination. Donations of any amount are very gratefully received to help us achieve this noble aim, welcome you as guests and continue to spread the priceless Dhamma teachings.
Ajahn Brahm is the Spiritual Adviser of Anukampa Bhikkhuni Project: https://anukampaproject.org/ and https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNIW229Hx4MOF_ahakA67EA/featured
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