The Sangha River

The Sangha River

Discussion date: Thu, Feb 08, 2007 at our weekly Thursday evening practice

Dear Still Water Friends,
In the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh there is an emphasis on community or Sangha practice which means for me, among other things, learning how to support and be supported by others, and enlarging my sense of self to include my spiritual community. Thich Nhat Hanh writes in Creating True Peace:

If we are a drop of water and we try to get to the ocean as only an individual drop, we will surely evaporate along the way. To arrive at the ocean, you must go as a river. The sangha is your river. In our daily practice, we learn how to be a part of this river. We learn how to look with sangha eyes, how to walk with sangha feet, how to feel with a sangha heart. We have to train ourselves to see the happiness of our community as our own happiness and to see the difficulties of our community as our own difficulties. Once we are able to do this, we will suffer much less. We will feel stronger and more joyful. As members of a sangha, we can develop our individual talent and our individual potential, and at the same time contribute to and participate in the talent and happiness of the entire group. Nothing is lost; everyone wins. A sangha has the power to protect and carry us, especially in difficult times. We have abetter chance to develop our potential and protect ourselves when we

The Sangha River is a community of friends who practice the way of harmony, awareness, and compassion.In the sangha we practice mindful walking and breathing. The sangha radiates a collective energy that can support us and make us strong.The sangha is a boat that transports us and prevents us from sinking into the ocean of suffering. This is why it is so important that we take refuge in the sangha. Allow your community to hold you, to transport you. When you do, you will feel more solid and stable and will not risk drowning in your suffering. Taking refuge in a sangha is not a matter of belief. “I take refuge in the Sangha” is not a statement of faith; it is a practice. As a river, all the individual drops of water arrive together at the ocean.

This Thursday evening, after our meditation period, we will gather together for our annual Community Meeting. We will begin by reading theStill Water MPC vision statement developed by the Still Water Working Group this past May (offered below). We will discuss whether the statement resonates with us and reflect on:

  • what the community means to me / how it has touched my life;
  • what I would like to receive from the community; and
  • what I would like to offer the community.

The Community Meeting will be facilitated by David Martin-McCormick and Scott Schang. Whether you are new to Still Water, or an old and steady friend, you are invited to join with us this Thursday evening.

Warm wishes,

Mitchell Ratner
Senior Teacher


Still Water Mindfulness Practice Center
A Vision

Core values:

  • Mindfulness: To be fully present and awake in our own lives and to be aware of the inextricable connectedness of life.
  • Compassion: To have the intention and capacity to relieve and transform suffering.
  • Community: To live and grow being supported by and supporting others.

Core purpose: to nourish the seeds of mindfulness, compassion, and community in individuals, families, and the larger society.

Our community practice: Just as a home is enriched when there is a room or place set aside for meditation, breathing and calming, so too a community is enriched when there is a center where people can come to learn and practice the art of mindful living. As a nurturing and supportive practice community in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh, theStill Water Mindfulness Practice Center offers programs of quiet sitting, interest-based discussion groups, classes in the traditions and practices of mindfulness, retreats, training programs, and special events. The community joins with other faith communities in promoting understanding and compassion in our daily interactions and in the interaction of communities and nations.

Four Goal Areas:

Supporting practice:encouraging and nourishing the daily practice of mindfulness, compassion, and community through events and actions such as community gatherings, sitting groups, classes and workshops, retreats, Website and email announcements, and personal contacts.

Creating community:cultivating a welcoming and diverse community in which members can embody their understanding and love for each other, share deeply, maintain nurturing spiritual friendships, support each other through difficulties, and celebrate accomplishments and milestones.

Building an effective and resilient organization:developing an appropriate organizational culture and structure which allows the Still Water MPC to mindfully set goals and objectives, make timely decisions, implement meaningful programs, foster enthusiasm and satisfaction within the leadership group, and meet the community’s financial obligations.

Contributing to love, peace and justice in the world: encouraging community members to live mindfully in their world, aware of the consequences of their actions; as a community supporting events, programs, and institutions which bring understanding, healing, and joy to our neighborhoods and regions, and to the planet.

in: Dharma Topics
Discussion Date: Thu, Feb 08, 2007


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