Below is an excerpt from Carla’s talk and some quotes used in “Letting Sangha Nourish the Seeds of Awakening” on 8/24/15:

“Awakening isn’t an individual personal accomplishment. If anything, it is giving up the anxious need for personal achievement; it is relinquishing the impulse to reify, enhance and prove the worthiness of our small sense of self.

Awakening is the recognition of the shared potentiality of being human, perceiving the innate “better angels of our nature” and beginning to live them fully. We are so much more than our neurosis, fears, addictions, preoccupations. More than our lists, resumes, personality traits, and the social face we wear in the world.

I was looking at the redwood trees in my yard as I wrote this. The great tree doesn’t become the great tree because of its individual personal effort; it becomes a great tree because it is in harmony with its potentiality. And because of the support of the entire forest. Redwoods can stand for centuries, even millennia, not because of deep roots – their roots are shallow – but because their roots are interwoven, interconnected with each other. We have interconnected roots, too.

I often say that our only real job in Dharma practice, the only thing we can actually do, is to create the conditions that support awakening, love, freedom. We are creating these conducive conditions not only for oneself but for each other. This is the meaning of sangha.

Lama John Makransky strongly emphasizes taking refuge in those who’ve walked this journey before, in those who have actually awakened before. We then began to have greater confidence and we realize we are part of the same process, a process through time and space. A kind of “relay of awakening” where the Dharma teachings and practices are being handed off through the generations. We receive and handoff, receive and handoff. Sangha is not only in the present with those around us, but it is connected to past and future, an ongoing flow of awakened mind.”
– Carla Brennan

“If you have a supportive sangha, it’s easy to nourish your bodhicitta, the seeds of enlightenment. If you don’t have anyone who understands you, who encourages you in the practice of the living dharma, your desire to practice may wither. Your sangha—family, friends, and co-practitioners—is the soil, and you are the seed. No matter how vigorous the seed is, if the soil does not provide nourishment, your seed will die. A good sangha is crucial for the practice. Please find a good sangha or help create one.”
-Thich Nhat Hanh, “The Fertile Soil of Sangha”

Download Thich Nhat Hanh’s entire short article:
FERTILE SOIL OF SANGHA

“Sangha is a heart of inclusion. It’s the act of turning toward rather than away from each other.”
– Lin Jensen

“Wherever two or more are gathered in the name of kindness and healing, there is sangha.”
– Lin Jensen

“But it doesn’t end there, for it is taught that Buddha nature pervades the whole universe, a concept descriptive of a virtually limitless sangha comprised of the intimate and intricate interweaving of all beings into one seamless whole. This being so, what is there to exclude? What stone, what drifting feather, what clot of earth or sky, what soiled and drunken soul sleeping in the doorway of the convenience store, what cranky or cheerful clerk at the checkout stand, what mother, father, child, what family rich or poor, hungry or full, what being of any sort, anywhere, at any time, is not sangha?” – Lin Jensen

“Our goal is to create a beloved community and
this will require a qualitative change in our souls
as well as a quantitative change in our lives.”
~ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Sangha
by Danna Faulds

Teach me what I cannot learn alone.
Let us share what we know, and what
we cannot fathom. Speak to me of
mysteries, and let us never lie
to one another.

May our fierce and tender longing
fuel the fire in our souls. When we
stand side by side, let us dare to focus
our desire on the truth. May we be
reminders, each for the other, that
the path of transformation passes
through the flames.

To take one step is courageous;
to stay on the path day after day,
choosing the unknown, and facing
yet another fear, that is nothing
short of grace.