Sangha (Community)
"Be a light unto yourself" said Buddha to his disciples who had asked him in his final hour to make plans to enable the continuity of his order. No single person should lead the followers, but rather the teachings laid out in his talks and speeches, the so-called Dharma, should become the guiding light of their behaviour. The preservation of the teachings was to become the responsibility of the Buddhist community.

The word for community in Buddha’s language (Sanskrit) is Sangha. Buddha spoke a language related to English. The word Sangha is related to our word synergy, and also to the "sym" in our word symphony. Symphony basically means a gathering of sound.

So our temple could be called a gathering. But when we gather to listen to the Dharma our community becomes a symphony of Dharma. When we recite the nembutsu is like a symphony of the nembutsu. The word congregation means gathering, a coming together of people. But we are more than a mere gathering.

We could also be called a community. But when a community gathers to hear the Dharma and absorb the teachings of Shinran, it becomes a Sangha. So it was first a gathering, then a congregation, then a community, then a Sangha. What a wonderful development!

Finally, Shinran reminds us that a nembutsu Sangha contains both lay and ordained. In older, more traditional forms of Buddhism, the word Sangha often referred to only the ordained. But in Shinran’s teachings everyone belongs to the Sangha, lay and ordained alike. Shinran goes so far as to say that because Amida fulfilled his promise to bring everyone spiritual awakening alike, the whole earth is his Sangha. There are times in our temple when this truth can be clearly sensed. Simply walk through the doors, sit down, and then just listen. You’ll see.

Volunteering
Volunteer work is our expression of Dana (selfless giving). This selfless giving is a reflection of our gratitude to Amida Buddha. Volunteering your time allows us to celebrate special Buddhist services, maintain the temple, develop a bond between temple members and serve the wider community.

There are many ways in which you can contribute. Here are some examples:

Dharma School
The Dharma School is staffed by volunteer teachers. The Dharma School runs from September to June, following the academic school year of many of our students. The Dharma School has a variety of activities where they need volunteers. Currently, the Dharma School is looking for volunteers. Please contact Sensei Ulrich for more information.

Cleanup
Volunteers clean the temple, help with the yard work and general upkeep of the temple. This has saved the temple thousands of dollars in janitorial and gardening fees.

Organizational Activities
The time and effort necessary can be quite extensive in running our temple. Members are eligible to serve on the Temple Board of Directors. Volunteers are also needed to run our temple's major fund raising campaigns, such as our Fall and Spring Bazaars. Both require hundreds of hours of volunteer work.


Please take an active role in these various activities, it benefits the temple, the sangha and yourself.

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