Winton Higgins has written extensively about democratic communities and the development of secular Buddhism. In this article Winton offers some defining characteristics of a democratic sangha.
… Winton Higgins writes ‘When western societies imported various strains of Asian Buddhism from the 1960s on, few converts noticed the organisational culture that came with the imports. Rather like the tarantula that arrives in the crate of imported bananas…’
Winton Higgins urges secular Buddhists to be active citizens and contribute to social and political change. Given the crises facing our society, ‘nowadays politics matters like never before!’
Winton Higgins discusses the importance of not just giving lip service to the importance of community, or sangha, but making it a central part of our practice.
In the third of three talks given at a day-long workshop in New Zealand in 2019 Winton Higgins discusses the centrality of creating communities or sanghas in the secular dharma path.
Take a look at the secular Buddhist groups and communities in Australia
Check out the secular Buddhist groups & communities in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Check out the secular Buddhist groups and communities in Europe and South America.
Last month, I was invited to a Re~Collective online meeting, “…discussing the conversation that took place during the October 28th Sydney Insight Meditators meeting in which the focus was building, renewing and sustaining community.” I was able to review the SIM meeting minutes and a related article, Sanghas R Us, by Winton Higgins – and even to attend despite time zone confusion on my part.
Sangha is considered one of the three ‘jewels’ or refuges, along with the dharma and Buddha. According to some Buddhist traditions, however, the sangha is reserved for monks or those who have achieved a ‘high level of awakening’. But interestingly, Gotama would have also summoned his monks to leave their monasteries to go and ‘expound the teaching for the good of the many’.