In the Buddhist community, or the Buddhist sangha, you have to stand on your own two feet. A sense of individuality and a sense of comradeship are both involved. You are working together and helping each other, but you are not helping so much that you become addicted to each other’s help. If you lean on somebody in a weak moment in your life, the person you lean on may seem strong, but they will also begin to catch your weakness. If they fall down, you will fall down too. Then we could have thousands of people all leaning on each other. But then, if one person falls down, everybody would fall down. The whole thing would collapse like an old dilapidated building, and there would be great chaos. It would be a suicidal process, with thousands all collapsing at the same time. So taking refuge in, or committing yourself to, the sangha means being willing to work with your fellow students—your brothers and sisters in the dharma—while being independent at the same time.
From “Taking Refuge,” in The Heart of the Buddha, page 99.
Join Carolyn Gimian, the compiler of these quotes, and friends for a day of meditation practice and study on the theme of Community. For more information and to register, go to:https://boulder.shambhala.org/program-details/?id=472457