The Role of Community

The Role of Community

Everyone is welcome to come practice at IMC.  For some people, community is of minor interest in attending IMC. For some others, it is a major component of their experience of IMC.  Many people fall in between these two ends of a spectrum. Whether community is in the background or in the foreground of people’s experience of IMC, it is an important support for an individual’s practice, learn the teachings, and discovering how to bring both the practice and teachings into a social life.

Community as a Jewel

An essay by Gil Fronsdal

Buddhist practice is supported, nourished, and protected by a community of fellow practitioners, i.e., the Sangha. This idea is expressed in the notion of Sangha as one of the three “refuges” for those who walk the path of liberation. Together the three refuges of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha have such great value they are also known as the Three Jewels that can provide tremendous inspiration.

Each refuge is equally important, together they are like the three legs of a tripod; to stand upright each one needs the other two. Even so, there is a tendency in Western Buddhist circles to emphasize the Buddha and the Dharma. People tend to be much more interested in the Awakening that is represented by the Buddha, and the practice and teachings represented by the Dharma. The important role that community has in a life of practice is often undervalued or overlooked. [Read More]

The Role of Friendship on the Path

An essay by Gil Fronsdal

It can be easy to think Buddhist practice is individualistic and solitary.  Teachings on being mindful of oneself and taking responsibility for one’s actions can seem to emphasize a focus on oneself.  The practice of sitting in meditation with one’s eyes closed can also suggest that Buddhism is about separating oneself from society.  While certainly an important part of the practice is personal and inwardly focused, this is only a part of what Buddhist practice is about.  A much more significant part of the practice is interpersonal; it concerns the rich world of our relationships with others.  In fact, the interpersonal teachings and practices of Buddhism create the context and the foundation for the inner, personal practices such as meditation. [Read More]

A Life of Mutual Benefit

An Essay by Gil Fronsdal

“A wise person is motivated to benefit
oneself, others, and both self and others.”

—The Buddha

Some people live focused on benefiting themselves and those to whom they feel close. Some people are devoted to benefiting others, sometimes at the expense of themselves. To the Buddha, a wise person is someone who wishes for the good of all. Our lives are so interconnected that it is not possible to benefit oneself while neglecting others. And one can’t be of much benefit to others if one neglects oneself. The path of liberation the Buddha taught neglects neither oneself nor others; it is a path that lies at the intersection of oneself and the world. [Read More]