issue 17 winter 01
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Introduction to the theme


Creating spiritual community or Sangha begins with communication. For communication - the ability to understand and appreciate others for themselves - is what makes us human. In Express Connection, Manjusvara recounts a chance meeting on a train, and suggests that listening is a gateway to communication. When communication becomes substantial, friendship develops; and in Good Company Subhuti argues that friendship is a vital and neglected part of the Buddhist tradition - and an essential ingredient in creating Sangha. Three women sharing their home and their lives divulge in Community Spirits what it means to practise this teaching on a daily basis. While Mutual Spark offers a glimpse of the long-standing, close friendship between Taraka and Padmaprabha.

But building a spiritual community also involves difficulties. In Testing Articles of Faith Vishvapani describes the experience of finding his own Sangha criticised in the press, and considers the lessons learnt. Kim Wolfe Murray explains in Behind the Robes the forces that drew him to become a monk, and what led him to disrobe. In A Broader Church, Gil Fronsdel describes the community forming around him in California and discusses the challenges facing the Insight Meditation Movement - one of the most influential forms of Buddhism in the US.