Sangha means, together, or in company. The Sangha is a community of people who share the same path. The Buddha spoke of the three precious stones which are necessary for every person following a spiritual path, the Dharma path.
One of them, according to the Buddha, which is the most precious, is the Sangha - the community which shares the practice and way of life of observation, investigation, listening to the heart and freedom. In the past, the community was an integral part of the practice, be it a group of monks and nuns who live together or a community of residents who live near a monastery. In our times, in which the community is no longer an obvious thing, joining a community of people who share similar values is invaluable.
The mutual support of the Sangha is multi-faced and endless. The Sangha enables us to sit through an entire course in silence with the support of our friends sitting besides us who are dealing with similar difficulties. The Sangha is the place for joint learning and thinking which shows us things that we might have missed alone. The Sangha allows us to meet friends who seek, like us, to deepen the understanding of the wisdom of the heart, to let go of old patterns and to develop qualities of serenity, attentiveness and compassion. The Sangha can be a source of support, belonging and mutual doing.
Being part of a community deepens our understanding into the insight of mutual responsibility and the feeling that we are all part of one living human fabric and dissolves the sense of separateness.
There are many ways to feel the presence of the Sangha in our lives; participation in one of Tovana's long courses, volunteering in the organization and being members of a sitting group are good ways to make our way into the gathering, togetherness and getting to know others.