The followings are the excerpts.
Sangha is more than a community, it’s a deep spiritual practice.
A sangha is a community of friends practicing the dharma together in order to bring about and to maintain awareness. The essence of a sangha is awareness, understanding, acceptance, harmony and love.
Life needs understanding, compassion and harmony in order to be livable.
The Buddha said that the water in the four oceans has only one taste, the taste of salt, just as his teaching has only one taste, the taste of liberation. Therefore the elements of sangha are the taste of life, the taste of liberation, and we have to practice in order to become the salt. When we say, “I take refuge in the sangha,” it is not a statement, it is a practice.
The trees, water, air, birds, and so on can all be members of our sangha. ... The whole cosmos is preaching the buddhadharma and practicing the buddhadharma. If you are attentive, you will get in touch with that sangha.
Our modern society creates so many young people without roots. They are uprooted from their families and their society; they wander around, not quite human beings, because they do not have roots. ... A tree without roots cannot absorb anything; it cannot survive. Even if they practice intensively for ten years, it’s very hard for them to be transformed if they remain an island, if they cannot establish a link with other people.
A community of practice, a sangha, can provide a second chance to a young person who comes from a broken family or is alienated from his or her society. If the community of practice is organized as a family with a friendly, warm atmosphere, young people can succeed in their practice.
Suffering (dukkha) is one of the biggest problems of our times. First we have to recognize this suffering and acknowledge it. Then we need to look deeply into its nature in order to find a way out.
Our civilization, our culture, has been characterized by individualism. The individual wants to be free from the society, from the family. The individual does not think he or she needs to take refuge in the family or in the society, and thinks that he or she can be happy without a sangha. That is why we do not have solidity, we do not have harmony, we do not have the communication that we so need.
The practice is, therefore, to grow some roots. The sangha is not a place to hide in order to avoid your responsibilities. The sangha is a place to practice for the transformation and the healing of self and society. ... This can only be done as a community—not as an individual, but as a sangha.
In order for us to develop some roots, we need the kind of environment that can help us become rooted. A sangha is not a community of practice in which each person is an island, unable to communicate with each other—this is not a true sangha. No healing or transformation will result from such a sangha. A true sangha should be like a family in which there is a spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood.
If we see a group of people living mindfully, capable of smiling, of loving, we gain confidence in our future. When we practice mindful breathing, smiling, resting, walking and working, then we become a positive element in society, and we will inspire confidence all around us.
In my tradition we learn that as individuals we cannot do much. That is why taking refuge in the sangha, taking refuge in the community, is a very strong and important practice. ... Without being in a sangha, without being supported by a group of friends who are motivated by the same ideal and practice, we cannot go far.
So the sangha is the soil and we are the seed. No matter how beautiful, how vigorous our seed is, if the soil does not provide us with vitality, our seed will die.
To practice right mindfulness we need the right environment, and that environment is our sangha. Without a sangha we are very weak.
The sangha is a community of people who agree with each other that if we do not practice right mindfulness, we will lose all the beautiful things in our soul and all around us.
In my tradition they say that when a tiger leaves the mountain and goes to the lowland, it will be caught by humans and killed. When practitioners leave their sangha, they will abandon their practice after a few months.
True sangha is the spiritual family and all sangha members are really brothers and sisters. We help each other and generate the collective energy for nourishing and healing. As Thay said before, sangha can be liken to an orchestra without a conductor. So, every member spontaneously plays each role for cooperation. Therefore, sangha is very powerful.