Sangha is the Sanskrit word for a group of people who meditate together. Often the meditators are Buddhist monks or nuns; however, in our country it’s usually anyone who wants to learn how to meditate.
Add an “s” to the word sangha, and regardless of whether it’s referring to Insight Meditation, Zen, Tibetan, or Theravada, we now have many sanghas belonging to one vast worldwide sangha.
Sangha is also a worldview. It declares that no one is an island. No one is alone. Everyone and everything is interdependent. We need the trees that produce the oxygen we need to breathe.
Indra’s web, as a metaphor, illustrates this worldview. This web is vast, so vast that it connects everything that is. At every knot the web is tied to a pearl, and on the surface of each pearl, every other pearl is reflected.
Back at the sangha, let’s imagine that as you settle down to sit, your mind is pulled toward a fellow meditator, how straight her back is and how relaxed her body looks. In reaction, without thinking, you straighten your back and hang loosely on your spine. Sensing her stillness, you feel your stillness.
The sangha is a web and each meditator is a pearl.