This thread started by Willow http://www.treeleaf.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=4761 got me thinking: "who is my sangha?" We talk about taking refuge and showing devotion to Buddha, Dharma, Sangha. Who is Buddha? What is Dharma? Who are the Sangha?
Where do I find Buddha?
Where do I find Dharma?
And who is the Sangha?
I want to focus on the 3rd, though it seems to me that all three questions seem to be about one/not-two thing/no-thing really.
So who is the Sangha? If I say it is Treeleaf, an online community whose members are scattered all over the globe, this is true. If I say it is my wife, my son, my siblings, the people I interact with - this is also true. If I say my sangha is every being I will ever/never meet/not-meet, this is also true.
In the almost two years I've been a member of Treeleaf I've only ever had dokusan w/ Jundo once - and that was only because I figured if I was going to join a sangha, it would be nice to have some face time with the teacher (I also - and I hope Jundo doesn't take this the wrong way, I'm just not naturally a "group" person and am generally cautious of joining groups - wanted to feel him out, to see and hear how he speaks person-to-person as opposed to recording a video talk). Technical, geographical scheduling issues mean that I can only sit with recorded zazenkai videos. Even Google+ hangouts are a challenge - most of the time the connection is lost, and even if it isn't, I'm usually hanging out alone. Will I ever be able to walk across the room and shake the hands or embrace a fellow Treeleafer? Go out for pizza and beer and karaoke? Not very likely. Still, Treeleaf is my sangha. I learn from you, practice with you, sit with you.
My wife does not practice zazen or any form of practice (though she does identify as a Buddhist). My son is still a toddler. My siblings and their children are all Roman Catholics. None of them have ever been on Treeleaf. Only my wife knows of Treeleaf's existence and my participation here. Very few people outside my family know I'm Buddhist. Still, they are my sangha. I learn from them, practice with them (though they may not know it), sit with them.
When I sit, I sit alone. And I sit with the Universe.
Maybe the question ought to be: "Who is NOT my Sangha?"