Help me start a new sangha.
One day, in a mood, I slammed out of the house to get some air. I walked for a bit, blowing off steam. I was on the opposite side of the street from a family with a basketball hoop. The dad was playing with two of his three kids. The third one one was way too small, probaby around three years old.
The game was fast and competitive, and they were obviously a family of basketballers extraordinaire. But the third one was third…and way too short.
I walked by, trying to stay mad.
But the little one stood up, must’ve smelled that I’d seen him, and he looked right at me and yelled, “HEY! PLAY WIF ME!” — every bit like the dog in the photo above. His attitude, his trust in my heart, his simple expression of what he wanted — it jiggled a laugh out of me, and my mood poofed away, never to be seen again.
Of course, I went to play with him. I went over and introduced myself, but his Dad got all embarrassed and chided the child. I said, “No, no, that was the best invitation I’ve had in ages.” And I really did want to join him in whatever game he wanted to play. But they decided it was time to go inside anyway, so I lost my little buddy.
But I didn’t lose the lesson. I’ve never forgotten that confident request.
So I’m saying it to you now, you, reading this — with a little bit of a twist. It’s more like HEY! Sit with me.
Years ago, I founded the Long Island Dharmata Sangha, a group that meditated together every week. We were formed under the auspices of the Dharmata Foundation, created by my teacher Anam Thubten, Rinpoche. There were two meditation groups that developed as part of the Long Island Dharmata Sangha and mine was one of them.
Then the pandemic hit, and many, many things changed. Our little sangha sort of dissolved as each of us had to navigate different challenges facing us. But I am reviving it now.
I live in New York, on Long Island; but I’ve also grown quite zoom-literate. Do you live far away from Long Island? No problem. I’m zoom-literate.
SIT WITH ME! Ideally, we sit together (both in person AND online) for 30 minutes every week on the same day at the same time. We could make some time afterward for sharing. (Suggestion: Thursdays 6:30pm-8:00pm Eastern time)
All the rest of the ideas that follow are just possibilities for us to consider.
Here’s a supplemental list of things I’d love to do as a sangha: By “sangha,” I mean people who have similar aspirations: to grow out of our own self-centeredness, to walk a cleaner way in life, to be more mindful of our thought, speech and actions.
Read good books together. Learn from them. Share what we learned.
Get together to watch the livestream guided meditation and dharma talks that Anam Thubten Rinpoche gives every other Sunday from 1pm-3pm Eastern.
Dream up “stealth blessings” we can bestow on our families/friends /fellow humans. Stuff that no one could ever find out was us. Like, sneaking quarters into expired parking meters. Or paying for someone’s meal at a diner.
Then go do that ^^^^ together.
I need help getting this going, so I thought I’d use my little kid voice and start by yelling at you from the other side of the street. If you want to be part of this sangha — and remember, if you’re far away, online is totally doable — email me at “tinalear at gmail dot com” with the subject line “NEW SANGHA.”
Many blessings to all living beings.