Over the past few months, I have been busy getting the ball rolling on Northwest Dharma Association’s latest project. We are calling this “The MahaSangha Initiative.”
One of the main ways that NWDA has fulfilled its mission of supporting Buddhist practice, teachings, and community in the Pacific Northwest is by bringing together followers of the dharma in events that transcend tradition and culture. MahaSangha is a further crystallization and implementation of this intention.
On Nov. 15 we had our first “MahaSangha” meeting. About 20 people attended the meeting, and it was a real success!
We had tea together, meditated, and discussed the future of the MahaSangha Initative. There was a lot of enthusiasm among the participants, and we discussed several possibilities for the MahaSangha Initative. These included:
- Bringing Buddhists together to develop outreach to other faith communities and the general public.
- Developing more dharma schools, youth programs, and general educational opportunities.
- Using technology to connect isolated Buddhists to a larger sangha.
- Creating a non-sectarian refuge ceremony and offering retreats.
In this meeting, we decided that the most important first step for Mahasangha to take is to lay out a map of Buddhist “Common Ground,” to loosely define the principles and ideals that are common to all (or at least most) Buddhist traditions.
We will conduct future Mahasangha activities using the results of this meeting as a guideline.
The second Mahasangha meeting is going to be held at Patacara in Seattle, at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 10.
Please RSVP on our Meetup site. I especially want to encourage teachers and leaders of the Buddhist community to attend this meeting, as your input will be especially valuable.
I am overjoyed at the development of this initiative. It is a truly unique and most-needed development of Buddhism in our current age. I hope you will attend our meetings and take part in the creation of this project. Please sign up on the Meetup site as this will be our primary means for connecting and communicating.
Seattle is the launching pad. We hope to seed this initiative throughout the region, and have started to contact folks in various parts of Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia.
The MahaSangha meetings can include any scope of geographical area. For example, we have talked about meetings in the South Sound area around Tacoma, in the Eastside area including Bellevue, Redmond and Kirkland.
For more isolated areas, such as Eastern Washington or Idaho, the area would be larger.
If you are interested and/or can help with this endeavor, please do sign up at the Meetup site.
Thank you so much for all of your support and encouragement.
All the best,
Vice President NWDA, and director, Northwest MahaSangha