When we say Buddhism, what are we talking about? And traditionally, really what is a Zen Buddhist Sangha?
These are complex questions, since Zen practice is conceived to be individually realizational and societally transformative.
Adept, lineage, and realizational Buddhism is understood to consist of three equal, transmittable, realizable ‘treasures’: Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. They go together. Lineage Zen is all three. A human being is conceived of and defined as living within the transformative and transmittable potential of enlightenment (Buddha); the real possibility of being free from mental suffering (Dharma); the beneficent practice of intrapersonal, resonant beingness (Sangha); and the living as closely as possible to ‚how things actually exist’, which is to actualize our inseparable relationship to others and to phenomenality.
The highest teaching of Mahayana Buddhism is the ‘Six Paramitas’, which are practices of how to live realizationally with others. Ango – the 90-Day Practice Period – is articulated specifically to create an embodiable, resonant-beingness that can become an ongoing aspect of all our relationships. In ‘Lineage Zen’ Sangha is defined as ‘Precept-Blood-Lineage’. This demanding phrase means that the realizable ‘Preceptual Views and Practices’ are experientially embodied as a ‘Multi-Generational-Being’.
Living as closely as possible to ‘how things actually exist’ is called Wisdom (Prajna: evidential-discriminative-knowing) and is the experiential condition of enlightenment, the bases of freedom from mental suffering, and the fundamental source of compassion.
Will it be possible for us in this generation in the West to actualize these Sangha teachings and potentialities?