With unity, we stand strong

Director of Nalanda Institute Achariya Tan Siang Chye talking about forming spiritual communities.

Report by Megan Lim.

On Sunday 2 September, Achariya Tan Siang Chye gave a Dhamma sharing on how to achieve unity and harmony within the community. The ‘Sangha’ as one of the ‘Three Jewels’ is the four-fold community envisioned by the Buddha – consisting of the Bhikkhu Sangha (monks), Bhikkhuni Sangha (nuns), Upasakā (laymen) and Upasikā (laywomen). A practitioner of virtue and concentration seeking to develop wisdom can be a member of this spiritual community.

Starting Sunday mornings with quiet meditation and contemplation.

Harmony and success in a Dhamma community is possible when its members work together with the right mindset, while grounded in Right View. In the Maha-Cattarisaka Sutta, the Buddha distinguishes between two types of Right View: right view affected by taints and the partaking of merits that result in acquisitions, and right view that is noble, free from taints, transcendent, and a factor of the path.

Other contributing factors to harmony and success within the community include the practice of morality, faith in the Buddha’s teachings, friendships based on mettā, respect for the leader and having a leader that is upright and truthful. This is in line with the four grounds for the bonds of fellowship as stated in the Sangaha Sutta: which are generosity, kind words, beneficial help, and consistency in the face of events.

Offerings to the ‘Three Jewels’.

Chanting led by Sis. Chooi Kim (front left) and Sis. Ching Saun.

The Buddha gave teachings regarding the welfare of community because he knew that when the Buddhist community is strong and united, the work of propagating the Dhamma can be carried out steadily. Spiritual attainments would not be difficult to achieve because the community will be happy, and practising the Noble Eightfold Path without hindrance.

Nalandians happily listening to Achariya’s inspiring Sunday talk.

Achariya concluded the session by urging us to do our best to maintain the unity and harmony of our community so that the Buddha’s teachings may be properly learned, practised and realised for the benefit of all living beings.  Let us all work together in harmony to grow as a graceful Dhamma-inspired community.  Sadhu anumodana!