When the Buddha’s cousin and chief attendant Ananda said: “Oh, I see, having spiritual friends is half the holy life” the Buddha replied, “No, say not so, Ananda. Having spiritual friends is the whole of the holy life.”
It is hard to believe I have been in the role of president for five months. I have to say that it has taken me all this time to really feel a sense of what my connection is to the life of the Sangha and what sort of leadership I can offer. In this role as president, I am focusing on ways to help grow connections within the Sangha. By sharing my thoughts and worries with you, I am hoping we might be more able to work together to strengthen the finances and energy of the incredible wisdom tradition to which we are so devoted. It is a challenge that I welcome. With your input, we can grapple with how to best grow ongoing communication within VIMS.
Serving as president has undoubtedly changed my relationship to the Sangha. I feel so much more connected and energized. What could be better than working the dharma in serving the Sangha? Taking up the challenge of serving can be a bit scary but in my experience, spiritually enriching. Through my own practice I have come to realize that the theme of connections is the driving view of my life. When connections I have or want are disturbed in any way, I suffer. This has been quite a new insight for me. I am learning to relax in my desire for the Sangha to be “more.”
Recently, I was listening to Gil Fronsdal’s dharma talk on generosity and volunteerism. The talk came at a perfect time as I struggle with finding ways to encourage people to become more involved, however they are able, with the life of our Sangha. The talk offers new ways of thinking about what it means to be part of a Sangha and how that relates to the fundamental principle of dana. I would encourage all of you to take the time to listen to this and then sit with how it resonates with your practice. Access the talk through itunes here or as a direct download or streamed (talk titled Generosity and Volunteerism 2016-9-11 in the middle of the page).
If you like the idea of hearing from your president in the monthly newsletter, please call me (802-649-7062) and let me know your thoughts on Gil’s dharma talk, too.
With great appreciation for your devotion to the dharma,
President, Valley Insight Advisory Board