Community Life: Unity in Diversity

อาจารย์ ชยสาโร

Community Life: Unity in Diversity

At the conclusion of an Ordination ceremony for Western monks, Luang Por would usually take the opportunity of this gathering of the Western Sangha to give a Dhamma talk which would encompass the whole monastic training from its most basic foundations to the ultimate goal of the Holy Life.

On one such occasion, he began – as was his custom – by emphasizing the importance of living together in harmony, of how important it was that the foreign monks related to each other according to the conventions laid down in the Vinaya. He instructed them that, as a group of samaṇas, they should put behind them all consciousness of different skin colour, language and culture and look on each other with kindness and respect, as companions in the Holy Life. They should train themselves in speaking to each other mindfully:

“If any problem comes up in the group, then speak about it in a skilful way: ‘I see it like this.’ ‘I feel like this.’ And then listen to what the other person has to say.”

The Western monks should learn to listen with an open mind, both to the words of others and to their own thoughts. When a view or opinion arose in their mind, they should be aware of it as simply that – a view, an opinion – and remind themselves that, as yet, they did not, in fact, know whether it accurately reflected the truth of things.

The mind was the measure of the effectiveness of their practice. If they were experiencing mental suffering, that meant that they had deviated from the Dhamma and allowed craving to arise.

In community life, devotion to the Dhamma and Vinaya would dissolve all sense of conflict and bring a feeling of unity in diversity.

This reflection by Ajahn Jayasaro is from the book, Stillness Flowing, (pdf) p. 544.