In this video from February 2010, Ngakma Nor’dzin and Ngakpa ’ö-Dzin discuss the benefits of being part of a Sangha (community of practitioners).
TranscriptNgakma Nor’dzin: Sangha is an important aspect of being involved in a lineage because the Sangha are supportive to your practice. It’s always inspiring to practise with other people and to see people changing through that practice. That’s inspiring – because it makes you realise that practice really does function.
In the Aro Tradition the Sangha has a particular quality to it: of people having a good sense of humour, people taking responsibility for themselves. One of the ideas of Sangha is that your fellow practitioners won’t support your neurosis. So if you’re gossiping about somebody or saying negative things about a situation, then they won’t just say, “Yeah that’s true” and join in and gossip with you. They’ll present a different point of view or say, “Well actually my experience of that person has been that they’re very kind” – or whatever. Then they can be frustrating if you want to be a gossip and have somebody support your point of view. But from the point of view of realisation, they’re your best friend because they stop you falling into those habit patterns of assuming that your view of a situation is the correct one.
Ngakpa ’ö-Dzin: So a good Sangha are quite an irritating group of people from the point of view of neurotic functioning, because as Ngakma-la says they’re not going to support you in that. They’re actually more supportive of your realised nature than perhaps you are yourself. So within that environment, which is something we set ourselves up for - nobody’s made to join the Sangha - we set ourselves up for that and we say we are committed to this path of practice and so we’re committed to the Sangha and within that environment you have a group of people who are supportive to your practice and helpful in overcoming and transforming the neuroses that we have.