Manitoba Buddhist Temple



"Be a light unto yourself" said Buddha to his disciples who had asked him in his final hour to make plans to enable the continuity of his order. No single person should lead the followers, but rather the teachings laid out in his talks and speeches, the so-called Dharma, should become the guiding light of their behaviour. The preservation of the teachings was to become the responsibility of the Buddhist community.


The word for community in Buddha’s language (Sanskrit) is Sangha. Buddha spoke a language related to English. The word Sangha is related to our word synergy, and also to the "sym" in our word symphony. Symphony basically means a gathering of sound.

So our temple could be called a gathering. But when we gather to listen to the Dharma our community becomes a symphony of Dharma. When we recite the nembutsu is like a symphony of the nembutsu. The word congregation means gathering, a coming together of people. But we are more than a mere gathering.

We could also be called a community. But when a community gathers to hear the Dharma and absorb the teachings of Shinran Shonin, it becomes a Sangha. So it was first a gathering, then a congregation, then a community, then a Sangha. What a wonderful development!


Shinran reminds us that a nembutsu Sangha contains both lay and ordained. In older, more traditional forms of Buddhism, the word Sangha often referred to only the ordained. But in Shinran’s teachings everyone belongs to the Sangha, lay and ordained alike. Shinran goes so far as to say that because Amida fulfilled his promise to bring everyone spiritual awakening alike, the whole earth is his Sangha. There are times in our temple when this truth can be clearly sensed. Simply walk through the doors, sit down, and then just listen. You’ll see.

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