Why Community and Monasteries Matter


Monasteries are not just for monastics, they are places where teachings and lineages and the rich living experience and vows of Buddhism are passed on to future generations. It takes more than the practice of individual Buddhists to carry on Buddhism. Buddhism and it’s rich traditions have only survived because Buddhists from so many countries have painstakingly translated, studied, taught, meditated and kept vows.

We may think we have made progress as individuals, but it is in the melting pot of community that we see if we have grown. Are we more kind, compassionate and patient, or are we more judgemental and unwholesome?

The Buddha said the Dharma would not flourish unless there was a four fold Sangha or community. Lay women, lay men, (householder yogis) and fully ordained monks and nuns. He said Buddhism had not really taken root in a country until fully ordained monastics were present, as they kept vows and acted as a stabilising force and a focus for gathering teaching and translations together. Monasteries are a haven of peace, study and refuge for the lay community also.

Increasingly in the world there is a lot of isolation, depression and loneliness. People are isolated from each other and cut off from their own inner goodness. Instead entertainment, technology and social media grab at their attention replacing real world relationships and mentoring so essential for well being and fulfilment.

‘If we suffer, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other’ – Mother Theresa.

Community is important, as a way to grow, to create a legacy, to increase wisdom and merit and to preserve the teachings and create a more peaceful, connected, compassionate and sane world.