As some of you know, Buddhadharma magazine was working on an article on unaffiliated Buddhist practitioners. I'm not exactly unaffiliated but I do not have a regular sangha for many reasons that I've already mentioned here before. Well, I was approached awhile back to submit a paragraph on the subject. Yesterday the Spring issue arrived and I have been savoring the in-depth article like a bone. I was surprised but excited that they had included my submission. Here is what I said about unaffiliated Buddhists:
There is a long history in Buddhism of hermit monks, which has been lost a bit but can perhaps be seen rising again with the many lone-wolf practitioners around the world. The hermits still studied with others from time to time but knew that it comes down to the individual practicing. After all, the Buddha was just one person meditating off in the woods, he didn't mean to set up a formal religion. Who knows what he'd think of our sanghas today, especially how they are structured in the West. I think monasteries and temples are important to maintain and keep, as they train the next generation of teachers and students looking for more instruction and structure. However, I think one can still fulfill taking refuge in the sangha without having to physically take up space.James: I just wanted to post something short to thank Buddhadharma for including my remarks within a great article. I am humbled, honored and only hope that my words help in some way advance the discussion. It really is a very in-depth article encompassing several pages and is worth picking up. I really applaud Buddhadharma magazine for taking on the subject of unaffiliated Buddhists in such an inclusive and broad way. It's nice to read something serious on the subject instead of unaffiliated Buddhists being laughed off and treated like they committed heresy.