We meet weekly in Sierra Vista, Arizona, for meditation, sharing, and discussion in the Plum Villiage tradition of Buddhism founded by Thich Nhat Hanh. Through the practices of mindful breathing and walking, we train ourselves to live deeply in each moment of daily life.
We believe that differences in race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexuality, cultural heritage and background, religion and spirituality, physical and intellectual abilities, and life experiences among our practitioners contribute positively to all dimensions of Rainbow Circle.
Alone we are vulnerable, but with brothers and sisters to work with, we can support each other. We cannot go to the ocean as a drop of water—we would evaporate before reaching our destination. But if we become a river, if we go as a Sangha, we are sure to arrive at the ocean…
You need a sangha; you need a brother or sister, or friend to remind you what you already know. The Dharma is in you, but it needs to be watered in order to manifest and become a reality.
A Sangha is a community of resistance, resisting the speed, violence, and unwholesome ways of living that are prevalent in our society.
I’ve been a monk for 65 years, and what I have found is that there is no religion, no philosophy, no ideology higher than brotherhood and sisterhood. Not even Buddhism.
In society, much of our suffering comes from feeling disconnected from one another. Being with the Sangha can heal these feelings of isolation and separation. We practice together, share a room together, eat side by side and clean pots together. Just by participating with other practitioners in the daily activities we can experience a tangible feeling of love and acceptance.
A Sangha is a garden, full of many varieties of trees and flowers. When we can look at ourselves and at others as beautiful, unique flowers and trees we can truly grow to understand and love one another. One flower may bloom early in the spring and another flower may bloom in late summer. One tree may bear many fruits and another tree may offer cool shade. No one plant is greater, or lesser, or the same as any other plant in the garden. Each member of the sangha also has unique gifts to offer to the community.
We each have areas that need attention as well. When we can appreciate each member’s contribution and see our weaknesses as potential for growth we can learn to live together harmoniously. Our practice is to see that we are a flower or a tree, and we are the whole garden as well, all interconnected.
Supported by the Sangha Body
My practice flows easier,
Allowing me to swiftly realize
My great determination
to love and understand all beings.
Thich Nhat Hanh
“Nourishing Happiness”, translated by Thich Nhat Hanh, read by Brother Duc Khiem.
“Sitting here in this moment, protected by the Sangha,
my happiness is clear and alive.
What a great fortune to be born a human,
to encounter the Dharma,
to be in harmony of others,
and to water the Mind of Love
in this beautiful garden of practice.
The energies of the Sangha and mindfulness trainings
are protecting and helping me not make mistakes
or be swept along in darkness by unwholesome seeds.
With kind spiritual friends, I am on the path of goodness,
illuminated by the light of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.
Although seeds of suffering are still in me
in the form of afflictions and habit energies,
mindfulness is also there, helping me touch
what is most wonderful within and around me.
I can still enjoy mindfulness of the six senses:
my eyes look peacefully upon the clear blue sky,
my ears listen with wonder to the songs of birds,
my nose smells the rich scent of sandalwood,
my tongue tastes the nectar of the Dharma,
my posture is upright, stable and relaxed,
and my mind is one with my body.
If there were not a World-Honored One,
if there were not the wonderful Dharma,
if there were not a harmonious Sangha,
I would not be so fortunate
to enjoy this Dharma happiness today.
My resources for practice are my own peace and joy.
I vow to cultivate and nourish them with daily mindfulness.
For my ancestors, family, future generations,
and the whole of humanity, I vow to practice well.
In my society I know that there are countless people suffering,
drowned in sensual pleasure, jealousy, and hatred.
I am determined to take care of my own mental formations,
to learn the art of deep listening and using loving speech
in order to encourage communication and understanding
and to be able to accept and love.
Practicing the actions of a bodhisattva,
I vow to look with eyes of love and a heart of understanding.
I vow to listen with a clear mind and ears of compassion,
bringing peace and joy unto the lives of others,
to lighten and alleviate the suffering of living beings.
I am aware that ignorance and wrong perceptions
can turn this world into a fiery hell.
I vow to walk always upon the path of transformation,
producing understanding and loving kindness.
I will be able to cultivate a garden of awakening.
Although there is birth, sickness, old age, and death,
now I have a path of practice, I have nothing more to fear.
It is a great happiness to be alive in the Sangha
with the practice of mindfulness trainings and concentration,
to live every moment in stability and freedom
to take part in the work of relieving others’ suffering,
the career of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.
In each precious moment, I am filled with deep gratitude.
I bow before the World-Honored One.
Please bear witness to my wholehearted gratitude,
embracing all beings with arms of great compassion.”