No. From Dhammapada 329 > If for company you cannot find a wise and prudent friend who leads a good life, then, like a king who leaves behind a conquered kingdom, or like a lone elephant in the elephant forest, you should go your way alone. Anyone who says solitary practice is not worth anything doesn’t know what they are talking about. Although, the person you quoted didn’t say that.


Excellent answer.


Fantastic answer!


Wow thank you for this insight




I live in a Muslim country and it’s pretty difficult . You can do online it is helpful but not really at least you have someone that you know that support you .


It's not true that solitary practice isn't worth anything. If you *study from proper sources*, you can start on your own and actually benefit from practice. You just have to understand that this isn't the full picture. This is often a concern for people who *can* connect with Buddhist temples or groups in real life, but would prefer not to if they can help it. Your situation is different. It's also untrue that online connections with sanghas are terrible compared to real life connections. Real life is indeed better, of course, but that doesn't mean that learning from teachers online is worthless. The opposite is true. In your case, if no one will block you from doing so, picking up some proper written sources and connecting with an online community run by a qualified teacher will benefit you. For example, if you earnestly study from a book like *Approaching the Buddhist Path* and the 70+ hours of commentary on it by Thubten Chodron (it's all on YouTube) and apply what you learn, that is absolutely likely to be useful. Don't just believe everything you read in this sub! You need to use critical thinking and do your research as well. By making this thread you're basically doing that, so that's good.


I try to go online because either they don't speak English, or don't want to have anything to do with me.


I wouldn't join a religion just because some guy on the internet gave an aggressive response to a question.


I am in disagreement with the idea that there can be no online Sangha. I have a real life Sangha but we have been doing a lot of things between 2020 to 2022 on Zoom. Are you saying that this is a fake Sangha because we have we spend more time online than in real life? Also the Buddha permitted solitary practice for householders. This is in fact permitted by the Buddha ( so long as you are guided by the Dharma .. ie:- you need access to the primary text in this case ). Even monks are permitted to go to solitary for a while and even the Dhammapadha says so.


Online Sanghas are great. I guess the point the original commenter was making was about a subreddit as a Sangha which I don't think is ideal, a more structured community whether online or in person is another thing.


I would say don't take what they say too seriously. There is a very traditionalist faction on reddit these days that has some points, but because they don't have the experience of non Buddhist converts, this is a blindspot for them. I lived in the most populated state in America, and I was the only Buddhist I knew in my daily life until I moved to a monastery. The majority of my practice was by myself, and when I found a place that was for me it was a 5-hour drive away. my own discord sangha has individuals from every continent on the planet except Antarctica, there are many people on the plant were it not for the internet and online communities they would have no Buddhist contact. If Buddhism is calling to you, then learn what you can, practice as much as you can, and find online communities to be supportive of your practice.


Thank you for this, I live in a small town in the southern U.S. so there aren’t any places for me to practice with others. Do you have some advice for finding a sangha with online options? Right now my practice is mainly listening and reading from the Plum Village app as I got started by reading some of Thich Nhat Hanh’s books.


Lmao I too live in the south, though in a mid size city. The nearest Tibetan Monastery is three hours drive away, so the virtual services, retreats and teachings are an incredible opportunity for me.


Learn what you can, visit physical places and meet people in person when you can, yes that would entail traveling but it will most likely be worth it. post covid era, monasteries and temples are much more open to online things, TNH is out of my tradition so I can't help you there in terms of resources and connections.


I too live in a small town in the south. Nearest Sangha very, very far away. I participate in the online sangha called Treeleaf and it's okay, but it's very much DIY.


> There is a very traditionalist faction on reddit these days that has some points, but because they don't have the experience of non Buddhist converts, this is a blindspot for them. We're just trying to be technically accurate. 'Sangha' has a very specific meaning as defined in the vinaya, and the liberal usage of it to just mean "community of practicing Buddhists" muddies the waters -- this is why many converts have trouble understanding what a "schism" entails, because they don't understand what a "sangha" actually is. There's nothing wrong with online communities. there's nothing wrong with calling it a sangha either, as long as people know *that is not what 'sangha' actually means*. People can use words however they like, but it's also **incredibly** important to know what they are supposed to mean and how usage in translation and transposition into other cultures can change the meaning. 'Sangha' is supposed to refer to a community of five or more monastics living together and conducting the pratimoksha rites together. That is the technical definition. No one's trying to rain on anyone's parade--but people arguing incorrectly about what a word means is sorta.... not a good sign. 'Sangha' does not mean 'community of practitioners.'


I am pretty sure that the use of sangha to talk about a community of practitioners has been one of the accepted meanings of that term ("gendun") in Tibetan Buddhism for hundreds of years, probably because of the history of Buddhism there. The Tibetan term means something like "those who turn toward virtue".


The reality of this stringent position (in the quoted post) is that a person who is isolated but feeling the call to practice Buddhism, over Christianity, is contemplating casting aside that call. Because of that exclusive attitude. Because the community they have discovered - here on Reddit - is not considered a viable sangha. Is it better to show them compassion and accept this can be their first community, and provide guidance to lead them forwards and perhaps to a more traditional core pathway? Or is it better to be so technically accurate and traditional that you deter and push a seeker away? Because that’s the issue here. An aspirational individual wanting to become a practicing Buddhist but worries perhaps they should resort to being a Christian because some say this subreddit isn’t an acceptable sangha (spiritual community in this sense) - who wants the burden and karma of that in this lifetime?


It’s not an exclusivist attitude. It’s not saying one cannot learn or practice on one’s own. It’s not saying there’s no value in online studies or communities. It’s saying there’s a specific meaning to the word *sangha* and that an “online sangha” is a misnomer. How is being firm in terminology lacking in compassion? No one’s telling you online communities are bad; we’re saying “sangha” has a meaning that cannot be applied to online-only spaces. Why does the meaning of terminology have to be colonized? Why do online solo practitioners *need* to be connected to a “sangha”—even if it’s a falsely labeled—in order to feel legitimate? You can just study on your own, or in an online community, and that’s legitimate enough without misappropriating religious nomenclature.


tldr: If you throw around rocket science to an 8th grade algebra class, we'll have nothing but artists. ---------‐------------------------------------- Okay, I see what youre saying and I fully agree. That being said, writing can be interpreted many ways by different people and online, there is a large variation in the audiences and people we speak to, who all percieve life their own way; i.e comments online. However correct, to be correct you first have to be... no disrespect, again I agree with you, but your messages read very arrogant and egotisitcal. After all, who are you to define the dhamma for someone else? Without practice, how can there be understanding? If this person does not understand, ask yourself, "how does this person practice?". Luckily OP told us that already; theyre new. So, if we can help their practice, then understanding will come.


“Exclusive” versus “inclusive” As modern life changes, as we go through periods where life becomes more isolated such as the pandemic, and as the call to practice Buddhist life reaches people in remote locations without any community, the need for compassion and understanding increases. If online is all they have then that is all they have. If being part of an online spiritual community gives them the security, joy and guidance they need, then that is most excellent. Sangha may have a traditional meaning, sure, but it also represents something broader and more relaxed to many lay people - spiritual community. And if that is a stepping stone for them, then it’s a good thing. Is the traditional definition of the word so critical, and the need to dismiss the alternative modern virtual usage so great, that it becomes preferential over making Buddhism a welcome place to a new, isolated practitioner? You may not grasp what it is to be a solo practitioner at the start of their journey, but this post and the responses can help you realise how complicated that situation is. Most new Buddhists will feel a driving need for some kind of supporting and guiding community. It is like being a lost sheep looking for their herd. Being isolated shouldn’t force them to feel even more alone or give up altogether and find community in a religion that doesn’t call to them. I celebrate the fact a person like the OP has found their way to Buddhism. [Edit: too bizarre that this comment deserves downvoting]


Well, to be fair SentientLight never wrote directly to OP. In this thread, they wrote to Bhikkhu_Jayasara to begin with and then to yourself.


Was it easy to become a monk and join a monastery? Are they generally very welcoming of people who are aspiring to do so?


Becoming a monastic in the west is a long process and there are limited places to do so. Each tradition and each place will be different.


A long process in what sense?


in Asia you can be ordained in a day, in the west due to smaller support a two year process has developed.


Can you live in the monastery while you're waiting for the process to complete, perhaps as a novice, or can you move in only after 2 years?


you need to live at the monastery throughout the whole process.


Ok good, that's all I was wondering, I didn't know if they would accept me to live there or not until the process was done. Thank you for the response.


I'm sorry to be asking so many questions, I'm just trying to gather information, and know what to expect and plan properly.


What they wrote is nonsense. There is nothing wrong with learning from monks online. Maybe it isn’t ideal, but that doesn’t mean you’re somehow not affiliated with a sangha because you meet over Zoom or whatever.


Seriously, thank you. Reality is a big zoom screen virtual reality anyway.


> SN 22:95 Lovely. https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/SN/SN22_95.html


Yes you are! 🙏🙏🙏


Oh, you. 🙏


That intro reminded me of [https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/SN/SN35\_200.html](https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/SN/SN35_200.html)


I don’t think I’ve read this before, thank you very much for that. 🙏 But I got nervous when I saw mention of [cows](https://reddit.com/r/Buddhism/comments/ppp5d6/suttas_in_which_someone_is_killed_by_a_cow_shared/), haha.


haha, I remember that post, didn't know you posted that. Good stuff.


There are a lot of self-appointed gatekeepers in spiritual circles; ignore them and find your knowledge where you can.


What this guy saying is alright. I get his point, but I disagree, like everyone else. I received an empowerment through YouTube from Garchen, from which eh expressed the nature of receiving empowerment through technology, or the screen, was like receiving empowerment through the sambogakaya form. This is why we feel emotions when watching a movie, or connection to other through communication via online platforms. It is still real. You can study alone, as I did, and still do. I have benefited greatly from vajrayana Buddhism personally. You will find your way, just start with boddhicitta, love through it, and end with it!


Theres absolutely nothing wrong with having an online sangha. A sangha is a group of people who care for each other and practice the dharma together. If such a group is not available to someone due to location and/or disabilities (such as not being able to leave their bed/house), telling them an online sangha “doesnt count” or whatever is doing nothing but damaging their practice and acting as a gatekeeper for something that should be an option for everyone. Joining an online sangha has been fantastic help for my practice, and is endorsed by the monastics of the plum village tradition to which I belong. Joining a christian monastery when you dont believe in christianity and are in fact trying to practice buddhism is counterproductive, if not just being straight up dishonest. In short, online sanghas can be amazing when they are necessary, anyone telling you otherwise has some sort of superiority complex lol.


There’s no such thing as an online sangha. A sangha is defined by five or more monastics. This is a Buddhist community, not a sangha. That said, there’s nothing wrong with this community. And nothing wrong with solitary practice (if you know what you’re doing). Plum Village calls lay communities a sangha too, and the other Vietnamese communities are kind of miffed because the Dharmaguptaka Vinaya clearly states a sangha is five or more monastics living together, not a community of layfollowers or practitioners in general. This is a semantic terminology thing though, and a vinaya issue. Edit: connecting with a monastic community online *is* being connected to a sangha—want to make that clear. Edit2: Downvoted for... informing you all what the vinaya defines as a sangha....?


I believe TNH has a Dharma talk somewhere in english where he says an *actual* sangha consists of at least 5 people meeting in person. I can’t remember exactly, but I think he heavily implied there were to be monastics in that group: they have more say, and make decisions separate from the rest of the group.


There absolutely are fully online sanghas. It seems you're just unaware of them.


If you're suggesting that five or more monastics can *live apart* but administer the pratimoksha *together* remotely, I do not know--but do not think--that is permissible. I believe they must cohabitate. If you're using another definition of "sangha", like.. "a community lead by monastic teachers", that is still technically not a sangha. So, again, the vinaya defines the sangha (not the arya-sangha) as five or more monastics *living together* and conducting the pratimoksha rituals / vow recitations together as a community. So if we're talking about a technical definition of 'sangha', then the concept of an 'online sangha' is a misnomer, although a sangha may be *accessible* online -- by definition, there must be a community of cohabitating monastics that recite the pratimoksha together. If the Theravadin or Mulasarvastivadin Vinayas say differently, please let me know.




> So long as you narrowly define "sangha" in those terms, you'll likely run into people disagreeing with you a lot over this topic. I run into issues with people all the time here, and have spent the last decade on this subreddit trying to present Buddhism to Anglophones in a way that is not Anglocentric. :P It's a headache I'm well used to, and part of the deal of being involved here for as long as I have. I would think you would be at least somewhat familiar with this by now. ;) > It's doubtful people will change their language to fit your preferred definition of sangha I'm not asking that. People will continue to use the term as they do. I am hoping to educate on what's accurate, so that people can begin to qualify what they mean when they use the term. Like when I tell people that they're using "Thay" incorrectly when they use it to refer to TNH exclusively, rather than an honorific pronoun that needs to referred to a declared subject *before* it is used in order to make sense. At the very least, one should understood proper meanings and usages for borrowed terminology. > especially given that it's not incorrect to use it the way many of us use the word. But my whole point here is that it *is* technically incorrect to use it that way. Even "four-fold sangha" has a specific meaning that does not refer to the community of practitioners broadly, but specifically includes ordained upasaka and upasikas that have formally received transmission of at least one precept and the refuge vows, elaborated in the lay section of the Mahaprajnaparamita Upadesa. > Though, that's entirely your choice if you'd like to make headaches for yourself with this topic lol As always, I am here primarily as an academic-leaning practitioner, a voice for the heritage Buddhists, and for the sake of educating the Anglophone converts. That people disagree or are threatened by it has always been the case--I don't sweat it. I may never be what Michael Dorfman was to this community, but I have always hoped to follow in his example and be unapologetic in asserting what is dharma and what is not. I'm sure I fail more often than not, but I try.


Are you coming from a Theravada perspective here? Different schools of Buddhism have different traditions. As someone noted, what you're saying doesn't really apply to Tibetan Buddhism, for instance.


www.AudioDharma.org Gil Fronsdal has been my teacher for over a decade. I live in the middle of nowhere. It’s several hours’ drive to any Sangha. Before COVID, I listened to their podcasts. They upped their YouTube game once COVID hit. All teachings are freely offered. It seems that those who charge are not behaving according to Buddhist precepts. As I mentioned, you can download the pod cast to your device or watch on YouTube. There is live streaming meditation on weekdays at 7:00 am Pacific. These sessions are all recorded and posted for free viewing anytime.


Thank you for this!


Your spiritual practice is your personal business. It is what resonates with you, what makes your heart warm, what brightens your outlook and gives you purpose. Accessibility to resources and community can be a very real obstacle for some, and choice of teachers and community is similarly complex. Temples are not in all areas, many have language barriers, and them some are not the ideal school. There is no reason to pay heed to a comment on the internet that through its rigidity and formality (though not specifically to you personally) alienates and diminishes you and your desire to pursue Buddhism or your need for community. Don’t let them get you down. If /buddhism is the closest to a sangha you have, then take joy in finding this community. Virtual is great if virtual is your best connection. For sangha *is* a Buddhist community. It might be monastic, or it might be a lay community, or combination, surrounding a teacher, or within a particular school, but for some that may not be possible. This virtual community *may* help you determine exactly what school works for you, help put you in contact with good people who can assist you, with good online and printed resources. I celebrate your realisation that Buddhism is your path and welcome you as a fellow practitioner. Be honest to yourself - if Buddhism is what you feel is your truth then please don’t deprive yourself of that and settle for the convenient religion, such as Christianity. Even studying alone is part of the process of the lifetimes where you will return to this. And by cultivation you will be likely reborn to a place where your spiritual accessibility is greater, thanks to the karma you will carry from this life. [edit: oh yeah, I went in a bit strong so tempered it down]


There are different kinds of sangha in different lineages. There’s the monastic sangha of course but there’s also the sangha of ngakpa practitioners who are lay holders of tantric samayas. There are entire sanghas of lay practitioners and even serious sanghas that are almost entirely online.




Thanks for sharing these Plum Village resources re: online sanghas. I'd been looking for a good list of stable online communities but couldn't find one -- much appreciated.




One person does not speak for all of us. Virtual sanghas and dharma talks can be very helpful. We don't all have the privilege of being able to visit a monastic community in person. Cultivate morality, concentration, and wisdom. Avoid greed, hate, and delusion. Purify your mind. If you want to be a Buddhist, be a buddhist. Don't let one person discourage you. Especially of you believe the buddha’s teachings are the way to eliminate suffering and dissatisfaction. Follow the eightfold path. Do your best to keep learning and growing. And try not to take people pn reddit too seriously. A lot of bad faith takes out there that can be harmful.


I have been practicing alone for several years, then online thanks to Ajahn Brahm and the Buddhist Society of Western Australia. Not even in real time, but listening to different Dhamma talks by different teachers, doing online guided meditations etc. This spring I wanted to deepen my practice but knew there were no Theravada monastics here. Then my partner did an online search and we located a nun's monastery about an hour away! I've now visited twice in person, as much as health and household obligations allow, and participate regularly online. But meeting with the nuns in person has deepened and strengthed my practice enormously! Don't give up, maybe you can find something where you are. May you know peace. 🙏🏼


What do you mean "have to". You can be Buddhist without a physical sangha! Many are!


You don’t need to find a sangha to walk the path. Just walk it. Maybe one day you’ll be in a position to find a sangha.


There are a lot of meditation sessions and services on YouTube and Zoom now. Why not find something regular that lets you interact via Zoom?


Why would you take the advice of the people on here? I suppose myself included. Let me try to help and be slightly less cynical and not attack you for trying to have a better life. You can read, chat and watch videos from many buddhist masters on youtube. You decide, dont listen to anyone else


Qualified teachers or other instrution are important, whether virtually or in person. I've had virtual teachings, and I've had in person teachings. Some of the finest and best teachings and connections I've had with teachers has been virtual. So I wouldn't worry about the virtual connection issue, though in person is certainly preferable. Also, monastics are not the only qualified teachers. Especially in the Vajrayana, there is a long tradition of ngakpa/lay masters as well, and today, there are many lineages, groups, and temples that are mostly lay oriented, with high lamas and lineage holders that are not monastics. Monastics don't have a monopoly on the teachings and the truth of the Dharma.


Sometimes people on this sub give terrible advice lol. If you really can't find a sangha, then practice alone. And a virtual sangha is still a lot better than no sangha.


You’ve gotten some great responses to your post. I would like to share some resources you might find useful. First, if you are open to Zen, you may want to check out the [Treeleaf Zendo](https://www.treeleaf.org). It is an entirely online Sangha, founded pre-COVID for people who do not live near a temple or center. The resident teacher, Jundo Cohen, lives in Japan and received dharma transmission (basically, a Buddhist teaching certificate) from Nishijima Roshi, a well respected teacher and scholar. My own teacher recommends Trealeaf for people who don’t have access to an in-person temple or center. Second, you may want to check out the Reddit sub r/vihara. It is a clearinghouse of sorts for monasteries, temples, and centers from different Buddhist traditions who also have online programs/ offerings. Last, be aware (you probably are already) that you will find many viewpoints expressed on this sub. While the intentions behind the comments are almost always good, the comments themselves can be misinformed, or not quite relevant to you and your life situation. That’s just the nature of open online communities. It’s also a great example of why working with a legit teacher (in person or online) is so important. Take care, friend! (Edit: corrected link)


Why does that user’s judgement matter?


For Thich Nhat Hanh, the practice of Buddhism is not incompatible with the practice of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, etc. You may want to read the book Living Buddha, Living Christ. If you choose to practice with Christian monastics, go for it. But they may not understand your Buddhist perspective.


I would be careful in wording here - Buddhism, if its foundational principles are accepted, would be incompatible with any monotheistic system. However, it is absolutely possible to practice along side a Christian, Muslim, or Hindu - especially so in regards to many ethical and morel practices.


no, go solitary. Christianity goes against buddhist teaching almost in every facet.


Work to realise the four noble facts of existence, realise the configurations of the three poisons of attachment, ignorance and aversion in your life & remedy them with true knowledge, facing experience as it is and letting go of that which harms or leads you into suffering. Cultivate wisdom, ethics and concentration through the practice of calm-abiding and mental contemplation. Buddha: one who knows or one who is awake, To the dhamma: that which is actual, the law, the way things are I.e. the way to meditate, the way to uproot suffering, the truth of the four noble facts With who? The sangha: the community, any community, but what matters is that you work to uproot suffering. The 5 hindrances of ill-will, sloth-torpor, infatuation with sense desires, restlessness/remorsefulness and doubt into your own abilities will hinder awakening. Uproot them. Monastics just play a role of preserving the dhamma and serve as a totem pole of dhamma. Awakening is open to ALL. If the historical Buddha can do it, you can do it. Hasten to awaken. 4NT, EIGHTFOLD PATH, 3 POISONS, 5 HINDRANCES, ANNICA/ANATTA/DUKKHA. If you want any help breaking down some concepts, send me a message. The Rhinocerous Sutta suggests: Renouncing violence for all living beings, harming not even a one, you would not wish for offspring, so how a companion? Wander alone like a rhinoceros. For a sociable person there are allurements; on the heels of allurement, this pain. Seeing allurement's drawback, wander alone like a rhinoceros. One whose mind is enmeshed in sympathy for friends & companions, neglects the true goal. Seeing this danger in intimacy, wander alone like a rhinoceros. Like spreading bamboo, entwined, is concern for offspring & spouses. Like a bamboo sprout, unentangling, wander alone like a rhinoceros. As a deer in the wilds, unfettered, goes for forage wherever it wants: the wise person, valuing freedom, wanders alone like a rhinoceros. In the midst of companions — when staying at home, when going out wandering — you are prey to requests. Valuing the freedom wander alone like a rhinoceros. There is sporting & love in the midst of companions, & abundant fondness for offspring. Feeling disgust at the prospect of parting from those who'd be dear, wander alone like a rhinoceros. Without resistance in all four directions, content with whatever you get, enduring troubles with no dismay, wander alone like a rhinoceros. They are hard to please, some of those gone forth, as well as those living the household life. Shedding concern for these offspring of others, wander alone like a rhinoceros. Cutting off the householder's marks,[1] like a kovilara tree that has shed its leaves, the prudent one, cutting all household ties, wander alone like a rhinoceros. If you gain a mature companion, a fellow traveler, right-living & wise, overcoming all dangers go with him, gratified, mindful. If you don't gain a mature companion, a fellow traveler, right-living & wise, wander alone like a king renouncing his kingdom, like the elephant in the Matanga wilds, his herd. We praise companionship — yes! Those on a par, or better, should be chosen as friends. If they're not to be found, living faultlessly, wander alone like a rhinoceros. Seeing radiant bracelets of gold, well-made by a smith, clinking, clashing, two on an arm, wander alone like a rhinoceros, [thinking:] "In the same way, if I were to live with another, there would be careless talk or abusive." Seeing this future danger, wander alone like a rhinoceros. Because sensual pleasures, elegant, honeyed, & charming, bewitch the mind with their manifold forms — seeing this drawback in sensual strands — wander alone like a rhinoceros. "Calamity, tumor, misfortune, disease, an arrow, a danger for me." Seeing this danger in sensual strands, wander alone like a rhinoceros. Cold & heat, hunger & thirst, wind & sun, horseflies & snakes: enduring all these, without exception, wander alone like a rhinoceros. As a great white elephant, with massive shoulders, renouncing his herd, lives in the wilds wherever he wants, wander alone like a rhinoceros. "There's no way that one delighting in company can touch even momentary release." Heeding the Solar Kinsman's words, wander alone like a rhinoceros. Transcending the contortion of views, the sure way attained, the path gained, [realizing:] "Unled by others, I have knowledge arisen," wander alone like a rhinoceros. With no greed, no deceit, no thirst, no hypocrisy — delusion & blemishes blown away — with no inclinations for all the world, every world, wander alone like a rhinoceros. Avoid the evil companion disregarding the goal, intent on the out-of-tune way. Don't take as a friend someone heedless & hankering. wander alone like a rhinoceros. Consort with one who is learned, who maintains the Dhamma, a great & quick-witted friend. Knowing the meanings, subdue your perplexity, [then] wander alone like a rhinoceros, Free from longing, finding no pleasure in the world's sport, love, or sensual bliss, abstaining from adornment, speaking the truth, wander alone like a rhinoceros. Abandoning offspring, spouse, father, mother, riches, grain, relatives, & sensual pleasures altogether, wander alone like a rhinoceros. "This is a bondage, a baited hook. There's little happiness here, next to no satisfaction, all the more suffering & pain." Knowing this, circumspect, wander alone like a rhinoceros. Shattering fetters, like a fish in the water tearing a net, like a fire not coming back to what's burnt, wander alone like a rhinoceros. Eyes downcast, not footloose, senses guarded, with protected mind, not oozing — not burning — with lust, wander alone like a rhinoceros. Taking off the householder's marks,[2] like a coral tree that has shed its leaves, going forth in the ochre robe, wander alone like a rhinoceros. Showing no greed for flavors, not careless, going from house to house for alms, with mind unenmeshed in this family or that, wander alone like a rhinoceros. Abandoning barriers to awareness, expelling all defilements — all — non-dependent, cutting aversion, allurement, wander alone like a rhinoceros. Turning your back on pleasure & pain, as earlier with sorrow & joy, attaining pure equanimity, tranquillity, wander alone like a rhinoceros. With persistence aroused for the highest goal's attainment, with mind unsmeared, not lazy in action, firm in effort, with steadfastness & strength arisen, wander alone like a rhinoceros. Not neglecting seclusion, absorption, constantly living the Dhamma in line with the Dhamma, comprehending the danger in states of becoming, wander alone like a rhinoceros. Intent on the ending of craving & heedful, learned, mindful, not muddled, certain — having reckoned the Dhamma — & striving, wander alone like a rhinoceros. Unstartled, like a lion at sounds. Unsnared, like the wind in a net. Unsmeared, like a lotus in water: wander alone like a rhinoceros. Like a lion — forceful, strong in fang, living as a conqueror, the king of beasts — resort to a solitary dwelling. Wander alone like a rhinoceros. At the right time consorting with the release through good will, compassion, appreciation, equanimity, unobstructed by all the world, any world, wander alone like a rhinoceros. Having let go of passion, aversion, delusion; having shattered the fetters; undisturbed at the ending of life, wander alone like a rhinoceros. People follow & associate for a motive. Friends without a motive these days are rare. They're shrewd for their own ends, & impure. Wander alone like a rhinoceros. https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/snp/snp.1.03.than.html


> Since /r/Buddhism says solitary practice is not worth anything Can you provide examples? Definitely many people have said that group practice is far superior, but that's not nearly the same thing.


The practice, in reality, is always a solitary practice. No one can feel your pain and suffering with you, for you. All information must be filtered through **your** mind, must satisfy **your** judgment. Even when you first are looking for a Sangha to be a part of, there is no Sangha there to guide you in making the right choice. Aloneness is always present. Make friends with it. Train yourself such that you become your own trustworthy guide - this is part of the path.


I studied with master Ching Kong over YouTube and VHS tapes for decades and am doing fine So local with any religion will get us 98% of the way there


His Holiness' the Dalai Lama has stated that "virtual" (eg. live or recorded, online) teachings and empowerments are valid. As long has proper and preliminary understanding and practice are followed. Intention and sincerity matters. It is possible to receive teachings, take vows and communicate with your teacher entirely online. But it is important to do your homework. Both to diligently study, and to make sure your teacher is qualified to offer those empowerments.


I don’t believe people are pinged when they’re in the body of a main post, so pinging them here so they’re aware. /u/dzss


Christianity is an entirely different religion with drastically different core values and tenants. Maybe you can look into starting your own sangha?


Buddhism has a ton of gate keeping. You don't need to rely on anyone to be able to experience it. What matters is your own faith. Faith and beliefs should not need external validation.


Where are you?


Buddhism sez all interaction is interaction, all connection is connection. But of course not all interaction is equal: we hardly care about neutrinos in daily life. But communities like for example this subreddit are obviously closer to an in person sangha then It is to neutrinos. I’m all for in person, just making sure people arent having too much of an either/or dichotomy.


I don’t think it’s right to say solitary practise worth anything. If anything, solitary practice is the foundation for everything. Nobody can meditate for you.


First of all, believing that one post on Reddit is somehow the Official Rules of Buddhism for everyone, is not going to help you. Buddhism is not that kind of religion. This is samsara. It is imperfect. Always. Buddhism says you start where you are. You practice and learn. You try to make increasingly better choices based on what you learn.


There are sutras and mantras as well other resources on the internet


The Buddhist monastic at the army base I trained has a live stream and you can do that anywhere. I positive there are others.


There are more or less Buddhist Sanghas in the U.S., there are certainly Buddhist communities as far as the west goes.


arent those two completely different? cant you practice online through things like zoom or skype? are virtual sermons a thing?


Where are you from? Even if there aren’t temples or monasteries in your area, sometimes you can find a basic group of practitioners to study with.


Noooo! Christianity is NOT Buddhism. I've done both, and Buhddhism is far more fulfilling, even if you only practice on your own or in a small community.


I’m sure there is a monastic who will meet with you over Zoom or something.


Many Buddhist sanghas and meditation centers have classes that meet over zoom. That may be an option to interact with others and learn from them despite the distance between you


Well dude, that’s like his opinion and all.


You could always start meditating. You can learn everything you need to know about Buddhism from watching your own mind.


Didn't buddha achieve enlightenment on his own?


No. All have buddha nature. Wisdom is found in everything. That which is of the dhamma is of the buddha, and that which acts in accordance is the dhamma. I too practice in a culturally homogenous area and there are a couple but distant monasteries. That being said, there is much in the bible that is of the dhamma and therefore of the buddha. There is much in most people's point of view that is of the dhamma and therefore of the buddha. You can learn from it all. So, keep practicing so long as it brings you peace. The dhamma is law. Its how things work whether we believe it or not. So, it belongs to no one and every one.


that which acts in accordance is the sangha*


Examine Yeshe Khorlo International, an online newsletter for the widely distributed sangha of HH Ganteng Tulku Rinpoche. Another Buddhist Group with a large and wide availability of authentic participation would be Padmasambhava Buddhist Centers, under the direction of the Venerable Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche. It is quite simple to find sangha members, and they are very welcoming to true students. I sincerely wish you unshakable confidence in your path to the benefit of yourself and all you help on their way to enlightenment. Tashi deleg, NIAN.


Hi, it's interesting you have developed an affinity to Buddhism and I would encourage you to follow your instincts. Although it's very helpful, you do not necessary need to have access to monks or temples to practice Buddhism. Buddhism is more akin to mind training to understand ourselves and the environment, in my view. I would recommend Ajahn Brahm youtube videos as a start. [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilmc6aO6ElM](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilmc6aO6ElM) Meditation is a good start and that can be done anywhere. I wouldn't bother too much about dogma's and various different schools of thought at this stage as you're at the start of your journey I congratulate you and am very happy to have a chat about it anytime.


jus5 because there are no manasteries doesn5 mean you cant be a buddhist and by the way what country are yo7 in and why cant you leave?


You can practice Nichiren Buddhism. You create the sangha in your heart. Chant “Nam-myoho-renge-kyo” See: sgi-org.


Buddhism is simple. People are making it too complicated. It's all within the heart, at the most basic.


Lol what a silly thing to say. The internet didn’t exist in 500 BC; it’s not reasonable to assume there is a strong position one HAS to take regarding online sanghas. Also, many people for whom a sangha would be inaccessible for reasons of mobility etc etc, a virtual sangha is “vital and crucial”, and very much a real sangha to those people. Virtual connection is very much a real connection to those people, and so it is for us as well. I find it incredibly pompous and religiously condescending to address people in such a spiritually self righteous manner.


Thank you for this post friend. I think being in communion is good. I respectfully disagree with the idea that a practice (solitary or non-solitary) is not worth any merit and if you wish to practice Buddhadharma and this provides peace and serenity for you then I think that is good. You may read for yourself how Gotama did not have any intention of imposing specific regulations upon his disciples: ‘What, then, Ananda? Does the Order expect of me? I have preached the truth without making any distinction between exoteric and esoteric doctrine; for in respect of the truths, Ananda, the Tathagata has no such thing as the closed fist of a teacher, who keeps some things back. Surely, Ananda, should there be any one who harbours the thought. “It is I who will lead the brotherhood,” or, “The Order is dependent upon me”, it is he who should lay down instructions in any matter concerning the Order. Now the Tathagata, Ananda, thinks not that it is he who should lead the brotherhood, or that the Order is dependent upon him. Why then should he leave instructions in any matter concerning the Order? . . . Therefore, O Ananda, be ye lamps unto yourselves. Be ye a refuge to yourselves.’ (Dialogues of the Buddha, Part II, pp. 107, 108) May you be at peace.