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Nancy Drew and the Case of Missing Sangha
I picked up a Buddhist magazine today. I began to flip through it about half an hour ago and I had to put it down and walk away. I didn't get a chance to read any of the articles. I saw a lot of pictures and advertisements that showed happy people on retreat, or at abbeys, temples, monasteries, dharma centers, celebrations, et cetera. I became angry, because I want to be in those places, with those people, doing those things, but I can't and I won't be able to for a very long time (if ever).
It's difficult for me to read about the importance and the benefit of the sangha because I don't have one, and I won't have one for a very long time (if ever). The same thing happens when I read about the importance and benefit of having a qualified teacher, or going on retreat, or anything of that sort.
I know it's okay to be angry, and I recognize that I'm not angry with those people, places, things, or events. I'm simply angry because of circumstances both within and beyond my control. I picked up my Three Pillars of Zen the other day again, and put it back down because it began to talk quite a bit about receiving teachings from a qualified teacher, and how koans are passed on. I put down Hooked: Buddhist Writings on Greed, Desire, and the Urge to Consume for similar reasons.
Right now, I'm not sure how to deal with it. I'm just angry and frustrated.