Waking Up in a True Garden of Sanghahood



The 1,000 words this pictures says when Brother Protection is listening

On October 15, 2013, at 6-7am, at Deer Park Monastery, Escondido, CA, 45 practitioners received the transmission of the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings inviting them to the Core Community of the Order of Interbeing. Six of them active and engaged Wake Up Ambassadors.

These Wake Up Ambassadors are from the left: Jonathan: instigator of Wake Up Eugene, OR, core organizer and participant of the Wake Up tour in the Pacific NW (fall 2012), now part of Wake Up LA; Brandon: core organizer and participant of the first Wake Up Tour in the US (fall 2011), Wake Up coordinator for the past year: Joy: instigator of Wake Up USC and East LA, part of Wake Up LA, organizer of several events during Wake Up tour in California (spring 2012); Meredith: long time member of Wake Up LA, core organizer and participant of the Wake Up Tour in California; Brothers Stream and Protection (over-aged, youthful monk supporters of World Wide Wake Up), Praween: instigator of Wake Up Austin and the first known Wake Up House, participant during Wake Up tour in California, Nhu-Mai: core member of Wake Up Austin, core organizer and participant of Wake Up tour in Pacific NW.

Looking at this picture makes me happy, it gives me much confidence in our practice and community.

It’s all about “Sanghahood”! During the Wake Up Tour in the Pacific NW of the US, Brother Man Tue (aka Br Wisdom) started using the word “Sanghahood”, transcending gender boundaries including brother- and sisterhood. Our Teacher, Thay, reminds us that nothing is more important then to cultivate brother- and sisterhood. This does not mean hanging out only with people you like, people that look and talk like you. It is a deep spiritual practice. On that tour 3 nuns, 2 monks, 3 lay men and 2 lay women traveled through Oregon and Washington states. We did make an excursion to the border to Canada on the day of the tours last event at University of Washington, Bellingham. Walking around the Peace Park, situated on US ad Canadian soil, we could touch the connection and shared space of the two countries.

So how can we grow our “Sanghahood”? Three areas comes to me:
1. share a spiritual practice
2. spend a bunch of time together
3. do something together that really inspires you and brings our your deepest aspiration.

For me a Wake Up Tour offers all those things and when I look at any of the 6 friends in the picture I feel so fortunate to walk this path with them. I cannot forget to mention Brother Stream, who I have had the great happiness to practice with since we both ordained as novice monks in 2003. Even if we have not lived in the same monastery since 2009, whenever we see each other not a moment has past since last we saw each other. This is another amazing feature of true “Sanghahood”. As we said good bye after this recent North American Tour with Thay, we agreed that we are just starting 10 years and looking forward to many more as monks together. One aspect that has helped make the Wake Up Tour’s a delight for the traveling group and hence everyone that we have interacted with, has been drinking tea together, time to share, laugh and listen. This has proven to deepen our connection as members in a spiritual family, friends on an amazing journey; an opening of the heart and a clearing of the mind.

I have seen all of these friends and many other Wake Up’ers carefully consider what education and career they want to pursue, so that their livelihood will not only provide necessary sustenance but also ample opportunity to contribute to a healthier and more compassionate society. Their careers include: massage therapists, social workers, vegan chef, yoga instructors, PhD studies in religion and sociology, not continuing a high paying consultant job, medical doctors, wholesome song writer and performer and the list goes on. In how many ways will people be touched by these young adults whose deepest volition is the thirst for great understanding and the embodiment of love? Thanks to the support of the Sangha we can all continue to develop and mature in our practice, so that we can truly Wake Up and make our lives incredibly beautiful, meaningful and true.

So what about the brown jacket? The Order of Interbeing started in Vietnam in the 60’s with lay and monastic members, who were part of the School of Youth for Social Services, the Engaged Buddhist movement our teacher help ignite. The monastic robes have brown color to connect with the simple people (the farmers in Vietnam wore brown clothing), and the Earth  (to connect with the patient and embracing capacity of the Earth). The brown jacket of the Order of Interbeing is a symbol of our commitment to wake up and to be of service. Maybe you’ll join us? If you prefer a shaved head and long robes that path is also available, 5 years or longer!

Was that 1,000 words already? Not quite! Alright, I need your help, please fill in what the picture is telling you, thanks!

In Sanghahood – Brother Protection

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