What is the purpose of a sangha? The word sangha comes from Sanskrit, and one translation can be “community.” Traditionally it has referred to a Buddhist monastic type of community.
The purpose of our sangha, our dojo community at Brooklyn Aikikai, is rather simple. It is a sisterhood, a brotherhood, a group of people bound together by their commitment to wake each other up, and to keep each other awake. Each person that steps over the threshold into the dojo does so with a wish for themselves. Some wishes may be physical, and some may be to resolve a question of who they truly are. In either case, the community exists to keep each other on the path towards the individual's true wish.
Our dojo community does not exist to form political, social, or artistic clubs– or any other group of that nature. While like-minded people may be drawn to each other and these groups may naturally form, it is not the original intention of a dojo community. It is important to turn to one another, whether you naturally like that person or not, and be able to say “my Friend, you have fallen asleep…please wake up,” and “let us go deeper together.”
At any moment, anyone can serve as a guide or an awakening bell for another. Generally speaking, one who practices more often and more deeply should be able to be a reminder for others-- but it is not always the case.
Let us all look deeply at ourselves and see what we can do to wake up more, and help each other to go further on this Path.