By BIKSHU STHAVIRA SANGHARAKSHITA
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Extra info for HUMAN ENLIGHTENMENT: ENCOUNTER WITH THE IDEALS AND METHODS OF BUDDHISM
These activities help people to evolve from the worldly plane to the mixed plane, per- haps even from the mixed plane to the spiritual plane. These activities might be meditation classes, retreats, lectures, yoga classes, courses in human communication, and so on. They are open to anyone who cares to take advantage of them: one does not even have to join anything, or pay a subscription! In this way members of the Spiritual Community, or those individuals who are committed to the ideal of human Enlightenment, – committed to the attainment of higher levels of consciousness and insight, – help people in the world to develop more and more skilful thoughts, to grow in contentment, in love, and in understanding, and to know indeed, for themselves, the meaning of Spiritual Community.
The Spiritual Community is not, therefore, a group in the ordinary sense. It is not something collective, with a collective mind or soul. It has no collective identity in which you lose your own, or in which you become submerged. The Spiritual Community is a voluntary association of free individuals who have come together on account of a common commitment to a common ideal: a commitment to what we call the Three Jewels. The Three Jewels are, firstly, the Ideal of Human Enlightenment, secondly, the Path of the Higher Evolution, – which is to say, the Path of successively higher levels of consciousness, from self-consciousness to Absolute Consciousness, – and thirdly, the Spiritual Community itself.
They help one another psychologically, economically, and even in quite simple, everyday matters. However, I am going to mention two ways in which members of the Spiritual Community help one another which are particularly relevant. As I have said, within the Spiritual Community we relate on the basis of the common spiritual commitment, the common spiritual ideal. But this is not always easy. After all, many people ‘join’ the Spiritual Community: many people commit themselves. Among them there are people of many different kinds, having different backgrounds, different outlooks, different temperaments.