Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The worldwide community of Buddhist monks and nuns, and sometimes Buddhist laity.
  • noun A particular community of Buddhist monks and nuns, or of the monks, nuns, and laity engaged in Buddhist practice.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The community of all followers of the Buddha; the ecclesia in which the devout take refuge; those who have "entered the stream" towards nirvana; as one of the three jewels of Buddhism.
  • noun The Buddhist congregation including laypersons and "religious" (renunciate monks and nuns who have taken vows).

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Sanskrit saṃghaḥ, assemblage, community, from saṃhanti, he strikes together, puts together : sam, together; see sem- in Indo-European roots + hanti, he strikes; see gwhen- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Sanskrit संघ (saṃ-gha, "heap, multitude, crowd").

Examples

  • The modern Western usage of the term sangha for the members of a Dharma center or organization, as if it were an equivalent term for the congregation of a church, is a nontraditional use of the term.

    Identifying the Objects of Safe Direction (Refuge)

  • Moreover, the term sangha in this heinous crime refers specifically to the monastic community.

    Root Bodhisattva Vows

  • Monica Sanford, whose “Buddhist in Nebraska” blog has drawn attention from the Buddhist blogosphere, writes that learning and practicing dharma in the absence of sangha is a tricky thing.

    Shambhala SunSpace » 2009 » January

  • In Western circles, the word sangha has taken on the meaning of members of a Buddhist center.

    Twenty-Five Modes of Tamed Behavior

  • A couple of small points -- my reference books say the word sangha means "crowd" or "group" in Sanskrit, making it a word that must have had multiple applications.

    About.com Buddhism

  • Monasteries were raided, hundreds of monks were arrested, and a new law was introduced placing the "sangha" -- the monastic orders -- under government regulation.

    Up in Alms: Burma's

  • Monasteries were raided, hundreds of monks were arrested, and a new law was introduced placing the "sangha" -- the monastic orders -- under government regulation.

    Buddhism in Burma

  • In the West, we’ve started to use the word sangha in a totally non-Buddhist way, to be the equivalent of a congregation of a church.

    Bringing Buddhism Down to Earth ��� Session Two: Safe Direction (Refuge)

  • He then gathered a group of dis­ciples, and formed what was known as a sangha or gana (old Vedic terms for tribal groupings in the region).

    Buddha

  • While I appreciated my "sangha," or community, I didn't get into Buddhism personally until I was 16.

    Waylon Lewis: Tortured by Love, Lust or a Crush? The Buddhist Solution (is Gross).

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