Uposatha Sangha – Participants’ Voices

Below is a collection of feedback and experiences from people who have participated in our Uposatha Sangha gatherings on new and full moon:

“I love the frequency, the brevity and the simplicity of the Uposatha Sangha sessions. To me they feel an increasingly important support in living a more thoughtful and meaningful life for the benefit of both myself and others.

I signed up simply out of curiosity. I’d never heard of the practice before. I was though, drawn to the idea of some kind of regular but quite brief opportunity to ‘re-connect’ with some of the key teachings and to develop a more fundamental sense of community with a wider network of people doing the same. I wasn’t free for the very first meeting but watched the recording later. I found it helpful that it was made explicit that for some of us at least, our attendance might be somewhat tentative but that we were welcome nonetheless.

In truth, when I first considered attending the Sangha I was much less drawn to the idea of chanting and setting up a shrine than I am now (although I always knew that at the start the invitation to each of us was to engage in our own way). I now enjoy participating in the chanting and feel bowing deepens my sense of reciprocity with the other people present.

I imagine that like many people I am not able to attend every session but if I miss one I know that it’s not too long until the next and I’ve made an effort to put the dates of the meetings in both my work and home calendars. For me it’s steadying and encouraging to feel I have regular means of making a renewed and clear commitment to living my life in a particular way.

I have found that the chants and recitations function as some kind of re-calibration or re-orientation towards what is important in life. I like the way that I have been reflecting more on what it means to embody these intentions in day-to-day life as well as recalling them for guidance when things are challenging.

It seems to me that Jaya and Yuka and Chris each take great care with their stewardship of the Sangha. There is something very heart-warming about their obvious delight in seeing our faces as the screens fill at the start of each session. It really makes me smile in the session and actually, even thinking about it now!

I would really encourage anyone who is thinking of joining the Uposatha Sangha to try it out and see how it feels for them.”

Uposatha Sangha participant

“This sangha gives us a more concrete feeling of belonging to something bigger.  Coming from a background of conventional psychology, I see the uposatha ceremony as an opportunity to experience much needed group resonance in a world full of disconnection and uncertainty.  I also like that it is tied to the lunar calendar.  I like knowing which phase of the moon we are in.  I appreciate the spin that you have put on uposatha as a reflection for the purpose of forgiveness, not punishment.  For myself, it is an opportunity to reflect on “What has to happen…?” or “What can I do… to be more skillful next time?”  Like noticing that we changed to daylight savings before you all did so I missed the last session.  We all laughed about that and we will check time zones more carefully next time.” Catherine Ibsen

“I registered for the Uposatha Sangha because it was recommended by a friend. I enjoyed the first time so I have tried to join each time after that.  I am fascinated by the chanting and the Pali language. I am hoping to learn the chants and the meanings of the Pali words. To me, the Uposatha Sangha is an honoring of the Buddha, his insights, and those who are trying to follow those insights in their lives.  I am really enjoying these sessions.  I find attending the Uposatha Sangha very comforting, especially in these uncertain times, with war and a pandemic still raging. This small calming oasis in the midst of everything going on around us is most welcome and appreciated!” Candace Gauthier

“I signed up because I want to relate my practice to the non-human world, to be more attuned to the rhythms of the natural cycles of life.” Bill Black

“I love you guys so much. This has helped me in ways I can’t describe in this small a space. It radiates out from there in my world and I am sure in the worlds of many in our Moon Sangha. Thank you.” Uposatha Sangha participant

“Thank you so much for including me in the wonderful practice, it is making a huge difference in the depth of my practice. Much gratitude.” Uposatha Sangha participant

“On moon days I kind of stoke a little bit the fire that’s here, asserting commitment, celebrating a little bit the devotion I feel, honouring it all.  In words and in ceremony.  On moon days I practice more precepts.  On two moon days each month in the morning there’s a group of us who gather to chant a bit, meditate a bit, recite a bit…  It’s nice devoting in community.  On moon days I’m more quiet.” Johny