I too appreciate the value of the Sangha. Unfortunately, I live in a very rural, very Catholic area, and the last time I did a FaceBook poll asking for fellow Buddhists to be known, I got ZILCH, nada, nuttin’! So I gave up for a time.
Last week I tried again, and through an email made contact with a person from “The Rainbow Sangha” in Albuquerque, NM. This contact person asked me if I would be interested in forming a sangha in my county, and I said “Sure”. Then in my next email as an addendum, I mentioned that I am a post op transsexual, and wondered if these potential sangha members would care.
I make this announcement as a reflex, having encountered so much bigotry and its exclusionary practice. I fully expected…and hoped … that this contact person would respond by saying " No problem. Buddha has no position on transsexuals". Or something equally inclusive. But she did not say that. She said, " Well, I will ask them".
And I said, “Don’t bother”. I subsequently tried to have a dialogue with this person, but she seemed a tad miffed that I took the attitude I expressed even when I pointed out that 23% to 40% of all trans people have attempted suicide [myself included]. Do all sanghas have rules for disqualification? Should I just accept that my status as a Trans woman makes me subject to denial of participation in a sangha?
So, my point is that while a sangha is a valuable part of the Triple Gem, it can also be a cause of suffering. The contact person ceased communication, and offered no compassionate response to my reference regarding suicide. Apparently she remained attached to some emotion of which I am unaware.
Your gentle, supportive comments are welcomed. Your terse pointed references to the Dharma will be gratefully accepted and regarded with calm meditative appreciation
This is my sangha. Thanks, with mucho Metta