Abbot’s Commentary: What Kept Dharma Alive

by | Jun 11, 2024 | Buddhism for All

The greatest achievement of the Buddha was the founding of the Sangha. It might seem that becoming a Buddha was his greatest achievement. But fully realizing the Dharma was what made him a Buddha, so realizing the Dharma was more important than the mere label “Buddha.” Then isn’t realizing the Dharma his greatest achievement?  No, because he needed to do something else, even more difficult, which was the creation of a group of people who had realized the Dharma for themselves. To do this, he created systems. The most fundamental system is called dhamma-vinaya, where dhamma (or dharma) means the teachings that represent the truth, and vinaya means the way to live in accord with that truth. Both dhamma and vinaya represent the goal and the way. Dhamma is right view, and explanations for how to understand the path that leads to the realization of right view. Vinaya is a description of how one lives once one has realized right view, and also instructions for how to live in a way that leads to the realization of right view.

But more impressive than any of this, and the true reason the founding of the Sangha was the greatest achievement of the Buddha, is that the Sangha has kept the Dharma alive. They did this partially by repeating the words of the Buddha, but far more significant, they did this by realizing the Dharma directly. It was this realization that allowed them to remain true to his original intent, and it was this realization that gave meaning to the words passed down. If the words do not lead to this realization, they have no value. In the original meaning of the word “Sangha” it is this realization, not ordination, that makes one a member of the Sangha.

Therefore, realize the meaning, the true significance, of the words of the Buddha. Give them life.


  • Reflect on this post with Angela:
    • The teachings of the Buddha are freely available for any of us to learn, put into practice, directly investigate, contemplate and realize the fruits for ourselves. 
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Soryu Forall

After 10 years of monastic training in Asia, Soryu founded the Monastic Academy and spent his life working to create just societies through teaching the Dharma. He has taught thousands of meditators one-on-one in intensive practice. He guides global leaders to conquer their minds. (Read Soryu's story)

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