Critical Dharma for Thinking Minds /Milk Tea Alliance

Tiger Lily Sangha

via Tiger Lily Sangha

We gleefully announce the naming of our young sangha at Bird Hill Farm: Tiger Lily Sangha. It’s more of a ‘hangha’ than a ‘sangha’. We’re a group of friends who hang out at the farm and share our food and our stories with each other. We have no teachers; each one is the teacher of their own experience. Our ‘lineage’ is a mashup of Radical Faerie and buddhism (of no particular lineage) and whatever else people bring to the pot luck. We love tiger lilies. They bloom like mad in July in the heat of summer, and the orange spotted tiger color reminds one of the Buddha. They are wild and beautiful, just like us.

—a sangha is any formally organized Buddhist community led by an authorized teacher with a specific practice program

—a hangha is just friends or a casual group where you share your experiences with Buddhist practice.

3 comments on “Tiger Lily Sangha

  1. don socha

    Congratulations on your sangha!

    In _Bring me the Rhinoceros_, John Tarrant reports that thirteen hundred years ago, Chinese “teachers weren’t trying to achieve something; they just responded to the needs of their students.”

    Perhaps though members of your ‘hanga’ are “each the teacher of their own experience”, you similarly respond to one another’s needs. But it probably doesn’t matter if someone, a student of Radical Fairy, most likely, is trying to achieve something?

    • Shaun Bartone

      thanks Don, I’m not sure what you mean by ‘achieve something.’ We’re mostly just trying to support each other to develop our spirituality in a loving environment, connect with Nature on the farm. We’re not trying to achieve ‘full enlightenment’ (whatever that means).

      Radical Faerie is a gay pagan tradition that was started (like many other modern pagan traditions) in the 70s by a gay activist named Harry Hay and his friends. Harry Hay felt that gay men needed to develop a spiritual life to counteract assimilation into heteropatriarchy and the vacuousness of gay consumerism. Rather than trying to gain acceptance in mainstream churches (including Buddhism), Hay and his friends created a religion that understood and celebrated what it was about being queer that is spiritual. That’s what RadFae contributes to our circle.

      I say that we’re a strange mashup of Radical Faerie and Buddhist because we don’t fit squarely into either camp. Radical Faeries are quite hedonistic. Current RadFae practice involves a lot of psychedelic drug use. The co-founders of our group (including me) are both clean and sober for many years and don’t promote drug use. Also RadFae promotes sex as a form of spiritual practice, in the style of tantra. The co-founders of our group are more responsible about sex. We don’t see it as a special form of spiritual practice; it’s just part of life. We don’t encourage anything except responsible and consensual sex between adult partners. So that makes us more ascetic than current RadFae, and puts us more into the Buddhist camp, respecting the 3rd and 5th precepts.

      On the other hand, we’re not super-buddhist either. I practice a mashup of Theravada and Naturalism. Naturalism accepts a scientific explanation of reality and the natural world, rather than relying on Buddhist (or any other) philosophy. My co-founder is fond of Thich Nhat Hanh, although he’s not a member of any Buddhist sangha.

      Our friends bring different things to the group: yoga, goddess, Wicca, Jewish, Christian, whatever–mostly we just bring ourselves.

      • don socha

        Thanks for the detailed response, Shaun. as well as for the references. I admire and appreciate your wide range of influences and interests, as well as your contributions as a thinker and writer.

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This entry was posted on 2019/07/11 by .


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