Since the time of the Buddha his followers have created communities in which the values of generosity, friendship, compassion, lovingkindness, and awareness are nurtured. We are following in that tradition, creating for ourselves and for future generations, a place of refuge, meditation practice, instruction, and spiritual inspiration.
In America we emphasize individuality over engagement in community. This style of being in the world has certain powerful advantages – individuation is possible in ways that is unavailable in communities with powerful community and family bonds. The shadow side of this individuality is isolation, loneliness and the sense that we don’t really belong anywhere.
Spiritual community is an antidote to this modern problem of isolation, however with so much conditioning emphasizing individuality; we have a lot to learn in the realm of community. As we move out of isolation and self reliance into relationship, each of us faces challenging questions. How involved do I want to be? What needs of the community will I respond to? Can I relinquish some of my self reliance and ask for help? How will I balance my work and family life with that of the community? Can I remain in relationship when things don’t go the way I want? Can I find my voice and speak my views clearly? Can I engage fully without losing my self?
Each person is free to decide their degree of involvement with PIMC. Some people come occasionally to a meditation meeting. Others find that PIMC become a central organizing place in their lives. Our intention is the cultivation of friendship, cooperation and spiritual liberty.
The Buddha’s teachings offer guidance as we engage in community and seek the answers to these questions. The importance of spiritual community was made quite clear when the Buddha’s devoted companion Ananda said, 'This is half of the holy life, Lord - admirable friendship,’ and the Buddha replied, 'Don't say that... Admirable friendship is actually the whole of the holy life. When a monk [or anyone else] has admirable people as friends... he can be expected to develop and pursue the Noble Eightfold Path.”