religious community

In Buddhism, the word sangha means "assembly" or "community."[1] For Buddhists, there are two sanghas that are very important:

  1. the community of Buddhist monks and nuns
  2. the community of noble disciples[2]


Basic terms




In Buddhism, there are three things that a Buddhist shows the greatest respect: the Buddha, the Dharma (the Buddha's teaching), and the Sangha (the Buddha's community). So, for example, when the sangha is talked about in very old Buddhist books, the following words are often used:

"The Sangha of the [Buddha]'s disciples who have practiced well... who have practiced straightforwardly... who have practiced methodically... who have practiced masterfully ... they are the Sangha of the [Buddha]'s disciples: worthy of gifts, worthy of hospitality, worthy of offerings, worthy of respect, the incomparable field of merit for the world."[3]
  1. See, for instance, Rhys Davids & Stede (1921-25), p. 667, entry for "Sangha" (retrieved 2007-11-11 from "Univ. of Chicago" at[permanent dead link]); and, Bullitt (2005).
  2. Bullitt (2005).
  3. For example, this quote can be found in one of the oldest Buddhist books, the "Anguttara Nikaya" (AN), in a talk given by the Buddha called the Mahanama Sutta (Thanissaro, 1997).