How Asians view the Sangha

It should be noted that Asians view “The Sangha” as only those ordained. In South Asian countries the Sangha is bhikkhu (male monks) and Bhikkhuni (female monks) form a subset Sangha that is subservient to the bhikkhu Sangha. The Bhikkhu sangha is held in high regard by the laymen and is not easily ignored or dismissed.

In Japan, the Sangha is the Priest class, those who have gone through the Japanese Buddhist Seminary training for at least one year. This becomes an exclusive religious society for Japanese men, one that has high prestige and honors in Japan.

All others who are NOT ordained are considered Laymen, who at the minimum take the precepts. But generally, they are not called Sangha Members.

All others are “ordinary people” who are not Sangha or Laymen.

In the Westernized Dharma Centers, laymen are included in the Sangha adopting a “protestant” view of a religious organization. This view is by westerners is often dismissed by Asians, and those Western men who have trained in Asian countries.

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