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Monks of the Rato Monastery in Mundgod , Karnataka , India

Sangha ( Pāli : सङ्घ saṅgha ; Sanskrit : संघ saṃgha : “ assembly ”) means “assembly”, “multitude” or “community” in the Buddhist terminology. The word “Sangha” is masculine in Pāli, but the female form, “die Sangha” (based on “community”, “community”) is also common in German.


Depending on the Buddhist tradition, a distinction is made between different uses of the term:

  1. Community of Buddhist practitioners
    Depending on the respective Buddhist tradition and school, either those practicing Buddhism in general or exclusively the Buddhist religious , monks (" bhikkhu ") and nuns (" bhikkhuni ") are meant.
  2. Community of the Buddhist Awakened (" Noble Sangha ")
    The “ community of the noble ” (Sanskrit: “ Arya-Sangha ”) denotes the beings who, according to Buddhist teaching, should have already mastered the first stage on the way to enlightenment by having freed themselves from the “I-illusion”. Nevertheless, according to the description, they have not yet achieved complete enlightenment, as their perception is still partially darkened by fine veils, for example in the form of subtle feelings. However, these are more likely to be perceived as “ clouds in the sky ” that pass by. There is no longer any identification with them, they can be perceived from a healthy distance. Hence the state of the “ awakened ” is often referred to as “liberation”. The " Sangha of the Noble " is one of the Three Gems to which a Buddhist takes refuge .
  3. The Buddhist Community
    The community of lay believers and ordained people who support one another and follow the Buddha and the teachings of the Buddha ( Dharma ).

Regardless of the exact definition, the Sangha belongs in all traditions to the three jewels (models) of Buddhism, through whose refuge one accepts Buddhism.


The term Sangharama (or saṁghārāma ) generally refers to a Buddhist monastery or sanctuary.


  • Robert E. Buswell (Ed.): Encyclopedia of Buddhism. Macmillan Reference, USA 2004, ISBN 0-02-865718-7 , pp. 556-560, 740-744 (monasticism, sangha)
  • Manfred Seegers: Basic Buddhist Concepts. 5th edition. Buddhistischer Verlag, Wuppertal 2004, ISBN 3-937160-12-4 .
  • Heinz Bechert , Richard Gombrich (ed.): Buddhism, past and present. 2nd Edition. CH Beck-Verlag, Munich 2002, ISBN 3-406-42138-5 .
  • Nyanaponika Thera, Hellmuth Hecker: The disciples of Buddha - life, work and legacy of the 24 most important students of the awakened. OW Barth-Verlag, 2000, ISBN 3-502-61019-3 .
  • Mohan Wijayaratna: Buddhist Monastic Life: According to the Texts of the Theravada Tradition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK 1990, ISBN 0-521-36428-0 .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ TW Rhys Davids, William Stede: sangha. In: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English dictionary. Pali Text Society, London. Chipstead, 1921–1925., Retrieved October 28, 2016 (English).
  2. Lotus Seeds. The Essence of Nichiren Shu Buddhism. Nichiren Buddhist Temple of San Jose, 2000, ISBN 0-9705920-0-0 , p. 17.