The Bay Area Open Sangha exists to allow people to practice and study the Buddhadharma, the teachings of the Buddha, without concern for sectarianism or the historical lines between traditions of Buddhism.
This is not to say that these lines are ignored and traditions are mixed without reflection or regard to their conflicts. The Buddha taught many ways to practice the Dharma and his teachings have come down over two and half thousand years to this day. Many of the differences in doctrine and practice between different schools of Buddhism are products of culture and history more than anything inherent to what the Buddha taught. His successors continued to develop the Dharma, creating new schools of thought and practice.
In the current era, we have an unparalleled access to the teachings of many schools of Buddhism, even extinct ones lost in previous centuries but surviving in texts and artifacts of their time. Rather than enshrining any one tradition of practice, the Bay Area Open Sangha looks to the entirety of Buddhism as the ekayana or one vehicle bequeathed to us by history and the many dedicated practitioners and teachers of the sangha. We embrace the fullness of this as potential individual sources for practice.
Individual members may embrace one or more (or none, even) tradition of Buddhism. The intent of this psuedo-organization (as it is more of an unorganization) is to provide an open and free space for people of a variety of Buddhist traditions to come and practice together.
The expectation is that this will be initially facilitated by short, weekend, open retreats run by various interested practitioners under the auspices of the Bay Area Open Sangha.
Those interested in participating should join our google groups email list in order to participate in discussions. We are also on twitter as @opensangha and have created a meetup.com group to track events.
The group is currently facilitated by Al Jigen Billings but it is hoped that the list of facilitators will expand over time.