Sugarplum Sangha

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Sangha Refuge

by Melanie Gin


In my imagination, I am weaving through the rocky roads of the Ukiah mountains. In a few curves, I will take the sharp left into Mariposa Institute, unpack my sleeping bag and clothes, and cozy up in the kitchen with Sugarplum Sangha friends. Perhaps Jonathan will be cooking a vegetable curry and My will arrive from watering the wild, lush garden out by the barn. I imagine friends of all ages and backgrounds gathering in the dining room for a delicious meal, eaten in silence and with gratitude. Later, as the sun sets behind the mountain crests, we’ll sing joyfully, accompanied by Eric’s drumming, and head to bed for another day.


Sugarplum Sangha, housed at Mariposa Institute, is a community in which I can rest, breathe deeply, and find joy in presence. Somehow, the magic of the schoolhouse property and the intention of the community creates a place of refuge, one where I can trust in myself and in others, and give of myself fully, knowing that others are doing the same. I experience the perfection of generosity here: there is truly no giver, no receiver, and no gift. Each person gives what they can for the benefit of the community, and in this way, we support each other in our practice and in our rest. Each of us contributes to the presence of one sangha body.


As a member of this sangha, I’ve participated in group retreats and a Day of Mindfulness, built friendships in walks and Interplay, and even visited Jonathan and My for a personal retreat. My time in community at Mariposa has nourished my practice, helped me to reconnect with the joy and mischief of my inner child, and given me the opportunity to share my practice with others. I am grateful for the many friends I’ve met in the woodlands of Mariposa, and look forward to growing my practice in its peaceful embrace.