In the suttas the word sangha(lit. "group, assembly") is usually used in one of two ways: it refers either to the community of ordained monks and nuns (bhikkhu-sangha and bhikkhuni-sangha)or to the community of "noble ones" (ariya-sangha)— persons who have attained at least stream-entry, the first stage of Awakening.
theravada_guy wrote::shock: Wow, okay. I was totally wrong on that one. "Upasaka" and "upasika" are correct though, aren't they?
theravada_guy wrote:Okay, thanks bodom. Does what I mentioned have a name or label? "Fourfold..."? Community maybe?
theravada_guy wrote:Okay, but do the four things I mentioned (bhikkhus, bhikkunis, upasakas and upasikas) have a collective term?
As soon as a person, whether a monk or a layman, realizes the Four Noble Truths and gains a first vision of Nibbana, he automatically becomes a Sotapanna and, simultaneously, a member of the Noble Sangha of disciples.
theravada_guy wrote:I guess that's something I shouldn't worry about.
theravada_guy wrote:Greetings jc,
Yeah, the notion of "all Buddhists are part of the sangha" is what threw me off on my question in my original post on this. What I realize now is, I think that view is more of a Vajrayana, rather than Theravada view. I don't know. I sometimes feel guilty for all the questions I have and the fact I can't really contribute to anyone elses' questions. I guess that's something I shouldn't worry about. Anyway, thanks to all who contributed to this. Any other thoughts are still welcome of course.