I had been planning to write about “virtual sanghas” but Dogo Barry Graham beat me to the punch. Predictably, his words are much more precise than what I would have written.
So it will probably surprise no one that I think there is no such thing as a virtual sangha. A bunch of people, one of whom may be a Dharma teacher, typing on keyboards is not a sangha.
A sangha practices together. Practice means the hard, inconvenient work of getting up and getting to the sangha meeting, sitting zazen, having dokusan, doing zazenkai and sesshin, and, day-to-day and week-to-week, working with your teacher to unravel the conditioning and core beliefs that run your life. It means engaging and interacting with the sangha, doing whatever tasks you are assigned to keep things working efficiently.
I’m not suggesting that there’s no point to blogging about your practice, or that the internet isn’t the great resource it is. But it’s no sangha substitute.