samgha ［僧伽］ (; sōgya): Also, sangha. The Buddhist Order, or the community of Buddhist believers. One of the three treasures of Buddhism, the other two being the Buddha and his teachings. Samgha refers specifically to the group of monks and nuns who renounced secular life and dedicated themselves to Buddhist practice night and day, but in a broad sense includes all Buddhist practitioners: monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen. The Sanskrit term originally meant a collective body or assembly and later came to refer to the body of Buddhist practitioners. In the early stage of Buddhism, a body of at least four monks or nuns living in a communal arrangement was called a samgha, designation of a community for practicing the Buddha’s teaching, preserving it, and transmitting it to the future. Because this role was considered so important, the samgha was regarded together with the Buddha and his teachings as deserving of devotion and protection. With the rise of Mahayana Buddhism, the samgha came to refer to the body of Mahayana practitioners, or bodhisattvas, including monks, nuns, or laypersons. See also three treasures.