In Buddhism, lineage is the line of teachers who have passed the Dharma from teacher to student in a recurring and unbroken cycle - the student becomes the teacher of the next student. On my third post to this new blog, I was tickled to see one of the comments was from Canadian building scientist Harold Orr. Orr was one of the team who designed the Saskatchewan Conservation House in 1977, one of the first superinsulated homes. Orr was one of the first to use a fan to create elevated pressures across a building enclosure to measure and locate air leaks, the technique for which we now use the instrument known as the blower door.
I think of myself as being in Harold's lineage. This student never met the teacher until a couple of years ago at the North American Passive House Conference, but he learned a lot from what Harold did and wrote. I shook Harold's hand with considerable gratitude.
Lineage is vertical and successional. In contrast, community is lateral and evolving. To continue with the Buddhist analogy, the word is sangha. Sangha is a mutually supportive community composed of members with a shared vision and set of values. The environmental/solar/energy efficient building community has been my sangha for over thirty years. I've made a number of my closest friends from this community, and I've learned almost all I know about the work I do from it. Working as we did beginning in the late 1970s, we were learning a lot that no one could teach us, and we shared both successes and failures. A bunch of us learned and aged together over the past decades, and the journey has been a lot easier and way more fun than if we were on our own.
For some of us on this path, the most exciting thing happening now is the influx of young, smart, fire-in-the-belly folks who are the next generation of this community. They're heaps smarter than we are, and they learn what took us decades in weeks. In turn we have experience to share. If we're really blessed, the next student in the lineage appears. I can tell you, they're on their way!