The Pàëi word Saïgha means `group' or `congregation' and is the name given to the body of the Buddha's disciples. The Buddha mentions two saïghas Ý the monastic saïgha and the noble saïgha. The monastic Saïgha is the congregation of properly ordained monks and nuns. The noble Saïgha (ariya saïgha or sometimes sàvaka saïgha) is composed of all those who have attained the first stage of enlightenment or higher.

However, in the broadest sense, the Saïgha is all those, ordained or not, enlightened or not, who are fully committed to the Buddha's teachings. The Buddha said: `Whoever is wise and confident, learned, upholding the Dhamma and living in accordance with it, they are called Light of the Saïgha. The monk who is virtuous, the nun who is learned, the lay man or lay woman who is full of faith, they are rightly called Light of the Saïgha'(A.II,8). See Basis of Community