Monthly Archives: July 2012

Panyaden Olympic Games

A great day at Panyaden School’s Olympic Games

Panyaden's Chiang Mai Olympics Opening Ceremony

Our highly anticipated Olympic Games has arrived! Painted faces, colourful headbands and banners, a parade of athletes bearing flags from 5 countries, fun sporting events, cheer teams and mascots including two very special guests from the London Olympics 202 made up the carnival atmosphere at Panyaden School’s creative version of the Olympic Games in Chiang Mai. It was indeed a day to remember; a huge success thanks to the wonderful effort and teamwork of all our teachers and students involved.

“Well done everyone! You showed great team spirit,” said School Director Neil Amas at the end of the event. Asked why Panyaden decided to host their own Olympic Games, Neil explained, “It‘s a theme through which we can teach a number of things: sportsmanship and fair play, teamwork, effort and perseverance, generosity in winning and losing, ancient history, geography, language, health, maths (so many distances and statistics to play with!)  and of course physical exercise.

“We chose it because it is a global and current event and easily captures the imagination and because it is something we can do across the school, with all classes.”

    Kindergarten students spelling out 'Olympics' at Panyaden School Chiang Mai

The motto of the day (and of our school) is “Believe to Succeed” and succeed we did. The Opening Ceremony started off with the arrival of paper and crepe torches carried by our nursery students, followed by kindergarten students spelling out the word ‘Olympics’ to the well-known song ‘Chariots Of Fire’.

The Opening ceremony continued to wow everyone with a fabulous display of dance, a slow motion mime that had the spectators shouting out the name of each sporting event and a mascot presentation by 6 Prathom students. Then off the students went to take part in fun sporting activities like Knock It Off and Fish Bowl. Scores were kept to see which country will emerge the winning team but the students were more intent on enjoying themselves and having fun with their teammates.


The Games closed with enthusiastic cheering by the teams showing off the props that they made to present each country and the cheer songs they wrote. Even our teachers put up a display much to our students’ delight. The final surprise was the arrival of London Olympic Games mascots, Wenlock and Mandeville! Guess who were actually dressed up as the two mascots?

Thank you all for your hard work and preparation. Well done!

More photos on the blog:


Candles for illumination during Khao Phansa

Everyone at Panyaden School from the older nursery children to our Prathom students and staff had a try at the art of candle-making today. Filled with curiosity, we gathered around Kru Or as she showed us the basic steps of making a candle. Applause and encouragement erupted each time after someone successfully pours liquid wax gently into the tall candle moulds recycled from thick cardboard.

The finished candles will be presented to Venerable Ajahn Jiew tomorrow when he visits us in Chiang Mai to meet with our students and to give a Dhamma talk to the public. Offerings of large candles are traditionally given to monks at the start of Khao Phansa Day in Thailand (the Buddhist Lent when monks retreat into their temples for 3 months of spiritual rejuvenation, study and reflection). In the past, the candles were essential sources of light for temple ceremonies and for the monks as they studied the scriptures in the dark monsoon nights. Buddhists also believe that the light from the candles symbolize spiritual illumination for the monks.

Lots more photos here.

Panyaden 12 wise habits: Chanda

Doing your best in the present moment

by Neil Amas, Panyaden School Director

Students are practicing chanda (pronounced chan-ta), or enthusiasm/positive desire (ความยินดีในกิจที่ทำ (ฉันทะ) during these two weeks. Here is some further information on chanda that you may feel useful.

There is a common misunderstanding that in Buddhism all desire is ‘bad’ and leads to suffering. In fact the Buddha recognised that there are 2 different kinds of desire. One is desire borne of ignorance, an unwholesome or negative desire (tanha) which gives rise to suffering. The second is wholesome, skilful desire, or chanda, which originates from a clear understanding of the way things are. It means bringing up motivation or desire to do the very best that you can in the present moment.

As explained by Venerable Ajahn Jayasaro during a talk at Panyaden last year, this is an important principle in the education of children or in the raising of children by parents. We should not be overly obsessed with results, but, rather, look for quality of action in the present moment. There will be disappointments and things will not always work out how we want. There will be outside influences that you cannot control, so the best you can do is put effort into things that you can. This is right motivation. Ven. Jayasaro explained, ‘An over emphasis on results in the future tends to have a number of negative consequences in the present, such as anxiety, restlessness, boredom and dissatisfaction. Or this very easily can lead to dishonesty because if you feel that something you do in the present is merely a means to get what you want in the future, the temptation to take short cuts becomes very strong.’

As parents and teachers we all want our children to be healthy and happy. But if this desire is not wise it may lead to us becoming overly protective causing our children to become too dependent on us, or we may become over-controlling and create alienation and rebellion in our children.

In the classroom, as well as at home, chanda means encouraging our children to be enthusiastic in developing their own learning and knowledge, to try hard to succeed no matter the consequences and to maintain and create good behaviour. We can encourage them to focus on what interests them and help them reflect on how it feels when they put good effort into achieving something, thus helping them to generate further motivation.

Chanda arises from compassion and unconditional love. A sister who helps her younger brother get dressed for school purely out of love and a desire to help him has chanda. A group of students who are enthusiastic about learning a new subject at school solely from their love of learning and desire to work hard at it regardless of the results, are displaying chanda.

We all know how precious a parent’s praise is to a child. If we concentrate on praising effort, we will help them develop chanda, a wise habit for life.

Upcoming Events 30 & 31 July

Exciting events to look forward to in the coming week
at Panyaden School Chiang Mai

1 On Monday, 30 July, all our students will make a large candle to commemorate Arsanha Bucha Day and Khao Phan Sa which they will present to Venerable Ajahn Jiew on Tuesday.
  2 The next day, they will take part in our unique Panyaden Olympic Games (9.00am – 11.30am). Our children have been preparing hard for our version of the London Olympics 2012 with a school-wide series of fun learning activities. We have athletes, cheerleaders and ancient Greeks ready for our very own Opening Ceremony. Exciting games include hoop shooting, relays and obstacle courses.
3 In the afternoon, they will spend time with Taan Ajahn Jiew before he gives a public Dhamma talk (in both English and Thai) at 4pm.



Upcoming Dhamma Talk by Phra Ajahn Jiew

An Invitation

Panyaden School Chiang Mai is delighted to invite you to a Dhamma talk (in both Thai and English) by the Venerable Ajahn Phuwadol Piyasilo (Phra Ajahn Jiew) on Tues 31 July 2012 from 4pm – 5pm in our Assembly Hall (please see map and address below).

A former student of Taan Ajahn Jayasaro, Phra Ajahn Jiew has been a monk for more than 20 years, the last 17 of which he has spent alone at Wat Pha Yen Boon in Chiang Rai province.

218 Moo 2, T. Namprae,
A. Hang Dong, Chiang Mai, Thailand 50230

053-426618; +66800785115, +66854846095


Being Enthusiastic

Panyaden students during school's wise habit session

The objective of Chanda (ฉันทะ) is the desire and cultivation of dhamma, truth and goodness as well as the pursuit of knowledge. This wise habit leads to effort and action based on clear thinking, common sense and goodwill towards others. These values are all part of the education process at Panyaden School in Chiang Mai.

At this morning’s assembly, our Kung Fu Chef points out that a good example of chanda in action at school is when our students work together on their ‘My Project’ programme. They have been engaging themselves wholeheartedly in independently gathering and applying knowledge of various subjects with the help of our teachers who guide them in discovering and creating rather than simply telling them what they need to know. Watching our students during this process, we see their desire and enthusiasm to learn as well as the joy and fun in working as a team towards finishing their projects well.

Panyaden students practicising their kung fu moves for 12 wise habits Panyaden students working together to recycle plastic bottles for their school project

A Special Treat For Ven. Ajahn Jayasaro

On 13 July during morning assembly, our children treated Ven. Ajahn Jayasaro to a special presentation of the 12 Wise Habits. Heading this presentation was our favourite Kung Fu Chef who joined us at the assembly hall after the students called out enthusiastically for him. He brought along a video featuring our children acting out various roles to show examples of the wise habits they have been learning. This was a great hit with the students as well as Ven. Ajahn Jayasaro, judging by the smiles, cheers and applause.

Ven. Jayasaro at Panyaden School Chiang Mai Ven. Jayasaro at Panyaden School Chiang Mai: presentation of wise habits by students

Our Captains of Mattanuta and Avingsa then read out letters their Prathom schoolmates sent in to share how they put both wise habits into action these past few weeks. Our kindergarten 3 students put up a wonderfully creative presentation with pictures they had drawn about Mattannuta (knowing the right amount) and questions to the audience like “Do you watch too much TV?” and “Do you eat too many bananas like me?”

Student presentation at Panyaden School Chiang Mai

Soon, everyone was up on their feet doing the 12 wise habits kung fu moves they know so well. The Kung Fu Chef summarised what we have learnt about Mattanuta and Avingsa and invited Ven. Ajahn Jayasaro to share his thoughts on the 2 virtues.

Later in the afternoon, Taan Ajahn Jayasaro met each of our teachers one-on-one to offer guidance and reflection before flying back to Bangkok. We hope he will be able to visit us again soon!

Kindergarenen students and teachers, Panyaden School Chiang Mai
See more photos here.

Dhamma Talk by Taan Ajahn Jayasaro

Panyaden School Chiang Mai Dhamma talk

Panyaden School is honoured that our spiritual advisor, Venerable Ajahn Jayasaro was able to visit us in Chiang Mai last week. On 12 July, he gave a public Dhamma talk about the 4 kinds of development that form the foundation of a holistic education and the flourishing of a well-rounded person.

Ven. Ajahn Jayasaro spoke fluently in both Thai and English about these 4 areas, which encompass both our external and internal spheres of development. The first and second spheres concern our physical and social relationships starting from how we can learn to treat our bodies wisely (such as eating a balanced nutrition, getting adequate rest and the like) to how we can relate constructively to the material world of money and possessions, to our families, colleagues, friends and the wider community. The third and fourth spheres are internal, concerning the education of the heart/emotions and of wisdom (panya).

He went on to explain how the application of the 12 wise virtues that are part of the education system at Panyaden, can help towards the constructive development of all these 4 areas. These habits provide a compass and refuge in our daily lives. Their practice can help towards creating a wholesome, bright, positive and kind person who lives a wise and well-balanced life.

  Taan Ajahn Jayasaro Dhamma Talk July 2012  

Friends of Panyaden: To All Members

Letter From The Committee

Friends of Panyaden Constitution

To allow for more discussion and feedback from members, the steering committee for the Friends of Panyaden decided not to call a vote to adopt the constitution at the General Meeting held in June.

The Committee of the Friends of Panyaden invites members to submit their comments or suggestions to the Secretary, Neil Davenport, by email to by Tuesday 7 August 2012. The Committee will then discuss these responses, update the proposed constitution and distribute it to members before the end of August. A General Meeting will then be called to adopt the constitution before the end of the current school term.

The English language version of the proposed constitution (dated 12 July 2012) is available for download below and is on display in the Parents’ Sala. A Thai translation will be made available shortly. If you wish to discuss the proposed constitution in person please seek out a Committee member.

Friends Of Panyaden_Constitution_EN_20120712


12 Wise Habits


By Neil Amas, Panyaden School Director

We are currently practicing mattannuta (pronounced ma-tan-yoo-ta), or knowing the right amount with our students. Here is some further information on mattannuta that you may find useful.

How do we know the right amount? What is too much and what is too little? Whatever we do, however we spend out life, whatever goals we set ourselves, we need to consider the right amount of material and non-material things that we need, to assess what is enough, not to be over demanding. Essentially, mattannuta is about achieving ‘balance’ in life. It is a virtue that helps us to understand the cravings and aversions created by our mind, and that understanding in turn increases the peaceful moments we experience.

The Buddha taught that the middle path should be followed by both body and mind. It is a path of neither sensory indulgence nor extreme austerity, but rather one of moderation and balance. This does not only refer to specific actions or thoughts in isolation, for example consuming the right amount of food, but also to achieving the right balance between all the different things we do each day and throughout our lives.

To illustrate this point, Phra Bhramagunabhorn refers to the importance of balancing the indriya, or five spiritual faculties: conviction (saddha), perseverance (viriya), mindfulness (sati), concentration (samadhi) and wisdom (panya). For example if your conviction or faith is very strong but you do not use your wisdom, you will become gullible, a person that follows without question. Conversely, if you have high intelligence but little faith, you will become skeptical, unable to look inside yourself for the truth. Or if your perseverance is too strong and your concentration is weak, you are likely to become agitated and stressed. Too much concentration and insufficient perseverance, on the other hand, may lead to idleness. Strong mindfulness (sati), however, is needed if we are to find the right balance between these, and to control our actions and thoughts more broadly.

In today’s world, we can see that teaching the new generation how to consume the right amount is very important. Natural resources are stretched and we are experiencing increasing environmental degradation. Understanding mattannuta, therefore, is vital for our students as they grow up and shape the future of our society and our world. As Venerable Ajahn Jayasaro writes in “Twelve ways to become a happy person”, if we think more is better simply in order to make our lives more comfortable, we will see that we end up ust wanting more and more and can never be satisfied. As parents and teachers we need to educate our students to use their wisdom to find the mattannuta point for themselves. Whether eating, sleeping, studying, playing, using the computer or talking, everything has to be the right amount. This does not mean simply dictating the rules to children, but rather helping them see what happens if you sleep too much – you get up and feel grumpy and irritable – or not enough – your brain cannot function properly and you feel drowsy and unable to concentrate. Or what happens when you eat too much – you get stomach ache – and so on. We should ask ourselves and our children how much sleep we think we should have, how much food we should eat.

Ajahn Jayasaro suggests that a family who practices mattannuta is one that is able to make agreement points between parents and children. This means deciding how long we think children should play on the computer, for example, but also respecting our child’s ability to think for him or herself and come to a mutual agreement on the right amount of time. When the time has passed, we can then remind our child of the agreement.

Mattannuta is, therefore, a vitally important wise habit to teach our children, but also to practice ourselves if we are to find true balance in our lives.

The Old Millionaire: a story about Mattannuta

Once upon a time, there was an old Indian millionaire who wished to become a monk but could not figure out what to do with all his riches. He had no children and no close family or relatives to give his wealth to before becoming a monk.

After some thought, he had an idea and he announced it all his friends. “I will travel around the country wearing simple clothing for a year. I will go to every province, every district and every corner of India until I find the poorest man in the country and give all my riches to him.”

After that, he disappeared for one whole year. When he came back he gathered all his friends together to tell them his news. One of the friends asked, “So, did you find the poorest person in India? Who is he? Which province is he from?”

The millionaire replied, “I have made the decision to give all my treasures to the King.”

Another friend cried, “That wasn’t your initial intention! You said you would give all your wealth to the poorest man in India. Why all of a sudden are you going to give it all to the richest man, the King? Why did you change your mind?”

The millionaire responded, ” No, no, no, I did not change my mind. But when I was traveling around the country, some days I met poor farmers who live very small, shabby huts in the middle of rice fields. They invited me to stay overnight with them and gave me the best hospitality they could offer. They had no money but they were kind, helping each other, respecting each other and they had enough to live happily. Therefore, I conclude that these people are definitely not the poor ones.

“My experiences have made me ask myself, how can we determine richness and poorness? I have been reminded time and time again that the poorest man is the man who never appreciates nor is satisfied with what he has. He feels lacking in everything. He wants this, he wants that, he wants more of this and does not have enough of that. So, I have found that those types of people are the poorest ones!

“And this makes me think of one person, and that is the King. He who still collects taxes and increases the rates every year, who declares wars on other countries in order to conquer more land. And that’s why I think the King is the poorest man in India because he does not know the word “Enough!!”