Preparations for commemorating Asanha Bucha Day started on Wednesday at Panyaden School. Our students made large candles to present our guest, the Venerable Ajahn Jiew from Wat Pha Yen Boon, Chiang Rai.
Today, we began with our Prathom 5-6 students presenting to their younger Anuban schoolmates the significance of this day, which is one of the most important Buddhist festivals of the year, marking the Buddha’s first sermon. The following day, Wan Khao Pansa, also marks the start of the Buddhist Lent, a time for doing good deeds and committing to the moral precepts. It is a time when monks retreat for three months during the rainy season for contemplation and religious studies.
Later in the day, our student representatives also gave the same bilingual presentation to the other primary students. A large candle was then presented to the Venerable Ajahn Jiew before we all went on to our school’s Buddha Sala for the ‘wien tien’ procession.
After the ceremony, Ajahn Jiew visited the Kindergarten 3 students in their classroom answering questions like “Are there aliens?”’and ”Why do you shave your head?'” before conducting a talk for teachers, staff, parents and members of the public.
Ajahn Jiew spoke about the wisdom of Dhamma that already exists in nature and in us. The Buddha himself encourages us to investigate, experience and understand the Dhamma for ourselves. The Sangha is here to guide and point us to the Dhamma. The talk ended with a series of questions from the audience before Ajahn Jiew led everyone in a short meditation session.
Dance to celebrate Her Majesty Queen Sirikit’s birthday
Panyaden students recently performed a traditional Thai dance at Thai TV 11 (NBT) in Chiang Mai to celebrate Her Majesty Queen Sirikit ‘s birthday this year. The programme will be aired next month August (date/time to be confirmed). Look out for updates here on our blog or on Facebook.
Panyaden’s Prathom 4 students visited the Chiang Mai National Museum and Wat Jed Yod Temple today. The objective of the field trips is that the students will acquire knowledge through direct experience and enhance historical thinking in regards to Lanna and Thai history.
We are learning about transportation this unit and we would love to give the children a memorable experience, something they can tangibly hear and see. We will be introducing the students to airplanes during the week and think it would be beneficial for the students to visit an airport in order to see how airplanes take off and land.
We are currently learning about Chanda at school. Here is some information that we hope you find useful when reviewing this wise habit with your children.
Chanda (pronounced chan‐ta, ฉันท) means being enthusiastic or having aspiration. It is the desire to achieve a worthy goal, of having intrinsic motivation to apply oneself in order to achieve knowledge, truth or good behaviour.
There is a common misunderstanding that in Buddhism all desire is ‘bad’ and leads to suffering. In fact the Buddha recognised that there are two different kinds of desire. One is desire borne of ignorance, an unwholesome or negative desire (tanha), for example towards an object of greed, which gives rise to suffering. The second is wholesome, skilful desire (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 because you have a coherent understanding of the benefits, even if the results are not immediately apparent, or are out of your control.
As explained by Venerable Ajahn Jayasaro at a talk at Panyaden in 2011, 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 instead look for quality of action in the present moment. It is natural that as parents or teachers things will not always work out the way we had hoped and we feel disappointed. We need to recognise that there are outside influences that we cannot control, so the best we can do is put effort into things that we can, such as our own actions and reactions. We should water and nourish a young tree to give it the best chance in life, but understand that the sweetness or abundance of its fruit is beyond our control. This is ‘right motivation.’ Venerable Jayasaro cautions that ‘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. 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. In fact, chanda is usually a ‘prerequisite for the job’ of parenting or teaching, in that we feel naturally motivated to help develop and maintain the best possible qualities and behaviours in our children. 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 over‐ controlling ‐ creating alienation and rebellion.
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 create and maintain good behaviour. Because chanda has to come from the heart and cannot be ‘taught’, the best we can do is create opportunities for children to develop their own passions and interests and help them reflect on how it feels when they put good effort into achieving something. This helps them to generate further motivation. Praising effort instead of results, encouraging them to try something despite initial reluctance or helping them reflect on the benefits of what might otherwise seem like a boring task – such as tidying their room – can all help generate chanda.
Chanda arises from a place of genuine 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. A boy who happily undertakes a chore because he sees the wider benefits for himself and his family, has 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.
Panyaden administrators and teachers last week spent 5 days at the international forest temple, Wat Pah Nanachart, in Ubon Ratchatani. Kru Neil, Kru Elizabeth, Kru Timber and school founders Khun Tik and Khun Mark, joined in with the monastic way of life established by Venerable Ajahn Chah at the temple almost 40 years ago. They gratefully received advice from the abbot Ajahn Kevali, visiting abbot from Wat Dhao Dham, Ajahn Siripanno, and visiting monk, Venerable Ajahn Sumedho on being better administrators, teachers and people.
Wat Pah Nanachart was established by Venerable Ajahn Chah in 1975 to cater for the increasing number of Western monks who wished to wished to undergo monastic training in the Ajahn Chah tradition in English. Venerable Ajahn Sumedho was the temple’s first abbot. Panyaden’s spiritual advisor, Venerable Ajahn Jayasaro spent 5 years as abbot there between 1997 and 2002.
This week, Panyaden School’s nursery teachers have come up with engaging activities to help our young students to learn about various occupations in the world such as doctors, chefs or firefighters. Today our young carpenters made paper tool belts. Next week they’ll be going to see real firefighters at the local fire station. So exciting!
We met Master Chanda this morning. She had come to Panyaden School to teach us about the wise habit, ‘Chanda’ or ‘being enthusiastic’, with the aid of a video about a girl who is so enthusiastic about art that she keeps painting without rest. She has Chanda but she must also remember the other wise habit, Mattanuta (knowing the right amount). We can love art and other hobbies but we should also learn when to stop and rest.