Monthly Archives: November 2014

Prathom 3-6 Meditation

Panyaden Prathom students mediate with ice in hands

Prathom 3-6 students were feeling cool in today’s sati and samadhi activity inspired by P4 homeroom teacher, Kru Jan! Students sat silently with eyes closed as an ice cube was put into the palm of their hand. Five minutes later they opened their eyes and were asked to share their reflections. We observed how the mind deals with initially uncomfortable sensations through focusing on an alternative point of concentration or by simply observing the sensation without being overcome by aversion. A great lesson in perseverance and patience!

Panyaden School Prathom 3-6 students meditation session   Meditating with ice in hand, Panyaden School Chiang Mai

More photos here on the blog.

Neil Amas on Panyaden Wise Habit, Sacca

Panyaden students singing about the 12 Wise Habits at school
Panyaden students and teachers singing about the 12 Wise Habits

Panyaden-School-Director-Neil-Amas2-1Sacca (pronounced ‘sat-ja’) is a Pali word meaning “real” or “true.” It means to uphold integrity by speaking and acting according to the truth and to keep one’s word. It is a wise habit of profound importance and yet in daily life it is one of the most difficult for us to consistently practise.

In early Buddhist writings sacca is often found in reference to ariya-sacca, or ‘noble truth’ and, specifically, the Four Noble Truths, the essence of the Buddha’s teachings. In this context, sacca can be translated as ‘reality’, where the Buddha expounds the absolute truth of suffering, its cause, cessation and the path out of suffering. At a deeper level, therefore, applying sacca is more than simply telling the truth; it is seeing the nature of things as they really are. Buddhist scholar and monk Bhikku Bodhi explains, “Much more than an ethical principle, devotion to truthful speech is a matter of taking our stand on reality rather than illusion, on the truth grasped by wisdom rather than the fantasies woven by desire.’’

One way to define truthfulness is by looking at its opposite, false speech or action. This is not only telling lies – we also have a tendency to add things in or leave things out. We often exaggerate in order to make ourselves and our lives seem more interesting and exciting; because we want to be popular and do not think we are likeable enough as we are. Or we use understatement, saying things like, ‘No, no, I’m not upset’ or ‘It’s no bother at all’ when clearly the opposite is true. We do it to please others or because we fear disapproval, whereas in fact we are being quite false. And there are also times when what we say is not a lie, as such, but because of what we leave out it is not the whole truth. Here the intention can be to convey a completely wrong impression, such as describing someone we don’t like in a one-sided way or describing events without certain unfavourable details to show ourselves in a good light. This doesn’t mean we have to say everything we feel in the name of ‘being honest’. “You don’t have to reveal the entire contents of your mind to others. You must ask yourself, to what extent is it beneficial to yourself and to others, to what extent is it harmful? Will it increase the amount of dukkha (suffering)?” (Venerable Ajahn Jayasaro). If our intentions derive from wisdom and goodwill, it follows that our words and actions will be ethical and skilful.

Untruthfulness often stems from being afraid, of one’s teachers or parents, of being punished, or being looked down on or scolded. The ability to be truthful, on the other hand, is a sign of confidence and emotional maturity. Sacca is a great strength of the mind. Venerable Jayasaro has said, ‘’People don’t have much faith in telling the truth all the time. But sacca is the foundation to all the other wise habits.”

dsc_8537 Ven. Ajahn Jayasaro at Panyaden School Chiang MaiVenerable Jayasaro suggests that children are particularly prone to being untruthful because they are so dependent on others for their well-being. It is natural they may have doubts or anxieties that the people they depend upon will disapprove, or even abandon them. To create a love for sacca from children, we should point out how beneficial it is to speak the truth. We should help them see what feelings arise when we are truthful, especially when it is tempting to create a false picture just to get praise; or how good it feels when we keep a promise, particularly one which was hard to keep. By the same token, we need to show our children the suffering and complications we have to endure when we do not tell truth. When the truth suffers, so do we. ‘’We should teach children that if we do something wrong, we should accept it, and make up our mind not to make the same mistake again. It is up to parents and teachers to gain trust from our children by demonstrating our sense of justice, integrity and our readiness to forgive.”

This most challenging of wise habits is a trial for all of us. Every day we are faced with the dilemma of whether or not to bend the truth, to leave something out or to put too much in or to do what we said we would do. If we are able to model this most pure and precious of virtues to our children, we will give them a truly wonderful gift for life, and one which creates a open and trusting society for all.

 

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Download Thai here –
คุณธรรม ๑๒ ประการ โรงเรียนปัญญาเด่น : สัจจะ – Sacca_Th 2014

 

Panyaden’s Unsung Hero

Panyaden staff celebrates a birthday

Unsung Hero! Behind the scenes at Panyaden are many people who, though rarely in the public eye, do so much to keep the school running. Yesterday we surprised one of those very special people, our maintenance man P’Ngo, on his birthday with a cake and rendition of ‘Happy Birthday.’ P’Ngo fixes just about everything at school from the swings to the drainage channels and is the handiest handyman you could ask for. He does normally smile, too!

Ven. Ajahn Jayasaro at Panyaden

Venerable Ajahn Jayasaro at Panyaden School Chiang Mai

Panyaden is honoured and grateful to Venerable Ajahn Jayasaro, Venerable Ajahn Jiew and Venerable Santhidhammo for spending time with us at school today, meeting and sharing with our students, teachers as well as our parents, In the afternoon, Ven. Ajahn Jayasaro also delivered a Dhamma talk in both Thai and English on ‘Dealing with emotions’ for members of the public at our school assembly hall. The informative talk was followed by a Q&A session. We will update you when the video of the talk is ready.

Alms round at Panyaden School Chiang Mai Ven. Ajahn Jayasaro, Venerable Ajahn Jiew and Venerable Santhidhammo leading prayers after alms round, Panyaden School Venerable Ajahn Jayasaro, Venerable Ajahn Jiew and Phra Santhidhammo visiting K3 class, Panyaden School

More photos of today’s visit on our blog: