Water is Life!
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Viriya (pronounced wi‐ri‐ya) is a very important virtue in Buddhism, commonly translated as “perseverance”, or “diligent effort”. It can be defined as an attitude of gladly engaging in wholesome activities and staying with them in order to accomplish the desired results. It is the mind intent on being unshaken and not giving up. It supports the other Wise Habits, in that making progress is impossible without resolution, and is the virtue that follows chanda, for you first need self‐motivation to be able to put forth diligent effort.
Viriya originates from the Sanskrit vira which means ‘hero’ and, as such, we can see viriya as the act of conjuring forth the qualities of a hero. Viriya is identified in Buddhist teachings as a critical component of a number of qualities that lead to happiness and liberation of the mind, such as the five spiritual faculties (indriya) and the ten “perfections” (parami). It is also associated with Right Effort, one part of the Noble Eightfold Path, which identifies four types of right effort:
Viriya has to emerge from your heart, from a place of Right View and Right Intention and in balance with other Wise Habits, such as patience (khanti), concentration (samathi), awareness (sati) and wise reflection (yoniso-manasikara). If we put our energy and effort into actions without the right mind we will cause more harm than good. Venerable Ajahn Pasanno teaches, “while it is important to put forth effort it is also important to slacken off at times. If you are always pushing, the mind can get on edge, restless and unsettled. We need to gauge and reflect on what is appropriate effort.’’ When we fix our sights too firmly on the goal, willpower tends to take over and only gets us so far before we feel frustrated. Viriya is a relaxed energy, a peaceful vitality which continues to sustain us without irritation or despondency.
Venerable Ajahn Jayasaro explains the role of viriya in education. ‘’While it is important to be relaxed when we are learning, we also have to teach perseverance and determination. Enthusiasm (chanda) leads to perseverance (viriya) which leads to concentration (samathi) which leads to skilful use of the mind (yoniso-manasikara). If we have chanda we are eager to know, learn the truth and value what we do. From there viriya will occur and be followed by patience and tolerance towards any obstacles we find in our way.” When the mind is motivated yet patient, we are more able to make decisions calmly and with wisdom.
For children to understand viriya we can encourage them to reflect on their feelings after completing a task with perseverance. To encourage greater effort, we can try setting mini‐goals on the way to achieving a greater task, extending the distance between these steps as the child gets older or gets better at cultivating perseverance. We must also lead by example with our own displays of viriya. When we see others refusing to give up despite obstacles and setbacks, it can be very inspiring.
Having desire to do something is essential because it gets us going, but actually sustaining effort and energy is where a lot of the hard work is. We might have the desire to get off the sofa and get some exercise and even make a start, but in order to achieve the desired long term results such as weight loss or fitness, we need to keep at it!
Read the Thai version here: Viriya _TH
Marcel ‘Table’ Manners returns! All the way from his busy restaurant in Paris, Marcel re-enacts the story of his chef training many years ago at this morning’s assembly in order to teach us about the Panyaden Wise Habits. He cooked for his boss three times but failed the taste test again and again. Finally, instead of getting despondent, he calmly and carefully noted his boss’ feedback and prepared the perfect meal. Marcel shows perseverance (‘viriya’) and skilful thinking (‘yoniso-manasikara’). Bravo!
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By Michel Thibeault, Panyaden Head Teacher
Your first language! If you speak more than one language you have probably noticed how difficult it can be to switch between the two when you have been using one for a certain amount of time. This is what could end up happening with your child.
We all want to help our children learn and often think it will help if we share our knowledge of a second language with them. Maybe it will. However, a language is more than a group of words. It’s a complex set of unwritten rules and codes of conduct which carry both emotional and cultural significance. This is the raw material from which we develop a sense of identity.
Professor J. Cummins, one of the world’s leading authorities on bilingual education and second language acquisition, recommends reading to your child in your first language to support full language development1. Parents should also try to make some time every evening to discuss with their child, in their native language, what she has done in school today: ask her to talk about the science experiment she did, question her about her understanding of historical information, have her explain how she has solved a maths problem, etc.
Unless we ourselves grew up with this second language and culture, it is difficult to offer the whole package to our child. He is more likely to end up with an empty shell, a sense of cultural void and an unsettling feeling: ‘’My mum’s (or dad’s) language must not be that important if she doesn’t bother teaching it to me. If my mum doesn’t bother, why should I put any effort into it?’’
There are two basic kinds of second language learners: the additive and subtractive type.
As parents, we must sometimes learn to trust others to take care of our child’s second language education. At Panyaden, Thai teachers play this role and only speak Thai to the students while English teachers only speak English to them. Creating a clear context that says when one language or another is required helps children develop strong skills in both. With parents following the same direction, we are likely to achieve our goal of fully functional bilingual students by the end of Year 7.
40 senior executives from the government and private sectors visited Panyaden to find out about our educational approach. The visitors, who are all taking an ASEAN Executive Management course at Thammasat University, met our management team, teachers and students and experienced first hand the Panyaden way of learning though student-led activities, such as rice planting and the mindfulness programme, and classroom observations. They wanted to know how our model of education will shape the future generation as Thailand prepares for ASEAN integration. Here are some of their comments during the visit.
Well done to all Panyaden students, teachers and parents!
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