Monthly Archives: September 2015

Panyaden Wise Habits: Mattannuta by Neil Amas

DSCF3253 Panyaden School wise habit, Mattanuta (knowing the right amount)
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Mattannuta (pronounced ma‐tan‐yoo‐ta, มัตตัญญุตา, means ‘knowing the right amount’. When practised, it helps us achieve a healthy balance in life. It is the quality of understanding that, whatever goals we set ourselves, there is an optimum amount of material and non‐material things that we need. It is the ability to assess what is enough, and to know when we are being over‐demanding on ourselves, others or our environment.

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 thoughtful 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, Phra Prom Kunaporn refers to the importance of balancing the five indriya, or spiritual faculties: conviction (saddha), perseverance (viriya), mindfulness (sati), concentration (samadhi) and wisdom (panya). For example, if our conviction or faith is very strong but we do not use wisdom, we have a tendency to become gullible, a person that follows without question. Conversely, high intelligence but little faith leads to scepticism, and an inability to look inside oneself for the truth. If our perseverance is strong but our concentration is weak, we are likely to become agitated and stressed. Too much concentration and insufficient perseverance, on the other hand, leads to excessive daydreaming or idleness. To find the right balance between these, we need to use the faculty of mindfulness (sati) to observe and manage the impulses that habitually drive our actions and thoughts.

dsc6311a Mattanuta presentation at Panysden School

In today’s world of branded ‘must‐haves’ and ubiquitous advertising, 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. Venerable Ajahn Jayasaro counsels that if we think more is better simply in order to make our lives more comfortable, we will end up just wanting more and more and will never be satisfied. His advice is to encourage children to work out the mattannuta point for themselves. Whether eating, sleeping, studying, playing, using the computer or talking, the ability to find optimal balance through self‐regulation is a skill which will lead to maturity and social responsibility. This means not dictating the rules to children, but rather helping them see the results of too much sleep – irritability and heaviness – or not enough – drowsiness and the inability to concentrate, or over‐eating – stomachache – and so on. When we ask our children how much sleep they think they need, how much food they should eat, instead of routinely imposing our own limits, they begin to understand mattannuta. If we encourage children to persevere for just another five minutes on a task they are bored with or wish to avoid, or to stop doing something they really crave a little earlier than they would like, this further helps put into focus the pushes and pulls of the mind and the benefits of balance.

Ajahn Jayasaro, Panyaden School Chiang MaiVenerable Jayasaro suggests that a family which practices mattannuta is one where parents and children are able to come to mutually acceptable agreements. This means deciding how long we think children should watch TV or play on the computer, for example, but also respecting our child’s ability to think for himself and come to a sensible agreement on the right amount of time. When the time has passed, we simply remind our child of the agreement. In this age of ever‐increasing ‘screen time,’ as adults we also need to reflect on the amount of time we spend on ‘smart’ phones or laptops in the presence of children, and the message we are giving them about what we consider to be important.

Mattannuta means understanding that any goals we set should take into account the optimum balance of supporting factors required to achieve the most beneficial result for ourselves, others and the environment. Practising mattannuta helps us to understand the desires and aversions created by our mind, and that understanding in turn increases the peaceful moments we experience. Mattannuta is, therefore, a vitally important wise habit to teach our children, but also to practice ourselves if we are to achieve true balance in our lives.

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Prathom Budding Day 2015

Prathom Budding Day 2015, Panyaden School

Prathom Celebration of Learning

Panyaden’s primary school students were thrilled to be our teachers on Budding Day. Their hard work and best effort were evident as they engaged parents in Thai, English, PE, Maths, Music, Science and other activities to demonstrate the skills and understanding they have developed throughout the first term. A wonderful experience for all!

DSCF2572 Celebration of learning at Panyaden School Chiang Mai DSCF2632 Prathom (Primary) Budding Day, Panyaden School DSCF2796 Prathom (Primary) Budding Day, Panyaden School

More photos on the blog and Facebook.

Anuban Budding Day 2015

Anuban Budding Day 2015

Preschool Celebration of Learning

Students, parents and teachers celebrated our annual end of term ‘Budding Day’ yesterday. Budding Day is an opportunity for parents to see what happens in the classroom as teachers lead mums and dads through the daily routine and their children show them what they have been learning in Term 1. A great day!

DSCF2379 DSCF2454 DSCF2447 DSCF9071 Preschoolers performing for parents on Anuban Budding Day, Panayden School

Lots more photos on our blog and Facebook.

Prathom 1 & 4 Field Trip

Panyaden Prathom Pure Farm visit

Saving the forests

P1 and P4 visited the Pur Farm reforestation project to see first hand how villagers in Mae Tang have recovered a land once devastated by deforestation. They planted trees, visited an elderly couple who live off the land free of electricity and modern appliances and collected seeds to prepare at school for the students who will visit the project next year.

See more photos of the field trip on the blog and on FB.

Prathom 2 and 5 Community Service


Understanding difference. Last week, Prathom 2 and 5 students spent a morning with children at a local village school, Wat Prachakasem in Ban Pong. We took a total of 7,025 THB cash donations from parents and teachers plus sales proceeds from ‘My Project’ It’s All Natural Food, to the poorly resourced school, exchanged gifts that both sets of students had made and shared learning activities and games together. A real-life opportunity to practise the Wise Habit, ‘Caga’ (being generous).

See more photos on our blog and on Facebook.

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‘My Project’ 2015 Term 1 Celebrations

My Project 2015 T1, Panyaden School

We did it by ourselves! Parents, teachers and students join together to celebrate the result of 12 weeks of student-led planning, designing and making ‘My Project’. This term’s projects were: Shirts for the Dog Shelter, It’s All Natural (natural food products), Crafty Cats handicrafts, Sculpture, Cardboard Houses, Herbal Medicines, Traditional Weaving, Candle Making, Creative Hanging Things and Making a Herb and Flower Garden. The task included making sure all projects showed care for the environment and that the final products in some way brought benefits to others, whether making a candle for mum or donating profits from selling homemade jam to local school Wat Prachakasem. Job done!

Photos on the blog and on our Facebook page.

Teaching Responsibility

Washing Monitors, Panyaden

Teaching responsibility. As part of our three Rs ‘Love Nature’ campaign (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle), P4-5-6 students are taking turns to monitor their peers and younger friends’ washing up skills. Better scraping off of food scraps means less running water. Better scrubbing means less detergent and less plastic detergent bottles. Cleaner plates mean less work for our kitchen staff. Better washing up teaches responsibility!