Check out the Panyaden School Promo Video on youtube!

“Rather than an education system which is geared to testing and to competition and to preparing people for a particular livelihood, the emphasis of Buddhist education is on teaching children how to learn, how to enjoy learning, to love wisdom for its own sake. It teaches them the emotional maturity enabling them to make use of their knowledge to create a happy life for themselves and their family and to contribute positively to the society in which they live. It in no way compromises on the work of preparing children to make a good livelihood, but it lets them see that life is deeper and richer than working in order to consume.” – On Buddhist Wisdom In Education by Ajahn Jayasaro

This delightful video is out on youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvzWJJ8NeXE) and on our Facebook page. Produced by Phenomena Bangkok.

Panyaden Teachers’ Training


Panyaden School started recruiting and training teachers at its Bangkok office in April 2010.

Criteria for the selection of teachers:

  1. Their attitude towards teaching and towards their own goals
  2. They must love being a teacher and have their ideas how to be a good educator
  3. They need to know themselves and what they are good at so that they can skillfully pass on that knowledge to their students
  4. Their general capacity to reflect on themselves and the world

Recruitment and Training:

Principal of Panyaden Buddhist School
Kru Maggie

Kru Maggie (Trainer) shortlisted possible candidates after she has pored through the resumes/applications received by the Bangkok office. She interviewed each of them before she made a ‘final’ selection of candidates who qualify for a 3-day trial period with her.

Upon passing the trial, the candidates undergo a 3-month training program.

During this time, the potential teachers learn how to meditate and how to use non-verbal communication tools such as music and pictures as new effective means of teaching.

They also learn to understand and deal positively with each student’s unique character in order to bring out the best from him or her.

Next, the potentials are placed in different schools in Bangkok that are similar in their educational approach to Panyaden’s, to gain practical teaching experience.

There are currently 30 candidates undergoing the practical teacher training. They will be further evaluated to see if they will eventually qualify to teach at Panyaden School in March next year (the school’s summer course starts 28 Mar to 6 May; First Term from 16 May – 30 Sept 2011).

The school is still looking for more candidates, both Thai and foreign (native English speaking). If you are interested in being part of Panyaden School, please click https://www.panyaden.ac.th/contact-us

Kru Maggie and Trainee Teachers posing in front of bamboo sala

Ajahn Jayasaro Visits

There is a quiet excitement in the air as we gathered at K. Tik’s house to meet the Venerable Ajahn Jayasaro, the Spiritual Advisor of Panyaden School. He had come to Chiang Mai to visit the school construction site and to give a dhamma talk to the trainee teachers and to the Panyaden School team (foremen, the local liaison Ajahn Sorn, the ‘Bamboo Boss’ Ajahn Decha and many more).

Once we are all seated, Ajahn Jayasaro is given booklets that Kru Maggie (Principal and designer of the school’s curriculum) and the trainee teachers have brought with them after their 2-day nature jaunt in Doi Inthanon. The teachers had written down short poems, sketched or painted their meditations on the connection between life and nature.

Ajahn Jayasaro went through the booklets, smiled and made comments before he began to share his thoughts on education.

In his dhamma talks, Ajahn Jayasaro often states that “Buddhism is not a belief-based religion” but an education-based one which teaches people to “liberate themselves from all suffering through a clear penetrative understanding of the way things are.”

The biggest obstacle to true happiness in life is ignorance. The Buddhist teachings show us how to transcend ignorance. “From then you can see it is a matter of education.”

Ajahn Jayasaro is a well-known advocate of “adapting Buddhist developmental principles to the education process” – one that involves teaching children to develop wise relationships to the physical, social, emotional worlds they inhabit.

“Most importantly, the jewel in the crown of Buddhism is its emphasis on wisdom and the practical technique to develop and to nourish this …A Buddhist approach does not overlook “the traditional features of an educational system but adds on to it…”

“In order to flourish in the world, it’s not then a matter of merely accumulating a body of knowledge, so much as cultivating a strong but supple mind and the ability to develop life skills such as skillful communication, the ability to work in a team, patience, resilience (the ability to bounce back after disappointments), the ability to manage one’s moods, and to protect the mind from pride, arrogance, greed, hatred, depression, anxiety, and panic. These abilities are being increasingly recognized as being more useful and necessary in the long run to a successful working life rather than having a particular degree under your belt.” (Ajahn Jayasaro, “Buddhist Wisdom In Education”, Buddhist Approach, https://www.panyaden.ac.th).

After the talk, Ajahn answered questions from the floor before guiding everyone in meditation. An appropriate ending to an insightful afternoon.

Ajahn Jayasaro and the Panyaden School team

The Dream

Yodphet Sudsawad, founder of Panyaden International School

The Founder of Panyaden

“Curiosity. Innovation. Respect. Sustainability. Holistic Education. Creativity. Inner Peace. Balance. Living with Nature. Buddhist Approach. Environmentally Mindful. Learning Through Experience. Practicing what you have learnt.”

I went away from meeting Khun Yodphet Sudsawad (aka Khun Tik) with these buzz words and phrases swimming furiously in my head. She is an inspiring woman who is building her dream school. These nouns and phrases fly out at you every time she talks about it. Her passion and belief that it is possible to make dreams come true has inspired many like-minded people to come together to build Panyaden School.

Why a school? She believes in training minds from an early age. While working at Phenomena, a renowned Bangkok TV commercial production house, she learnt that the “quality of manpower” and good attitude is as important as professional knowledge. To have this, people need to be trained from an early age.

Having been a follower of Buddhism all her life, she wants her school to provide a sustainable education that is based on the Buddhist principles of ‘sila sikka’ (moral conduct), ‘panya sikka’ (wisdom development) and ‘samadhi sikka’ (mind training).

“Panyaden (also) has to be international, compatible with the best schools in the world. We will give away scholarships for 10 – 20% of the local students.” Pupils will study mathematics, science, computer studies, dance, music and so on in Thai and English.

These studies will be conducted in an environment that is built out of locally available raw materials. Here is a school whose architecture and structure will itself be a big part of the learning process. This idea is strongly supported by her husband, Markus Roselieb, co-Founder of the school and the Project Manager of the construction.

“I wanted to use local materials, which are sustainable and green; to acknowledge them and to learn how they can be used in our daily lives. Armed with this concept, she went about gathering information and teams of people who share the same vision. Now some 80 workers, led by skilled local craftsmen and foreign expertise, work on the site. Building from earth is a local practice in Chiangmai, so I thought about what material will match or go with it and suddenly the idea of bamboo came up, and I knew (then that) it’s possible.

“We started to research the material we’re going to use to make our building sustainable. Luckily, the World Bamboo Congress took place in Thailand about 2 years ago, where all renowned bamboo architects gathered and lectured. One of them was Olav Bruin from 24-H Architecture (Rotterdam) which designed many of Rudolf Steiner’s** schools in Europe. The Rudolf Steiner schools have a creative atmosphere for children to experience and be a part of. I knew that we needed experienced architects to achieve a unique design combined with the local materials, so our children could learn from them.”

A major part of the learning experience is the physical environment that is primarily being built out of bamboo and rammed earth. The school’s unique design was inspired by an antler fern the 24h team found at Tik’s residence. An organic design combined with age-old raw materials and building techniques, whipped together with a large dollop of reverence and care for nature.

Khun Tik wants to give the students a well-rounded education that helps them to think for themselves and to lead by example. “Children have to be able to implement theory and adapt it to use in daily life. Then they know which theory works or which one doesn’t. Everyone in the school, both the children and teachers, have to understand what is sustainable living (this is one part of how to balance your life). When they see their school buildings, they will ask questions about how the school was built and with what materials.”

Here at Panyaden, we want to nurture

  • A Buddhist educational approach that acknowledges nature along with all living and non-living things.
  • A mind that is environmentally aware and alive, able to control its thoughts with confidence and inner peace. Able to think and speak in Thai and English, armed with the necessary knowledge for it to thrive in this increasingly global economy.
  • And finally, a mind that is able to practice what it has learnt and to share it with the community at large.

‘Panya’ – wisdom, insight, knowledge; ‘Den’ – outstanding. The name of the school embodies all these elements that make up the essence of Khun Tik’s dream. And we wish her astounding success.

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***Visit the Panyaden Buddhist Bilingual School’s website at https://www.panyaden.org or click on the link on our blog. The site will be launched on 7 July 2010.

** Steiner’s education: https://www.steinerwaldorf.org/whatissteinereducation.html