Tag Archives: buddhism

Dhamma Talk by Venerable Ajahn Jayasaro at Panyaden


Venerable Ajahn Jayasaro will be giving a public Dhamma Talk (in Eng and Thai) at Panyaden International School.

Friday 25th January 2019, 16.00-17.15
At Assembly Hall, Panyaden International School, Chiangmai

All Panyaden community and guests are warmly welcome to join us. Please call 080 078 5115 for registration.



ขอ
เชิญเข้าฟังธรรมเทศนา โดย พระอาจารย์ชยสาโร ภิกขุ

ในวันศุกร์ที่ ๒๕ มกราคม ๒๕๖๒ เวลา ๑๖.๐๐ – ๑๗.๑๕
ณ ศาลาอเนกประสงค์โรงเรียนนานาชาติปัญญาเด่น จังหวัดเชียงใหม่

โดยมีเนื้อความธรรมบรรยายเป็นภาษาไทยและภาษาอังกฤษ สอบถามข้อมูลเพิ่มเติมได้ที่ โทร. ๐๘๐-๐๗๘-๕๑๑๕

Dhamma Talk by Venerable Ajahn Amaro at Panyaden

Venerable Ajahn Amaro will be giving a public Dhamma Talk (in Eng and Thai) at our Assembly Hall.
All Panyaden community and guests are warmly welcome to join us.

Please call 080 078 5115 or send us a message for registration.

#WeArePanyaden

12 Wise Habits: Viriya by Neil Amas

DSCF0295 Panyaden wise habit, viriya (pesevering)

DSC_1716 Neil Amas, Panyaden School DirectorViriya (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:

  • to prevent negative, unwholesome states of mind from arising
  • to abandon them if they have arisen
  • to generate positive, wholesome states not yet existing
  • to maintain them without lapse, causing them to develop and to reach full growth.

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.

DSC_1404 Ven. Ajahn Jayasaro at Panyaden School in Chiang MaiVenerable 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!

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Read the Thai version here: Viriya _TH

Wise Habit, Viriya by Neil Amas, School Director

Panyaden students practise Viriya at school

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:

– to prevent negative, unwholesome states of mind from arising
– to abandon them if they have arisen
– to generate positive, wholesome states not yet existing
– to maintain them without lapse, causing them to develop and to reach full growth.

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, will power 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 ineducation. ‘’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!

lotus2 transparent

Click here for Thai translation: Viriya THAI pdf

Panyaden 12 wise habits: Chanda

Doing your best in the present moment

by Neil Amas, Panyaden School Director


Students are practicing chanda (pronounced chan-ta), or enthusiasm/positive desire (ความยินดีในกิจที่ทำ (ฉันทะ) during these two weeks. Here is some further information on chanda that you may feel useful.

There is a common misunderstanding that in Buddhism all desire is ‘bad’ and leads to suffering. In fact the Buddha recognised that there are 2 different kinds of desire. One is desire borne of ignorance, an unwholesome or negative desire (tanha) which gives rise to suffering. The second is wholesome, skilful desire, or 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.

As explained by Venerable Ajahn Jayasaro during a talk at Panyaden last year, 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, rather, look for quality of action in the present moment. There will be disappointments and things will not always work out how we want. There will be outside influences that you cannot control, so the best you can do is put effort into things that you can. This is right motivation. Ven. Jayasaro explained, ‘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. Or 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. 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 we may become over-controlling and create alienation and rebellion in our children.

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 maintain and create good behaviour. We can encourage them to focus on what interests them and help them reflect on how it feels when they put good effort into achieving something, thus helping them to generate further motivation.

Chanda arises from compassion 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.

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.

New Parents Orientation Day and Dhamma Talk

“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.”

– Taan Ajahn Jayasaro

Bamboo sala by Chiangai Life Construction at Panyaden School, International English school in Chiang Mai

Saturday, 7 May, was Panyaden School’s Orientation Day for new and prospective parents. The day was designed for them to meet our teachers, key staff and spiritual advisor, Taan Ajahn Jayasaro, and to find out more about our curriculum and approach, our policies, school uniform and codes of conduct.

Panyaden Founder, Yodphet Sudsawad welcoming parents

Yodphet Sudsawad, our Founder, welcomed everyone before Neil Amas, our School Director, spoke to parents about how we can all work together as students, teachers and parents to provide our children with a well-rounded education that emphasizes the core Buddhist values of “Mindfulness (Sati), Concentration (Samadhi) and Wisdom (Panya)”. He and Operations and Liaison Manager Jettana Sangchote (‘Kru Boy’) then presented the main contents of the 2011 Panyaden School Handbook which was given out to all parents.

School Director, Neil Amas
 

 

Jettana Sangchote, Operations and Liaison Manager

Our Head Teacher, Michel Thibeault, then introduced the school curriculum which is based on the highly acclaimed International Primary Curriculum (IPC; also read blog post by Michel) before opening up the floor to the parents for a question and answer session.

Later in the day, Taan Ajahn Jayasaro gave a talk and answered questions on Buddhism and education (video links: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0nRFYQC5pM; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3JZNPTfJx8 and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVTDPeNJe94 ).

Michel Thibeault Talking About IPC
Taan Ajahn Jayasaro

If you would like to know more about the specifics of our school philosophy and education approach or to speak at length with our School Director and Head Teacher, please contact our office at tel: 053-441460 or email: info@panyaden.ac.th.

 

“The Realization Of Potential”

Neil Amas, Director, Panyaden School (English school Chiang Mai, Thailand)

A conversation with Neil Amas, Panyaden School Director

The Human Spirit

Identifying and creating opportunities in order to realize the true potential of people is what motivates Neil Amas in his life’s work. Neil is the School Director of Panyaden. He has been involved in education, research and humanitarian work in Thailand and the UK for 20 years.

Neil’s career history includes running an English literacy and language program and serving as a School Governor for a London primary school. He has also worked in refugee camps, as a health and social care manager and as a radio journalist. His varied job experience has taught him much about the human spirit.

“What continues to motivate me most in life is observing in both myself and others, the realization of potential. I have been fortunate on many occasions to have been able to contribute to removing barriers and identifying opportunities towards that realization.

I have seen that a child is naturally curious, eager for the playground of knowledge and experiences that life provides. As parents, as teachers, as adults, the very best we can do for the next generation is to enable and encourage this natural desire to learn.”

What is your role at Panyaden School?

“My role is to help with the day-to-day management of the school, liaising with parents particularly foreign parents, supporting foreign teachers, cross-cultural management, and to bring my own life experience to the school and its curriculum.”

What kind of life experience do you bring to the table?

“I hope I bring international experience and knowledge to the table. I have a long history of working with children and young people, of developing people’s capacity to improve themselves, of leading and developing organizations and of cross-cultural management.”

What you are saying seems to point to a bigger picture about developing your own mind, about what ‘real education’ should be. Would parents have a cause for concern that their children will not be taught the syllabus properly?

“My answer to that is two-fold.

1. We are not just teaching life skills like growing your own food, using resources carefully and so on. That will be there but we are still teaching Maths, Science, languages and all the required academic subjects. We will ensure that we are academically competitive and meet the standards of the Thai Ministry Of Education. How we teach those will be the difference.

2. No matter which school you are heading to, here or in the UK or America; to university or grade school, the best preparation is for you to be able to think for yourself, to be well rounded, and most of all to be happy within yourself.

We will ensure our pupils leave Panyaden with these attributes as well as the required intellectual capability. That’s my answer to the question. It might take some convincing but I think people will appreciate this.”

How are you going to teach these attributes? What is the teaching method?

“The focus is to develop a child’s natural curiosity and initiative through experience-based learning. For example, instead of telling children ‘This is a hammer, this is a nail’, start by saying ‘Here are some objects. What do you think they are used for? Show me how you might use them, create something.’ By doing so, we are trying to develop children’s natural curiosity and to encourage them to think creatively.

This style of teaching also applies to academic subjects like science when children may be taught how plants grow by observing the process for themselves, planting seeds, exploring what happens when you add or take away light and so on.”

Is this what’s unique about the Panyaden style of education?

“I see Panyaden School as the perfect environment for this process of development and learning.

Firstly, the approach is about natural learning, encouraging children to question, to think for themselves, to be independent, to work things out, to get outdoors, to get dirty, to use their minds and their hands, to create. I see these things in my daughters. I want them to be in an environment where their natural creativity is allowed and encouraged. Panyaden is offering something different. Both as a parent and as a member of the staff, I see it as a fantastic opportunity.

Then there’s environmental mindfulness. Some people may have the idea that a ‘green’ school means a return to some sort of idyllic, pre-industrial age. That’s not true. It’s about nurturing people who care about how we interact with the environment. I would never discourage people’s natural motivation to learn about and develop new technologies. The crucial thing is that we use them responsibly.

Thirdly, the school’s Buddhist approach. I like the fact that Buddhism is not dogmatic. Buddha didn’t say you must follow this or follow that; on the contrary, he urged us to question any theory and to verify it for ourselves. It makes a lot of sense.”

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Is it possible to integrate Buddhist principles into a modern education?

“Yes, experience-based learning is at the core of Buddhist thinking as well as of many modern educational approaches. Buddhist principles are as relevant now as they ever were and will continue to be. If today’s school children are tomorrow’s leaders, then we have a duty to teach them to be mindful of themselves, of others and the environment, to use what they know responsibly. This can be integrated with a modern education because after all, it is about encouraging people to be good citizens which is a key role of education, Buddhist or not.”

This style of education seems very different from what we are generally used to in Asia. What are some challenges the school will face?

“New ideas always offer a lot of challenges but I strongly believe that unless you put it out there and lead, you can’t change anything. I expect challenges, I expect children and parents to raise their eyebrows and ask ‘Why?’. If you go back in history and research any new idea someone has come up with, people have said “this is weird; this is strange”. It takes time to change people’s minds.

Some parents may challenge the way we are doing things. I think they will eventually support us as long as it is clear that children are not only learning how to speak and write good English and Thai and so on, but also learning about themselves, about inner happiness, about how to become well rounded adults.”

Note: A summary of Neil’s teaching & management experience can be found on Panyaden’s website page, Our Team.  

Open House Day, 28 Nov 2010

“It Feels Good.”

“Mommy, I feel like this is the right school for me. It feels good.”

– Bodhi Kuchel, 7 years old, tugging at his mother’s skirt as she chats with Panyaden School Director, Neil Amas.

Bodhi, his little brother and their mother were some of the 150 – 160 visitors to Panyaden School’s Nursery/Kindergarten Open House Day on Sunday, 28 November. He particularly enjoyed the bamboo organ and even taught a few of us adults how to walk through it smartly and how to carefully negotiate any obstacles.

Another young girl, who was too shy to even say hello, was busy playing with a bamboo musical instrument. Her father, K. Tan Noparatteailas, says that his daughter likes the school and does not want to leave. He and his wife are happy that Panyaden School is bi-lingual because they want their daughter to study English in a Buddhist environment.

It was a packed day of fun and activities for the children who were treated to interactive music and dance performances, enacted stories about a dragon who would not go to school; and other lively games like building the tallest Bamboo Tower and playing with musical instruments made out of bamboo and paper.

Their parents were also not left out. When not participating in the games and activities, they listened to P’Tik (Founder of the School) and Neil Amas speak in English and Thai about Panyaden School’s vision and core principles based on the teachings of Buddhism.

Neil also mentioned that part of the learning process includes the “5Es” which are “Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate and Evaluate” (these were demonstrated in the various activities organized today). The “5Es” process will be taught in a peaceful and environmentally-friendly atmosphere.

Parents and guests were taken on an orientation of the School. They were also invited to spend some time going through the exhibition which detailed for them the School’s approach to learning, general information about curriculum, the use of natural materials for the building, the bamboo treatment process, information about rammed earth and environmental management. This is all part of the process of educating children who will grow up to be responsible, sensible and creative adults who are equipped to contribute to society in mindful, caring ways.

Parents who had concerns such as whether the bamboo roofs provided adequate shelter from the rain, about the curriculum and what Panyaden means by ‘training of the mind’ and so on, were able to speak with the teachers and organizers, or to make appointments for private discussions with Kru Maggie and her team.

K. Thanpong Wongkasem, the parent of a 1 and a half-year old girl, says, “This is a new approach in Chiang Mai. I like the building and the environment; the way they plan to teach the children about recycling and caring for nature.

I am in construction and property development. I think the construction is strong; the bamboo has been reinforced by steel rods where necessary. Some people might not like it because they think it’s dirty and dusty but it is actually not.”

All in all, it was a good day. There was much laughter and activity especially amongst the younger visitors for which the School is being built. Both P’Tik and Markus Roselieb, the Founders of the School gave a resounding “Great!” when asked about how they felt about seeing the School come alive with so many happy children today.

Thank you to the members of the press, guests, parents and children for your support. Thank you also to the organizers and the Panayden School Team for all their hard work in putting together an interesting and eye-opening day.

We now look forward to the completion of the construction, and to the start of the School next year. Please contact us with any enquiries or requests for private discussions with Kru Maggie and her staff.

Also see article in Chiangmai Mail, Vol. IX No. 40

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