Tag Archives: Buddhist teachings

Panyaden 12 Wise Habits 2015

Caga

by Neil Amas, Panyaden School Director

DSCF9031 Gifts for Sri Nehru School donated by Panyaden School parents, students and staff
Gifts for Sri Nehru School donated by Panyaden parents, students and staff

Caga (pronounced jaa-ka) means generosity. It is the quality of delighting in the act of giving, sharing or relinquishing and expecting nothing in return; it is when the love of giving becomes a virtue in itself. Caga is being generous not only with material things but also with your time, your energy, your forgiveness, and your willingness to be fair and just with other people. It is the opposite of selfishness, stinginess, being attached to me and my things, needs or views, and, as such, caga also means to give up those thoughts and habits.

Dana (giving or gift) is the external manifestation of the internal quality of caga. While giving can be done without generosity, such as in order to get something in return or for the promise of a future reward, dana that is motivated by caga is so much greater. Giving up the unwholesome thoughts that prevent generosity, such as meanness and unwillingness to forgive, are also qualities of caga. They are a ‘gift’ to ourselves.

In Buddhist teachings, caga is seen as the foundation of dhamma practice, a pre-condition for sila-samadhi-panya (the Noble Eightfold Path). A mind expanded by generosity is better able to generate the effort and motivation needed to take on the tribulations of life than one constricted by the narrow confines of ‘what do I get out of it?’. Caga is also one of the 5 attributes that must be cultivated if one is to enter the higher stages of dhamma practice (‘stream-entry’): sadda (conviction), sila (moral conduct), suta (learning), caga and panya (wisdom).

pasanno_a_dhamma_compassCaga can be developed in different ways and at different levels. Helping others and offering service are ways of stepping over the boundaries of me and mine which, when stretched, often make us feel uncomfortable or threatened (Ajahn Pasanno, A Dhamma Compass). Forgiveness is a further step, a higher form of dana, because it is more difficult to forgive than it is to give material things. The highest form of giving is dhammadana, or sharing the principles and practice of dhamma. Ajahn Chah reminded us that this is not something only reserved for monks and nuns: “It is enough to set good examples and follow the Precepts.” Like the vine which grows and is shaped by the nearest tree, children are more affected by their parents’ example than anything else. When we think of the people who have most positively influenced our lives, “it is not because of the kinds of cars they own or vacations they have taken but because they have been trustworthy, kind and patient with us. They’ve made us feel good, no matter how badly we feel about ourselves. This kind of giving is not beyond the capacity of anybody. Increasing well-being and decreasing dukkha (suffering) are gifts we can all give,” (Ajahn Pasanno, ibid).

DSCF0921 Panyaden student drawing with Rappaport School student in Bor Kaew, Sameong, part of our annual social contribution initiative

From an early age if children are praised and encouraged for freely giving to others, they grow up with a pleasant feeling associated with being generous. The idea that you gain happiness by giving things away does not come automatically to a young child’s mind, but with practice they will find that it is true. They will learn that when we give, we put ourselves in a position of wealth. A gift, no matter how small, is proof that you have more than enough. Caga helps build confidence in children because by being able to help other people we develop a sense of self-worth. Acts of generosity are an antidote to low self-esteem. They create a sense of openness in the mind which helps break down boundaries with others that otherwise would keep goodwill from spreading around. Caga can used as a catalyst for family togetherness because, as Ajahn Jayasaro notes, ’’few things enhance the sense of connection between family members as group acts of generosity” (Daughters & Sons).

The nature of the desire mind is that, even when we have enough, we feel there is always a lack of this or never enough of that, or we fear that something is going to get taken away from us. The ‘she’s got more than me, it’s not fair’ complaint of materialist competitive societies creates a confined, fearful world because there’s never enough, as opposed to the confident and trusting world we create through acts of generosity. As we practice caga, we realise that we can get by on less, and that there is a pleasure that comes with giving. This, it can be said, is a true sense of wealth.

lotus2 transparentPlease click here for the above article in Thai.

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!

lotus2 transparent

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: Viriya By Neil Amas, School Director

Our students have been learning about and practising the wise habit Viriya. Here is some information about Viriya which we hope you find useful. 

image_15
Panyaden teachers enact a story to illustrate wise habit, Viriya

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 otherwise habits, because making progress is impossible without resolution, and is the virtue that follows chanda, for you first need 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 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. As Venerable Ajahn Pasanno writes in A Dhamma Compass, “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.’’

image_2
Panyaden wise habit, Viriya session at school

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.

We can encourage our children to reflect on how they feel 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 effort. And, of course, we must 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 good 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

Thai translation of above article: Viriya_TH

Visit by Shan Monks and Nuns

Shan Buddhist monks and nuns visiting Panyaden School in Chiang Mai
Panyaden was honoured to receive by a visit by 25 nuns and monks from the Shan State of Burma, who are on a study tour of Thai Buddhist schools and organisations. School director, Neil Amas, welcomed the group and explained how we integrate Buddhist teachings into our curriculum, including an overview or the 12 Wise Habits. They thanked all our staff for ”thinking, speaking and acting in the right way” to spread the teachings of the Buddha, a great blessing for our school. The group were fascinated and impressed by the school architecture during a tour with Neil around the campus.

 Director Neil Amas welcoming Buddhist monks & nuns at Panyaden School Chiang Mai  Panyaden School Director, Neil Amas taking Shan Buddhist clergy on tour of green school in Chiang Mai

Shan Buddhist clergy visit to Panyaden School, Thai translation

Above photos: taken by Jai.

Dhamma Talk 26 Jan 2013

Dhamma Talk at Panyaden School Chiang Mai, 26 Jan 2013

Come to Panyaden School Chiang Mai on 26 Jan 2013 for a Dhamma Talk in English and Thai by our Spiritual Advisor, the Venerable Taan Ajahn Jayasaro who is well known for his interest in children’s education and who has developed
a system incorporating Buddhist teachings into the academic curriculum.
All are welcome!

 

Date: 26 January, Saturday
Time: 11am at Panyaden School
Add: 218 Moo 2, Thanon Namprae, A. Hang Dong, Chiang Mai

 

Please contact us if you need more information or want to reserve a seat
in advance due to limited space:
Kru Boy 0800 785 115 (English and Thai, boy@panyaden.ac.th) OR
call our main line 053 426 618.

Reading Week Day 4

Thai Language Celebration Day

It is very important to use Thai correctly and skilfully because this is where we live” said M.C. Sam from P3 to open our special day of celebrating Thai Language and literature. This was one of a series of Thai and international school events that focus on reading during our yearly Reading Week.

     

Our children were encouraged to use the language through fun and games like Thai bingo, a treasure hunt for hidden Thai words as well as engaging traditional sing-along sessions and dances. The highlight of the day, however, was a stage play performed by Prathom students, based on the classic Thai poem Phra Paimanee, written by the famous Thai poet, Soonthornphu. Kru Goy adapted one of the chapters, ”Sutsakorn and Ma-nin-mung-korn,” for our school. The story is about the adventures of a charming prince and the lessons he learns while searching for his father. A chorus of students chanted verses from the poem while others played different characters.

At the end of the show, the student MCs told us that the story teaches us about one of Panyaden School’s 12 wise habits based on the Buddhist teachings of the Venerable Ajahn Jayasaro, which is ‘Yoniso-manasikarn’ or skillfully applying the mind. They explained that we should “learn to rely on ourselves, taking time to know if someone is a true friend and knowing that we can always count on our mum and dad to help us make wise decisions.”

มีไฟล์ PDF สำหรับภาษาไทย

Photos by Ally Taylor –
https://www.panyaden.ac.th/november-2012/thai-language-preservation-day/
https://www.panyaden.ac.th/november-2012/sutsakorn-and-ma-nin-mung-korn/

Using Our Senses Wisely


New food for thought (and action)

IMG_6552 Panyaden School, bilingual school in Chiang Mai

While we eagerly await the Kung Fu Chef to introduce a new tasty ingredient to add to the special soup mix, let’s review how some of us practised ‘being truthful’ (สัจจะ) last week. Kindergarten student, Din, for example, realized that being truthful also means keeping your promises to people. Bence and Por made the mistake of throwing sand on the floor and told their teacher the truth. Well done to these children and to everyone who have been trying hard to put into action each wise habit.

Students of Panyaden School, bilingual school in Chiang Mai  Panyaden School teachers & students during assembly 

Now enter our clever Chef with another deft kung fu move. Hands stretched out and joined at the wrists with palms open, he exhorts us to think about how to use our senses wisely (‘Indriyasamvara’, การสำรวมระวังอินทรีย์). Ears, eyes, nose, mouth, body and mind:

We hear,
we see and perceive,
we smell things,
we speak and taste things,
and we can feel and touch.

In Buddhist teachings, our mind is also a sense organ. It perceives thoughts and ideas in the same way that our eyes sense light or our ears pick up sound waves. Like the different ingredients in our soup, our senses interact with each other to create our awareness and perception of the world within and around us.

How can we use our senses wisely? It can be as simple as sitting upright and attentively during class (using our body wisely). P3-4 student, Oliver pointed out that we could walk with vitality and wholeness, eat a balanced diet and speak kindly to one another. Perhaps these are not as easy as they sound but we can only keep trying.

 

Sources:
https://www.age-of-the-sage.org/buddhism/buddhist_philosophy.html
https://webdharma.com/ctzg/heartsutra1.html