Malaysian minister visits our green school
Panyaden School hosted a visit today by Y.B. Dato’ Hamzah Zainuddin, Malaysia’s Deputy Minister Of Plantation Industries and Commodities (MPIC). The Deputy Minister was in Chiang Mai with his team consisting of senior government officials from MPIC and the Malaysian Timber Industry Board (MTIB) as well as members of Global Innovation & Entrepreneurship (GIEF), an NGO promoting green lifestyles in Malaysia.
The Panyaden team was on hand to welcome the visitors who were keen to learn about the school’s unique education system taught in its green environs and eco-friendly architecture. The minister was particularly interested in the use of bamboo and other sustainable building materials with an eye on its applicability to Malaysia.
More photos by Ally Taylor in our image gallery.
Panyaden School marked one of the holiest days in Thai Buddhism, Visakha Bucha on a cool, cloudy morning by first offering alms to local Chiang Mai monks. We were an international group comprising of Thai and foreign students, parents and teachers from different countries and cultures.
Some of us have never participated in such a ceremony before, so it was helpful when our music teacher, Kru Tee explained the procedure in Thai, and how we should respectfully present our offerings. Kru Neil, our School Director, followed with an explanation in English.
Visakha Bucha Day** commemorates three important days in the Buddha’s life: his birth, enlightenment and passing. Our school joined Buddhists around Thailand to pay homage to the Triple Gems of Buddhism: the Lord Buddha (the great teacher), The Dhamma (his teachings) and The Sangha (the Buddhist clergy).
After the alms offering and blessings from the monks, we were each given beautiful lotus buds, three joss sticks and candles. We proceeded to the school’s eco-friendly bamboo Buddha Sala to begin the final part of today’s ceremony, the ‘wien tien’ which means walking around the temple with a candle (tien)’ in Thai. Led by the monks, we walked clockwise around the sala three times, before laying down our offerings on the table in front of the school’s main Buddha image.
Click here for more photos.
**Visakha Bucha Day is normally celebrated on the full moon day of the sixth lunar month, usually falls in May. In the case of a year with an extra eighth lunar month where there are 13 full moons like this year, Wisakha Bucha Day will fall on 4 June, the full moon day of the seventh lunar month. Panyaden School commemorated this day earlier as 4 June is a public holiday.
Many curious people have dropped in to tour Panyaden School since we began construction last year. Some groups such as the fourth year architecture students from Chiangmai University visiting today, are fascinated by how such mundane materials can be creatively integrated using both ancient and modern building techniques.
Armed with sketchbooks and notepads, the students observe and feel the materials, the walls and salas and scribble notes. Led by their renowned Professor, Ajahn Julaporn (an expert in traditional Thai architecture), they bombard Ajahn Decha, our bamboo specialist and master builder, with questions about earth building techniques and types of local bamboo used here.
Other visitors sometimes come by to talk to Markus Roselieb, the Project Manager of the construction and Co-Founder of Panyaden School, about why he decided on using bamboo and earth for construction, and if his company will help them build their own eco-friendly homes. Most of these guests are also parents who want to check out the facilities and to find out more about its curriculum.
These visitors come from Thailand and elsewhere in the world. Today, one of them hails from Alaska! He, like many others, wants to know about the school’s Buddhist and environmentally friendly principles and what it hopes to achieve.
Outside the majestic bamboo, earth and stone Assembly Hall, a famous Thai celebrity is interviewing Yodphet Sudsawad, the School Founder, about why and how she believes that Buddhist principles can be applied to a modern education, about the school’s vision, and its green practices.
Today is another busy day for the Panyaden team who is always happy to share its vision and environmentally friendly practices with the many guests who care about the same issues.