Tag Archives: Venerable Jayasaro

Panyaden 12 Wise Habits 2016

Panyden Wise Habit Mattannuta session at school

Mattannuta

by School Director, Neil Amas

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.

phra-payutto
Phra Prom Kunaporn

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 who 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.

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 – stomach ache – 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.

Ven. Ajahn Jayasaro, Panyaden International School spiritual advisor
Ven. Ajahn Jayasaro

Venerable 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.

lotus2 transparentClick here for article in Thai: มัตตัญญุตา

Panyaden Wise Habits: Mattannuta by Neil Amas

DSCF3253 Panyaden School wise habit, Mattanuta (knowing the right amount)
DSC01232 CROPPED smoothed

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.

lotus2 transparentClick to download article in Thai: Mattannuta_TH

 

Neil Amas on Panyaden Wise Habit, Khanti

Panyaden students practise Khanti moves at assembly.
DSC_1708 Panyaden School Director, Neil Amas
School Director, Neil Amas

Khanti (pronounced kan-tee) originates from the Sanskrit word kshanti and means ‘patient endurance’ or forbearance. It is the ability to tolerate provocation, hardship, pain and all obstacles in your life. It is the voluntary control of mood and temper by the training of the mind.

In Buddhist texts khanti is considered to be one of the ‘ten perfections’ (parami), a high and noble quality that, far from indicating weakness or passivity, is seen as a great strength. It is a patience that endures being hurt without thoughts of revenge, arduous tasks without complaint and illness without despondency. Khanti is the acceptance of the first Noble Truth, the truth of dukkha (dissatisfaction, suffering). As we learn to accept that life is characterised by happiness that does not last and unhappiness that at times seems to have no end, we begin to see how much time and energy we waste trying to avoid or deny dukkha. When we accept the natural instability of life, we stop feeling defeated and sorry for ourselves.

Panyaden School Prathom students concentrate on their project Khanti relates closely to other wise habits, including viriya (perseverance) and samathi (being calm and focused). Without khanti, no matter how much we persevere we will become agitated and frustrated by the obstacles in our path. If we allow the distractions that inevitably arise in our minds when we are trying to stay focused to irritate and discourage us, concentration becomes more difficult than if we simply accept them as natural occurrences. By the same token, without viriya and samathi we are unlikely to cultivate the conditions needed to train the mind to be patient.

Research shows that, contrary to traditional views, there is no direct correlation between high IQ and success in life. The old beliefs in IQ are now outdated. According to contemporary studies impulse or emotional control is a far more important indicator for success in studying, family life and career (this is a key component of what is often referred to as ‘EQ’, or “emotional intelligence”, in modern educational terms). Venerable Jayasaro advises that children who have little tolerance, are selfish or spoiled will grow up wanting an easy life and lacking emotional control. The tendency to later develop destructive habits or addictions becomes high. Having the patience and tolerance to resist unwholesome acts is a virtue that will protect a child from such negative consequences. ‘’If your 5 year old child has khanti, you can be sure that he will have a good future.’’

As parents and teachers we know that patience is one of the most important and yet most challenging requirements in raising children. How many times do we hear ourselves say – or think – ‘’I am losing my patience!’’ In the teaching of children we not only need to control our temper, but also patiently resist the urge to ‘give in’ to unreasonable demands. We all know how difficult this is at times when, tired and fed up, we think ‘’OK, OK, watch another TV show! Anything for an easy life!’’ By helping children appreciate the value of waiting, by delaying their gratification, we are teaching patience.

We should use every opportunity to point out the results of their patience, or lack of it, reflecting back to the child without judgement. ‘’You waited patiently for your turn and now you are playing so happily!’’ Having consistently applied rules at home and school that have been agreed upon with the child gives her the opportunity to practise self-control instead of interrupting whenever she wants or watching cartoons without a time limit.

Each day things happen we do not want and things we want do not happen. Khanti enables us to respond to the ups and downs in life with thoughtfulness and composure, creating the space and possibility for positive change to take place. Khanti is a truly wise habit. It will earn us respect and admiration from others and create success and happiness for ourselves.

 

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Download Thai translation here: Khanti THAI

‘Chanda’ by Neil Amas

DSC_1716 Neil Amas, Panyaden School Director

img_7798 Students of Panyaden School enthusiastically showing off their flower arrangements
Students enthusiastically showing off their flower arrangement for Wai Kru Day.

Chanda (pronounced chan-ta, ฉันทะ) means being enthusiastic or having aspiration. It is the desire to achieve a worthy goal, of having intrinsic motivation to apply oneself in order to achieve knowledge, truth or good behaviour.

There is a common misunderstanding that in Buddhism all desire is ‘bad’ and leads to suffering. In fact the Buddha recognised that there are two different kinds of desire. One is desire borne of ignorance, an unwholesome or negative desire (tanha), for example towards an object of greed, which gives rise to suffering. The second is wholesome, skilful desire (chanda), which originates from wisdom, 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 because you have a coherent understanding of the benefits, even if the results are not immediately apparent, or are out of your control.

Ajahn Jayasaro, Panyaden School Chiang MaiVenerable Ajahn Jayasaro explains that 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 instead look for quality of action in the present moment. It is natural that as parents or teachers things will not always work out the way we had hoped and we feel disappointed. But when we recognise that there are outside influences that we cannot control, we are better able to put effort into things that we can, such as our own actions and reactions. We water and nourish a young tree to give it the best chance in life, but when it matures the sweetness of its fruit is beyond our control. This is ‘right motivation.’ Venerable Jayasaro cautions that ‘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. 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. We feel naturally motivated to help develop and maintain the best possible qualities and behaviours in them. Chanda is a ‘prerequisite for the job’ of educating children. But if this desire is not wise it may lead to us becoming overly protective – causing our children to become timid and dependent on us – or over-controlling – creating alienation and rebellion.

In the classroom and at home, chanda means encouraging our children to be enthusiastic in developing their own learning and knowledge, to give their best no matter the consequences and to create and maintain good behaviour. Because chanda has to come from the heart and cannot be ‘taught’, the best we can do is create opportunities for children to develop their own passions and interests and help them reflect on how it feels when they put good effort into achieving something. This leads them to generate further motivation. Praising effort over results, encouraging them to try something despite initial reluctance or helping them reflect on the benefits of what might otherwise seem like a boring task – such as tidying their room – can all help generate chanda. At school, we refrain from giving rewards such as stars or treats because this tends to encourage working for a ‘prize.’ Directing focus towards self-assessment and reflection is more likely to cultivate a true love of learning.

Chanda arises from a place of genuine 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. A boy who happily undertakes a chore because he sees the wider benefits for himself and his family, has chanda.

We all know how precious a parent’s praise is to a child. If we concentrate on celebrating effort, we will help them develop chanda, a wise habit for life.

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Download Thai version here: Chanda (Thai)

Panyaden Giving Project

Panyaden School Chiang Mai Logo

Panyaden’s Philippines Appeal

December 4‐December 15

As part of Panyaden’s Giving Project, we want to extend our helping hands to those who have been affected by the devastating typhoon that swept through the Philippines. We will be launching a Philippines Appeal beginning Dec 4 and lasting two weeks. Students will be asked to bring in donations to their classes and will host after‐school activities to raise awareness and funds.

By working together, we want students, parents, and teachers to cultivate the wise habits Caga (generosity), delighting in unconditional giving, sharing or relinquishing and Metta‐Karuna (kindness and compassion). As Venerable Jayasaro notes, “few things enhance the sense of connection between family members as group acts of generosity.” We also want to emphasize the importance of being environmentally mindful and the need to collectively protect our earth.

Learn more about the upcoming Philippines Appeal from our P5-6 student ambassadors at the Friends of Panyaden Flea market on Friday 29 Nov (from 3.30pm – 6.00pm)!

Who will send our funds to the Philippines?

Our fundraising efforts will support the work of the UK‐based organization DEC (Disasters Emergency Committee). We have selected the DEC based on its successful track record in aid distribution, direct contact with NGOs that work on the ground and long‐term commitment to the relief effort.

For more information: https://www.dec.org.uk/appeals/philippines‐typhoon‐appeal