Buddhism as an Education System: Takeaways from a Paccaya Foundation Retreat
About This Resource
In this series of videos, Venerable Ajahn Jayasaro explains how Buddhism can be seen as an educational system. The talks were part of a four-day contemplative retreat in Chiang Mai, Thailand, organized by Paccaya Foundation. He discusses how precepts and disciplines (sila/shila) can be viewed differently, how meditation is a tool to investigate the mind, and how to view these training as the four-fold layers of development. These concepts are the core pillars for the Buddhist schools for children for which Venerable Jayasaro is the spiritual advisor. The talk addresses education for children as well as the role of a teacher. He speaks about the relationship between faith and wisdom and the importance of effort and concentration. Mindfulness is the fulcrum or balance point that helps keep one following the middle way.
- Buddhism is not faith-based belief system, it is an education system
- Buddhism is, the study of mind, that invites investigation (ehipassiko), and critical thinking
- Precepts (sila/shila) are often misunderstood as rigid disciplines but can be viewed from a spiritual perspective as;
- a gift of trust and safety that one can offer to the community of practice, which in turn create a conducive environment for mind-training practice
- objects of mindfulness to reflect upon
- tools to step back from habitual behaviors and getting out of our comfort zone
- offering a sense of safety to those around you
- Cultivating the following four things can result in enlightenment—the attainment of the ultimate peace, unlimited wisdom and compassion.relationship to the material world (body, and other aspects of the material world)
- relationship to the environment and society
- education of the heart and mind (citta) via meditation
- Learning how to protect the mind from wholesome/ unwholesome states
- Developing the skilful means to let go and abandoned them in best possible ways
- of wisdom (Panya/Prajna) especially constant recollection of the three characteristics (unsatisfactoriness, changefulness, non-self)
- In an ideal educational system, the effort is to create an atmosphere, an environment, and a curriculum which are in harmony with the Buddhist path to enlightenment, but adapted appropriately to the needs and capacity of school students.
About Ajahn Jayasaro:
Ajahn Jayasaro (Shaun Michael Chiverton) was born on the Isle of Wight, England in 1958. In 1978 he became a disciple of Ajahn Chah, one of Thailand’s most renowned Buddhist monks and meditation masters, at Wat Pah Pong forest monastery in Northeast Thailand. He took full ordination with Ajahn Chah as his preceptor in 1980.
Ajahn Jayasaro held the position of Abbot at the International Forest Monastery (Thailand) for many years before moving to a hermitage at the foot of Khao Yai Mountain National Park. The Dhamma teachings and meditation retreats he gives at regular intervals at a nearby retreat center offer inspiration to both lay Buddhists and monastics. He is also a key figure in the movement to integrate Buddhist developmental principles into the Thai education system. Ajahn Jayasaro is the spiritual advisor of two Thai Buddhist schools, and one international Buddhist-inspired school in Thailand. Many of his Dhamma talks are broadcast on radio, television and digital media.
About the Thai Forest Tradition
Thai Forest Tradition is the branch of Theravada Buddhism in Thailand, which most strictly holds the original monastic rules of discipline laid down by the Buddha. The Forest Tradition also most strongly emphasizes meditative practice and the realization of enlightenment as the focus of monastic life. Forest monasteries are primarily oriented around practicing the Buddha’s path of contemplative insight, including living a life of discipline, renunciation and meditation in order to fully realize the inner truth and peace taught by the Buddha.
About Paccaya Foundation
The Paccaya Foundation aims to create a paradigm shift in how we approach our wisdom heritage, leveraging it to redefine our relationships with our minds. It envisions a world in which individuals and communities are empowered with the knowledge and wisdom to improve their quality of life, and that of those around them. Paccaya Foundation was founded by Kuhn Sucharitakul,, inspired by his experience as a monastic in the Thai Forest tradition and his time studying Buddhism in different traditions. Kuhn serves on the Board of Directors of Middle Way Education.
You can read more about the Paccaya foundation in their contributor profile, and in their mission and vision statements.. Their profile also includes links to the Paccaya Foundation website, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram pages. The Knower’s Arc series of teachings which is available via YouTube is also available as a podcast.
The images above are from Paccaya Foundation’s retreat page, under the inaugural retreat section.
The five videos below are each from one day in the Paccaya retreat in 2018.