Although there is no definitive statement on the subject of Buddhist education, from our point of view, it is based on the opening verses of the ancient Dhammapada, in which the Buddha says, “We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world.” Our mind is forerunner to inner happiness and well as to material success. Likewise, if we neglect the mind, we are vulnerable to our blind passions, making wrong decisions, and unwholesome living. By developing mindfulness, ethical development and understanding, students can unfold an attitude of inner awareness and compassion, and live wholesome, productive and happy lives. Through the cultivation of the mind, students can realize the interdependent nature of things and may be inspired to become positive agents of the dharma for the benefit of society and the world.
Our educational approach is encouraged by the Kalama Sutta. The Buddha gave this famous discourse to the Kalama people on how to handle the seemingly contradictory religious teachings of the times. Here, the Buddha sets the parameters on free inquiry with the goal of discovering meaningful spiritual truth. However, this approach can be used in any educational endeavor. It is the attitude of a scientist who objectively seeks the truth with a mind open to all possibilities but balanced with reason and experience. The Buddhist attitude would add the realization that we should never forget our interdependence with other beings.
To the Kalama people, the Buddha said, “Do not believe anything based on mere hearsay or rumor. Do not believe in traditions because they are ancient and handed down through the generations. Do not believe anything because it is written down in scripture. Do not believe anything just because you like the idea. Do not believe anything based on mere belief and because you carried this assumption for many years or because you feel it is inspired by a deity. Do not believe because your teachers or priests told you so. However, only after a thorough investigation and reflection, based on reason and experience, as conducive to the benefit of the many, should you accept it as real. Only then, should you embrace it and live by its truth.”
Our school creates a new and powerful educational model by uniting the Buddhist teachings and its educational perspective with the Montessori educational approach that focuses on the child’s innate curiosity and the natural learning process. Its student centered learning approach is a proven way to create autonomy, self-discipline, self-esteem and the love of learning. Wikipedia.com explains that a “Montessori education is an educational approach developed by Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori and characterized by an emphasis on independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child’s natural psychological, physical, and social development. Montessori education is practiced in an estimated 7,000 schools worldwide, serving children from birth to eighteen years old.”
Similar to Buddhism, a Montessori education focuses on the student’s mind and character, and encourages concentration and a sense of order. Like Shin Buddhism, teachers are guides along the path, respecting the dignity of the child, and promoting an environment of peace and collaboration. The Montessori approach develops the inner confidence and skills of children to become resourceful problem solvers, life-long learners, and community leaders. We believe it is a complimentary educational approach to the Shin Buddhist Way.
Below are some basic characteristics of the Montessori educational approach as prescribed by the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) and the American Montessori Society (AMS).
- Mixed age classrooms based on cycles or approximate age ranges.
- Student choice of activities based from a number of prearranged alternatives.
- A "discovery" model, where students learn from working with materials, rather than by direct instruction.
- Freedom of movement within the classroom.
|Page title||Most recent update||Last edited by|
|Fundraising||December 11, 2013 10:08 PM||Melissa L.|
|Buddhist Tradition in the Montessori Classroom||August 22, 2013 8:16 AM||Melissa L.|
|School’s Requirements||August 2, 2013 2:06 PM||Buddhist Faith F.|
|A Buddhism for Families||August 2, 2013 2:06 PM||Buddhist Faith F.|
|Class Activities||August 2, 2013 2:05 PM||Buddhist Faith F.|
|Buddhist Montessori Model||August 2, 2013 2:04 PM||Buddhist Faith F.|
|About the Buddhist Faith Fellowship||August 2, 2013 2:03 PM||Buddhist Faith F.|
|About Mindful Kids||August 8, 2013 12:07 PM||Buddhist Faith F.|