Wednesday, December 5, 2018

A Decent Human Being - A subject of field trip

A field trip to Palri Buddha Park is in line with Education statement made by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, in facilitating necessary conditions for students to grow into being a decent and an elegant being outwardly and inwardly.
“I want to teach children how to make a fire, and that the source of water does not come from the tap. The aim of this education is to refine ourselves so that we will see the world in a different way so that we can help others, and through helping others make ourselves happy and content. Therefore, what we are learning is not to get jobs, but to refine and make ourselves elegant both outwardly and inwardly… To do that, I would like to create an atmosphere at the school, so that classes can be taught under a big tree, by the bank of a river, or in the paddy field, and so that lessons could involve getting up at three in the morning and watching the colour of the sky and listening to the sound of silence.” Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche
Thus, various activities were incorporated in the trip such as stories, meditation practice, the offering of prayer, smoke offering and karma yoga practice.
As a pre-activity, a story was shared about the importance of refining one’s motivation and aspiration in doing any task. It is about a woman beggar… ‘‘There lived an old woman, who was a beggar. She offered a tiny bowl of butter lamp, which she begged from her community. Her offering accumulated a great deal of merit as she did with pure devotion and positive intention.’’… Hence, through story students were made to reflect the prime importance of one’s own mind and motivation, be it simple offering of feast or time or service.
The Karma yoga practice was included in the trip as an important endeavor to carry out social service. This was to create an opportunity for students to accumulate merit and to learn to be socially responsible individuals. The garbage collection along the pilgrim sites was considered not as a labor-intensive social work, but it was deemed as a contemplative practice that has an environment, health, social and emotional causes. Again here, students were briefed, that their intention is so important in determining the impact of work they do, despite the nature of work. To add-on, another story was narrated about Yogi Milarepa’s first meet with his master Marpa in the field, where Milarepa was assigned to plough the field and that eventually turned into an auspicious meet for his great enlightenment.
We strongly believe that these are necessary conditions we educators must facilitate and help guide students to become a decent human being and contributing member of the society. These contemplation practices of cherishing the importance of MIND are incorporated in almost all LME activities, to nurture young people to be kind, compassionate and helpful beings.

To Experience Inexperience

How do we facilitate more interconnected, actively-involved, and life-long learning opportunities for students? 
One such opportunity is to take a field study tour. The tour has to offer wide ranges of experiences that are often memorable, fun and remain intact in one's memory. LME students and teachers took a field visit to Palri Buddha Park, Mukazor, Wamrong to learn about the Twelve Great Deeds of the Buddha. The trip is to facilitate to learn through various experiences such as travel, explore, listen, participate, observe and interact. It is also to help develop the values, knowledge, competencies, and practical life skills that will enable to live full and satisfying lives and to become contributing members of the society.  


Tuesday, November 27, 2018

What is a Simple Choice?

A simple and wise choice in food offering can make a big difference to our environment, health, community, and world at large.
What do we mean by a simple offering and its choice?
It means offering what you eat at home, what you grow in your garden; and what you can effort as simple as a leaf of spinach and a finger of banana. 
Here is a list of simple but eco-friendly and sustainable feast offering items that you may offer next time when you visit the temple or at your home. 

  1. Cooked rice
  2. Boiled potatoes 
  3. Cooked vegetables
  4. Egg
  5. Dried spinach 
  6. Cooked pumpkin
  7. Boiled maize
  8. Butter
  9. Cooked Mushroom
  10. Cheese
  11. Milk
  12. Broccoli
  13. Bamboo shoot
  14. Pea
  15. Tea momo (dumpling)
  16. Soya beans
  17. Tapioca 
  18. Apple
  19. Guava
  20. Sugar cane
  21. Pineapple
  22. Banana
  23. Pears
  24. Oranges etc....
This list is just a suggestion based on what we have seen people offer at Chokyi Gyatso Institute, Dewathang during various ritual ceremonies. 

Thursday, October 25, 2018

A Guest Speaker

Khenpo Pema explaining to students 
Khenpo Pema Longdro talked to LME students about different categories of vehicles in Buddhism. Khenpo said, depending on the spiritual capacities of the practitioner, Buddhism can be divided into three categories: The Theravada, the Mahayana, and the Vajrayana. The Theravada is a Buddhist practice with the ultimate goal to achieve self-liberation. The main Mahayana motivation is to lead all sentient beings to Buddhahood. And Tantric practice is very profound techniques to quickly achieve Enlightenment.  

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Mini-Research - Eco-Friendly Feast at CGI

Teachers taking an interview with two local elders 
The education of teachers in the Lhomon Education (LME) approach is fundamental to its success. It is recognized that research and teacher education are complementary activities, and documentation and research need to be part and parcel of LME’s on-going activities. As a part of professional development, LME teachers (Researcher) carried out mini action research about zero waste feast offering practices at Chokyi Gyatso Institute (CGI). Through the research, the team intended to find statistics that will show the impacts of eco-friendly feast offering practices at CGI in the reduction of mass plastics. It was also to educate researchers about how a simple and wise choice can make a big difference to our environment, health, community, and world at large.
The researcher took into account the feast offering composition for three middle days (28th, 29th, and 30th of September, 2018) of 5 days of Phama Nyingtik Drubchen ceremony (Heart drop of White Tara, Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo's terma). We listed 58 different kinds of feast offerings made during the Drubchen including foods, fruits, dairy products, vegetables, Indian sweets, and others. Out of 58 total feasts, 50 are categorized under the homemade offering, 7 of them under the fruit category and 1 item under the plastic packaged category. When these figures are converted into percentage we have 86% of the homemade feast, 12 % of fruits and 2 % of Plastic Packaged offerings.
Taking down feast offering list by the teacher
The homemade food included cooked rice, boiled potatoes, egg, dried spinach, cooked pumpkin, boiled maize, butter, mushroom, cheese, milk, broccoli, bamboo shoot, pea, tea momo (dumpling), soya beans, tapioca etc; the fruit included apple, guava, sugar cane, pineapple, banana, pears etc. and plastic packaged food included a bread.
Further, these three food categories are divided into two groups, Non-Plastic Items, and Plastic Items. The homemade foods and fruits, in general, are non-plastic items and the plastic packaged items are categorized under Plastic Items. Therefore, 98% of the feast offerings did not produce plastics while 2% offering has some plastics. The 2% plastic came from bread offering.  
The team also looked into how many numbers of plastic plates and cups are reduced in 5 days of Phagma Nyingtik Drubchen. This is done considering the average counting of devotees (248) present during the feast offering session, the number of banana leaves (247) distributed and also the number of cups (231) distributed to the devotees. Further, the average of all these three average countings was considered as a final average figure (that is 242), that represents the number of plastics plates and cups reduced in a day. Therefore, we have concluded that the number of plastic plates reduced in one day of feast offering is 242. Similarly, the number of plastic cups reduced is also 242.  The total plastic plates and plastic cups reduced in five consecutive days of Phagma Nyingtik Drubchen are 1,210 plastic plates and 1,210 plastic cups. So, we have found that the total plastic reduced in 5 days of Drubchen is 2,420 plastics.
The team also found that the CGI administration has spent 54% of its total budget on feast offering in this particular Drubchen and this entire amount is invested in 100% plastic free feasts offering. The feast included Rice 20%, vegetables 21%, Fruits 17%, and India Sweets 42%.
The eco-friendly feast offering is H.E. Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche’s vision initiated several years ago at Chokyi Gyatso Institute, Dewathang and today this sustainable practice of beautiful feast offering continues to be a living example of Rinpoche’s vision.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Your mask is not your boss; You are your mask's boss!

Mask project is a part of LME curriculum unit to help students to ignite individual creativity, art skills, and social skills. Hence this short video clip is a project of projects in its aims to offer holistic education for students. 

Your Mask is not your boss; you are your mask's boss!
In fact, we wear many layers of masks.
Do you wear one or many?
Let us put it this way: Have you blamed someone for your fault?
Have you felt slightly uneasy to expose your true imperfect self? 
If so, these are symptoms that you are wearing masks! YOU MUST KNOW THAT
our mask is a sign of our weakness. Mask paralyze us from being authentic us. It shadows us from admitting our perfectly imperfect us. So, know that our mask is not us.  
Therefore, at the least let us consistently Remember that we manifest our masks on daily basis, if not unmask our masks immediately!
Do you want to be a mask-less? It is your choice! 
Your mask is not your boss; You are your mask's boss!

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Mask Project

Mask making process is creative adventures for students. It provides them to undertake a rigorous process of thoughts to craft their architecture in their own imaginative shape, size, design, colour and their interpretations. The mask making was one of the exciting projects that LME students have carried out as a part of Buddhist Art and Culture unit. The aim of the project was to augment their creative imaginations, give them hands-on experiences, and enhance social interactions. More importantly, the project was to emphasize the importance of process-oriented learning and encourage them to take responsibility in their quest for learning. It was also to make them realize the magic of interdependent reality about how simple process can unfold into their desired product.

The tactile process to select primary materials out of clay, flour, soils, and other possible materials need careful diligence and decision. To carefully pick one, students need to weigh the pros and cons, analyze the best material and take the right decision to choose the right one. It is a lot of thought process for young students. If a student is doing for the first time, the process is research in itself and full of enrichment. 

Moulding clay with hands, fingers, and palms can offer a powerful hands-on experience for students to feel through their senses, nonverbal experiences of working physically with the clay. The whole process is about questioning oneself and discovering a satisfactory solution to come up with one’s own creative shape by the end of their project.

Once all the materials are ready students need to think about how to design their masks, to put on creative shape, to make eyes, nose and mouth designs. This painstaking process needs artistic eyes for students to shape, reshape and refine their creation to the best of their motor skills, mathematic sense, visual and other senses. 

The mask making process is a craft that requires drying in the sun. As a result, it makes students wait. It is a great way for students to show self-control and patience.  It also helps them develop flexibility as they show patience.

Writing reflection about the mask is another activity integrated into the project to give students the opportunity to say and think about their projects. Students were asked to write about their procedure for making their masks; what did their masks represent and what they learned in the process of the project.