17th Gyalwa Karmapa"Buddhism is a way of life through which we develop the qualities of our mind.
This way of life is very unusual, as it is a means to attain happiness without harming others.

THE 17th GYALWA KARMAPA

A Process

"The path to go beyond worry and confusion as well as their causes is, to say it as such, “inner wealth.” This is how Thaye Dorje, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa explains the power of our potential. This is this frame of mind that Jigme Rinpoche brought to the second forum, “A Buddhist Perspective on Education and Youth.” He offered resources so that parents and children can grow together in order to dissipate confusion and gain clarity and autonomy.

To better understand what occurred during these three days, it is important to consider our inner wealth, as Karmapa presents it, as a path. In other words, beyond the information shared, wealth can be found in the process. But what process?

Firstly, the structure of the forum: each day was shared between moments of teaching with Jigme Rinpoche, reflection groups (one group per generation: kids, teenagers, adults) to elucidate the meaning and clarify the understanding of the instructions, exploratory work-shops that brought together people of all ages in role-playing exercises, and likewise periods of meditation. In short, a dynamic that allowed us to create meaning and experience in a short time.

We can also identify process in the educational project that Jigme Rinpoche proposes. Starting the first morning, he laid out the stakes:
• To allow a child to acquire the different types of knowledge that will give him a vision of the world
• To show him how to observe his environment to identify what is inspiring and what isn't; what's worth going through and what's not
• To give him keys to find the causes that give rise to effects and examples that he sees
• And to help him to nurture lucid awareness, this ability to progressively and precisely perceive what arises within him.
This approach (summed up very concisely here) based on discernment and training offers freedom and the ability to choose for oneself the ethics one wishes to apply in life based on the Buddha's teachings.

Process can likewise be found in the idea of transmissions, for this is of course what we mean when we talk about education. The perspective that Rinpoche gives is targeted to the long term: it is about training ourselves to take care of our children because the way in which we take care of them is the way that they will take care of their own children.

Autonomy

We started off with a metaphor to which Rinpoche holds the secret, “Everyone uses a GPS to travel. Even if we know the way, we use it because without it, we lose confidence. In our lives, we always depend on someone else (philosophers, politicians, advertisements, celebrities, or ordinary people). This isn't wrong in and of itself, but we weaken our confidence in ourselves in order to follow an external reference point. These external reference points garble our discernment and we can no longer face the same situations on our own.” That set the tone: education is a process of autonomy which depends on everyone's individual intelligence.

When, at the end of our exchange, we asked Rinpoche what the central principle of education, he replied, “The key point is to exchange and to explain things. To communicate with our children and explain what is happening from when they are very little. Even if we get upset, we discuss the situation later and explain why we said what we said. This creates a form of clarity for everyone. In this way, the child understands why things are done and this creates more harmony.”

It must be noted that the theme centered around listening. Furthermore, we received a vaster definition: “Aware of our condition in the world based on precise references, we can then live without losing our discernment and intelligence.”

Once the principles were laid out, each person was able to realize, through the exchanges and workshops, that we don't need a pedagogical model but a dynamic that nurtures self-confidence, discernment, and, in the end, a mentality of support, as much for parents as for children. This approach seems rather ambitious, but applicable from day-to-day.

Generations

From seven to seventy years old, the people present were parents, grandparents, children, teenagers, and, in addition, there were educators and teachers. Our wish was to allow each person, at their own level, to deepen their reflection and find resources for daily life. Rinpoche's addresses brought everyone together, while the reflection sessions were done by age group: the youngest, between games and stories, tried to present what they had observed during the teaching, the teens went deeper into a theme and experienced it through role-playing exercises, adults reviewed key notions to compare their understanding and grasp the full wealth of what was given. While the days began with a meditation, they closed with creative workshops around the theme of listening and communication. In the evening, the teens gathered with the facilitators for a relaxing break together.

It seems to be that everyone left with an abundance of resources, ideas, means, and reflections to lead and explorations to try. One thing is certain: the Institute's forums, which have only just begun, will continue, in one form or another, to explore the human situations and problematics of today. The experience shows that what we have called “a Buddhist perspective on education” comes across as a humane, intelligent, and kind perspective on what generations have to experience together. There was something universal in the air.

Puntso, Head of Dhagpo's Program

 

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