Our Relationship with Buddhism

“Don’t go by tradition, nor by lineage, nor by hearsay, nor by scripture, nor by skeptism, nor by philosophy, nor by pedantry, nor by dogmatism, nor by charisma, nor by thinking, ‘the recluse in our guru’, but when you know for yourselves:

‘This idea is wholesome, this idea is praiseworthy, this idea is praised by the wise, this idea, when takes up and acted upon leads to happiness and welfare,’ Then you should take it up and live it out” – The Buddha

A School for All

Our School is open to all people interested in the good life. Although our basis is early Buddhism, we are confident that our education approach is congenial to good people of all creeds. Buddhist of all traditions will feel a connection here as early Buddhism is the seedbed of all types of Buddhism. Non-Buddhists will also be able to use the clear-headed rationalism of early Buddhism to clarify their own beliefs. Through a discovery of Buddhism, all students are taught to become wise, disciplined and compassionate learners.

A School of Wisdom and Faith combined

Our School takes an approach to education that integrates the universal qualities of faith and wisdom, one that remembers and builds upon enlightened civilisation through independent investigation, empiricism and reason.

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A School of Science

As such, we are not a religious School in the sense that we hold to any ideas on the basis of pure faith and mere dogma, or in the sense that we use faith as a trump-card to reason. Rather we are a School of Science in its truest sense: we aim to foster in our students a love of the pursuit of truth in all domains, the material and the spiritual, the discovered as well as the undiscovered. We hold that truth becomes dead tradition and dogma unless we constantly strive as individuals to use the tools of empiricism and reason to directly discover and rediscover truth for ourselves.

A School of All-round Character Development

The capacity for independent thinking, empiricism and reason does not come from nothing. It is sown, cultivated and stabilised in the soil of all-round character development. As a Buddhist School, we use the Buddha’s teaching as a rich resource in this regard.

A School of Secular and Spiritual Education

The Buddha taught both secular and spiritual knowledge. However, to guard against the institutionalisation of blind belief, our approach is to keep a strict line between classes about secular knowledge (ie knowledge that can be verified through ordinary experiences) such as maths, science, English and meditation (as a form of body-mind exercise), and spiritual knowledge (ie knowledge that cannot be verified by ordinary experiences) such as how to see the operation of karma over many lifetimes across the many realms of rebirth.

Our policy is to teach secular knowledge during school hours and offer spiritual teachings to our students outside school hours on a strictly voluntary basis.

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A School with High Academic, Sports and Disciplinary Standards

‘Siddhartha’ was the Buddha’s birth-name. It means ‘One who achieves his own goals’. The Buddha was an advocate of ambitious goal-setting, constant striving and discipline for the sake of attaining one’s own goals.

Thus, while accepting the different potentials of each individual, we rouse in our students the desire to be the very best person that they can be. We celebrate high achievement in both academics and sport, and hold to strict disciplinary standards.

We are also a School that encourages friendly competition. While ultimately where we stand in relation to others matters little – for how we stand in relation to ourselves is what really counts – it is good to engage in friendly competition to bring out our best.

A School of Virtue

The Buddha taught the principles of virtuous behaviour in many ways.  Our School has adopted twenty-two of them as the bases of its rules, policies and governance structures. They are as follows:

To refrain from

  1. Killing living beings and physical violence
  2. Taking what is not given
  3. Sexual misconduct
  4. Speaking falsehood
  5. Speaking divisively
  6. Speaking harshly
  7. Speaking idle chatter
  8. Covetousness and materialistic thinking
  9. Aggressive and nasty thinking
  10. Reckless, victim-status-based and irresponsible thinking

And to cultivate

  1. Compassionate action towards all living beings
  2. Contentment and generous actions
  3. Respect for the opposite sex
  4. Truthful speech
  5. Speech that encourages friendship and forgiveness
  6. Beautiful and uplifting speech
  7. Meaningful and relevant speech
  8. Contentment and non-materialistic thinking
  9. Compassionate thinking
  10. The view that all actions have consequences and thus we should all take full responsibility for all the consequences of our personal actions and choices

A School of Love and Generosity

As a non-profit organisation, Pal Buddhist School is established as a body which returns its profits back into the community. Our school has incorporated into its curriculum voluntary service to the needy in places like nursing homes, homeless shelters and schools for those with special needs. The purpose is to give our students the opportunity for exposure to real human suffering and to develop skilful responses based on the four kinds of love taught by the Buddha: goodwill, compassion, appreciation and patient understanding.

A vision of the School is to extend our arms to help children in developing countries who are living in poverty in rural and tragic circumstances, by establishing free English Schools. Part of this contribution to society’s less fortunate than ours in Australia includes giving direct aid to orphanages, temples, and villages. All of these global reaching arms of Pal Buddhist School, and many more are called our Teach4Peace program. It affirms Nelson Mandela’s vision when he said, ‘Education is the most powerful weapon that you can use to change the world.’ At Pal Buddhist School, everyone from the teachers to the students are world-changers set in our mission to make a difference in the lives of others.

A School of Mindfulness

This special dimension to Buddhist education provides our students with highly effective remedies to everyday stresses and enhances performance. Although mindfulness has been dubbed a panacea to a range of modern ailments, actually, it is but one component taken out of the holistic path of life-training taught by the Buddha. To maximise the potentials of mindfulness training, we bring it into a holistic context by offering mindfulness classes which are interwoven into the tapestry of School life.

A School of Independent Early Buddhism

The early Buddhist texts make it clear that the Buddha did not wish for an institutional lineage of authorised teachers to replace him after his death. He instructed his disciples to preserve authentic historical recordings of this words and asked each individual to rediscover the meaning of those words through personal experience supported by communities characterised by respectful, open and collegial discussion and debate.

In accordance with this model, our School is truly independent. It turns to no particular individual or tradition as final authority in relation to the Buddha’s teaching. Rather we invite all people, whether monks, nuns, laymen or laywomen, who have an interest in early Buddhism to join our community and assist our board and executive evolve its understanding of the teaching through discussion and debate flowing from independent inquiry, empiricism and reason.

A School in Evolution

We believe starting from where we are and striving for perfection. Each day brings with it fresh challenges, and we look forward to working with you to bring our vision to fruition. Our School takes an approach to education that integrates the universal qualities of faith and wisdom, one that remembers and builds upon enlightened civilisation through independent investigation, empiricism and reason.