Finding the Middle Way | MWE Expands Its Vision
“If graduates can think outside the box, not be arrogant about thinking outside the box, be compassionate and kind to people who are stuck in the box, and work within that environment. That’s a success.”
— Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche,
addressing the community at the Middle Way School, July 2021.
In this issue, we take a closer look at Middle Way Education, with updates on Buddhist education for children, a major focus of our work, which was spotlighted in the KF 2020 annual report.
You’ll also find links to some popular child- and parent-centric resources, including the video “Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche on Harmony,” book suggestions, music, and more.
Middle Way Education (MWE) is a not-for-profit organization founded in 2017 and supported by Khyentse Foundation. MWE creates pathways for traditional Buddhist wisdom and knowledge to enhance modern education for the benefit of this and future generations. Its first major project was to open the Middle Way School in the Hudson Valley as the laboratory to research and develop a Buddhist model of education. In tandem with that launch, MWE created a robust website that offers free resources to educators and parents. The website publishes articles, books, videos, audios, lessons, and more from contributors around the world to engage young people in the Buddha’s view of wisdom and compassion. MWE is now expanding its mission, conducting research to identify the gaps to be filled, what resources exist, and where to invest energy and resources. Follow MWE on Facebook and Instagram.
Middle Way School launched as a separate organization in 2018. The school is entering its fourth years of operation, with 80 students enrolled. Rinpoche visited the school for the first time recently and it was a joyous occasion for all involved. “I’m very happy with what is happening here,” he told an audience of teachers and families. A video of this visit and Rinpoche’s talks, Gesar puja, and Ushnishavijaya ceremony will be posted on the school’s social media soon. Follow MWS on Instagram or Facebook.
When asked what success might look like, Rinpoche said, “If graduates can think outside the box, not be arrogant about thinking outside the box, be compassionate and kind to people who are stuck in the box, and work within that environment. That’s a success.”
CALLS TO ACTION
MWE is hiring and and seeking volunteers! They need a part-time web content manager, executive assistant, and project-based researchers. Inquire here.
● If you have suggestions about resources for MWE to post on their website, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
● Have children? Application window for MWS opens in January 2022.
● Become an educator! One major gap identified is that there are not enough Buddhists trained as educators. This can be a very fulfilling career path.
● Donate directly to MWS. The school is fundraising for tuition assistance and improving the buildings.
Image above : Rinpoche greeted some of the families who attend Middle Way School.
Rinpoche on Harmony
In this talk to teachers, parents, and children, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche addressed the concept of harmony, which is one of the eight thematic units developed by MWE and taught at the Middle Way School.
“Due to our stubborn habit of needing to fix things, needing to sort it out, needing to improve, advance, all of that doesn’t let the natural harmony manifest on its own. I have seen Middle Way people, including the children, sitting for one minute, and during that one minute sitting, it is already a stepping stone for letting harmony naturally manifest on its own. Hopefully we will not stop there, just sitting. Hopefully one day the graduates of the Middle Way School could be building a rocket or flying to Mars, and even as they do, they are letting harmony naturally manifest.”
— Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche on Harmony, Middle Way Education, March 29, 2021
Middle Way Education offers resources in the form of book reviews, lesson ideas, articles, and framework documents to support children, parents, teachers, and school leaders.
Here are a few examples:
● A Unit Plan on Cause and Effect by Rigpe Yeshe
Check out more on the Middle Way Education resources page. MWE welcomes submissions to the site.
Image above: Illustration from Kuan Yin: The Princess Who Became the Goddess of Compassion by Maya van der Meer, from the Middle Way Education resources page.
Meanwhile, in the schools…
Watch a recap of the MWS Graduation Ceremony 2021
June 17 was our last day of an incredible year. We had so much to celebrate. Ven. John Perks was our special guest. John is a veteran of the early transmissions of the dharma to the West, and a humble friend. He conducted three ceremonies, culminating in a knighting of our older students as Knights of Quan Yin. This was followed by a parade with all of our families, gathering for the first time in person this pandemic year. The weather was perfect, the air filled with joy.
Students at Lhomon Education, Bhutan
Celebrate the Buddha on Saga Dawa Düchen, May 2021
We are celebrating the anniversary of the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, and mahaparinirvana in our humble ways. Here are few things we did: bath offering to the Buddha, meditation practice, recitation of prayers, flower offering, light offering, and more. Saga Dawa is known as the month of merits; it’s also called bumgyur dawa, which means “merits multiplied by a hundred thousand times.” As we celebrate the auspicious lunar month of Saga Dawa, we pay our humble homage to the Buddha.
Oṃ mune mune mahāmunaye svāhā!
Oṃ mune mune mahāmunaye svāhā!
Oṃ mune mune mahāmunaye svāhā!
Blue Lion Preschool, Singapore
The children were busy making prints with their feet. The paint was slippery, squelchy, and thick. There were so many colours to choose from. Big steps made big prints! At Blue Lion Preschool, we walked through some days and rushed through others. Have we been aware of our footsteps?
In Other News
• KF Ashoka Grant is open for application from July 15 to Aug 15. Apply here.
• Yael Shiri Receives 2021 KF Award for Outstanding PhD Dissertation in Buddhist Studies.
• Download Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche’s new book Poison is Medicine.
• Join the ongoing online Green Tara puja.
• Read ongoing news about the Goodman Lectures.
• Join “Introduction to Buddhism“, an 8-week online program taught by Alex Li Trisoglio starting on Aug 8. Register here.