Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Budding Buddhas.

From the Waverley Leader, 15th December, 2004

By Matthew Burgess.

Deep meditation and Buddhist enlightenment have rarely featured in religious classes in state schools - until now.

Essex Heights Primary School in Mt Waverley has been offering Buddhist instruction to its students since last term.

More than 35 students have already taken up the chance to learn about the popular religion.

Offered through the Buddhist Council of Victoria, the half-hour classes cover the life of the Buddha, breathing and visualisation exercises and meditation.

Instructor Sirini Kularatne-Samarapthi said Essex Heights was one of four primary schools to introduce Buddhism to its curriculum.

Another four schools were to begin offering classes within months, she said.

She said it was important to introduce children to Buddhism from a young age because of its values.

"It teaches compassion, love and kindness to all beings and understanding of all people," Ms Kularatne-Samarapthi said.

"When you cultivate a seed, it grows and strengthens the mind."

Ms Kularatne-Samarapthi said students did not have to be Buddhists to take the classes.

Principal June McDonald said the Department of Education and Training approached the school, asking if it would start the classes.

Ms McDonald said the school introduced the classes after consultation with parents.

"Our school practices inclusion and recognises individual difference," she said.

"The classes bring another dimension."

Ms McDonald said about 35 ethnic groups were represented at the school, which also offered Jewish and Christian classes.

Parent Judy Crigan enrolled her six year-old daughter Phoebe in the Buddhist classes after hearing they would be offered at the school.

Ms Crigan said while the family was not religious, she wanted her daughter to have an alternative to Christian teaching.

"I would like her to understand about faith, but I don't really want her to be a believer," she said.

The classes would hopefully show her daughter how passionate people were about their religions and the reasons for religious conflict, she said.

Well, really, what is there to say about this?

State schools indoctrinating your children with religious classes, no less. No wonder I want to homeschool.

Parents, if you want your kids to learn about religious beliefs, send them to religious schools, take them to church or better yet, live the way you want them to grow. Provide good role modelling.

The state schooling system is in dire enough straits without turning out children who can't read or write but can quote the life and times of Buddha.

Where on earth is the time for children to actually learn. It seems to me that they go to school, get a few hours of lefty, warm-fuzzy brainwashing, and come home to spout off about their rights.

As an old friend pointed out to me years ago, the kids are taught all about their rights and nothing about their responsibilities.

Maybe I'll school the rugrat in all of her responsibilities and none of her rights! Nothing like a bit of balance in your life.


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