DHARMA THEMES AT MWS
NOVEMBER 27 – JANUARY 12
Essential Question: Where do I find refuge and how can I be a refuge for others?
Providing children the tools to choose where to seek refuge— through inquiry, awareness, discernment—helps them make wise choices and prepares them for a life in which they are not as swayed by the winds of circumstance. Placing value and attention on the concept of refuge helps children become more prone to create their own systems of helping others. By exploring how all beings wish to feel safe from harm, students develop empathy. Through that they can become peacemakers and game changers.
Every day, we seek refuge in ordinary ways. We take refuge in physical things or places that provide safety, comfort, and protection. We also seek refuge in certain people who can be counted on for love, support, protection and wisdom. We also can find refuge in concepts that give us inspiration and solace or ideas that give us wisdom and wake us up. We can take refuge in ourselves: our truth, inner wisdom, and hearts. Refuge can be internal. We can examine the mind, we appreciate its awesome capacity to learn new things, to be still, to be wise. Buddhist refuge is when a person decides to “become a Buddhist” and they declare the Buddha dharma and sangha as a refuge. They participate in a simple ceremony called taking refuge. Students learn about this practice
This unit lends itself to wonderful nature studies of animal habitats and the workings of the body and the security of home and family. By developing the ability to name the parts of the body, and cultivating awareness of sensations and emotions, as well as the communication skills required to clearly articulate needs, children are building natural safeguards to protect themselves and others. This is also a wonderful unit to practice the etiquette of being a good guest and a good host. As well as studies of migration and refugee crises.
- Why do beings seek refuge? What are some of the causes for beings to seek refuge?
- What are some non physical, intangible, invisible sources of refuge?
- What makes you feel safe, calm, and comfortable?
- What is the difference between needs and wants?
- What global challenges are propelling people to seek refuge these days and who can they go to for help?
- What are some techniques and criteria we can use when we are examining whether something or someone is trustworthy?
- How can we find a reliable refuge within ourselves? What practices support taking inner refuge?
- How can I be a good guest? And how can I be a good host?
- How do we support others in finding refuge if they don’t have it?
All are welcome to join the Dharma Committee at any time. We currently meet in person monthly. It’s a joy! To learn more, please contact the Dharma Committee Executive Committee at [email protected].