Ajahn Karuniko, vice-Abbot of Chithurst Forest Monastery, visits our school and offers teachings on mindfulness
This morning we welcomed Buddhist monk, Ajahn Karuniko, from Chithurst Forest Monastery to our morning puja. Ajahn led a chant and short meditation and then shared some teachings with pupils, staff and parents on the subject of mindfulness. Today is The United Nations’ International Day of Tolerance and Ajahn talked about the importance of accepting others and that “when we bring unhappiness to others, we bring unhappiness to ourselves too”. He reminded us that if someone says or does something unkind, if we react “unskilfully”, in a similar way, this only causes suffering for all concerned. If we are mindful and reflect before we respond, we are more likely to say or do something positive that will help resolve the situation rather than make it worse. He also spoke about the importance of focusing and strengthening the mind by paying attention to the breath and meditating regularly, explaining that just as the body needs exercise to strengthen it and to stay healthy, so does the mind (through the practice of mindfulness).
Some of our parents and older pupils also stayed on to ask questions about mindfulness practice and life in the monastery. We asked about the colours of Buddhist monks’ robes, why monks get up so early, how long they meditate for, what kind of animals live in the nearby forest and… “do monks wear their robes as pyjamas?”