It has been a while since I stepped into the classroom but yesterday through numerous circumstances I found myself taking on the role of “Casual Relief Teacher”.
Through this experience I was struck not only by the wonder of teaching but of how incredible teachers are in their roles as educators of our children.
The energy, passion and dedication that is required to turn up each day to a sea of eager faces ready to learn is something to behold. I have to admit that I only covered the class for a couple of hours but by the end of it I was completely sapped of energy this only served to demonstrate further what teachers must put in to their role each and every day.
Since working in education I have had numerous people say to me “Oh you work in a school, the amount of holidays must be great”. I’m sure that prior to being in this position I may have been guilty of making such a comment to a teacher also.
The fact is that the regular holidays throughout the year are necessary for teachers to recharge their energy reserves so they can do it all again the next term. This cycle can often mean that educators are plagued by “teachers curse” which means by the time they get to their holidays they fall in a heap and often suffer from sickness for the holiday period as they have been operating at such a high level to keep the enthusiasm and learning happening in the classroom throughout the term.
So I bow down to the teaching profession and all that embody it. You are truly unique, wondrous human beings who give so much of yourselves so that our children may learn and grow and become the adults we want them to be. I applaud you and thank you for the amazing work that you do and feel humbled to have experienced what you navigate each and every day.
I wanted to share with you a direct experience I had of the power of compassion. This week we acknowledged Vesak – The birth, life and enlightenment of Shakyamuni Buddha, with our annual Buddha Day celebration.
I had experienced a particularly challenging morning as most parents do from time to time with trying to get children out the door to school. I was consumed with self cherishing and that all too familiar “why me?” dialogue in my head to the point that it was all consuming.
I arrived at school much later than I had hoped and was really struggling to shake off the mornings experience, to the point where I wasn’t sure if I could participate. But the show must go on…
As part of the celebration I was to lead those gathered in 108 recitations of the Buddha of Compassion’s mantra “Om Mani Padme Hum”. Part of my instruction to the group before me was to try to generate loving, compassionate thoughts and send them to others as we chanted the mantra. Little did I know that this instruction was also for myself.
As I began to recite the mantra an overwhelming energetic shift came over me that I found hard to stay with. As I fought back the waves of emotion and tears and continued to recite the mantra, I felt my emotions transform from grumpy and self cherishing to peaceful, buoyant and free. An overwhelming relief as if a large black cloud had lifted leaving a warm fuzzy feeling.
I remember Jack Kornfield relaying a story of one of his students who wrote to him to say “Hey this loving-kindness stuff really works”. I can say from direct experience this week I wholeheartedly agree. Give it a try you won’t be disappointed.
By Joel Hines – Principal, Daylesford Dharma School
Reflecting back to June last year when I was lucky enough to meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Perth. It was quite a surreal experience meeting this living Buddha who exudes kindness and compassion. Meeting His Holiness was an experience I will never forget, the grace and gentleness that he carries is certainly something to aspire to.
They say in Buddhism that we do not pray to external images or statues of the Buddha but rather look to them for inspiration for the qualities we would like to display ourselves. Certainly being in His Holiness’ presence gave me some inspiration to speak, think and act with more compassion, generosity, patience, kindness and wisdom.
I don’t think you can help but smile when you see him, you certainly cannot help but laugh when his face lights up and he emits his infectious laughter.
In the land encircled by snow mountains, you are the source of all happiness and good, all powerful Chenrezig, Tenzin Gyatso please remain until samsara ends.