An independent, college-preparatory day school serving grades 7 through 12.
Equanimity and Enlightenment in 7th Grade Humanities
Last Thursday, Jake Davis P'26 zoomed into Patrick Kennedy’s 7th-grade humanities class to discuss his Buddhist practice and his training to become a monk. While in college, Davis was invited to Burma for monastic training. For five months, he engaged in a silent retreat alternating between a sitting and walking practice with the goal of bringing awareness to the moment. From the age of 14, Davis was drawn to the loving-kindness he experienced on Buddhist retreats. As he matured, the appeal expanded to include a commitment to mindfulness practice and a fundamental equanimity of heart.
Students jumped at the chance to ask Davis questions. Taleena Gonneea wanted to know why the readings seemed to suggest that people should deny pleasure and avoid suffering when both can teach us something? Davis responded, "the aim is not to avoid suffering or seek pleasure, because. as we know in life, both will come. It is more about not unnecessarily pursuing pleasure because the act of grasping in itself causes suffering." Buddhism invites the practitioner to shift to striving for equanimity in order to be more aware and balanced when there is either pain or pleasure. To learn more, you can read an article Davis shared with the class, "Rolling Forth the Wheel of Dhamma."
Art teacher Lucy Nelson worked with the students in Kennedy's class to create mandalas as part of the Immersion Program. Mandalas are a picture-tool used in Buddhism and Hinduism that represent the universe and frequently are dedicated to one or more of the Buddhist deities. They can also aid in meditation practices. Following the radial and concentric geometric format of the mandala, students create an image with their own symbolism. Students added their own flair to the art form and expanded it from its traditional spiritual form. Themes include Greek heritage, Jewish faith, Harry Potter, professional soccer, Star Wars, Thanksgiving, and even one with a nod to Falmouth Academy.