Transcendental Meditation at a Buddhist School in Northern Thailand
A small village in Northern Thailand is home to the Dhammajarinee Whitney School, a safe-haven built to provide a solid education and a secure environment to young girls from provinces throughout the country.
“These girls come from poor families or broken homes; some are orphans, violently abused or at-risk of being sexually abused,” said Acharn Yai, Director and Principal of the School.
Dhammajarinee is the first and only Buddhist boarding school in Thailand. It teaches a standard academic curriculum, which includes life-skills training and Buddhist teachings for cultural ethics to its students. Incorporated into its program is also the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique.
“Bringing TM to the school is very useful because we give the students a tool to develop their consciousness,” Acharn said. “TM is a scientific technique which brings the mind to its most subtle level. It allows the mind to transcend faster, helping us understand teachings from a deeper level.”
Students at Dhammajarinee have found their TM practice useful for enhancing performance and focus, and feeling a sense of calm and joy.
One teacher, Kru Muay, recalled that when the semester began for new students, their behavior was quite aggressive. “But since they started meditating, they have greatly improved in their behavior, study, and relationship with fellow students and teachers.”
Mai, a 16-year-old student, agreed. “Back home, I was hot-tempered. Since I learned TM, I feel a lot calmer. My learning ability is better and my relationships have improved. I feel that I’m happy all day.”
Kwan, a 15-year-old student, said that TM has improved her self-discipline. “Meditation has broadened my thinking, increased my self-confidence and now I’m more diligent,” she reveals with a bright smile.
Wan, a 20-year-old student, said, “Since I’ve been meditating regularly, morning and evening, I’ve been paying more attention to the teachers and my understanding is much better.”.
Acharn explained that when the students perform better, their teachers and administrators perform better, too. “It becomes much easier to take care of the girls. When they have inner happiness, they soak up whatever knowledge we give them, unlike before.”
Kru Muay said the faculty become second mothers to the girls. “It is our duty to provide warmth, love and understanding. I want to see our students grow in the right direction and be good citizens of society. When they have their own families, I want them to be good mothers for their children, so we can free our society from the vicious cycle it’s in today,” she said.
Dhammajarinee is well on its way to accomplishing its goal, according to student Kwan. “I want everyone to know – this is the safest place for us. Here we meditate, we learn a lot, and are protected from bad influences,” she said.