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There are many different Buddhist projects happening around the Triratna world. One interesting project is a school run by Buddhists in Amravati in Maharashtra, in India.
The Urygen Sangharakshita International School was officially opened by Subhuti in 2016. It was the brainchild of Mitra Sandeep Janardan Rakshit (a teacher in a Marathi state school) who felt that setting up a Buddhist school would be a worthwhile endeavour - and ‘Urygen Sangharaskhita’ seemed like a fitting name as a mark of respect to his teacher! Sandeep is the head of the school and while he does not teach there himself, his daughter is enrolled as a student in the school.
The Urgyen Sangharakshita International school is a private school and currently caters for twenty five boys and girls between the ages of three and six. The majority of the students are Buddhist but those from other religions are also welcome. The subjects taught are Marathi, English, maths, computers, general knowledge and arts and crafts. Currently there are four teachers on the staff all of whom are Buddhist.
One of these teachers is Prachi Adhau, a twenty five year old Bachelor of Science graduate of Chemistry, Zoology and Environmentalism and a Mitra, whose father is an Order Member and whose mother is also a Buddhist. Prachi became a Mitra in 2010 and has attended Mitra study and retreats - including the recent Mitra Convention in Bihar, where she met some of her friends from the UK. She became involved in the National Network of Buddhist Youth in India because she saw that there was a lot of energy among the group as well as potential to do good and for sharing different experiences with others her age. Prachi has attended a number of retreats led by Subhuti who has been involved in the NNBY for a good number of years - she said Subhuti is the biggest youth of them all!
Prachi’s Buddhist practice informs her teaching, and is particularly helpful when the students are noisy - she brings to mind her Metta Bhavana practice and this helps her calm her mind. Teaching is very inspiring for her and she feels like she learns a lot from the students and this gives her a lot of happiness.
The students start the day by reciting the national anthem as well as some Buddhist prayers and reciting the Buddhist precepts in English. The day runs from 10.30am to 4pm with an hour break. While the the Dharma is not specifically taught the school aims to give the students a grounding in good morals. There are plans afoot to expand the school to five hundred students from both primary and high school levels - so watch this space!