Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche is the founder of and advisor to Blue Lion Preschool. He is a student of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Dudjom Rinpoche, Kyabje Sakya Trichen, and the 16th Karmapa. He heads six monasteries and institutes of Buddhist study in Asia, and oversees centres for the study and practice of Buddhism all around the world.
He has authored several books on following the Buddhist path in the contemporary world, including “What Makes You Not A Buddhist” and “Not For Happiness”; and made five award-winning films including The Cup (1999), Hema Hema; Sing Me A Song While I Wait (2016) and Lady with Fangs and a Moustache (2020).
He has founded and continues to direct several major non-profit organizations, including:
- Khyentse Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that supports all traditions of Buddhist study and practice;
- 84000, a global non-profit initiative translating all of the Buddha’s teachings into modern languages and making them freely accessible;
- Siddhartha’s Intent, which has teaching and practice centres on five continents; and
- Lotus Outreach, which gives access to health, education and safety to many at-risk girls in Cambodia and India.
Over the years, Rinpoche has set up several education initiatives, including Lhomon Education Initiative in Bhutan, Kanishka School in India, Middle Way School in the United States, and now – Blue Lion Preschool in Singapore.
Message to Blue Lion：
We all have mind.
Children have mind…It might be good to simply ask: do you have mind? It does not necessarily require an answer.
There’s a cognizance, there’s a mind. And this is important to understand.
Mind is that which is wanting, needing, interpreting. Mind is so powerful. So in our education, if we could somehow have a way to manage this mind, if we can have a technique to sort of train the mind.
And then not just the mind but also the body. Taking care of the body is very, very important. The body is the container of the mind. Then the earth is the container of the body. The world that we live in is our dwelling place. It’s like our bedroom. We cannot make a mess out of this, our dwelling place.
DZONGSAR KHYENTSE RINPOCHE, 20 MAY 2020
然后不单止是“心”，还要把“身”照顾好。把身体照顾好是非常重要的，身体承载着心， 地球承载着身体。这个世界是我们的居所，就像是我们的睡房一样 ，不容我们糟蹋。
Dagmo Kushok Kalden was born in Kalimpong, India, in the Tibetan year of the Horse. Upon completing her elementary school studies in boarding schools in India, Dagmo la obtained an academic scholarship to pursue her higher studies in the USA, where she graduated with an honours degree in Psychology.
In her youth, Dagmo la excelled both at studies and sports, especially swimming. A strong interest in social work prompted her to volunteer in many charitable organisations such as The Missionaries of Charity, as well as to participate in various college programmes such as ‘Adopt-A-Grandparent’ and ‘People Who Care’, involving weekend visits to neighbouring hospitals and old people’s homes.
After joining the holy Khön family through marriage in 2002, she took on the responsibility of serving Sakya Hospital, eventually in the capacity of Director in 2004.
Over the years, she has founded several non-profit organizations and projects, such as Tara Foundation and Kalden Designs, and the Sakya Calendar app to promote environmental causes and support the poor, as well as meeting needs in the community in any form. She continues to initiate and support various social projects and initiatives in the community.
Apart from her charitable involvements, Dagmo Kushok is also homeschooling her three children.
年少的达嫫, 在学业和运动上都表现出色，尤其是游泳。她非常热爱社会福利工作， 特别是对于社区、长者和病患的关怀，所以她非常积极地在各个慈善团体当义工。
Message to Blue Lion：
As parents we want the best for our children. And as a mother, I have come to realize that however much you want your child to be a certain way, each child has unique propensities, character traits and predispositions. Some are more sensitive, some less so. Some are patient, some not so much. Some are worriers by nature, and some just couldn’t care less! While these inherent traits cannot be changed so easily, it IS possible to maximize or minimize these traits not only for our children’s happiness and peace of mind, but the happiness and peace of mind of those around them as well.
And a lot of this change can be achieved through teaching them from a young age to:
• have compassion towards all living beings,
• accept the uniqueness and also the similarity of all living beings,
• understand that all living beings have feelings and emotions just like them.
With such understanding, I believe that our children will most certainly be happier individuals and also make the world around them a better, happier place.
I am happy that Blue Lion Preschool was established with this aim in mind, and I am excited to see the positive effect Blue Lion will have on the lives of these little children, their families, and their futures.
Dagmo Kushok Kalden, 14 August 2020
• 了解一切众生都有情绪和感觉， 就和自己一样
Tashi Colman (Ph.D, Columbia University) was a student of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche in the 1980’s and since then is a student of Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche.
He taught political science at universities in the U.S. and Canada for two decades and was a researcher and speech-writer at the United Nations. He spent 15 years building comprehensive measures of wellbeing for Nova Scotia, Canada that included extensive research on education, and was editor-in-chief of Reality Check: The Canadian Review of Wellbeing.
For ten years Tashi lived in Bhutan and worked closely with the government on its holistic progress measures, Educating for Gross National Happiness initiative (http://www.gpiatlantic.org/bhutan/docs/educating_for_gnh_proceedings.pdf), a new economic paradigm presented to the United Nations, and other development initiatives.
For the past ten years he has worked closely with Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche’s first Buddhist education initiative, Lhomon Education, in Dewathang, Bhutan.
扎西曾在美国和加拿大的大学任教政治学二十几年，也曾是世界联合国基金会的研究员以及讲稿撰写。他曾经花了十五年的心血为加拿大的新斯客舍省开发出一套完整的身心健全准则，其中对于教育也做了一个很深入的研究。他是 “Reality Check: The Canadian Review of Wellbeing” 刊物的联合总编。
之后扎西在不丹生活了十年， 期间与当地政府紧密合作，为不丹发展出许多发展计划，特别是“国民幸福总值”计划——该计划以一个全新的经济模式，来开展一套完整且全面性的国家发展进度指标，并且被提呈到世界联合国基金会上。(http://www.gpiatlantic.org/bhutan/docs/educating_for_gnh_proceedings.pdf) 近十年来，扎西一直在协助宗萨钦哲仁波切的第一个佛教教育计划——位于不丹东部迭瓦塘的南方人教育计划。
Message to Blue Lion:
As Buddhist parents, Gwen and I “home-schooled” our daughter Hasta, initially together with other Buddhist parents and children with whom she grew up from babyhood and who are still her best friends. Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche had designed special children’s ceremonies, celebrations and camps for the children of his students, and we regularly took Hasta to teachings, feasts, and more. Hasta has long been a devoted student of Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, lived three years in China, and is now a Ph.D student in China Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Washington D.C. Though she never really went to ‘school’ in the normal sense, Hasta, Gwen and I have no regrets!
I mention this not out of parental pride or even to tout the value of our children growing up in Buddhist environs, but for very practical reasons – to reassure Blue Lion parents that they’ve made the right choice!
First, a Buddhist education is no obstacle to success in the conventional world. On the contrary. A good Buddhist education sharpens and opens children’s minds, improves their critical thinking, develops their natural love of learning, and teaches children to see the world holistically – which means more realistically – the way things really are. That makes them more “successful”! By contrast, most conventional education is through a narrow academic lens, subtly indoctrinates children in conformist norms and values, and too often closes their minds and makes them loath learning.
I am not exaggerating when I say I’d much sooner trust a Finance Minister who had never studied economics than one with a Ph.D Economics from Harvard University. Why? Because the latter has literally swallowed a deeply flawed economic paradigm that wrongly sees the economy in isolation from the natural world, that believes in endless growth, and that is literally destroying the world that our children will inherit. “More” education of the flawed conventional kind without the holistic lens that is intrinsic to Buddhism is downright dangerous.
2,500 years ago, Plato wrote: “Knowledge which is acquired under compulsion has no hold on the mind. Therefore do not use compulsion, but let early education be a sort of amusement; you will then be better able to discover the child’s natural bent.”Plato was no Buddhist, but I think he would love the Blue Lion curriculum. And I am quite sure he would savagely critique modern education with its stress-inducing exams, grading, compulsory attendance and homework, and relentless achievement and career orientation. How many high-school graduates never want to open another book?! How sad that is when children intuitively love to learn.
For all these reasons – but above all for our children to see clearly and understand the world as it truly is, and for their innate love of learning, curiosity, questioning, reading and more naturally to become a life-long pursuit of the truth, I am so grateful to our Buddhist masters for their determination to create a genuinely Buddhist learning environment for our children. And I am deeply grateful to the parents of our first Blue Lion students for their wisdom in choosing this path and for their courage in letting their own children be the guinea pigs in what will surely benefit generations of children to come.
Tashi Colman, 10 August 2020
两千五百年前， 柏拉图写道：“被迫进行的学习不能在心灵上生根。因此请勿使用强制教育， 而是让早期教育成为一种娱乐，这会让你发掘孩子的自然本能。” 柏拉图并不是佛教徒，不过我相信他一定会喜欢小蓝狮的课程。而且我相信他一定会狠狠地批判现代教育制度下高压的考试、等级、必修课、家庭作业，以及没完没了的成果和就业导向。儿童的直觉本来就是倾向于学习的，然而现在，有多少的学生在高考之后再也不愿意掀开一本书？这是让人感到极其悲哀的。
Heather Sanche has been an early childhood educator and teacher trainer for the past twenty-five years. Her work experience is in mainstream, Waldorf, and Montessori pedagogical approaches, including ten years teaching and living in Asia.
Heather has been a practicing Buddhist since 1994. In 2007 she took temporary ordination within the Pau Auk tradition and lived in a forest monastery near Mawlamyine, Myanmar. From 2008 to 2012 she completed a traditional three-year meditation retreat.
Heather began her education career at the University of Colorado. where she received an athletic scholarship in track and field and cross country. She earned her B.A. in Early Childhood Education from Naropa University and a post-graduate diploma in Intercultural Education and Training from the University of Victoria.
She currently resides on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada, with her husband and two young children.
荷德.桑切 毕业于美国科罗拉多大学， 是运动主修奖学金得主。之后她攻读了那洛巴大学的早期儿童教育学士， 以及维多利亚大学的跨文化教育研究生文凭。荷德拥有 25 年的幼儿早教老师以及训练导师经验。她的专业包括了主流儿童教育、华德福教育以及蒙特梭利教学法， 并旅居亚洲执教十年之久。
荷德在 1994年开始学习佛法， 2007年她跟随帕奥禅师的修行传统短期出家，并且居住在缅甸的毛淡棉树林寺院。从 2008年至 2012年她完成了传统的三年闭关。
Message to Blue Lion：
As an early childhood educator, author, Buddhist practitioner, and a mother of two young children I find the greatest support in my life as well as the unifying factor or intersection between all these different aspects of my work is the basic foundations of meditation.
Meditation is a technique to open up to space, and within that space, all kinds of feelings, emotions and thoughts arise. When meditating, the idea is to rest and relax into the arising without grasping, attaching or pushing anything away. The meditator simply rests and allows everything to arise and dissipate while maintaining a sense of awareness of the physical space in which they are sitting. Likewise when working in a classroom or with my own children, I aspire to allow the children space to also rest in this contemplative space as they go about their day. At its core, contemplative education is about allowing the child the freedom to explore at his or her own pace and inclination, while the teacher or parents model the inner meditative practice of returning to the present without grasping, attaching or pushing away.
The reality is that as educators and parents we do get distracted and because of our practice as meditators and followers of the Buddha we can simply arrive within the moment and let go of the extraneous thoughts. We can notice when our minds have wandered and then choose to simply be present. This is at the heart of what we are creating with the Blue Lion curriculum.
Charmaine serves as a director and advisor of Blue Lion Preschool, and oversees its Buddhist early childhood curriculum from a local perspective. With more than a decade of experience in the field, Charmaine is passionate about emergent work with young children. She is currently completing her doctoral studies in the same area. Charmaine is a former lawyer, language specialist, teacher mentor, an author and a co-founder of Between Two Trees Preschool. She strongly believes in respecting and honouring children’s voices and the concept of childhood in early education. Charmaine also volunteers as Vice-President of the Association for Early Childhood Educators in Singapore and is a strong advocate for non-profit education.
Hui Hua has over twenty years of experience in early childhood education. She studied Social Work and Literature and spent five years at the AECES (SG). Hui Hua is an art therapist, teacher trainer, an author and a co-founder of Between Two Trees Preschool. She strongly believes in including visual arts a crucial component of early education and in providing children with the widest range of materials to facilitate their learning. Hui Hua works closely with the BLP staff and families as the school advisor on school administration, operations and curriculum.
Art and Theatre 艺术和舞台表演
Stan Lai Born in the U.S., Stan Lai began his creative career in Taiwan, and now his works are performed all over China and the Chinese speaking world, as well as in the West. His noted works include That Evening, We Performed Crosstalk (1985), Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land (1986), and the epic 8-hour A Dream Like A Dream (2000), called by China Daily as “possibly the greatest Chinese-language play since time immemorial.”
Lai has also written and directed two widely acclaimed feature films, The Peach Blossom Land (1992) and The Red Lotus Society (1994), the former which received top prizes at the Tokyo, Berlin, and Singapore international film festivals. Lai is also an acclaimed opera director and event director (Deaflympics Opening Ceremony, 2009). His awards include Taiwan’s National Arts Award, which he has won an unprecedented two times (1988, 2001), “Man of the Year” for Cultural Affairs, Newsweek China (2010), and a Star on the Walk of Fame at the Sibiu International Theatre Festival (2019).
Lai’s work in the West includes Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (2015), the opera Dream of the Red Chamber at the San Francisco Opera (2016), his immersive piece Nightwalk in the Chinese Garden at the Huntington Library and Gardens (2018) in Los Angeles, and a workshop production of AGO at the University of California, Berkeley (2019).
Lai holds a Ph.D in Dramatic Art from Berkeley, and has taught extensively at the Taipei National University of the Arts, and at Berkeley and Stanford. His book “Stan Lai on Creativity” is a best seller in China and Taiwan. His plays have been published in numerous Chinese editions including a recent 9-volume set (Beijing, Citic Press), as well as in English versions from Oxford and Columbia University Press. Twelve of his plays are planned to be published in English by the University of Michigan Press.
Lai is currently Artistic Director of Performance Workshop, Taiwan, Theatre Above, Shanghai, and Co-founder and Festival Director of the Wuzhen Theatre Festival, China.
出生于美国， 创意事业启飞于台湾， 赖声川的剧作在世界各地广泛的演出。三十四部原创长篇原创编导戏剧，作品包括拯救台湾相声艺术的《那一夜，我们说相声》《暗恋桃花源》以及《中国日报》称为“可能是有史以来最伟大的中文戏剧”的《如梦之梦》等。
Message to Blue Lion：
(a) Early childhood education is as much a journey for yourself as for your child. How much do you want your child to conform to acceptable social norms, but retain or expand his or her unique-ness? Can we keep our child’s inborn creativity? Can we be conscious when we are stifling it?
(b) A child is actually much closer to the dharma than most adults. How can we keep our child’s appreciation of the simple nature of things, the simple being that is? How can we also cultivate an understanding of cause and effect, how nothing happens without cause, and all causes create effects. This will bring greater awareness to our child — The knowing of the interconnectedness of all, and the knowing that our actions create results.
(c) Any learning of the above must not stop once we leave the school gate, but must continue in our home environment. In this way we may guide our children to naturally become whom they really should and can become, and be a positive force in the world.
Stan Lai, 17 September 2020
Ding Nai-Chu is one of the most prominent theatre producers in Taiwan and the Chinese-speaking world. She has produced over 50 plays, including classics such as The Night We Became Xiangsheng Comedians, Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land, A Dream Like A Dream and The Village. Ding has also produced three films—The Peach Blossom Land, The Red Lotus Society, and Finding Shangri-La—which have received numerous top awards at international festivals. She was founding Vice President of Super TV.
A graduate of National Taiwan University majoring in Philosophy, Ding received her M.A. in Education from the University of California, Berkeley. She is currently the managing director of Performance Workshop Theatre, and for years has been a renowned translator of Buddhist teachings.
Pawo Choyning Dorji is a Bhutanese photographer and film maker, who lives in Taiwan with his wife Stephanie and two children, 11 year old daughter Oddiyana Kanya and 8 year old son Taranatha.
Pawo has had a multicultural upbringing, growing up in Bhutan, India, the Middle East, Switzerland and the United States. He tries to instill the love of culture in his two children by making them experience and travel as much as possible.
As a photographer, Pawo has had several photography exhibitions, the most recent being ‘The Light of the Moon’. A five year photography project that took him through the ancient silk roads of central China, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India to tell forgotten stories of the revival of Buddhism. Pawo has been involved in numerous internationally acclaimed films. His latest film, Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom, which he wrote, produced and directed was shot entirely on solar power in the Himalayan glacial village of Lunana, a two week trek from the nearest motor-able road. The film which is about education in the world’s most remote school has won several international awards and has become the only second Bhutanese film to receive an official Oscars entry.
帕武是不丹籍摄影师和电影导演，他和妻子赖梵耘定居台湾，育有一对子女，女儿 Oddiyana Kanya 十一岁，儿子Taranatha八岁。
帕武也参与制作过多部在国际电影节上获奖的电影。最新作品是由他自编自导的《不丹是教室》，拍摄地点位于喜马拉雅山上一个冰川时代的村庄 Lunana，这村庄距离最近的马路要步行两个小时才能到达，全剧以太阳能源动力拍摄。这是一个关于在最偏远的地区提供儿童教育的故事，本剧已经获得了好几个国际奖项， 并且在 2020年成为史上第二部入选奥斯卡奖项的不丹电影。
Message to Blue Lion:
I think as a parent, we must remind ourselves to be patient and listen to our children. I have learnt some of the most important life lessons from my two children. They look at the world as it is, not any judging through any conceptual eyes.
We have to know that children are born with a sense of purity and innocence. They are then taught by the world we live in to have conceptual thoughts, they lose that sense of purity because the world wants them to ‘grow up’. They must take their time to become adults, they must joyfully play as much as possible.
Though living in the world without any conceptual thoughts is almost impossible, we must remind ourselves as parents of the purity each child possesses. We must teach them to experience and learn from life as they grow up, yet try and not lose their purity. Because once we have lost it, we either grasp or have aversions to life, and we can spend a lifetime trying to rid ourselves of them.
Pawo Choyning Dorji
Stephanie Lai is a theatre actress and film producer from Taiwan. She was born in America and spent her early childhood in Taiwan. She then later went to England to finish her high school and studied at the London Academy of Drama and Music. Stephanie is married to director/photographer Pawo Choyning Dorji, with whom she has two children. She is also a Khyentse Foundation regional representative for Taiwan.
Message to Blue Lion:
As a mother, I value early children’s emotional development and laying the ground for my kids to recognize and accept their emotions. I also try be as honest as possible of my own emotions as a parent to my children.
The world is moving too fast for our kids, always rushing them to grow up faster, but children should stay children as long as possible. And we as parents, we try to let our children experience life as much as possible. Diversity has been key in our children’s early childhood as we tried to let them experience Bhutan, India and Taiwan.
As a parent I strongly believe that education shouldn’t be a tangible goal, but rather we should teach our kids ‘how to learn’ as we are always learning.