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Year 9 RE Visit to the Amaravati Monastery

Friday, 11 November 2016

On two very cold November days our lovely Year 9s ventured out to Hemel Hempstead to visit the Amaravati Buddhist Monastery. In most cases the girls had no idea what to expect and went to the monastery with lots of questions. On both days we were met by two tour guides, either a monk or a nun who reside full time in the monastery. They welcomed us in to their community warmly and were willing to take a whole variety of questions. The monks and nuns commented on how curious and interested the girls were, and said they really enjoyed answering their questions and hearing their ideas about Buddhism.

The RE teachers were really proud when the tour guides asked them if they knew the noble truths and the girls were able to recite them in Pali. One of the monks was super impressed and said even he didn’t know the words in Pali so he was amazed that they did.

Some of the girls have written down their experiences and reflections from the trip:

“I really enjoyed today for many reasons. Firstly, I learnt a lot of new things such as the mentality behind the Noble Truths, how long Buddhism has been around (over 2500 years), and where different branches of Buddhism originate and how they are taught. The Garden was really beautiful and all of the monks and nuns were really kind and peaceful.” ~ Safia

“We learnt about their culture, their routine, the four noble truths, their clothes and why they all wear different colours and receive new names when they become monks or nuns.” ~ Jasmine and Ayesha

“We saw the food offering in the Sala and did meditation, which was relaxing and calming.” ~Georgia, Hannah and Megann

“I enjoyed having a tour of the gardens as it was a beautiful place to visit. This trip gave us a real insight into what life is like for a Buddhist monk or nun.” ~Talitha

“The experience was really educational as we got hands-on experience with the Buddhist lifestyle. We really enjoyed seeing the surroundings, it was very tranquil.” ~ Mila and Freya

Overall the students had a brilliant day and the RE department are sure that having a chance to experience a little of the Buddhist way of life will be crucial in helping them to understand the Buddhist ideas and concepts they are going on to study in the GCSE. All of the staff on the trip and at the monastery were extremely impressed with the girls and said what a credit they are to our school.