Buddhism and the ‘middle way’

As the next part of our lessons on ways of thinking and living in China, we discussed Buddhist ideas about seeking a ‘middle way’ of living that is in harmony with the world and causes no harm – a way of living that also seeks to avoid greed and selfishness that might arise from thinking we are more important than everybody else. Does this make sense, we asked? Is it desirable?  Is it achievable? Here are thoughts from Myah, Sylvie, Kaliyah, Mohammed, Archie and Faisal.

Myah. I do think that the idea of the middle way makes sense because if you go the low way it means you decide not to take opportunities that lay in front of you which I don’t think is right. And if you go the high way, you will take everything and become spoilt and rich and have nothing to do but lay down and think about what will come your way next.

Kaliyah. I think the middle way is perfect because then you don’t get too much or too little of anything. Greed and selfishness are big problems in the world because we have many homeless people who have to beg for money. If we weren’t so selfish and greedy, we would just give money to them or buy them something to eat. Some people are so selfish that they just walk past them or pay no attention to them whatsoever. I think it would be good if people were both Daoist and Buddhist because you would be caring to both nature and people…. and in harmony with the world properly.

Sylvie. I think achieving the middle way would be quite a hard thing to accomplish. Because if you’re homeless with about £2 in your pocket you can’t create a middle way if you’re begging for scraps of food and you wouldn’t have the resources to create this ‘middle way’. Life, I’ve got to say, won’t let you have a middle way. People go through hard times and you can’t make yourself think it’s all going to be fine and nothing’s wrong, trying to make life how you want it. I think people are too greedy because they just create this excess, waste and destruction in their path. Sometimes natural greed comes in simple ways like you’re really hungry and there’s only one chip left in the box and you know you’ve had more than anybody else and you still take it. AND people who are greedy take all the money for themselves and leave people starving – possibly to death.

Mohammed. I think the middle way would never work because everyone is different and has their own way of living. To think of others before yourself is nicer than thinking of yourself straight away. Some people will be rich and/or selfish and some people will be poor and/or kind – but we are all people so why turn away from each other?

Archie. It does make sense to me but right now I don’t think there will be a perfect world – maybe one day, but not now. I feel it could be realistic but with all the terror attacks going on right now it doesn’t look like it will happen any time soon. I think greed and selfishness are both problems and solutions in their own right. Greed can be good because some people says it gives the world new technology but bad because it causes bad actions like violence. Selfishness is good because in some people’s cases it causes success in life. Nina argues the same, saying ‘I think you shouldn’t have too much greed and selfishness… but a little greed is normal and natural’.

Faisal. I think the middle way is a great way to end fighting and I think it could end world war and create world peace. I think that nobody can change who they really are and that it is natural to be greedy and think of yourself before others.

Art in the summer sunshine

Year 6 spread themselves, in the summer sunshine, along the length of the school’s bamboo hedge and made beautiful monoprints of the bamboo, using the handle end of paint brushes and palette knives to scrape images of the stems and leaves onto an inky surface and then print onto white paper.  Here are  prints from Rayyan, Reaiah, Patrick, Faisal, Sonny, Sarafina, Nina, Olivia, Emily, Nathan and Sylvie.

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Ancient Chinese wisdom

We’ve been continuing learning about ways of thinking and living in China.  Here are some of 6CM’s interpretations of ancient proverbs from the Dao De Jing.

Dao de jing

The wise man is one who knows what he does not know

  • No-one knows everything in the world so we should learn. (Nathan)
  • If you think you know everything and don’t listen, you won’t know everything, because everyone has their own talents and life experiences, so everyone is worth listening to and an intelligent person will know that. (Emily)
  • It means that you might think you know a lot but there is more you need to know. (Reaiah)

The truth is not always beautiful nor beautiful words the truth.

  • It means the truth can be horrible.  And not everything is good.  It also means that just because something sounds the way you want it to sound, it does not mean it is true. (Jim)
  • I think that it means that the truth can be anything; maybe you won’t like the truth, but you have to accept it.  You can’t change it or shape it how you want it – it doesn’t have to be beautiful, but it’s still the only truth. (Sarafina)
  • When someone tells you something, it won’t always come out how you want it. (Nathan)

Do you have the patience to wait until the mud settles and the water is clear?

  • Sometimes your mind gets clouded up with things and feelings, which can be confusing, but if you wait, eventually things will settle and come clear and show you what to do.  (Ellie)

A journey of 1000 miles begins where you stand

  • Every journey has a beginning – no matter how far or how big it may seem, there is always a first step. (Nina)

Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill.  Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt

  • You can only do so much.  If you keep trying so hard to make it good, it will turn bad.  When you strive for perfection, it will never be perfect.   Everything has balance. You do this; this will happen. (Sarafina)
  • I think this means you should never have too much of anything, you should have the right amount of it and your life will be good.  Also, if you try too hard to find perfection your attempts might turn against you, making your life worse. (Olivia)

When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everyone will respect you.

  • Just be yourself around other people and then they will like you because you don’t try to change who you are. (Faisal)

He huffed and he puffed and was boiled alive…

Try to find time in independent learning to read and comment on the newspaper articles by Faisal, Patrick and Daisy.  Have they achieved the style and tone of a newspaper article? Can you spot use of the passive tense?

 

He huffed and he puffed and was boiled alive

by our crime reporter Faisal Amin

Yesterday, three little pigs were arrested for the murder of Mr B B Wolf, who was found dead in a cooking pot in the brick house belonging to the eldest little piggy.

It is understood that at 3:00 in the afternoon, Mr B B Wolf tried to enter the straw property, crafted by the smallest brother, Charles Pig.  When refused entry, Mr Wolf blew down the house leaving nothing standing.  Managing to escape, Charlie Pig ran off to the second brother (Alfred Pig), seeking refuge in his home.  

But not far behind, the wolf had followed the trail to his brother’s home,trying again to obtain access into the abode.  When they refused, he blew down this house too, again leaving nothing standing.

Neighbours report that they had then seen the two pigs escape to their eldest brother, Thomas’s house. They said that a wolf was chasing after the pigs, knocking on their door and demanding access.  Mr Wolf was then seen climbing into a chimney and, shortly afterwards, witnesses heard the disorientated howl of a wolf in pain and contacted the police to make sure no harm had been done.

We have spoken to the eldest pig, Alfred, who told us that Mr Wolf had been threatening them all day and that the boiling water was not put there on purpose.  “We were simply cooking dinner; it’s not our fault if he fell in,” they insisted.  

Mrs Wolf pleaded: “My husband would never harm anyone, nor blow up a house.”  She added: “He was a vegetarian and those unworthy pigs should receive nothing but a life sentence.”

Since the accident, people have been moved into brick houses to protect them and their family from danger.  Police are also rumoured to have taken a final look through Mr Wolf’s house and unexpectedly found three pieces of meat in his bins.  Police expect the trial to begin next week

 

The Death of Big Bad Wolf

by our crime correspondent Patrick Solis

Yesterday afternoon, three pigs were accused of the murder of Mr B B Wolf, who was found dead in a cooking pot at the house belonging to the eldest pig.  

It is understood that yesterday morning Mr B B Wolf visited a straw house that belonged to the youngest pig.  Witnesses report that the wolf threatened the pig with a huff and a puff and then blew the weak house down.  He ran next door to his brother’s house which was made of sticks but was followed by Mr Wolf. Once again, he huffed then he puffed and then he blew the house into a pile of rubble.

At this point, two pigs were seen fleeing from Mr B B Wolf so they could take refuge at their oldest brother’s house, which was made of bricks – but they were again followed by Mr Wolf.  He was again heard to be demanding to be let in but was again refused.  Unable to blow down the sturdy house of bricks, Mr Wolf was then seen climbing up the drain pipe and down the chimney.  The police were contacted by the neighbours when they heard a disturbing howl.

Five minutes later, an armoured police car arrived at the scene.  The police entered the house and they came out with a bag containing the body of Mr B B Wolf and were followed by the three Pig brothers in handcuffs.  

We spoke to the oldest pig brother who said he was sorry for boiling Mr Wolf alive but that it had been an accident.  “We were only making dinner when something fell into the pot,” he claimed.

Mrs B B Wolf was shocked when she found out about the death of her husband.  “He would never eat the pigs because he’s a vegetarian – and he isn’t that strong to blow a house down,” she affirmed.

The trial of the three pigs is set for two weeks’ time in London.  Meanwhile, relations between pigs and wolves are at an all-time low.

 

All a misunderstanding

by crime features editor Daisy Hogan

Yesterday afternoon, three pigs (Chase, 22; Jack, 24; and Jonathan, 28) were arrested for the murder of Mr B B Wolf.  

It is known that in the early afternoon of May 12, Mr Wolf visited Chase’s home.  Demanding to come in, but being refused, he blew the house down.  The young pig ran to his elder brother’s house where he stayed until he thought he was safe.  When he was shooed out by his sibling, horrible scowling was to be heard outside the small house.  Thinking he could gain access, Mr Wolf blew this house down too.

Neighbours report seeing the two pigs fleeing to Jonathan’s house.  However, Mr B B Wolf is reported to have turned up yet again to attempt blowing down the last of the pigs’ abodes.  When he was unable to do so, he apparently climbed down the chimney and found himself in a large cooking pot.

Within two minutes, armed police and police dogs were at the house.  A large body bag was taken out of the building with dripping contents.  Following were the three pigs, all in hand-cuffs.  

We spoke to the youngest pig and he claims that boiling Mrs Wolf was all a misunderstanding.  “We were simply making stew (other mother’s recipe) when he shot down our chimney!” he said.  “It was like he thought there was going to be a swimming pool at the bottom,” he added.  Mrs Wolf told us that her husband had asthma and could hardly blow up a balloon let alone a house.  “He has three pups on the way – I am sure he wouldn’t throw himself down a chimney!” she wailed.

The worst part is that small children had to witness the awful scene.  “I walked past my favourite neighbour’s house so he could help me plant my garden, only to see him taken out in handcuffs,” a six-year-old girl told us.

Most local pigs are moving out of Carosbury village because of the wolves.  After further investigation, it has been said that old bones have been disposed of in bins at Mr Wolf’s house.  

Macbeth’s sililoquy – the boys

The boys’ sililoquies have mostly not recorded well unfortunately – so here are just a few of them.

 

 

 

 

What have I become?
Have the three hags made me a monster? Nay, it was I who put the wicked forces upon me.
Will all the oceans clean me of this guilt?
No, but rather turn the sea incarnadine.
Blood begets blood: Duncan, now Macduff.
When will the noble blood stop spilling?
Even the throne does not b ring me happiness but instead melancholy.
Away Duncan! Away damn vision that haunts my eyes!
Life is but a candle melting away till the light goes.
It is not worth living.

Jim

 

What is happening to me?
Why have I slaughtered?
My veins are poisoned with desire to kill.
I was once a hero, then I committed treason.
My life is Scotland’s defeat.
Blood brings blood; why did I start this?
No matter.
What’s done is done.

Zeca

 

What have I turned into?
A great leader, loved and trusted by my men.
Now a shell of a man, diminished to king killer. My best friend, children, many innocent lives.
Taken because of my greed.
I am tortured by my deeds!
I don’t recognise the man I’ve become
These hands have become possessed. I have gone too far to be able to turn back.

Kyrell

 

What shall I be?
A killer of a warrior.
Forces of evil made me a king killer.
Will nothing get rid of the horror from my body?
Blood begets blood; first my king, then my friend, and then innocents.
The blood began to ooze into the river of my soul.
Is there no end to this slaughter?
This isn’t happiness; this is death.

Patrick

 

What have I become?
Is this regret in my eyes?
Why must I cause this endless violence?
Lady Macbeth and myself are strangers
These hands will never be rid of the blood of a king and best friend.
Greed has got the better of me and I shall suffer the consequences.
These damned visions will die with me.

Faisal

 

Nature versus nurture

We talked today about how we are shaped, as human beings, both by our genetic inheritance and by our environment (our life experiences and the choices that we make). reaiah

The children had to try to say which – genes or life experience – they thought was a more important influence on their development as a person.  Most thought it was their environment.

  • Zeca:  I personally think that the way you were born doesn’t matter.  The most important thing to me is nurture.
  • Sylvie:  I think the most important is probably environmental because it’s how you’re brought up that determines how happy you are or how your personality is built.
  • Faisal:  I think environment more than genes because you choose what you want to do and you choose the path you want to follow.
  • Sonny:  My life is more important than my genes.
  • Sarafina.  Environment shapes you as a person.  You kind of have a growth mindset if you believe in nurture.  If you don’t it’s a bit like you’re saying ‘I’m born this way and I can’t change it.’
  • Jim says that he’s grown up in a protective environment with caring parents.  He says, ‘Even if I had been born in a  troubled part of the world, and had the same parents, I would still be roughly who I am now.’
  • Nina gave this careful and balanced assessment:  I have inherited my mouth, teeth, nose, and eyebrows from my dad.  I got my eyes, hair colour and ears from my mum.  My parents both run and I think that I inherit half of that from them but I train and do a lot of cross country running to help…. and get lots of encouragement.   I personally think that you could be born with a talent and not practise or you could not be born with a talent but train really hard and succeed.  I think that envrionment and nurture is more important because it’s your choice of what to do or be.

Add your own thoughts by replying to this post.  

Bonus question: which member of the class has evolved from this young lady?

claire

 

Book reviewer of the week – Faisal

Here are some of Faisal’s lovely and quite personal reflections on some of the Rosendale Book Club 100 books.  If you’ve read these books, perhaps you could write Faisal a comment…

On The Wonderful Wizard of Oz:  “A story about a young girl from Kansas who gets transported to this magical and wonderful world were she meets a scarecrow, Tin man and then a lion. Together they all want one thing: courage, heart, brain, and a home, but the evil witch stands in their way.  This book is amazing because of all the wonderful colours and textures and I love how all of the storyline and plot come together in a wonderful magical world that was the first colour film.”

the-wonderful-wizard-of-oz-rbc

Faisal makes this perfect comment about Paddington.  “This book is about a bear called Paddington who is whisked away from darkest PERU to the hearts of the Brown family”

On Matilda:  “Matilda is a wonderful book that i think is referring to the wonderful world where you can do anything, achieve anything, and be anything.”

On The Hunger Games: “…a game about how we should just stop fighting…. just so everyone can end war between everyone and so it can make a better place of the world.”