NEW DELHI: Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama, along with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, launched ‘The Happiness Curriculum’ at an event held today at Thyagaraj complex, New Delhi.
A landmark initiative of the Delhi Government, the Happiness Curriculum will be introduced in all the 1,000 government schools in the state, focussing on student’s inner health and happiness.
Chief guest of the ceremony, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said, “India is the only country that can bring together modern education and ancient Indian knowledge. This is needed to deal with the destructive emotions in the world.
“So what is being started in Delhi schools can have an impact on the whole world,” he said. “What we need in the world today is an education of values, not based on any religion, but based on common sense and scientific knowledge”.
While congratulating the Delhi government on taking the lead in holistic education, His Holiness said deeper attention must be paid on understanding human emotions and mind, mainly, the ancient Indian tradition.
“You already started with this effort through this Happiness curriculum. Now on the deeper level, you should include some curriculum on Human psychology,” He added that Tibetan monastic students and scholars could contribute in reviving this knowledge in Indian educational institutions. Our aim is to achieve and develop compassion and happiness, in order to achieve that, we need more knowledge about the whole system of emotions. It takes at least 6 months or 1 year study. Our Buddhist students will volunteer to serve you”.
“We Tibetan refugee community have over 10,000 monk students who have been studying the texts for 20 or 30 years. These are the present source of the ancient Indian knowledge. I called them to this meeting so, in future, we could have some kind of teacher’s training. In Dharamshala, I discussed with local government college and we already have some teacher’s training program. So here also, some kind of teacher’s training could be organised.
He said the ancient Indian practices for cultivating a calmly abiding mind (shamatha) and insight (vipashyana) gave rise to a deep and subtle understanding of the workings of the mind. “In addition, ancient Indian knowledge encouraged compassion and non-violence (karuna and ahimsa). These are the basis of India’s remarkable sense of religious pluralism, with many religious traditions living together in harmony—demonstrating vividly that it is possible to do so.
“Although accounts of this and ways to tackle our destructive emotions are laid out in Buddhist texts, there is no reason why we can’t extract that knowledge and examine it in a secular academic way. Methods for tackling our destructive emotions are very relevant in today’s world. They don’t involve temples, rituals or prayers, but a rational education on a secular basis.
Addressing the launch, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said, “Today is a landmark day. Today we begin a complete transformation of the modern education system.”
“This should have been done 100-150 years ago. We forgot the real meaning of education. Our education system only generates clerks and failed in making kids better humans,” he said.
Deputy CM, Manish Sisodia, who is also the Education Minister said the main objective behind the inclusion of this curriculum in schools, is to make sarvagun sampann (versatile) professionals and human beings who could serve the society with happiness. “It is going to be the most important development in the education system with a focus on good mental health, character and resilience. It will address the ever-growing concern levels of happiness and well being.
“The effect of this involving 10 lakh students and around 50,000 teachers can be imagined. It is our belief that the modern day problems like terrorism, corruption and pollution can be solved through schools and a human-centric education,” Deputy CM said.
The Happiness Curriculum will be taught to around eight lakh students – right from nursery up to class 8, of all the Delhi government schools starting in July. The daily Happiness Class of 45 minutes will include mindfulness practice, gratitude, morals and value-based stories and activities. The curriculum was designed and prepared by a team of 40 Delhi government teachers, educators and volunteers over a period of six months, he said.
“After ten years or so, these children will become professionals like doctors and engineers filled with happiness and serve the society,” Sisodia said.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal presented His Holiness a portrait executed by an art teacher. In return, His Holiness offered auspicious emblems and white scarves to the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister. His Holiness then joined the Chief Minister and members of his cabinet over lunch, after which Chief Minister Kejriwal and Dy CM Sisodia walked with His Holiness to his car to see him off.
The ministers of Delhi government, besides a large number of educators and officials of Education Directorate of Delhi government, had attended the launch event.
His Holiness will depart for Ladakh tomorrow.