Rajamangala University of Technology Thanyaburi took its incoming first-year students on a field trip to Panya Nantaram Temple, Pratumthani Province, in order to introduce them to moral education and Buddhist values.
“Today’s society is heavily influenced by materialism and westernization,” said Assoc. Prof. Chalaat Sawangchaeng, Deputy Dean of Student Affairs. “Modern technologies, such as social media, allow easier access to these influences. Sharing personal information without awareness may bring more harm than good. As a way to help the students develop important skills that may help protect them against these influences, the university decided to bring them on this field trip, which aims to enhance their self-awareness and moral values,” he added.
The content focused on building concentration and self-awareness skills for first-year students, using three main activities, including: introduction to temple living; Buddhist mannerism; and development of insights. In the evenings, students participated in moral studies as well as carried out duties of Buddhist citizens. These activities introduced the students to a slower pace of life and development of moral responsibility and duty, with an emphasis on the five Buddhist precepts and concept of compassionate love.
“I helped take care of the underclassmen and distribute food during meal time, and through these and other activities, I learned to love and offer moral support to underclassmen. At our Faculty (Faculty of Liberal Arts), we are like a big family that helps each other out,” said Wariya Im-udom, third-year student in the English for International Communication program.
“I have never attended any dharma practice at temples, although I have visited temples for merit-making and to help out with cleaning duties, such as cleaning the bathrooms and sweeping the floor. This trip has taught me to get in touch with silence and concentrate on each moment,” said Nakarin Chaowanklang, first-year student in the same program.
Like her classmates, Duangglom Kumkaew said that this was her first time staying overnight at a temple. “I learned to live with a large number of people and to meditate. The abbot offered his advice on thinking before acting and development of patience as a way to adjust to living with others.