This weekend I visited the Brighton Dharma School – a small fee paying primary school with a Buddhist philosophy (Dharma).
I talked with friendly school staff and parents present at their open day, and was impressed by what I heard and saw. The children there meditate having started with very brief periods, though this is just a small part of the Brighton Dharma School curriculum.
In the past I have been somewhat sceptical of faith-based education concerned that it creates further division in society and seeks only to brainwash children. This was not the impression I walked away with from the Dharma School, whose happy children were perhaps its best advertisement.
The Dali Lama is a patron of the school and there was a talk on the day by representatives of the Shambhala
and Friends of the Western Buddhist Order
– two of the many Buddhist groups with a presence in Brighton. I went “shopping for Buddhism” when I first moved to Brighton and we are really spoilt for choice.
The Bodhi gardens – tucked away down a back alley in the Laines areas of Brighton is one of Brighton’s hidden gems*. Here groups from diverse Buddhist traditions practice, including The Forest Sangha group which is the best place to meet wonderful women in town (OK, I probably shouldn’t generalise but I did meet my lovely lady there). If you have an interest in Buddhism and live locally I’d recommend the Bodhi Gardens groups and the open day at the Friends Meeting House Saturday September 13th.
* check out the art gallery and shop opposite while you’re there…