La Otra Orilla-Other Shore

Zen in the Classroom

Children and Teachers were enthusiastic and very appreciative of this first encounter with the Zen tradition and its practice.

Traditional Tea Bowl presented to 3rd graders at "1ero de Mayo" Public Elementary School. México.

All teachers were excited at the possibility of offering something fresh in their classroom that could foster mindfulness, confidence and balance in their students. These crucial aspects of their development are unfortunately generally absent in the traditional yearly curriculum.  As you can see in the following pictures, the presentation varies according to the age group and the specific interest of the welcoming school. With younger kids it is important to keep the energy moving by standing up at times and doing some breathing exercises or Chi Kung.

"Picking Stars" Chi Kung excercise. Courtesy of Korin Treya M. Forlenza. Thank You!

Everybody wants to see the Rakusu up close!

With older children there was a focus on non-western history and the shared myths of prehispanic México and Japan. The two myths of why and how both cultures see a rabbit in the moon were discussed. We recognized that both stories involve the sacrifice of one´s life out of love and compassion for others: the rabbit´s sacrifice in the japanese myth and the uneducated warrior in the prehispanic myth. In both cases they threw themselves into a fire pit. The mind capable of such act is presented as inherent to all of us and as the base of all traditional japanese art forms or "ways".

Eight Graders at "Colegio Gandhi". México City.

An Art teacher also opened her classroom doors in all her High school groups. In this setting, the presentation revolved around their monthly project. In the 11th Grade they were working on ceramic plates with planet Earth, so the discussion revolved around Roshi´s Astronaut friend and how all his previous ideas about life on earth disappeared once he could see that amazing blue marble floating in empty space. Surrounded by empty space. We imagined how that would be for us, how would our ceramic plates look then, and then discussed the possibility of actually coming close to such an experience through a quiet mind. 

In the 12th Grade class they were working with prayer flags. All very inspired and in deep questioning.We had a wonderful time together and have many plans for future workshops. Can´t wait to do it soon and hear about your ideas! 

The art room at "Sequoia Public High school", Redwood City CA. Thank you!!!


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