Satish Kumar. Holistinis ugdymas: mokymasis visa savo esybe

thank you very much for your welcome and it is a great pleasure for me to be in Hong Kong again second time and speak here and teach at kadoorie farm and botanic garden I am NOT an educationist but I’m interested in education and I would like to start with a simple understanding of the word education what is the meaning of the word education we have I think forgotten it we are treating our children or students in the universities like this as if they are empty baskets and we are to fill that basket with lot of knowledge a lot of information a lot of ideas and so on but the meaning of the word education is not to fill an empty bucket the meaning of education is to bring out what is in their Educare the word latin word edge’ khari is to lead out to bring out what is in the child in the person so education never stops at school or university education is a lifelong process and you are all the time learning to bring out what is inside you now this is a very profound word a very profound meaning just of this word and the meaning of this word you can write a whole book how in your whole life you are going to bring out what is inside you so I generally give example that a student a learner is not an empty basket or a bucket but a seed now if you look at an apple seed it’s very tiny seed welcome from Beijing professor has traveled a long way from Beijing I was your guest last year at your universities I remember our meeting so thank you for coming it’s all right I’ve just started so I started to speak about the meaning of the word education and I was thinking that take a seat for example an apple seed tiny apple seed small so bitter that you can’t eat it and if it by chance mistake it comes between your teeth you don’t like it you spit it out if you break that seed there’s nothing in it to your two eyes but if you imagine properly the whole tree is in that and not only the whole tree in that seed but thousands upon thousands of apples year after year after year for 50 years which will come out of that tiny seed now the work of a gardener or orchard keeper is not to tell the seed how to become an apple tree and this is what mostly our teachers doing the work of a gardener an orchard keeper is to provide right conditions good soil good water good sunshine good steak a little fence maybe protection so that that seed can develop into a tree what this orchard keeper is doing loving the seed caring for the seed devoting himself or herself to the seed now for me these are very simple but very

beautiful metaphor for education every child and for that matter every human being each and every one of us are born with a potential like every seed has a potential an acorn has potential to become a mighty oak tree so each and every one of us have come here with our own particular potential and hopefully we get some help from schools from our teachers from our colleges from our universities from our parents hopefully we get some help like an orchard keeper helps a seed of course in the rain forest you don’t need an orchard keeper if you are born a tribal society but he will not need colleges and universities the holy universe will be your university your whole natural world will be your book of may however we are in this civilized world so hopefully our teachers and our parents will help us to follow a journey go on a journey of adventure to discover ourselves who we are education is a journey of self-realization nothing less what we have turned education into and we are spending millions upon millions if not billions of dollars and palms and gems and euros and whatnot on building these great universities but what but we have what we have done we have reduced the meaning of education to getting a degree passing the exam so that you can go and find a job in an office sit in front of a computer we are given no idea that you are born in this world with a particular potential and what is that your potential is your journey to discover to find out so this is this is the meaning that I want you to remember when you are thinking about holistic education now we are born in this body beautiful body amazing architecture of this body amazing magical mysterious design of this body what we have in this body we have brain mind mind is bigger than brain might permeate throughout the body but bone brain generally is somewhere in our head or in our glance but we are born with brain with mind with heart with imagination with creativity and then we go to university and say no no your body rest of your body in just a vehicle baby an excuse to look after your head so our education has been reduced to learning what in England we call I don’t know the British colonial time also influenced Hong Kong education but in Britain they say the purpose of Education and the responsibility of the schools and the teachers is to teach three RS reading writing arithmetic and those 3 R’s are learnt through your head so your imagination your creativity your soul your spirit your heart your mind they’re all and your hands and your body are all irrelevant to our education our education main purpose is to train your brain teach your head head education how to read how to write and how to add they are not actually 3 R’s arithmetic C’s

it’s not spelled with our but never mind now if you want to if you want to focus on holistic education then we have to replace three hours with three HS we have two or maybe four H’s of many more edges but to start with three inches we have to educate our head of course I’m not against learning reading writing arithmetic writing books all that is fine no problem but that’s not enough we need to also educate our heart head heart and also we need to educate our hands because if your heart is not trained not educated not developed how are you going to deal with any relationships in your life and the key to our life is relationships we are not like Rene Descartes the French philosopher said cogito ergo sum I think therefore I am that was a completely misguided philosophy of materialistic dualistic kind we are members of a part of the web of relationships I don’t live in my head I live in my relationships I’m speaking to you not just because I have some ideas in your head but because you are here the audience is here I’m speaking because my teachers taught me something I’m speaking to you because my mother and father brought me in this world I’m here because the soil the Earth Mother Earth has been holding me on her body and feeding me with food and the air and the water and the sunshine and the ancestors so I’m not just head I am an amalgam of relationships once I met a great philosopher called Gregory Bateson and he said to me Satish what do you have in your hand you have five fingers I said what a question there’s a great philosopher asking me we have five fingers yes of course I have five fingers he said no Satish you don’t have five fingers I said what do you mean one two three four at least I can count five the five fingers they said no you don’t have fighting what do I have he said you have four relationships what a beautiful metaphor in nutshell he was trying to teach me that everything is based in relationships how are you going to deal with relationships with your friends with your parents with your with your wife with your children with your natural surroundings with your trees with the animals and birds around you how are you going to deal with the day-to-day relationship in the world if schools don’t help you to develop that aspect of your life the universities don’t pay any attention to this aspect of our lives then education is not enough it’s not complete so we need to train our heart how we can feel compassion how can we feel love how can we feel generosity even how we can deal with sorrow and loss and any other negative feelings that we might face in our lives education has to be part of it and then I mean I can go on just talking about education of heart whole lecture but I will move further because we are going to talk about whole being and our schools and universities are producing thousands upon thousands of young people completely be skilled I was recently

reading in a British newspaper that 15% of graduates coming out of the Sixth Form College and coming into universities 15 percent of them don’t know how to boil an egg we do not know anything other than maybe how to use a mobile phone or how to use a computer keyboard hands are a magical gift to us through these hands with our heart and imagination coordinated we can transform ourselves and we can transform any material we touch we can take a piece of clay and with these two hands we can turn it into a beautiful pot we can take a piece of stone or better and we can take the beautiful sculpture you can sow the seeds in the ground put some compost with your hands and water the seed with your hands and see that seed grow into a tree if we do not teach our young people to use their hands what is good of just using your mobile phones and computer keyboard I am not against technology I am NOT against mobile phone or computers if you want to use them good luck to you but that is not enough you are not going to discover yourself who you are the true meaning of the word education you are not going to get self-realization and be who you are if you don’t develop your heart skills if you don’t develop your hand skills if you don’t develop your creativity and imagination you are just coming out of the University and looking for a job you are missing out so simple this is not a big science or big philosophy that I’m talking to you until it is so common sense unfortunately common sense is no longer common that I have to speak these very elementary ideas and so what we need is to realize who we are there was a great another great philosopher this time Indian philosopher called ananda coomaraswamy and he said a very beautiful sentence which really stuck in my memory he said an artist is not a special kind of person but every person is a special kind of artist we are all artists and the greatest art is not painting a picture or building a house or seeing a song or dancing on the stage the greatest art is art of living and all the other arts dance music painting sculpturing architecture gardening cooking making clothes making shoes all the other arts they’re all arts and crafts and I don’t make a big distinction between the arts and the clouds they are twin sisters they go side by side now artists had to be craft person and a crafts person has to be also an artist if you have imagination and creativity and you were using your hands you are coordinating your hands with your with your imagination then you are an artist and a craft person together so we are all potentially artists but our education does not only not help us to bring out our true artist it actually discourages education really played a negative role of dampening down suppressing and conditioning our mind that the only only way you can succeed in your life is to get a good

that’s your success get a few papers published get a few names a bit of Fame maybe something reported about you in the newspaper or your book is reviewed so minimal extremely minimal so we need to have a broader a bigger picture of Education the education is for self-realization and self-realization is not returning into the self but bringing self out of the self if the seed is remade only within itself and you put it on the mantel shelf and put a candle around it and a little lamp beside it and worship it that seed will never be a tree it has to come out and the Apple is successful and self realized only when that apple tree is able to feed everyone who comes to it unconditionally the apple tree never has any condition if you want to learn about unconditional love unconditional giving unconditional generosity there’s no better teacher and I’m sure there are wonderful teachers in this room who my honor there is no greater teacher to teach you the unconditional compassion than an apple tree or a or a tree you go to an effort tree I mean this is in England autumn and I am living in England so I only know what is happening there I don’t know what fruit you are growing here but at this moment we have apples galore and I’m talking more about apples because I’m a small orchard keeper myself I have 15 apple trees and every week our making apple juice with a hand press so and if you have not drunk the real freshly squeezed apple juice you don’t know what really apple juice tastes like you have to try it it’s nectar it’s out of this world the taste is something you cannot imagine how delicious it is so if you go to an apple tree it never asks you have you come with your Visa card or American Express card it gives you apples without any charge without any discrimination without any condition whether you are poor or rich never mind what a saint or a sinner nevermind you have apples for a human or a bird never mind a wasp a bee never mind have a apples what generosity what unconditional giving now we can learn that by studying nature our universities and our schools have no time for nature what we study about nature about nature about nature not from nature and when you are study about nature mostly because you don’t want to go out in nature because with too cold or too rainy or too wet or too messy or too unclean or why I can watch nature on television I can Google please you cannot learn about nature by looking at a screen or in a pretty beautifully illustrated marvelous pictures they may be but that’s not the real learning you have to be in the nature in when you go and walk along the river or walk by the sea or you go in the forest like the Botanical Garden kadoorie farm and a botanical garden and you walk uphill and the experience you have our universities and schools are filling us with knowledge but depriving us from the experience and knowledge without experience is incomplete when you know something in your head but when you

experience it in your body in your heart in your senses through your eyes through your smell through your tastes through touching you experience it your knowledge is truly realized enhanced completed because you have created a relationship it’s not a study of object there and Nature has been turned into an object an object of study I were to I want to know about nature so that how I can explore nature for my benefit how I can conquer nature that has been the the project of many many schools and universities of our modern era how to conquer nature how to control nature science technology and many other other disciplines have been busy at knowing nature so that they can control it they can conquer it they can use it we have been given this idea that somehow human beings are so wonderful as so special that we can exploit the rest of natural world for our benefit for our use we can do what we like as if the the kind of human imperialism we are the rulers of the world and all the other species – human species are almost our slaves they are at our service they have to meet the human needs this that has been the project of industrial economic growth unlimited economic growth I think if you are looking for truly sustainable holistic education that worldview of conquering nature has to be challenged and we have to replace that view with living in partnership with nature living in relationship with nature all the species upon this earth are our kith and kin in Sanskrit in Indian philosophy we say what should I report become the whole earth is our family the whole earth is our community the art community is the primary community and all the best species on this earth are our kith and kin our friends we are in partnership we are in relationship with all the natural world and in that relationship we give and we take it’s a reciprocity reciprocity is the most fundamental principle in the universe and so but at this moment there is no reciprocity humans take take take and give very little and what they give is pollution and climate change and global warming so this is this was the philosophy which was behind many great philosophers and thinkers and Mahatma Gandhi started a school a number of schools in India on these principles have been that a girl who was a great poet in India he started his school on these principles and he started his school he held classes under the trees he said to teach children pupils you have two teachers one human teacher myself but the other is this great tree the tree is your teacher and my mother used to go even further than that she used to say that nature is the greatest teacher even greater than the Buddha and I used to say to my mother mother that can’t be true because in India we think Buddha is the greatest teacher there’s nobody can be greater than the Buddha how can we challenge that then my mother would say but dear boy where did Buddha get his enlightenment while sitting under a tree and nowadays we don’t get any enlightenment because we don’t sit under the tree and so what he learned from nature what he learned from tree how the clouds and the sunshine and the birds and the soil how everything is connected how everything is related

everything is related and connected that interdependence that interconnectedness that reciprocity that Buddha learned and he coined the phrase codependent arising everything and is dependent on each other that codependent that interdependence the fundamental Buddhist philosophy comes from that interdependence of all living beings and that’s why the the greatest teaching of the Buddha is compassion because we are all interrelated we are all into beings as technolon teaches all we are all inter beings so we have to be compassionate to each other will you be compassionate to your children will you not be compassionate to your parents will you not be compassionate to your friends because you are related to them in the same way if we are related to all living beings we have to be compassionate to all living beings and when we receive gifts from nature from life like apples and other food and clothes and wood and houses everything we say thank you mother earth we don’t take it as if it was our light to take it we take it as a matter of gratitude with gratitude we say thank you thank you nature thank you son thank you rain Thank You soil for producing this food Thank You gardener thank you even earthworms if there were no art worms working under the soil there were no food so I always say long live the earthworms Thank You earthworms and thank you the gardener’s and thank you the cook and thank you the host thank you the guests with that gratitude all around I take this food and only what is my real need wholesome food I’ll talk about it tomorrow about food but wholesome food I take it what is I me but what is my need and no more and no waste that is fundamental to education so education has to be liberated from this narrow thinking of books and and computers and and books and computers and whatever else screen television screen and it has to go out in nature in community the human community and in nature community if we can go out and bring that knowledge with us then you leave University and recently I was in Bhutan the Bhutanese government is on a wonderful path or not gross domestic product not gross to a product but Gross National Happiness G&P not GNP but G and H Gross National Happiness and I was speaking in the university in in Thimphu and the students asked me what do you advise us for education for happiness when we leave University what we should be doing I said I have a very small but with provocative suggestion what is your suggestion I said when you leave University don’t seek a job and they said what do you mean how can we live without having a job we have to have a job otherwise what’s the point of going to university I think that’s my point you are not going to university to get a job leave your university and create your job but in Buddhist language we say create your livelihood and a livelihood is a great deal of different then job employment when you become employee of somebody then you have to follow the orders of the employer more or less because you cannot be really your own creator you cannot follow your own heart and your own imagination and sometimes there are wonderful employers and they will allow your freedom to use your imagination but if you work in factories and offices and big corporations and big banks they are rule-bound the bigger the corporation bigger the organization bigger the bank bigger the rules rule book tick little books and here the follow rules when will you have a chance to develop your own spiritual and your own ethical your own imaginative and your own artistic self and so I said to students go and create your job create

your livelihood be your own master do not serve any other master than the greatest mass and actually that latest masters in your heart so follow your heart create your job our education should be to make young people self-reliant University graduates would come out and say oh now I know how to live now I know what to do I have been well equipped I’ve been well trained and well educated now I can good in the world and live my life happily and joyfully and not look for please give me a job one job 200 applications are nobody gives me a job I’m unemployed what’s good of that University which is made you so ill-equipped that you cannot create a job so that’s a greatest challenge for University of Hong Kong and University of Beijing and University of London and and Harvard and Cambridge challenge is that none of the producing ill-equipped young people equip them with imagination creativity skills ideas heart relationship they will go out of the world and be joyful and happy but today our university graduates come out and make a mess of the world the biggest problems in our world are created by highly educated people who took us I’m talking about England who took us to war in Iraq Tony Blair do you know where he went to university Oxford what’s good of such a University where you lead hundred thousand killed any luck and who was the other partner mr Bush where he went Yale University very famous very big so it is not enough to be educated in the universities we have to ask what kind of education you are getting are you getting education to enhance the world to make the world beautiful to make the world peaceful to make the world joyful or are you going to make a mess of the world of economy of war of peace of many many other things I mean who runs the World Bank who runs IMF who is the finance minister of Greece highly educated who is a finance minister of of Portugal and and Italy and who is the finance minister of United States of America fourteen trillion dollars debt and they say we are the biggest economy in the world we spend seven hundred billion dollars on our military was good of that if you are in debt and they are asking China to bail them out what kind of education we have created so we have to ask some searching questions and I’m being candid and open to you I’m speaking from my heart there’s no point in mixing and and also hedging my bet I want to speak to you that we need a revolution in our educational system so that other graduates who come from the university go out in the world and make work a beautiful place to live as much as possible and not this mess messing economy messing environment no peace economic problem peace and war problem poverty problem all these problems we face today if education can not take responsibility and lead to solve these problems who is going to take those responsibilities so it is a great challenge for us and so holistic education is to take up that challenge and redesign our educational system in such a way that’s a holistic whole your body your mind your brain your head your heart your hands your whole body and your relationships with the world then I think we can create a new kind of education thank you very much