Does the FRIENDS Program Involve Meditation?
The Government of British Columbia (Canada) website promotes the FRIENDS program. They also encourage BC teachers to contact their local FRIENDS Liason and adopt the program (Fun FRIENDS, FRIENDS for Life, or My FRIENDS Youth) into their classrooms. The above-noted Government of BC web page features a title heading that says: “FRIENDS Program in B.C. Schools.” And below that heading, is a video (and several PDF’s). To the general public, their featured video advertises FRIENDS as something very secular and unassuming. It doesn’t mention Buddhism, spirituality, or the word “meditation.” But, if you fast-forward to the 3:00 point in the video (see screenshot below), children are meditating with their eyes closed and seated in the Sukhasana meditation position. This screenshot additionally shows these folks holding their hands in the Vitarka Mudra position (with thumbs touching their forefingers). According to this website, the Vitarka Mudra (which is featured on statues of Buddha) symbolizes Buddha teaching the dharma, and the circle formed with the fingers represents the Law of Buddha. Additionally, this website says (in the fourth paragraph) “mudras induce the deity to be near the worshiper.”
Recommended reading: Huffington Post (09.11.2015) I disagree with this author on a few points. For example, I respectfully disagree that Mindfulness can be secularized and detached from Buddhism. I think one only needs to look at the cover photo on this article to see that a mindfulness session = Buddhist Meditation. I recommend this article because it suggests the notion that some teachers could be tempted to use Mindfulness Meditation as a means to sedate children, and cause them to fall in line.
tag: problems with mindfulness, social emotional learning, obey. And, problems with mindfulness, in public schools.
tag: meditation in schools
Promo video: I featured this video on my change.org petition for several months. It shows me speaking on camera, summarizing Mindfulness and the problem with Mindfulness Meditation in schools. The video also shows children engaged in Mindfulness Meditation and some CBC archival footage of Peter Mansbridge circa 1980’s. Stayed tuned for more info regarding meditation in schools.
tag: mindfulness vancouver
News coverage: On November 19, 2016, the Vancouver Sun published an article regarding our Mindfulness Petition and another person’s campaign against Aboriginal smudging, in Canadian public schools.
tag: mindfulness vancouver, social emotional learning
News coverage: On October 4, 2016, Global News Vancouver aired a full News segment regarding our Mindfulness Petition. Around the time this story aired, I expanded the petition to include all Mindfulness-oriented programs across Canada.
tag: mindfulness petition, social emotional learning
Before launching this campaign, I sent a letter to the Vancouver School Board (o5.2016). In my letter to them, I kindly outlined how Mindfulness sessions at my child’s public school equated to Guided Meditation and Buddhist Meditation. I also supplied evidence of that fact, and I showed excerpts of the law which show that it unlawful to legislate things like meditation, in Canada. I kindly asked for their help in removing Mindfulness Meditation from my child’s public elementary school. In June 2016, I received a reply from them (see below). In their letter, they denied that Mindfulness sessions involve meditation and they denied that Mindfulness has any association to Buddhism. The Vancouver School Board was unwilling to consider my evidence, and that led to my launching an online petition through change.org, that same month. tag: stop mindfulness legislation
tag: stop mindfulness legislation, social emotional learning