Anchorage School District teachers at Bartlett High School are spending yet another taxpayer funded professional development day to train in Buddhist mindfulness prayer techniques on Feb. 18.
An email to teachers describing the event notes that mindfulness is an early teaching of the Buddha.
“In fact, the Buddha gave a set of instructions for meditation that became known as the Satipatthana Sutta, or ‘Discourse on the Establishing of Mindfulness,’” the email states. “And ‘right mindfulness’ is one of the steps of the “noble eightfold path,” the way taught by the Buddha, that would lead to “awakening.”
How the Buddhist prayer day will help teachers address Bartlett’s dismal academic performance is unclear. The school ranks near the bottom in terms of student math and reading scores in Alaska. Click here for details.
Throughout the in-service day, Anchorage teachers will sit under the spiritual tutelage of a former Buddhist monk, Brother Dave Kenneally, who imparts similar religious instruction around the nation. He is an ordained member of the Order of Interbeing – a community of monastics and lay people who commit to live in accord with Buddhist mindfulness practices.
According to the staff email, Kenneally provided initial Buddhist mindfulness training sessions to Bartlett teachers this past October. On Feb. 18 he will be at the school for four hours, both for group meditation sessions and personal one-on-one training for up to 30 teachers.