Seventh grade Religious Studies classes have been studying Buddhism and the life of Buddha and, laying the foundation for a service learning partnership in Nepal, the birthplace of Buddha. Like the Buddha, whose road to enlightenment began only after he left his cloistered life, this experience exposes students to a reality far removed from their own, offering new perspectives and insights.
Through a partnership with the dZi (pronounced: ZEE) Foundation, students have joined an effort to rebuild Sisu Secondary School in Maheshwori, Nepal by making and selling bracelets featuring the sacred dZi bead. The students' goal is to raise $10,000 for the project. The bracelets were recently available at the MS holiday show and until the next formal sale they can be purchased for $20 from the students directly. Each bracelet includes a student-written summary on the meaning of the bead and significance of the project, both of which they are encouraged to share with every buyer.
The traditional dZi beads are made from agate stone and hold deep spiritual meaning throughout the Himalaya mountain range countries. The beads in our students' bracelets have been sent to us from Kathmandu and while not blessed in the traditional Nepalese fashion, they have been given a blessing by students meditating over them in the Garden of Hope.
Students took the stones, that are believed to be "heavenly stones" not made by man, but created by the Gods, in their hands and said a blessing, imbuing the bead with a desired quality, like peacefulness. Traditionally, it is believed they bring luck, ward off evil, protect the wearer from physical harm, and that the bead itself will choose its owner.
Sisu Secondary School, our chosen sister school, was destroyed in the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Nepal in April 2015, killing thousands and destroying countless buildings. The rebuilt school will be fortified to be earthquake resistant. After the two-room schoolhouse is built, SD students will continue to build their connection to the Nepalese students by sending school supplies, letters, pictures, and videos.
Be on the look out for announcements of when the bracelets will be sold or take a moment to learn about the project by buying a bracelet directly from a seventh grade student!