This year, over 20 monks and nuns from diverse Buddhist communities in the Auckland region communities have been enjoying the opportunity to improve their English and meet each other. The monastics are based at temples and small centres around the Auckland region, and connected with immigrant communities from places such as Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Taiwan. Rukman Wagachchi from the Buddhist Council organised the classes, which were held at the Srilankaramaya temple in Otahuhu.
The Level One English class was free for learners with Permanent Residency (12 participants had PR and 17 participants did not). Classes ran two days a week, Tuesdays & Thursdays for half a day each week from April to August 2017. Tutors from the Manukau Institute of Technology taught the course, and they were briefed about how to treat the monastics respectfully.
One of the great benefits from of the course was that monks and nuns in temples and small centres around NZ are often quite isolated. They really appreciated the opportunity to make friends with each other while learning day-to-day English.
Rukman reports: “The number of participants increased to 29 due to the popularity, usefulness and participant recommendations, and of course the teaching styles giving due respect to Sangha. We are so happy about the space created to build the unity among Sangha and connections we & they all made.”
NZBC is considering running a similar level 1 course as well as level 2 next year. For this to be viable, we will need commitment from at least 12 monastics with permanent residency. Note that any monks and nuns without PR who want to participate will need to someone to pay their fees.
Also, Rukman is also arranging for a First Aid course in 2018, and the Buddhist Council hopes to subsidise fees for monks/nuns.
For more information about the English classes and the First Aid course, please contact Rukman Wagachchi at email@example.com. The tutors came from the Customised Learning and Development Centre (CLDC) of the Manukau Institute of Technology.