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“Comedy 4 Karma” Raises Funds for Daylesford Dharma School

On Saturday 4 October, Daylesford Dharma School held a fund-raiser entitled “Comedy 4 Karma” at Daylesford Town Hall—a night of big names, big laughs, and good karma—raising much-needed funds for the first officially recognized Buddhist school in Australia. One of only three schools of its type in the world, Daylesford Dharma School is committed to its investment in compassionate education to develop a kinder and more peaceful world.“Comedy 4 Karma” featured well-known professional comedians such as Hannah Gradsby, Sammy J & Randy, Anne Edmonds, and Xavier Michelides, and MC Dave O’Neill, who generously donated their talent, time, and energy. Commenting on the fund-raiser, Joel Hines, school principal since 2013 and board member since 2009 as well as a practising Buddhist for nearly eight years, said, “The ‘Comedy 4 Karma’ event was a resounding success, and a fabulous time was had by all of the more than 200 people in attendance. We raised over AUS$7,000. We are so grateful to our comedians for donating their precious time and expertise, and also to Daylesford Town Hall and the Larder Restaurant [which gave discounts to ticket holders] for being part of the big night.”
Daylesford Dharma School, a primary school situated about 90 minutes west of Melbourne, was founded by Venerable Geshe Konchok Tsering and opened in 2009 under the spiritual mentorship of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. “I consider education to be an instrument. Whether that instrument is used rightly or wrongly depends on our basic human motivation,” states His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the school’s website. “When we are motivated by compassion and wisdom the results of our actions benefit everyone.”
“The emphasis of this school is to teach the noble qualities of loving kindness and universal responsibility,” explained Venerable Geshe Konchok Tsering. “We are not trying to change these children, but to awaken and nurture their own deepest qualities—their innate sense of loving kindness and compassion, and their own natural tendency towards positive behavior.”
Joel Hines is enthusiastic about the school’s current situation and the future: “When the school opened in 2009, we had 15 students. This year [we have] 45, and so far, we have over 60 students enrolled for 2015. Some families have even moved to this area to be near the school. This week we began our fourth, and final, term of 2014, and all the staff feel fortunate and blessed to be part of it. We are also looking to open a high school in the near future.”Daylesford Dharma School offers an education based on Buddhist principles, with a curriculum emphasizing academic achievement informed by time-honored Buddhist practices, including mindfulness, conflict resolution, care for the environment, and compassion for all sentient beings. This open-minded approach has proved to be highly effective, resulting in levels of academic achievement that exceed Australian standards.Buddhism has been called a “science of the mind” because of its quality of reasoning. Daylesford students develop their intelligence through critical thinking and awareness, informed by compassion and universal responsibility, in recognition of the interdependent nature of all life. Courses in literacy, numeracy, social studies, and science and technology support the students in their pursuit of excellence.

The school conforms to the Victorian Essential Learning Standards and is open to everyone, regardless of religious or philosophical belief.
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