School visits

We are happy to host school parties here at the monastery. We can also come to visit you if preferred. Visits are organised and led by English monk Venerable Manapo, who ordained at the Hermitage in 2001. He has been teaching schoolchildren since about 2002 and is also the Buddhist representative for the Warwickshire and Coventry SACREs. 

To discuss things further and to arrange a visit, please email: [email protected]

Bringing a group to the Hermitage

How many children can visit?
We can accommodate groups of up to 60 primary school children and 40 secondary school children.

How long would a visit last?
Visits usually last from 60 – 90 minutes. Afternoons are preferable.

What happens during a visit to the Hermitage?
A typical visit is hosted in the main shrine room and, depending on how much the children already know, will generally include the following: introduction to the place, explanation of the items on the shrine, brief account of the Buddha’s life and principle teachings, introduction to the life of a monk, a short period of meditation (mindfulness of breathing and loving-kindness) and a period of questions and answers. To finish, we usually walk around the grounds. If the children already have a good grasp of the basics of Buddhism, we will give more time to the Q&A session. If there are certain topics that you’d like addressed, we can discuss this beforehand.

Are there forms of etiquette to be observed at the monastery?
Yes, there are. Please click here for more information.

Is there a cost?
No – there is no charge.

Can we contribute in any other way?
Sometimes a school will arrange a vegetarian food hamper, often made up of things given by the children. Not only will this help us, but it will also tie in nicely with what will be said during the visit about the practice of generosity and of the monks’ dependency on the lay-community. There is a list of useful items here.

What about parking?
Although we have a car park, it is too small for coaches, and so the children will need to be dropped off at the gate. There are a few lay-bys on the lane where the coach or mini-bus can park.

Are there any hazards we should be aware of?
Not really. There is a small, shallow pond which the children will walk past when they tour the grounds, but this is set well back from the path. Apart from that there is nothing out of the ordinary. 

I home-school my child. Can I bring him or her to speak to you?
Yes – you’re very welcome to. Please contact us in the usual way.

If you have any questions, please email us:
[email protected]

Inviting a monk to your school

What does a typical school visit involve?
That depends on what you would like. We can take an assembly, speak to a single class, speak to several classes one after the other, and so on. We’d be happy to discuss your needs. Regarding the contents of the talk or assembly – that would depend on the time allotted and how much the children already know, but would probably include some or all of what’s mentioned above under ‘What happens during a visit to the Hermitage?’ If there are certain topics that you’d like addressed, we can discuss this beforehand.

How long would a visit last?
Again, this depends on you. It could be a 15 minute assembly, or a 30 – 60 minute session with one or two classes. It could be a series of 30 minute sessions, one after the other…

How far away from the Hermitage can you come?
We usually visit schools in Warwick, Stratford-upon-Avon, Leamington Spa, Coventry and Solihull, as well as the various villages in between, but occasionally go as far afield as such places as Loughborough. 

Does it cost anything?
Nope.

Can we contribute in any other way?
Sometimes a school will arrange a vegetarian food hamper, often made up of things given by the children. Not only will this help us, but it will also tie in nicely with what will be said during the visit about the practice of generosity and of the monks’ dependency on the lay-community. There is a list of useful items here.

What about transport?
As monks are not supposed to drive, we usually depend upon the school to provide transport. The driver would need to be a male, or a female with male present. If this is something you can arrange – great; if not, then we would hopefully be able to arrange a lift.

Which days and times are best?
Regarding days, we’re flexible, so if you suggested some we’d see which suited us best. Afternoon visits are generally preferable as late-morning is taken up with the one meal of the day. We could squeeze a morning visit in, particularly an assembly, if necessary.

Are there any matters of etiquette to be aware of?
The main one is that monks must avoid physical contact with women and girls (just as nuns would avoid contact with men and boys). If speaking at a girls’ school, there would need to be a man in attendance.

If you have any questions, please email us:
[email protected]

Resourses for teachers

  • Guidance for teachers on Do’s and Don’ts when teaching Buddhism in the classroom: click here.
  • TrueTube’s A Day in the Life of a Buddhist Monk, with Ven. Manapo: click here.

More to come…

Photos