PBA's Academic Program
PBA's academic program is designed to fulfill the mission of the school: to prepare students for college through academic excellence; to enrich their lives with Buddhist values; and to develop their courage to nurture peace.
Regarding preparation for college through academic excellence, PBA emphasizes a rigorous course of study for each learner. We accomplish this individualization by maintaining a 6:1 student-to-teacher ratio, and by focusing on the primacy of the teacher/student relationship. We emphasize rightness-of-fit for our college admissions model.
In ten graduating classes and among 154 alumni, all but one graduate has gone on to colleges and universities of their choice. The single exception fulfilled his dream of enlisting as a third-generation Marine.
Enrichment with Buddhist Values
Regarding enrichment with Buddhist values, PBA accomplishes this by integrating Buddhist values across the curriculum. Of the Buddhist values, both conditions of existence and the six paramitas (or “perfections,” in Sanskrit) are emphasized. The former include the impermanence of all things, the interdependence of all beings, and an understanding of karma that emphasizes the importance of our actions, positive and negative. The six paramitas are ideals to strive toward, and include dana, or selfless giving, shila, or moral conduct, kshanti, or patience and perserverance, virya, or energetic endeavor, dhyana, or contemplation, and prajna, or wisdom. Shin Buddhism’s particular contribution to Buddhist teachings emphasizes that the practice of the six paramitas is an expression of gratitude for the help and guidance all beings constantly receive from a compassionate universe.
The Courage to Nurture Peace
Regarding the development of students’ courage to nurture peace, the school emphasizes, first, the achievement of inner peace – or more accurately, the cultivation of it, which can only be accomplished through an understanding and care for the self. Like the paramitas, the accomplishment of inner peace is an ideal, and PBA’s educators understand that the adolescent self is a process of emergence. Beyond this, as often as possible, the school seeks ways for students to practice and apply their learning in the community.