School for Burmese Refugees


Speculative Project [2014]

Four Schools of Tattva...

The refugee must inherently be flexible, adaptable, and versatile. They lack even the most basic elements of life (food/shelter) This school serves as a way to teach children how to fulfill the most basic needs of existence and beyond - and must inherently be flexible, adaptable, and versatile. Travelling with refugees around Burma and the larger region of Southeast Asia, this school represents the inherent uncertainty of the refugee, which allowing them a place to ground their existence and knowledge. Drawn for the fundamental concepts of Buddhaism, the Four Schools of Tattva is a speculative project exploring the mobile education in a rich, yet capitulated society. 

What is the problem we are solving?

Educate: To develop the faculties and powers of a person by teaching, instructing, or schooling.

Refugee: A person who flees for refuge or safety, especially to a foreign country.

• Children with no home
• No chance at a better life without education
• Will not be well-rounded

The most basic tool for survival is education. The essential purpose of education is the search for who we are, and where we came from. How can a school unify these two into a single concept in the most unlikely situation? The school itself using the realms of the divine to organize and structure knowledge. Rather than teaching traditional subjects such as math, science, language, the Four Schools project reorganizes the curriculum to align with the already existing pedestal of knowledge from Buddhism. The curriculum is restructured to create a framework for instruction that is in unison with the students' most fundamental beliefs. As such, the school itself is organized around this new curriculum, heightenning the didactic qualities of both. Knowledge is the coming together of the human mind and the divine order of the universe; this creation occurs in a place somewhere between earth and cosmos - both physically and metaphysically in the ‘4 Schools of Tattva’ Project.

Buddhist Cosmology: the description of the shape of the evolution of the Universe according to the Buddhist scriptures and commentaries; the world seen through the "divine eye"
Spatial Cosmology: the arrangement of the various worlds within the universe
Vertical Cosmology: the arrangement of worlds in a vertical pattern, some being higher and some lower universe exists of many worlds or planes/realms stacked one upon the next in layers, each world corresponds to a mental state of being.

Three Fundamental Cosmological 'Spaces' in Buddhism

The Arupyadhatu: Foarmless Realm (4 Realms): would have no place in a purely physical cosmology as none of the beings inhabiting it has either shape or location and correspondingly, the realm has no location either belongs to those devas who attained and remianed in the Four Formless Absorptions of the aprupadhyanas in a previous life, and now enjoys the fruits of the good karma
of the accomplishment: four times of Arupyadhatu devas corresponding to the four types of arupadhyanas.

The Rupadhatu: Form Realm (16 Realms): the first of the physical realms, its inhabitants have a location and bodies of a sort, though those bodies are composed of a subtle substaince which is of itself invisible to the inhabitants of the Kamdhatu beings of this realm are not subject to the extremes of pleasure or pain, or governed by desires for things pleasing to the senses, as th ebeings of the Kamadhtu are, their bodies doe not have sexual distinctions  can be divided into 4 broad grades corresponding to these four dhyanas, each of them is subdivided into further grades physically consists of a series of planes stacked ontop of each other, each one in a series of steps half the size of the previous one as one descends.

The Kamadhatu: Desire Realm (5 Realms): the beings born in the Kamadhatu differ in degree of happiness, but they are all,
other than arhats and Buddhas, under the domination of Mara and are bound by sensual desire, which causes them suffering