Dhamma School

The school curriculum focuses on practical Buddhism in contemporary life, we discuss personal and public issues and how the Dhamma can be used to assist us to lead a more compassionate existence with our family, friends and animals.

About Dhamma School

The school curriculum focuses on practical Buddhism in contemporary life, we discuss personal and public issues and how the Dhamma can be used to assist us to lead a more compassionate existence with our family, friends and animals.

We start each week with the Vandana, Tisarana and Panca Sila before dividing into five groups: Level 1 & 2 for Grades 1 to 3; Level 3 & 4 for Grades 4 to 5; Level 5 for Secondary School children (Grade 6 and above). Level 1 is taught by Suzanne, Level 2 is taught by Dilky, Levels 3 by Gary, Level 4 by Shirani and Level 5 is taught by Trevor.

Effective from 1 Jan 2016, the BSV Sunday Dhamma School is open only to children whose parents (at least one) are members of the BSV.

Dhamma school registrations are now closed for 2024. If you wish to place your child on a waiting list or have a query about the Dhamma School, please email dhamma.school@bsv.net.au


Level 1 and 2

Due to the wide range of development in this class, children must be in school Grade 1 or higher. As the concentration span of the children in this class are relatively short, the lessons are divided into four sections.

  1. One of the tenets of the Dhamma, e.g. one of the Five Precepts, Dana etc.
  2. A chapter from the life of The Buddha.
  3. A Jataka story.
  4. An activity usually related to the Jataka.

The class usually finishes with a short meditation.

Level 3 and 5

Age-appropriate material is presented in these sessions. They may consist of:

  1. Short guided meditation, either Vipassana or Metta.
  2. Revision of the basic Buddhist teachings: the 4 Noble Truths, the 8-fold Path, Ten Paramitas.
  3. Discussion of a Dhamma topic possibly raised after a Jataka story- type presentation, e.g. illustrating perfections of the Bodhisattva, or one of the Suttas; sometimes a short play performance of Dhamma instructional material is undertaken.

Conclusion is usually by chanting and dedication of merits.

2024 Term Dates

Term 1

15 Feb – 7 Apr

Term 2

05 May – 23 Jun

Term 3

21 Jul – 15 Sep

Term 4

13 Oct – 8 Dec

Teacher Profiles


Teacher 1

Suzanne is a professional musician, composer and teacher, with numerous pieces of work being published and performed. 

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She has been teaching music since the age of 14. She studied in Tasmania and at the Royal College of Music in London. She was introduced to Buddhism by Trevor not long after they first met. Trevor and Suzanne attended Vegan Society meetings where they became friends with Fred Whittle and John Fairbrass. The meetings moved from the Theosophical Society to the Mary Street Buddhist House. Suzanne went there for the first time to investigate Buddhism on March 16th 1987. She was taught by Venerable Dhammika who presented the Dhamma with clarity and logic.

She saw the need for a Dhamma school for children, but was at first met with quite a lot of opposition, the western excuse often being “children should find their own way to Buddhism when they are older, and not pushed into it when they are still young”.

Disagreeing strongly, she persuaded some experienced Buddhists to teach the children during the adults’ Dhamma Talks. Later, Suzanne was persuaded also to start teaching. As the classes became popular, Satish Wimalajeeva became the convenor and held the position for many years before retiring and passing the honour to Suzanne.


Teacher 3

Gary joined BSV in 1984 after being inspired by the well-known British monk Phra Khantipalo (the late Laurence Mills). 

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After completing his M.Ed. in the psychology coursework area and tutoring part-time, his mother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, so Gary became her full-time carer; more recently he was fortunate to have the chance to show some gratitude by caring for Laurence who is now in a nursing home with vascular dementia. Gary has served on BSV committee as non-office bearer as well as secretary.

Garry teaches Parli and has assisted in editing books relating to Parli grammar including Duroiselle’s Parli Grammar: A New Edition of ‘A Practical Grammar of the Pali Language’. He has also teaches beginner Parli lessons at BSV.

Children teach us, Gary says, because of their attitude. Instead of saying, like some of their elders, dejectedly “it is all downhill from here,” they often react to the same circumstance enthusiastically with: “it does not get any better than this!”


Teacher 2

For Trevor, the seed of Buddhism was planted in Colombo on the boat from England to Australia when he was 13.

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He was given the first Bodhi leaf booklet written by Narada. Trevor Holton is a very fine violinist, and composer. He has been first violinist, ie leader of the Orchestra, of the Frankston Symphony Orchestra for 8 years now. Trevor also has composed for the Orchestra, and has had his work performed in Concerts. He has taught in Universities and Tafes, and now since 1998 has enjoyed teaching strings in secondary colleges as Stings Co-ordinator, as well as teaching primary school students.

After Suzanne had been teaching at the Dhamma school for some years she persuaded Trevor to assist her by taking the class for older children.

He was asked to write a play as part of the BSV 45th celebrations which was performed by children of the school. He has since written other plays for the school including a play based on a story told by the Buddha himself to monks: ‘Controlling Violent Impulses.’


Teacher 4

Dilky was born into a Buddhist & catholic family; she and her mother started visiting BSV when she was a child, which at the time was located in Richmond.

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She attended BSV dhamma class under Suzanne Palmer – Holton at the age of 6 and continued her studies at BSV to the age of 18 under the teacher Satish Wimalajeeva, from whom she is still learning from today. 

With the assistance of the BSV committee including Michael Wells– Dilky started the first youth group at BSV which later became the BSV young adults group. As a part of this role she arranged weekly beginners’ meditation program for young adults, youth sessions with visiting monastics at BSV, and took part in Inter-faith youth discussions. She also put on plays with dhamma class students to raise funds for different BSV projects and assisted Dr Metha with other various BSV fund raising activities.

After a short stay in Sri Lanka, Dilky returned to Melbourne and started attending BSV where she assisted current teachers, Suzanne and Gary in their classes. Under their guidance, Dilky began to teach a subclass 1b. 

"Life is what's happening while you're worrying."

- Ajahn Brahm
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