The Northern Line... and science education

This book is to help the reader understand reality. It has a different domain to science and so leaves science behind completely apart from one fundamental principle namely that all phenomena in life are conditioned. Nevertheless, it uses common elements from science education listed below.

Progression A journey takes us from A to B. This journey takes us from a low level of understanding reality to a high level. It uses the ‘Thought of the Day’ quotes as a trigger to progress the reader to a higher understanding of reality.

Differentiation Works at a low level: As a coffee table book, looking at the photograhs and reading the quotes. Works at a higher level: by understanding the 8 ways the photographs point to the understanding of reality, the relevance of the words in blue and by followiing the links.

Engagement The book can engage with people who never normally look at Buddhist books e.g by placing them at the book exchange points in stations.

Curiosity People who like the quotes can be curious as to how the book works.

How we learn?

  • The Jigsaw puzzle: We learn a tiny bit at a time like completeing a jigsaw puzzle, not as a sequence of lessons.
  • Gradually over along period of time. Not a 45 minute session on a Wednesday evening.
  • We need to understand the core of the theory thoroughly.
  • We need to understand the significance of conditionality for practice.
  • the condition for direct understanding is the theory.
  • Important to ‘go it alone’.
  • We need to be able to go ‘against the stream of common thought’.
  • Needs great patience and courage.
  • This is a different type of understanding to science and so science needs to be left completely behind apart from one fundamental principle. All phenomena in life are conditioned.
  • Misconceptions need to be confronted


  • History is important for science. We learn from great scientists in the past. Similarly we learn from the teachings of the Buddha, we do not have the ability to figure this out for ourselves.
  • Science is a difficult subject and many misconceptions surround it. In the same way there are many misconconceptions surrounding the development of ‘direct understanding’.

Big Ideas In science education we have Big Ideas and principles of science education (Wynne Harlen) to give an overview of science education.

This book has 10 big ideas of direct understanding to give an overview of the journey.

Qualities we need

As science teachers and the ‘journey’: Resilience, patience, not for wealth and fame, the right training.

Written on May 29, 2019