Mount Madonna School seniors spent two years preparing for a trip to India, part of the Values in World Thought social studies program. (Shmuel Thaler/Sentinel) (Shmuel Thaler)
WATSONVILLE -- On a quest to gain a greater understanding of a different culture and of their own place in the world, 13 Mount Madonna School seniors flew to India on Friday.
The Bodhicitta Project -- the name chosen by students means "awakening of the mind for the good of all beings" -- is part of Values in World Thought, the school's two-year social studies program developed by teacher Ward Mailliard.
During the two-week trip the students will tour cultural landmarks, villages, an orphanage, a school for girls, and ultimately travel to Dharamsala in the foothills of the Himalaya.
There, they'll meet with the Dalai Lama and present an ethics and human values curriculum they have developed with faculty and friends based on his book, "Ethics for the New Millennium."
The curriculum, eventually planned to be shared on the Internet as an e-book, was inspired by meetings with the Dalai Lama by Mount Madonna students and faculty during trips in 2007 and 2011.
In a blog posted Monday at Santa Cruz Live, Mailliard said the aim is to engage students around the world in a dialogue about the universal principles expressed in the Dalai Lama's work.
"We feel that these ideas are essential to the development of long-term happiness and a more peaceful, sustainable world," Mailliard wrote.
Sentinel photographer Shmuel Thaler is accompanying the students, and during the trip will be posting slideshows on the Sentinel's website, Santa Cruz Sentinel.
The students will be chronicling their trip as well, posting updates.
To keep up with the Mount Madonna School students visit to India, read their blog at: Santa Cruz Live: Mt Madonna.