Moral Meanings of Community Service Learning at Paññāsāstra University Of Cambodia
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This analytical case study sought to understand and build theories from Paññāsāstra University of Cambodia (PUC) educators’ visions in supporting and implementing community service learning (CSL), the moral meanings of CSL experiences for the participating undergraduate students, and the CSL experiences that facilitated the volunteers’ moral meaning-making. The study found that PUC educators’ shared purpose was the cultivation of students’ kindness to help needy Cambodian communities. Moreover, PUC CSL volunteers considered community service as an act of kindness, an act of solidarity and connectedness, and an act of social change through the cultivation of kindness in the hearts of their families, their peers, and the people they helped. Furthermore, PUC CSL cultivated in volunteers such Buddhist ethics as brahma-vihara (metta [goodwill], karuna [compassion], mudita [empathetic joy], and upekkha [equanimity]), caga (generosity), amisa-dana (donation), dhamma-dana (sharing knowledge and advice), pañca-sila (the five precepts), and kataññu (gratitude, especially to parents). Thus, CSL can help solve Cambodia’s societal problems of social inaction, violence, and corruption. The experiences that notably facilitated volunteers’ moral meaning-making were community didactic drama and such culturally symbolic actions as participation in kataññu (parental gratitude) ritual, elderly gratitude ritual, and collaborative cooking.