The School is a registered not-for-profit organisation and has been offering courses in Belgium for over forty years.
The School's mission is to help anyone who seeks it to lead a fuller, richer and more useful life and to evolve the spiritual aspects of their being in accordance with natural laws.
Founded on the principle that everything stems from unity, the School's courses explore how anyone can achieve self-knowledge and inner peace. From there, anyone may find true happiness, live more consciously and fulfil their potential.
The School's philosophy courses are inspired by the ancient concept of Non-Duality (Advaita), or "unity", and they embrace a very wide range of philosophers, thinkers and writers.
The concept of Non-Duality is that there is an essential unity underlying everything. And within each of us this can be accessed as an inexhaustible source of nourishment, well-being and understanding that holds the key to a happy, fulfilling and peaceful life.
For those interested in exploring these ideas, the School offers introductory philosophy courses in September, January and April. For those who want to pursue the training, the School offers further classes to study more deeply.
In a spirit of enquiry, the School encourages an exploration of philosophical principles based on personal experience. Emphasis is placed on putting the knowledge gained from philosophical inquiry into practice, rather than allowing it to remain as an academic exercise. On the principle of "learn and teach", tutors are appointed on the basis of their knowledge and practical experience as students in the School.
The classes are and have always been conducted orally and there are no written examinations or certificates. They take place in groups that meet weekly during three terms each year, corresponding with a normal academic year.
It is an important principle that no remuneration is received for tutoring in the School; fees paid by students provide the main contribution towards the general costs of running the organisation and providing and maintaining its buildings. The funding of special projects are sometimes augmented by donations.
While practical philosophy plays the major part in the school's work, other groups have been formed at different points to study economics, Plato, Sanskrit, calligraphy and dance.
The School is not exclusive, and its students include followers of the world's great religions - and many who follow no religion at all. The School seeks not only to raise the intellectual understanding of its students but also encourages them to put what they have learned into practice.
The School of Philosophy is a voluntary association with charitable status (Registered No. 0413304528). The School is staffed and cared for entirely on a volunteer basis, without remuneration, by the School's own students.
For some, the introductory Practical Philosophy Course is as far as their interest takes them.
For those who wish to continue the studies and practices, there is the possibility to explore further such subjects as presence of mind, happiness, love and freedom, as well as to take up meditation.
For those students pursuing the Practical Philosophy course beyond the introductory course, they are offered the opportunity to take up meditation in their second or third year (with the possibility to take it up earlier if the student requests). The practice gradually helps to bring about inner peace, stillness and clarity of mind, and also to generate finer energy for practical use in daily life.
See Meditation section for “Why Meditate?”, “What is Meditation?”, “The School and Meditation”, “Quotations on Meditation”
After students have been introduced to meditation, an additional feature of this stage is the introduction to voluntary service within the School. This has both a philosophical and a practical aspect. Philosophically, it provides a specific opportunity to work with others in the School in an atmosphere that is conducive to putting the philosophical teaching into practice, not as an end in itself but as an aid to applying it more frequently and effectively in daily life. Practically, it provides the resources necessary for the School to function in a manner that allows course fees to be kept to a practical minimum. Right from the start it has been a basic principle that as far as possible activities such as the preparation and serving of refreshments, cleaning and maintenance of buildings should be undertaken on a voluntary basis as an act of service.
The next stage for meditating students, usually after about three years, is the opportunity to participate in residential study events. These involve study, group meetings and discussion, periods of work and twice daily practice of meditation. There is generally an introductory weekend followed by a full week. Then students move on to the normal annual residential programme of study weekends or weeks spread over the year.
The School is a registered educational charity with the specific objectives referred to earlier. In practical terms it has two aspects: the tutorial side concerned with all the courses, studies and activities that are offered, which is the reason for its existence, and the organisational side which is concerned with the provision of tutorial facilities, legal and regulatory compliance, administration and day-to-day running.
All tutorial aspects are led by the senior tutor, who decides the direction and content of course material and studies, deals with the appointment of tutors and other related matters.
On the organisational side the legally constituted body is known as the School voor Filosofie vzw/Ecole de Philosophie asbl, comprising 15 senior students.
At its annual general meeting the Association elects the President, a Treasurer and other Directors to form an Executive Standing Committee. The committee conducts the business of the Association and ensures the provision of necessary facilities to enable the work of the School to function smoothly.
The Association and the Executive Committee are bound by its constitution, known as the written ‘Rules of Association’.