The School of Philosophy

What is learnt is for the benefit of others.

History of The International School

  Maharaja Shri Shantananda Saraswati The School of Practical Philosophy was conceived in the mind of its founder, Mr Leon MacLaren, who at the age of 16 while sitting beside a lake, had a clear...

History of the KZN School

A practicing Architect Mr Lawrence Stretton started the School of Philosophy in Durban back in 1968 where lectures were first given from the old YMCA building in Durban central. Student numbers gradually grew and the...

Online Classes

The programme of online classes has people from all over the world attending.  Students only need to have an internet connection and a computer. Practical Philosophy Online By Christine Lambie, London Have you ever felt bored, lonely, or in...

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are the Practical Philosophy Courses?

THE SCHOOL’S courses treat philosophy as a personal and practical attitude to life and its opportunities, enabling people to deepen and develop understanding of life and of oneself. They are not academic courses such as would be followed in a university.

This approach to philosophy has engaged philosophers and sages of every culture in every age. Examples can be drawn from many systems and civilizations; from many eastern and western countries; from the experience of indigenous peoples the world over; from Western philosophy and from many other sources.

What is Discovery through Personal Experience?

THE KEY to studying philosophy this way is that it is not theoretical. In fact it is intensely practical and experiential. Although considerable help and insight can be drawn from the works of countless philosophers, writers, artists, musicians and others who have illuminated this study, it is only useful when it becomes a matter of personal experience.

Philosophic study in the School is therefore directed at helping people, as best as may be possible, towards personal experience of the insights of philosophy in practice.

Who are the Teachers at the School?

THE SCHOOL’S courses are taught by students who have studied and practised in the School for some years and who remain students themselves. Their role is not to deliver a package of knowledge, but rather to assist students to discover for themselves through practice and observation.

In the fifty or more years during which it has engaged in this kind of study the School has gained considerable experience which it makes available through its tutoring system, based on a principle of continuous learning and passing on what has been understood.

The ultimate responsibility for all this lies with the School leader and senior tutor, Mr Donald Lambie, who has been in that position since 1994 and was himself taught and trained by the School’s founder, Leon MacLaren. All the tutoring in the School and nearly all of the support functions are carried out on a voluntary basis without payment.

Does the School have other Areas of Study?

STUDIES IN practical philosophy can have a significant bearing on many other subjects. Students in the School have applied philosophy to more specialized fields including music, art, dance, language, engineering, education, ethics, economics and law and have found in their specialist subjects further opportunities to advance philosophic understanding.

Indeed it is possible to assert that all fields of human endeavour can be used to advance philosophic understanding and that philosophy has its application in all fields of human endeavour. The School works on this principle and encourages students to pursue their own interests with a philosophic perspective.

As a result more than forty books written by students in the School on a variety of subjects are available, as well as recorded music and lectures. The School is a centre for the study of the Sanskrit language and for the translation from Latin of the works of the Renaissance philosopher, Marsilio Ficino. The School’s musicians organize and perform regular concerts as well as encouraging and developing the art of composition.


The intention of the School’s founders was to base their studies on natural laws and this continues in most Schools around the world. Natural law is not confined to the physical sciences and includes principles which govern both human life and the ordering of the universe, such as justice and freedom.

With some knowledge of such principles it is possible for human beings to learn to live naturally and abundantly without exploitation or misuse of each other or the living world. It is in discovering and applying principles of natural law that philosophy and economics come together as directly related spheres of knowledge.


The School takes the view that the study and practice of economics has to be founded on principles of justice and equity and that economic injustices indicate failures to understand or observe basic principles of economics.

Economics is taught in the School as a human subject derived from observable principles of human nature and laws intrinsic to the natural world and universe and the human relationship with them.

All the major problems of contemporary economic life can be examined in this context with a view to offering practical policies and principles as the foundation of a more just and equitable economic system. Economics-with-justice can be studied on its own, but it is also an expression of practical philosophy applied to human society.

Latest Courses

Courses at the various branches of the School, run on different schedules. Select Durban, Pietermaritzburg, Highway or Ballito and see what is happening in your area.
Durban School of Philosophy Celebrates Teachers’ Day
Teacher's day celebrated at the Durban School of Philosophy Sunday 11 August 2019. World Teachers' Day is celebrated annually. This is a day to honor...
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Students at the Durban School Enjoy Learning Sanskrit
Sanskrit is the classical language of Indian and the liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. It is also one of the 22 official languages...
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Meditation in the Mountains – a Beautiful Walk in the Berg
The School of Philosophy did a Meditation in the Mountains and a hike on Saturday the 26th January starting at the Sani Lodge Backpackers (near...
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Enroll in an Online Economics Course
Economics is one of the most important topics in the world today, it being key to meeting the needs of current and future generations, and in...
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Durban School End of Year Meeting
On Monday the Durban School of Philosophy held its end of the year meeting which ended in a delicious meal and warm fellowship. Here are...
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Durban School Sanskrit Study Group’s Last Meeting of 2018
This was the last lesson of the year of a Durban School Sanskrit study group who meet in the main room of the Durban School...
Read More "Durban School Sanskrit Study Group’s Last Meeting of 2018"

The School of Practical Philosophy in KZN is a centre for spiritual, practical knowledge and enquiry.  It aims to help individuals lead a fuller, richer and more useful life and to evolve the spiritual aspect of their being in accordance with natural laws.

This is done mainly by providing courses in practical philosophy.

The School of Practical Philosophy in KZN has four branches which are located in Durban, Pietermaritzburg, Highway and Ballito. These are referred to as the “School”.

The School is a registered public benefit organization (PBO).

Realisation of a Person’s Full Potential

The principal aim of the School is the realisation of a person’s full potential. It is a voyage of discovery. Together with this is the purpose of seeking to live and work in such a way as to serve and enrich the society in which we live.

This aim is pursued primarily by offering courses in practical philosophy which are presented in a stimulating dialogue-based approach.  The principle of neither accepting nor rejecting what is presented, but verifying it through one’s own experience, is followed by all who engage in the courses.

Students may continue their studies, through the School, for as long as they wish. Some stay for a few terms and some for many years. The courses follow a structured system through which students are introduced, over a period of time, to meditation, service and Sanskrit.

Some Gauteng branches are offering courses in the study of the Bhagavad Gita and Economics-with-Justice. Also, as an alternative to its introduction in the practical philosophy course, meditation is offered at an earlier stage through the Centre for Meditation.

The practical nature of philosophy shows itself in the way people conduct themselves as they go about the ordinary business of living and in their relationships with the community and society around them.

Durban             Pietermaritzburg               Highway                  Ballito