The Story of our Founder

Mr Panha Pal was born in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in 1971.

At a mere 4 years of age, he was subjected to the adversities of the Khmer civil war (Pol Pot regime).

Mr Panha Pal (right) in Khao-I-Dang refugee camp, Thailand (1981)

Sought refuge in Australia

His new chance at life saw him and his family arrive in Australia as a war-torn refugee at 10 years old. 

As he had not gone through any schooling due, to the occupation of the war, he began his young life in Australia facing many difficulties and disadvantages. However, for the next 20 years, Mr Pal preserved with diligence and discipline to excel academically, being a member of the Maths Olympiad representing Australia and topping the state in the final Year 12 exam. Ultimately, Mr Pal graduated with Bachelor's Degree of Computer Engineering at Australia's prestigious university, and went on to become a successful engineer-turned-entrepreneur-turned-educator.

Downfall of a personal crisis

Mr Pal's success had been manifested through the success of his business ventures as a young entrepreneur in technology, retail and education.

However, his life took a turn in his mid-30s, when he faced yet another personal life crisis, which almost led him to give up everything he had built.

His view of reality as people know it, became uncertain and ungrounded. It was the start of deep darkness that initiated his existential crisis, propelling him to search for the deeper meaning and the purpose of life.

The pivoting point

In 2011, he discovered the noble path to live a more meaningful and purposeful life, through the methodically scientific exploration of the mind and its mental objects as discoursed by the Buddha in his teachings of the Noble Truths - the Dhamma.

With a mind innately inclined by his computer engineering background, Mr. Pal always had difficulty aligning himself with any form of religion or blind faith that lacked reason and explanations for the causes and effects of the sufferings that a person experiences in their life.

Thus, he found the Dhamma to be the user manual for human beings to navigate through the suffocating darkness (ignorance). As asserted by himself, the Dhamma is the science of the mind.

The Birth of Australia's First and Only
Buddhist School

The Buddha’s teachings, the Dhamma, is a universal and timeless dogma, that helped Mr Pal transcend beyond worldly suffering and sparked his pursuit for spiritual perfection, empowering him with a higher insight and clarity.

The knowledge and wisdom he obtained from the Buddha was “just as if someone were to place upright what was overturned, to reveal what was hidden, or to carry a lamp into the dark so that those with eyes could see forms.”

This is why and how the birth of Pal Buddhist School came about: uplifted and inspired to share with others the treasures that reveal the guide to life contained within the noble teachings that saved him, Mr. Pal decided to open Pal Buddhist School to transform the young lives who fall under our educational guidance and care, as they find a place of protection and preventative medicines, in the form of wholesome education, both for the heart and the mind.

Pal Buddhist School Whole-School photo (2013) 


The inception of the first and only Buddhist non-secular independent school in Australia.

We were the pioneers of Australia's 4D Learning paperless classroom.


Registered by CRICOS for overseas students enrolment. 


Pal Buddhist School came first in NAPLAN (national testing) in our local catchment period (out of 53 schools)


Purchased the first land for Pal Buddhist School, being the second campus.


Pal Buddhist School ranked in the top 100 (#95) of the final state Year 12 examinations (HSC) amongst historical and academically-prestigious schools.

The first Buddhist International School

Following the success of Pal Buddhist School, Mr Pal opened the first international school in Siem Reap to share the same knowledge and wisdom that had saved his life, to benefit the future of his nation.

  • Pal International School was accredited by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MoEYS) as an educational institution
  • We established our first operational staff and executive 
  • We received our patent certification and certification of incorporation. 
  • We opened a subsidiary English learning program, Pal Education and commenced in May 2022
  • We completed refurbishment of site for the 2023 opening
  • Pal International School will commence operations as its full time school on 2 January 2023 for Year 1-6.