Bring Your Children up Buddhist

This week, my wife asked my daughter what she did at recess. Her response was that she "meditated." This practice probably came to her after Sensei Ulrich began introducing children's meditation into our weekly Sunday service.

"Think of your head shooting like a fountain, watering the flowers and grass around you."

A couple of the most popular internet searches that bring people to this website are "Eightfold Path for Children" and "Buddhist Stories for Children." This just shows the growing popularity of parents and teachers looking for Buddhist lessons for their kids.

In the fall 2008 issue of Tricycle magazine, a special section titled "Bringing Up Buddhists" explains some of the interest that exists in North America. It is a sampling of how Buddhists in the United States are teaching the dharma to children. The contents of the section includes an article on a Florida family trying to live a Buddhist life, a Dharma School in Portland and a meditation teacher working in the New York public school system. There is also information and inspiration for those who want their children to have a Buddhist educational experience.

Originally modeled after Christian Sunday Schools, Jodo Shinshu Temples in Canada and the United States have been offering a "Dharma School" children's program for decades.

The Level 8 Buddhist's blog has a great posting about bringing up a child in a Buddhist family. He also has many nice things to say about the Jodo Shinshu tradition that captures its "family friendly" culture.

Jodo Shinshu, among Buddhist sects, is among the most family-friendly. It emphasizes gratitude and humility, and is geared toward working-class people given its roots as a lay-Buddhist organization from 12-13th century Japan. So, we take her to the Sunday School there, and she plays on the slide, eats snacks and occasionally makes crafts. The themes are not overtly Buddhist, but just being in a wholesome Buddhist environment works wonders. She learns to be thankful for the food she receives, she learns to speak kindly to others, and to be nice to other children. That’s the real secret of raising Buddhist children. -Level 8 Buddhist

In the "Traditions" section of this web site, we have written, "In teaching small children, we should convey a feeling of reverence and gratitude. Children will learn through the examples set by parents and teachers."

Reciting the Nembutsu will live with them forever.