Buddhist parenting

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Buddhist parenting

Postby dyanaprajna2011 » Sun Aug 18, 2013 2:13 am

Are there any good web resources for Buddhist parenting? I have three children, ages 7, 4, and 4 months, and the two older ones are Autistic. Me and my wife have some difficulty in attempting to teach them such things as right from wrong, kindness, listening, etc., and I feel that the ideas in Buddhism would help greatly, but I'm having a bit of trouble finding anything online. Any help would be appreciated.
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Re: Buddhist parenting

Postby Kim O'Hara » Sun Aug 18, 2013 4:14 am

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Re: Buddhist parenting

Postby shaunc » Sun Aug 18, 2013 10:56 am

There's an Australian pureland site that has quite a few children's books. One of them is a type of Buddhist Sunday school text book. I use it a bit myself, but don't tell anyone.
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Re: Buddhist parenting

Postby disjointed » Thu Oct 17, 2013 11:06 pm

I did not expose my children to Buddhism much because I was worried if I pushed it on them they would reject it every time they were upset with me. I hoped I would be a good enough example to inspire them to practice on their own. I think this was a good route to take.

My oldest is 23 and she's more like her father than me, by which I mean she's about good times until the s#*t hits the fan and then she's serious about Dharma. My children aren't hard core Buddhists, but I think when they hit a rough patch in life they will all know to turn to Buddhism.

Just my ideas. It might be better to raise children as Buddhists.
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Re: Buddhist parenting

Postby asunthatneversets » Fri Oct 18, 2013 12:00 am

disjointed wrote:Just my ideas. It might be better to raise children as Buddhists.

Important to tread lightly (and wisely) though; my mentor is a perfect example of this. His son is now in his late 20's, but when he was a child, my mentor made sure that he created a fun environment around the dharma. He never pushed it on his son, but made it enjoyable. For instance; he would place his son on his shoulders and let him ring the bell and wave the vajra around and they would clap and dance and sing Vajra Guru Mantra... his son remembers it to this day.

When his son got older, and there were teachings to attend, my mentor would set up a fun outing around the event, and let his son bring a video game he could play quietly during the teaching. Before hand they would go and get lunch wherever his son wanted to, and afterwards they would go see a movie and get ice cream. So his son learned that going to the teachings wasn't all that bad. During empowerments and important transmissions (meaning in the moments the teacher was giving the wang or lung) he would have his son sit on his lap and pay attention, but the rest of the time he was allowed to play quietly. He never pushed it on his son though, and now that his son is older, he's an avid Chödpa and is very passionate about the Dharma. He's also a happy and well balanced guy, so my mentor did good raising him.

I do the same with my son, who's 4. He knows about buddhas, and says they're like magical ninjas, he'll have his toy ninjas pretend to meditate etc. I let him ring the bell and pretend he's shooting lighting out of the vajra. We hung prayer flags in his room, and he's visited my Kagyu lama here in SF who gave him a small wooden prayer wheel and a pouch for his toys. I've taken him to group practice (ganapuja) and let him take a brief look at webcasts from Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche (when I'm watching) until he loses interest. He knows about the Dzogchen guardians (I have a large thangka with the three of them on it he looks at) and says they're the guys who kick butt. He has a positive perception of the Dharma and that's all that's important I think. Whether he chooses to be involved with it when he's older, that will be up to him, I'll never push it on him. The last thing I'd want is to try and condition him like that. That is when you get resistance and can ruin the experience for them. It's just good to create a positive and light environment with the teachings, have the Dharma present and accessible but don't ever indoctrinate or insist upon it.
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Re: Buddhist parenting

Postby Lhug-Pa » Fri Oct 18, 2013 12:51 am

http://www.tibetantreasures.com/Books_C ... Books.html

And I think that there is a Mirror of Freedom pamphlet by Chagdud Tulku about parenting.

See Articles by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu:

http://www.shangshungstore.org/index.ph ... t_list&c=3

http://shangshung.org/store/index.php?m ... cts_id=208
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Re: Buddhist parenting

Postby Nemo » Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:44 am

Making your children keep the five precepts is very helpful. Teaching them about motivation and empathy pays dividends very early on. Some people are so casual about killing, I find that is like poison to a child's spiritual development. No killing any living thing and even respecting plants as alive makes for much gentler thoughtful kids. So many kids are obsessed with possessions just like their parents. Your children will reflect all your flaws and strengths. Whatever is most important to you will become very evident in your child's character.
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Re: Buddhist parenting

Postby Kim O'Hara » Fri Oct 18, 2013 6:21 am

The first of these came to mind when I read Nemo's post. The other was in the same folder and I thought you all might like it. Both are from a site called DharmaArt ... gurgle will find it.


248114_10151575087609333_1679088569_n.jpg (48.88 KiB) Viewed 382 times

564505_10151283635589333_1526967839_n.png (324.96 KiB) Viewed 382 times
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Re: Buddhist parenting

Postby Jikan » Sat Oct 19, 2013 12:40 am

I'm reading this with interest, as my wife and I are in training to become foster & adoptive parents in the city where we live. Any particular guidance for new parents in this role? many thanks
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Re: Buddhist parenting

Postby Glyn » Sat Oct 19, 2013 7:31 pm

I do not have children, but think being a parent is the most difficult job in the world.

Just teaching them to be kind, and letting them have access to sublime Dharma is probably the most smart thing.

My upbringing was not really conventional, but was heavily focussed on what I would call cultural Buddhism, which is different from sublime dharma. I often feel torn between worlds from this because certain things are expected of me sometimes, and I really do not feel that those expectations match with my abilities and interests all the time.
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Re: Buddhist parenting

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sat Oct 19, 2013 10:38 pm

My daughter (4) is Jewish, and goes to hebrew -preschool, so I try to introduce Dharma stuff without being overbearing or interfering in her Jewish education. it's tricky territory sometimes. Hopefully by the time my younger son is older, I will have some time-tested tricks.

I try things like: calming down by watching the breath, or when she is mad I say she can "look at the Buddha inside her" to calm down, also sometimes if she is mad and also wants to "give the Buddha something" (usually a scribble on a piece of paper lol, she likes giving them gifts) I say she can give that to Buddha, and she can give away whatever she is angry about too.

Little things like this actually seem to interest her, no idea if any of it will stick or not. Kids really like Dharma trappings, the more colorful the better - sometimes they are a danger to statues though, poor Avalokiteshvara has lost an arm and required surgery. There is also a "Buddha at bedtime" book put out by (I think) someone in the FWBO that I actually thought was pretty decent, I would say the age range of it was above our uses, probably 6 or 7 maybe..but it had great illustrations and I thought for a kids book it was quite good.

The monastery my center is connected with actually has day care and activities for kids while you attend Chenrezig practice, which is fantastic and one day I will definitely make the trip for it, as it seems like stuff like this is regrettably rare.
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Re: Buddhist parenting

Postby Seishin » Mon Oct 21, 2013 5:02 pm

I'm also interested in this thread as my daughter will be coming up to 2yrs very soon. So far, I haven't taught her "dharma" as such, but she has naturally picked things up without any encouragement. She likes to sit with me in front of my shrine, and she hits the bell and the wooden fish and "chants". She also bows everytime she sees a Buddha which is really cute and she tries to copy the gassho mudra. If I forget to bow she tells me off and make sure I bow too! :tongue: She also says (or tries to) "Itadakimasu" before we eat! I never shut the door when I'm meditating, I let her come in and watch me or sit with me, it doesn't bother me. Of course, I try to pick the times when she is either occupied or asleep, but sometimes you take whatever time your can get! :tongue:

I'd like her to learn to meditate as she gets older, as I believe it'll be very beneficial, but I don't expect her to come along to our sangha or chant etc. I think it should be her choice to actually follow Buddhism and not something I've imposed. At the moment I'm trying to teach her how to share and not to kill any bug that she sees! Amongst the usual toddler things like not to bite, slap, scream etc etc.

I think, my advice thus far as a "new" Buddhist parent would be to not loose your temper but use energy in your voice when telling off, and don't be afraid to tell off and punish your child. Set clear boundaries. Spend as much free time with your child as possible, both individually and as a couple. Also let your child have their own time to themselves. I'm sure my thoughts and ideas will change as we both grow....

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