How would you explain Dharma to a child?

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How would you explain Dharma to a child?

Postby Epistemes » Thu Oct 20, 2011 1:28 am

Explanations to children of grand, existential concepts has always fascinated me. We adults spend so much time reading, studying, debating, thinking rationally, etc. that it can become extremely arduous to return to unobstructed simplicity. We try so hard to remember all the rules that we tend to forget why we were remembering the rules in the first place. This has, at least, been my difficulty.

To be able to explain Dharma to a child would be to try to capture in its fullest essence something which a child could understand. Some of you have children - whether still small or grown - and so some of you may have had to actually address this question. For others, it can be an exercise in thinking like a child, which is to say, to think without so many obstructions.

How would I explain Dharma to a child? Unoriginally. "It's like a wheel that keeps turning, and turning, and turning..."
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Re: How would you explain Dharma to a child?

Postby Josef » Thu Oct 20, 2011 2:19 am

If and when I have children I plan on explaining the dharma to them exactly as it has been explained to me.
I also intend to take my children to teachings etc.
They will be treated no differently.
Last edited by Josef on Thu Oct 20, 2011 3:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How would you explain Dharma to a child?

Postby Silent Bob » Thu Oct 20, 2011 2:26 am

I wouldn't (and didn't) confuse a child with all that stuff about karma and dependent origination. Instead, I'd rely on good old Kurt Vonnegut: "There's only one rule I know of here--god dammit babies, you've got to be kind ". http://www.avclub.com/articles/15-thing ... e-el,1858/
"All the sublime teachings, so profound--to throw away one and then grab yet another will not bear even a single fruit. Persevere, therefore, in simply one."
--Dudjom Rinpoche, "Nectar for the Hearts of Fortunate Disciples. Song No. 8"
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Re: How would you explain Dharma to a child?

Postby LastLegend » Thu Oct 20, 2011 2:33 am

We cannot teach children directly the tenets. We can teach them in language that they can understand. But first we have to understand the teachings ourselves enough to translate in language that makes sense to them. And slowly guide them from there. For example, my father told my niece to not kill the spider because the spider will go see its mommy. This seed of teaching will ingrain in the child and will manifest in his thinking and behavior when he grows up.
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Re: How would you explain Dharma to a child?

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Thu Oct 20, 2011 2:41 am

Eat your vegetables, keep your hands to yourselves and be kind.

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Re: How would you explain Dharma to a child?

Postby plwk » Thu Oct 20, 2011 6:36 am

Eat your vegetables, keep your hands to yourselves and be kind.

Does that mean they can't pat a cat and isn't that what they tell adults too? :tongue:
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Re: How would you explain Dharma to a child?

Postby meiji1 » Thu Oct 20, 2011 6:53 am

I don't know. Might as well try to explain calculus to my grandmother.

Come to think of it, that might not be the worst approach. In high school, we were spoon fed calculus in what I now recognize to be tiny, oversimplified doses. And now I'm trying to think back to how I was taught Catholicism and the Bible as a child.. I had some really talented teachers, growing up. It's a blur.
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Re: How would you explain Dharma to a child?

Postby maybay » Thu Oct 20, 2011 9:01 am

my grandmother likes hearing stories and so do I
People will know nothing and everything
Remember nothing and everything
Think nothing and everything
Do nothing and everything
- Machig Labdron
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Re: How would you explain Dharma to a child?

Postby Tilopa » Thu Oct 20, 2011 9:39 am

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Re: How would you explain Dharma to a child?

Postby Tamangi » Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:14 am

Even at 2 and 3 (my childrens age) I can teach them kindness, not to kill and patience

When they're just a bit older rather than teach them the thoery, I hope to sit with them to do some breathing meditation and go from there
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Re: How would you explain Dharma to a child?

Postby Jikan » Thu Oct 20, 2011 4:23 pm

Silent Bob wrote:I wouldn't (and didn't) confuse a child with all that stuff about karma and dependent origination. Instead, I'd rely on good old Kurt Vonnegut: "There's only one rule I know of here--god dammit babies, you've got to be kind ". http://www.avclub.com/articles/15-thing ... e-el,1858/


This is it.

Kids need all the structure you can give them. By this I mean boundaries, clear morals, and plenty of patience. That's where you have to start.
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Re: How would you explain Dharma to a child?

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Thu Oct 20, 2011 8:55 pm

plwk wrote:
Eat your vegetables, keep your hands to yourselves and be kind.

Does that mean they can't pat a cat and isn't that what they tell adults too? :tongue:


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Re: How would you explain Dharma to a child?

Postby Thug4lyfe » Wed Oct 26, 2011 9:58 am

the 10 good deeds
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Re: How would you explain Dharma to a child?

Postby KevinSolway » Fri Nov 04, 2011 9:07 am

How would you explain Dharma to a child?


The same way you would explain it to an adult.

All things have effects and all things have causes. Treat others as you would want to be treated. Things don't exist on their own, but depend on other things.
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Re: How would you explain Dharma to a child?

Postby Zenda » Fri Nov 04, 2011 4:17 pm

I bought my son two books that he loves, in case anyone is looking for something for the kids in their lives. I was very, very surprised that he liked the second one, which I got him when our dogs were in the process of dying.
I Once Was a Monkey - http://www.amazon.com/Once-Was-Monkey-Stories-Buddha/dp/0374335486
Samsara Dog - http://books.google.com/books?id=Pc0kDnCx8VwC&pg=PT4&lpg=PT4&dq=Samsara+Dog&source=bl&ots=Hh-JFQLyzr&sig=rhWtgmikZXgexE-PKk5__oewQ6w&hl=en&ei=lwG0TpixK-bs0gG4_L3PBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CEMQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q&f=false
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Re: How would you explain Dharma to a child?

Postby Nosta » Fri Nov 04, 2011 7:50 pm

Lovely pic, the one with the cat!! :)

I think that one can teach Dharma without giving the name of things. I am a teacher with small children and they are from Catholic Church (as usual in Portugal) and i teac them some Dharma, without using any specific words. In fact, i teach them some moral precepts like not kill, even a spider or a fly. If i see a kid trying to kill bug i will stop him from doing that and explain to him that if he/she (the child) was a bug, he wouldnt like to be killed by a human.

Sometimes i will practice some simple form of meditation with them.

Sometimes i will tell them that they must be very aware of their acts...sometimes a small discussion with a friend can end up in a very bad fight with very bad injuries.

Small things like that.

I dont have a child yet but when i have i still not sure how to teach him. Probably with small things like i said.
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Re: How would you explain Dharma to a child?

Postby sangyey » Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:51 pm

Also setting a good example and perhaps sometimes giving a little bit of reasoning with it.
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Re: How would you explain Dharma to a child?

Postby Thug4lyfe » Sat Nov 05, 2011 5:22 am

Just do what the Chinese parents do!
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