Should we teach our children to be Buddhists?

No holds barred discussion on the Buddhadharma. Argue about rebirth, karma, commentarial interpretations etc. Be nice to each other.

Should we teach our children to be Buddhists?

Postby Kyosan » Mon May 23, 2011 4:38 pm

Gharchaina wrote:If there is no community -- the Dharma will not survive in the West. Centers need to be community and family friendly. Those pot lucks are important. Sunday School is important. Parents with young children will not come, or will come only sporadically if there is no one to look after their kids and maybe teach them a little Dharma, while Mom and Pop, reestablish their center.

Before we had our daughter, we were planning to raise her as a Buddhist. Later when we actually had her, I changed my mind. Perhaps I'm sensitive to this issue because as a child I have had Christianity pushed down my throat. Most people gladly accept it but I'm one of those who didn't. I think that religion should be a personal choice, not something drummed-into persons.

In a sense, I do teach her Buddhism. I teach her Buddhist values like being concerned about others, treating others fairly and not hating. She is nine right now and I'm just starting to teach her about the various religions in the world.
Kyosan
 
Posts: 331
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2010 10:57 pm
Location: USA, Tucson

Re: Should we teach our children to be Buddhists?

Postby LastLegend » Mon May 23, 2011 4:40 pm

Kyosan wrote:
Gharchaina wrote:If there is no community -- the Dharma will not survive in the West. Centers need to be community and family friendly. Those pot lucks are important. Sunday School is important. Parents with young children will not come, or will come only sporadically if there is no one to look after their kids and maybe teach them a little Dharma, while Mom and Pop, reestablish their center.

Before we had our daughter, we were planning to raise her as a Buddhist. Later when we actually had her, I changed my mind. Perhaps I'm sensitive to this issue because as a child I have had Christianity pushed down my throat. Most people gladly accept it but I'm one of those who didn't. I think that religion should be a personal choice, not something drummed-into persons.

In a sense, I do teach her Buddhism. I teach her Buddhist values like being concerned about others, treating others fairly and not hating. She is nine right now and I'm just starting to teach her about the various religions in the world.


The later sounds good.
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)
User avatar
LastLegend
 
Posts: 1733
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:46 pm
Location: Washington DC

Re: Should we teach our children to be Buddhists?

Postby Indrajala » Mon May 23, 2011 4:42 pm

To be born into a world where one can hear the Buddhadharma is rare. To be born into a Buddhist family is all the more difficult.

If she has any affinity towards Buddhism, then guiding her down that road would be best. If not, then don't force it. :anjali:
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
Former staff member
 
Posts: 5565
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: India

Re: Should we teach our children to be Buddhists?

Postby LastLegend » Mon May 23, 2011 4:45 pm

The best way to teach is to live it.
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)
User avatar
LastLegend
 
Posts: 1733
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:46 pm
Location: Washington DC

Re: Should we teach our children to be Buddhists?

Postby Kyosan » Mon May 23, 2011 5:32 pm

LastLegend wrote:The best way to teach is to live it.

I agree with that. They say that's the best way to teach a child. And I'm sure that I have had a large influence on my daughter though I'm certainly not the best example of a Buddhist.

I also agree with what Huseng said. If she shows that she is interested in Buddhism, I'll be happy to teach her what I know about it. Right now she doesn't seem to be interested in any religion. I do intend to teach her more about Buddhism when she is able to understand, not in a way that is pushy, but I certainly would like her to know what Buddhism is all about.
Kyosan
 
Posts: 331
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2010 10:57 pm
Location: USA, Tucson

Re: Should we teach our children to be Buddhists?

Postby LastLegend » Mon May 23, 2011 5:58 pm

Kyosan wrote:
LastLegend wrote:The best way to teach is to live it.

I agree with that. They say that's the best way to teach a child. And I'm sure that I have had a large influence on my daughter though I'm certainly not the best example of a Buddhist.

I also agree with what Huseng said. If she shows that she is interested in Buddhism, I'll be happy to teach her what I know about it. Right now she doesn't seem to be interested in any religion. I do intend to teach her more about Buddhism when she is able to understand, not in a way that is pushy, but I certainly would like her to know what Buddhism is all about.


Buddha found the path and taught us. If he did not experience it, I don't think people would believe him. His presentation-the way he talked, walked, taught, interacted is a big part of his teachings. His appearance (looks, peace, happiness, grace, etc) is a big part of his teachings also. Why? Because Buddha cultivated this, and this appearance is a result of that...And he would not teach people something and do something completely opposite. I will try my best to be a good example of a Buddhist for my daughter also.

Thanks for reading
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)
User avatar
LastLegend
 
Posts: 1733
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:46 pm
Location: Washington DC

Re: Should we teach our children to be Buddhists?

Postby Gharchaina » Mon May 23, 2011 9:27 pm

Kyosan wrote:
Gharchaina wrote:If there is no community -- the Dharma will not survive in the West. Centers need to be community and family friendly. Those pot lucks are important. Sunday School is important. Parents with young children will not come, or will come only sporadically if there is no one to look after their kids and maybe teach them a little Dharma, while Mom and Pop, reestablish their center.

Before we had our daughter, we were planning to raise her as a Buddhist. Later when we actually had her, I changed my mind. Perhaps I'm sensitive to this issue because as a child I have had Christianity pushed down my throat. Most people gladly accept it but I'm one of those who didn't. I think that religion should be a personal choice, not something drummed-into persons.

In a sense, I do teach her Buddhism. I teach her Buddhist values like being concerned about others, treating others fairly and not hating. She is nine right now and I'm just starting to teach her about the various religions in the world.


Yeah, truthfully I wasn't thinking about Sunday School in the traditional sense (though I really loved coloring pictures of Sampson and stuff) but more like day care with some fun activities (full disclosure -- I had 5 years of perfect Sunday school attendance). I liked Sunday School. It was the church service I hated.
User avatar
Gharchaina
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2009 3:48 pm

Re: Should we teach our children to be Buddhists?

Postby Gharchaina » Mon May 23, 2011 9:40 pm

Kyosan wrote:Before we had our daughter, we were planning to raise her as a Buddhist. Later when we actually had her, I changed my mind. Perhaps I'm sensitive to this issue because as a child I have had Christianity pushed down my throat. Most people gladly accept it but I'm one of those who didn't. I think that religion should be a personal choice, not something drummed-into persons.

In a sense, I do teach her Buddhism. I teach her Buddhist values like being concerned about others, treating others fairly and not hating. She is nine right now and I'm just starting to teach her about the various religions in the world.


Also, I don't know about you, but I remember the realization that I was going to die. Probably around 5 or 6. I remember what a shock it was. I was terrified. I had night terrors. Religion is more than good social values. It is about your place in the universe and the meaning of your life. I found I could not answer those questions from my son without referring to the Buddhadharma. I don't know. Maybe some kids don't go through that realization, or it does not hit them with impact. But for me it was central. I needed an explanation, though I was probably never really happy with the Christian one.
User avatar
Gharchaina
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2009 3:48 pm

Re: Should we teach our children to be Buddhists?

Postby Kyosan » Mon May 23, 2011 11:28 pm

Gharchaina wrote:
Kyosan wrote:Before we had our daughter, we were planning to raise her as a Buddhist. Later when we actually had her, I changed my mind. Perhaps I'm sensitive to this issue because as a child I have had Christianity pushed down my throat. Most people gladly accept it but I'm one of those who didn't. I think that religion should be a personal choice, not something drummed-into persons.

In a sense, I do teach her Buddhism. I teach her Buddhist values like being concerned about others, treating others fairly and not hating. She is nine right now and I'm just starting to teach her about the various religions in the world.


Also, I don't know about you, but I remember the realization that I was going to die. Probably around 5 or 6. I remember what a shock it was. I was terrified. I had night terrors. Religion is more than good social values. It is about your place in the universe and the meaning of your life. I found I could not answer those questions from my son without referring to the Buddhadharma. I don't know. Maybe some kids don't go through that realization, or it does not hit them with impact. But for me it was central. I needed an explanation, though I was probably never really happy with the Christian one.

For me, I didn't like either the church service or Sunday school. I had poor attendance in Sunday school because I'd look for excuses not to go. Finally, in the end, my parents gave up trying to make me go.

Maybe it's because it was so long ago, I can't remember when I first realized that I'm going to dye. My daughter knows that everyone dies but doesn't seem to worry about it very much. In fact, I told her that any of us can die at any time. That was part of my covert Buddhist teaching. I do try to teach her important Buddhist ideas like impermanence but don't present them as Buddhism. I present them as the nature of life.
Kyosan
 
Posts: 331
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2010 10:57 pm
Location: USA, Tucson

Re: Should we teach our children to be Buddhists?

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon May 23, 2011 11:50 pm

Yes.

But in a gentle way, relaxed way. We never forced our kids to go to temple, but taught them basic Buddhist principles. They were free to study all religions, but we did celebrate Buddhist holidays along with Christmas.

We took them to Shambhala Mountain in Colorado for a "rite of passage" ceremony.

Sometimes Buddhist parents say things like, 'Of course I'm not bringing up Kyle as a Buddhist. I believe that every child should freely choose their own path.' There are serious problems with this (pseudo-liberal?) attitude. If the Dhamma is good enough for you, why isn’t it good enough for Kyle? Exposing your kids to the Dhamma doesn't mean you are robbing them of their freedom to choose. They can (and probably will) make up their own minds later anyway. There's a lot of superficiality out there, a lot of temptations and a lot of bad ideas. Giving your kids a good foundation in the Dhamma will help them better navigate through life and make good choices.
Ven. S. Dhammika


http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?tit ... a_for_kids
User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1610
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2009 4:23 pm
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Re: Should we teach our children to be Buddhists?

Postby Astus » Tue May 24, 2011 11:04 am

I don't think teaching Buddhism to children means explaining impermanence, selflessness, emptiness or even death. Wisdom teachings are OK only in small amounts in wrapped in digestible stories. Otherwise it should be more of moral teachings and different practices of good deeds. And in case it is Mahayana teaching about bodhisattvas and buddhas plus some recitation is also good.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4126
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Should we teach our children to be Buddhists?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue May 24, 2011 11:42 am

I was brought up Greek Orthodox in New Zealand. The church was one of the few social meeting points for the Greek community. I went to Sunday school but it wasn't enough for me. I was an altar boy as well.

I also attended a Catholic boys school so I got plenty of religious education all day (the teachers were Marist monastics).

I also attended protestant religious classes of my own choice.

BUT my relationship with christianity was one based on gnosis of the subject, at some point it got the arse and I decided that atheist anarchism was the way to go. Again I spent a lonmg time researching and practicing what I believed until I bumped into my first meditation teacher and now...

Maybe one day I will "dump" buddhism too, though I have to say that my practice and lifestyle is continualy influenced by all my past encounters.

Your kid will start asking questions by themselves at some point as a response to the statues, icons, discussions, etc... that you have around your home.

I would take my kid with me to lectures/practice sessions, etc... like I would take them along with me to a restaurant, the beach, a movie, a friends house, etc... Natural and normal. But as soon as I saw boredom or a negative reaction from them then I would stop and let the kid develop their own path of action.
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
User avatar
Sherab Dorje
Former staff member
 
Posts: 7910
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Should we teach our children to be Buddhists?

Postby Zenda » Tue May 24, 2011 9:13 pm

I don't push Buddhism on my 9-year-old son, but if he shows interest, then I try to get him involved. (Part of the difficulty is that a lot of dharma groups aren't very accomodating of children. It's changing to be sure, but I have found it difficult to find activities that he can participate in.) He also attends Sunday School at my husband's church and loves it.

My view is that it is really his decision to make, just as it was mine. He thinks meditation is boring but he loves Green Tara and loved meeting Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. We've made up a few rituals for him to participate in sometimes. (When he was about 4, he would sit next to me and we'd say a short prayer and then he'd ring a bell until he got sick of it. It was so much fun... ) I don't care what religion he chooses - my only aspiration for him is to be a genuine, considerate, and loving human being.
Zenda
 
Posts: 80
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 10:22 pm

Re: Should we teach our children to be Buddhists?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed May 25, 2011 12:33 am

It might be a better use of time to teach Buddhists to be children.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
User avatar
PadmaVonSamba
 
Posts: 2800
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 1:41 am

Re: Should we teach our children to be Buddhists?

Postby Dechen Norbu » Wed May 25, 2011 5:18 am

Young children up until the age of five or six are unable to put themselves in another's position when it is different from their own. That would do a lot for compassion, empathetic joy and so on and so forth, wouldn't it?
That's more a western fantasy than anything else, a myth about the innocence of children, while in reality children may act in very cruel fashions out of their limitations.
Adults don't need to be bad while children are necessarily very limited with the due consequences.
I guess instead of moving backwards, perhaps it's better to focus in becoming good adults while providing the substrata to our children so that they can practice the Dharma if so they choose.
User avatar
Dechen Norbu
 
Posts: 2798
Joined: Sat Mar 26, 2011 6:50 pm

Re: we should teach our children to be Buddhists

Postby Will » Wed May 25, 2011 5:21 am

As Mahayana folk we vow to bring on the path to Buddhahood all beings. Why except our children from "all beings"?
Revealing one essence: this means the inherently pure, complete, luminous essence, which is pure of its own nature. -- Fa-tsang
User avatar
Will
 
Posts: 1733
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 4:21 am

Re: Should we teach our children to be Buddhists?

Postby ground » Wed May 25, 2011 5:21 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:It might be a better use of time to teach Buddhists to be children.


Why not animals? They are soo natural and innocent, undefiled by intellect.

Kind regards
User avatar
ground
 
Posts: 1782
Joined: Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:31 am

Re: Should we teach our children to be Buddhists?

Postby LastLegend » Wed May 25, 2011 7:37 am

TMingyur wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:It might be a better use of time to teach Buddhists to be children.


Why not animals? They are soo natural and innocent, undefiled by intellect.

Kind regards



Before listening to Dharma, my parents's apartment was infested with countless roaches and mice. I guess the animals also listened to Dharma also and they left. And the building is used to be crowded with druggies but now I don't see them anymore...the idea is good cannot stay with bad and pure mind is pure land. On practical level, by taking refuge we are now striving to practice the teachings and staying away from the 3 karma of body, speech, and mind. Relatively speaking, good is cultivating the path and bad is cultivating the path of 3 karma.
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)
User avatar
LastLegend
 
Posts: 1733
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:46 pm
Location: Washington DC

Re: Should we teach our children to be Buddhists?

Postby Kyosan » Wed May 25, 2011 8:21 pm

Astus wrote:I don't think teaching Buddhism to children means explaining impermanence, selflessness, emptiness or even death. Wisdom teachings are OK only in small amounts in wrapped in digestible stories. Otherwise it should be more of moral teachings and different practices of good deeds

I mostly agree with that. One needs to be aware of what a child would and wouldn't be able to understand. However, I think that some of these things can be taught at a certain level. I think that teaching a child: to not be selfish but be willing to share, to not be a sore loser, to not be jealous of others but happy when they succeed, to not hate and to be fair to others is a way of instilling selflessness. It's not exactly the same thing as understanding the concept of selflessness, but it is beneficial.

Impermanence is not that hard to understand, at least at some level. I think that children can understand it. Children can understand that things are constantly changing and that plants and animals are born and die. In the above post, I mentioned that I told my daughter that anyone can die at any time. That sounds like a harsh thing to say but it wasn't that harsh when I said it. I don't remember the exact words but she said something like "you [I] are going to die much sooner than I [our daughter] because you are much older". I responded by saying something like "That's probably true. Most people live to be old but people can die at any age. They can get sick and die or die in a auto accident". That may sound a bit harsh but I was being honest with her.

About speaking of death with children. I think that is something they usually realize themselves when they are maybe 5 or 6 years old and ask the parents questions about it. That makes sense because they see dead animals such as birds and cats and make the connection that this happens to humans also. Or perhaps someone in the family dies.
Kyosan
 
Posts: 331
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2010 10:57 pm
Location: USA, Tucson


Return to Open Dharma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: yan kong and 10 guests

>