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How to explain death/rebirth to a child? - Dhamma Wheel

How to explain death/rebirth to a child?

A forum for beginners and members of other Buddhist traditions to ask questions about Theravāda (The Way of the Elders). Responses require moderator approval before they are visible.
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Butrfly_Nirvana
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How to explain death/rebirth to a child?

Postby Butrfly_Nirvana » Mon Jan 25, 2010 4:40 pm

While I've found several articles and excerpts helpful in explaining to myself (and I agree with them), I was wondering how do I translate all of that into something a child could comprehend? What is the best way to explain it without causing more confusion? I don't think my children will understand consciousness, and all of that... Basically I get questions like "can I come back as an animal?" "will I remember mommy and daddy?" etc. If we are 'soul-less', then what are we (in terms they can sort of grasp)...? Sorry if this is posted elsewhere! Also, if there is a children's book on the topic I'd love to find one!

:namaste:
Namaste,
*~Nichole~*


Abyss
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Re: How to explain death/rebirth to a child?

Postby Abyss » Mon Jan 25, 2010 4:57 pm

Maybe the are what you want. They are quite suitable for children and have a moral.

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Cittasanto
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Re: How to explain death/rebirth to a child?

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Jan 25, 2010 5:17 pm

maybe this will help!
http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/buddhism/index.htm

but do you understand these or accept?


He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

Reductor
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Re: How to explain death/rebirth to a child?

Postby Reductor » Mon Jan 25, 2010 5:23 pm


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Kim OHara
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Re: How to explain death/rebirth to a child?

Postby Kim OHara » Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:03 pm


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Butrfly_Nirvana
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Re: How to explain death/rebirth to a child?

Postby Butrfly_Nirvana » Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:08 pm

Thank you all for your help! I know this is all going to be very useful. My kids are 7, 3 and 1..so still fairly young, but around here adults like to make references to "God", "Jesus" etc, so I wanted to be sure my kids had a solid education in that respect. While I try to deter people from talking to my kids about that stuff, I know that it's my job to guide them at home first.


:namaste:
Namaste,
*~Nichole~*


Reductor
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Re: How to explain death/rebirth to a child?

Postby Reductor » Tue Jan 26, 2010 3:08 am


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Ben
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Re: How to explain death/rebirth to a child?

Postby Ben » Tue Jan 26, 2010 4:48 am

Hi Butrfly_Nirvana
Our family had an experience nearly a year ago when a much loved family pet was euthanized.
When we talked to our eight-year-old son we just gave him the facts in a loving and supportive way.
It was a traumatic experience and I didn't think it was the right time to introduce causality and rebirth and either confuse him or give him false hope from an incomplete understanding. When he is a little older and a little more capable of understanding the subtleties of the Dhamma, I'll introduce it to him.
I hope that is of benefit.

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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Butrfly_Nirvana
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Re: How to explain death/rebirth to a child?

Postby Butrfly_Nirvana » Tue Jan 26, 2010 2:51 pm

Ben: Thank you for your help.

I guess one of my worries is that living where we do teachers often allow their beliefs to enter into their teaching lessons. But I suppose we'll cross those bridges as we get to them!
Namaste,
*~Nichole~*


PeterB
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Re: How to explain death/rebirth to a child?

Postby PeterB » Tue Jan 26, 2010 3:02 pm

Good idea Buterfly Nirvana. I think with younger children there are topics where we should be led by them, in other words answer their questions as they are asked, And answer them truthfully but simply. I dont often quote Richard Dawkins.....but I dont think we should condition our children into belief systems, and at a young age that is all Rebirth can be , a belief. There's plenty of time for that later.

:anjali:

notself
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Re: How to explain death/rebirth to a child?

Postby notself » Tue Jan 26, 2010 10:05 pm

Take your child to see Lion King or rent the DVD. The circle of life is rebirth. You don't have to get into why one wants to end rebirth until much much later.
Though one may conquer a thousand times a thousand men in battle, yet he is indeed the noblest victor who conquers himself. ---Dhp 103

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Ben
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Re: How to explain death/rebirth to a child?

Postby Ben » Tue Jan 26, 2010 10:42 pm

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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bodom
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Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: How to explain death/rebirth to a child?

Postby bodom » Wed Jan 27, 2010 1:02 am

To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html
http://www.ajahnchah.org/

notself
Posts: 134
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Re: How to explain death/rebirth to a child?

Postby notself » Wed Jan 27, 2010 4:29 am

:anjali:
Though one may conquer a thousand times a thousand men in battle, yet he is indeed the noblest victor who conquers himself. ---Dhp 103

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Butrfly_Nirvana
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Re: How to explain death/rebirth to a child?

Postby Butrfly_Nirvana » Wed Jan 27, 2010 7:44 pm

Thank you all so much! I can't believe I didn't think of the Lion King! lol

So many great suggestions and thoughts!

:namaste:
Namaste,
*~Nichole~*



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