What would be a good way to introduce Buddhism to young children?

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by Christine Louise:

My husband is Catholic and I am Buddhist. We have decided to educate our children on both religions and let them choose their own beliefs as they grow, whether it coincide with Catholicism, Buddhism or any other religion. What are ways I could introduce Buddhism to them?

Answer by kinetochore
Meditation is good no matter the beliefs.

9 Comments

  1. I would just teach them the basics, like the 4 noble truths, the eightfold path, and meditation for now, and get more advanced later on.

  2. Lead by example. If the kids want to know what makes you perform this or that observance, they’ll ask. It’s just like if the kids want to know how to build a wood table – if they don’t see anybody building one, they just won’t bother. If they see two people building them they’ll (a) ask why they need two and then (b) emulate the one that produces the better looking (more appealing to them). Or maybe they won’t want to build a table at all.

  3. Having had few opportunities to become jaded, most children are naturally compassionate. You might introduce them to the practice of tonglen (sp?) meditation as a way to augment their prayer rituals. Rather than treating the two faiths as mutually exclusive entities, you may wish to stress how their principles would reinforce one another (e.g., Jesus’ persecution as a model of facing and embracing one’s fears, Jesus healing the lepers and ministering to prostitutes as a living embodiment of bodachitta).
    (If I’ve misspelled anything here, please forgive me).

  4. Well, have then cross their legs and say there is suffering,
    then tell them that if they clear there mind of all things,
    they will not suffer,
    But eventually they will grow old and die. Better to live and suffer through mass.

  5. There are some great answers here. I just wanted to answer because the lady that introduced me to Buddhism was married to a chatholic ex priest.

  6. The basics is all they need at this point. Actually that’s as far as a lot of buddhists go. The basic teachings will not conflict with what they are taught by christianity. Compassion for all living things as you know is an easy way to introduce them to buddhist philosophy. When Jesus was alive he taught many of the same things as buddha taught 500 years prior. Be aware that a buddha can live with a christian easier than a christian can live with a buddha. I’m sure you follow my meaning. Namaste

  7. There are some good primary educational materials on buddhanet.net, with guidance for meditation, activities, and stories to tell them. I found the meditation advice particularly helpful.
    Click the Buddhist Studies link, and navigate to the Buddhist Studies for Primary and Secondary Students section.
    Good luck!

  8. Teach a child compassion and giving. Selflessness is a fundamental nature that is prerequisite for grasping and feeling/understanding buddhist principles. It’s like, you have to walk in the buddhist shoes to know what’s going on. (yes, both religions teach compassion and giving, but Buddhism’s major doctrines rely heavily on grasping compassion/giving/selflessness).
    One that is indulgent and self-absorbed and selfish wouldn’t understand the basics of no-desires; why greed is harmful. When your child has become accustomed to being kind, compassion, giving, selfless, they’ll better understand why Buddhism teaches compassion and restraint from desires and greed.
    For example, one that habitually hoards their wealth and personal possessions, and doesn’t share, could never agree with buddhist principles of detachment from desires and materials, much less understand them.
    Another good training tool is to not spoil your child. Let them learn. Let them get used to actually getting off their butts and doing something in order to obtain something.
    Buddhism is very tough. You gotta learn to take suffering. You gotta learn to not be lazy or indifferent. Buddhist wisdom is useless if it is not cultivated/practice. One must be accustomed to not being lazy. One must be accustomed to hard work. By training your child in helping around the house, or to simply not obtain things so eASILY, they’ll get used to work and won’t be so reactive to suffering or a little hard work. From this, your chlid will be better equipped in putting Buddhist teachings into action and practice. ‘
    If your child is too spoiled and used to a silver platter, Buddhism is less likely to be practiced. The child will learn the principles and teachings, but won’t be so proactive in putting them practice.
    I personally hope that everyone becomes vegetarian, especially Buddhists. Indifference and inability to take a loss or take a little suffering, will cause people to never take the stance and become vegetarians. Such laziness or apathy causes people take the easy way out of things, which in turn makes the Buddha Dharma more difficult to accept.

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