Monday, August 25, 2008

Teaching the children about Buddhism

If you didn't notice, which you probably didn't, I didn't sell out yesterday. Did you miss it?

Of course you did. :)

So today I still don't have much to talk about... my family has not provided their usual bloggy entertainment lately. Except I did miss a great photo opportunity the other day when Goober and Munchkin decided to join me while I did a little yoga. Goober's downward dog was priceless. I'll have to try to get them to do it again.

Nevertheless, I will blog! I'm gabbing about Buddhism today... I hope you'll stick around.


As I learn more about Buddhism and how it fits into my life, I feel the need to pass that on to my children. See, when I was growing up my parents let religion take a backseat. They didn't want to thrust any particular belief system on me so they sort of just let me decide on my own. I had a Catholic background but we didn't really go to mass much and the only Sunday school I ever got was when I tagged along with friends to their churches.

Now that I'm all grown up I have mixed feelings about how my parents approached religion. While I'm mainly thankful that they chose not to thrust me into Christianity, their laid back approach didn't really give me the spiritual guidance I craved. I believe everyone needs some spiritual guidance in life. Without it, I always felt a sort of emptiness, a constant feeling that I was missing something.

Not to say I didn't develop the moral character that goes along with religious teachings, because my parents were very big into developing character. I could write a book of my dad's lectures teaching me right from wrong. (Not a bad idea, actually.)

I guess it was shortly after high school that I really began my search for spiritual answers. Answers to life, the universe, and everything. Douglas Adams didn't answer my questions, Christianity didn't answer my questions, Wicca didn't answer my questions, my Religion Theory professor didn't answer my questions, my friends didn't answer them, hallucinogenics didn't answer them, having children didn't answer them, and it got to a point where I wondered if there even was an answer.

Then one day I realized that the answers to those questions didn't matter. Why does it matter what happens when we die or how we came to be here or whether there's a God or a heaven or a hell or any of it? If someone could come along and answer all of those questions for me and I could make sense of their answer, would it change the way I live my life today? Should it change the way I live my life? Would I want it to?

It took me over a decade to find some sort of peace with my spirituality and I don't want my children to go through that sort of search. I want them to have peace from the start. I want them to feel complete from the beginning.

So I've sort of gone off on a tangent here, but it all leads back to a point, I promise. :)

I want to teach my children what I believe. But how? There are a lot of parts of Buddhism that aren't so easy to explain, and I'm still learning myself, so where to begin?

Google, of course. Duh.

That's when I found this. An online library of eBooks on Buddhism! There is a whole section devoted to children's books, too! Including bona fide textbooks explaining the story of Siddhartha Gautama and how he came to be the Buddha! I'm so excited to have found these books. Now I just have to read them all, of course, before teaching them to the kids. I've read the textbook geared for younger children and it seems wonderful. The Man will probably review all of them, too, before we decide to start teaching.

I encourage anyone interested in learning more about Buddhism to browse the library here and to explore the whole site. It really seems to be a wonderful resource.


Lori said...[Reply to comment]

Haa!! I DID notice that you had no Sunday sell-out post. Well, YOU may not be a sell-out, but I am!! :) No seriously, as I mentioned before in an e-mail, check out the children's story "Tenzin's Deer". I think you'll LOVE it! It doesn't TEACH children about Buddhism, but it does reflect Buddhist principles. And, of course, I have yoga books, too -- "My Daddy is a Pretzel." I just posted a little about Barefoot Books in general this weekend. Thanks!

Hope you don't mind my sell-out comment!

Anonymous said...[Reply to comment]

I don't know much about Buddhism, but I will check out the other site. I always like to learn.

I left you some bloggy love on my site!

Ellie said...[Reply to comment]

Lovely. And if you'll indulge in me for a moment of extreme, shameless self-promotion, I had a Buddha-Moment myself not long ago: