The theme for the younger kids group will be impermanence, i.e., unceasing change. When asked to sum up Buddhism in a sentence, Suzuki Roshi once said, “Everything changes.” In traditional Buddhist teaching, impermanence is one of the three marks of existence, along with dissatisfaction and no-self. We will explore the nature of change through stories, activities, and projects. Our goal is to make the classes fun for the kids and (we hope) learn a little something at the same time.
We plan to evolve our class format over the course of the fall program. Our initial format will be:
9:00 Warmup and Introductions
. Short meditation (1-2 mins)
. Brief talk (5 mins)
. Story Reading (5 mins)
. Game (TIME PERMITTING)
. Outside kinhin/games (TIME PERMITTING)
. Project (drawing, paper mache, plays, games, will vary)
Every class centers on a story. We have a recommended reading list for the fall program.
Theme: Because life is always changing, all beings arise and then pass away.
Project: Create paper flowers that the kids can hang on a tree at home. What happens to the flowers over time?
Game: “Letting go.” Each child sits before a bean bag and says, “Releasing my grasp of thoughts, into Buddha I let go.” On the word “go,” the child leans back into the bean bag.
Theme: Because life is always changing, it looks differently to different people at different times. We can let go of our need to be right.
Story: The Red-Bud Tree from The Jataka Tales; A Heavy Load from Muth’s Zen Shorts
Games: “Pass it down.” We will show a picture to one child, who then describes it to someone else, who then describes it to someone else, and so on. At the end we’ll see whether the picture matches the description.
Theme: Because life is always changing, nothing good lasts forever, and nothing bad lasts forever. We can get let go.
Story: It Will Pass and Death of a Teacup from The Barefoot Book of Buddhist Tales
Class 4 (Halloween)
Theme: If sometimes I’m happy, and sometimes I’m sad, who is the real me?
Story: “Zen Ghosts” by John Muth
Project:We made two-sided masks, one showing a happy face, and another showing a sad face. The idea is that neither face is who I am.
Theme: Whatever comes into being, including our anger and fear, will pass away.
Talk: There’s a Zen story about a hermit monk who painted a tiger on the walls of his cave. He painted it so realistically that when he finished, he looked at it and became frightened and ran away.
Story: Maybe from Muth’s Zen Shorts; “Moody Cow Meditates”
Project: Make a meditation jar.
Theme: Life is always changing, but that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate what’s here now.
Story: The Tigers and the Strawberry from One Hand Clapping and The Thief and the Moon from Muth’s Zen Shorts
Theme: Buddha’s enlightenment
Film: The Buddha