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The post here specifically refers to introducing Buddhism to a child as well as meditation and recitals.

The question i am seeking to answer though is the introduction of concepts such as clinging, letting go, intent, self, no-self and the like.

Being surrounded by children under the age of 4, i can observe that certain behaviors are starting to take root e.g. clinging. If a particular toy is lost or not available, the child senses a deep loss which results in emotional and physical distress.

The kids also identify with themselves with the things they are surrounded by e.g. friends, physical objects, etc

  • This could be a good question for Parenting.SE ... not about Buddhism, specifically, but concepts such as clinging. I think that in parenting (and teaching) one of the concepts for teachers is called "redirection" ... e.g. if the child is clinging to something that's become unavailable then you redirect them towards something else instead. – ChrisW May 10 '15 at 11:31
  • But although redirection is common-place, maybe it's not very Buddhist: maybe it encourages the pursuit of sense-objects; maybe it teaches "you always need an object, it doesn't matter what". – ChrisW May 10 '15 at 12:09
  • Hi Motivated. When you say "surrounded by children" are you referring to your own children or children at a Buddhist center that you are interested in teaching about the Buddha and his teachings or do you mean children in a public group or school that you are interested in teaching useful Buddhist concepts but without calling it Buddhism? – Robin111 May 11 '15 at 0:06
  • @ChrisW - The purpose of teaching these concepts is so that the kids have tools to deal with life as they mature. I agree that the it to provide them with the view that objects such as toys. – Motivated May 11 '15 at 7:27
  • @Robin111 - Both our own and others. It is to introduce them the concepts without referring to any specific belief system since it can be easily misconstrued. – Motivated May 11 '15 at 7:29
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Try the videos under the section of Children on this website.

There are some ebooks for children here.

There's a simplified introduction to Buddhism for kids here.

There are websites on Jataka Tales for children here, here and here.

I think a great way of teaching Buddhist concepts to children is through stories. Stories are entertaining to young children who need their creativity and imagination stimulated, in order to learn things happily and efficiently.

Instead of trying to teach very young children concepts like anatta which may be too difficult for them, it might be better to teach them virtues and good moral values, which are available through the Jataka Tales and some Dhammapada stories. This is the foundation to inculcating sila.

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My 2 year old toddler isn't ready for sunyata yet, I'm trying to teach him to be nice to the cat (not pull it's tail etc) because the cat feels pain-- as contrasted with, don't do that because I said so.

The concept of change is pretty straight forward. In moments of pain, you can remind kids that the pain doesn't last for long-- nothing last for long. In times where everything is going fine, or is fun, the Buddhist thing to do is to remember that nothing lasts for long and the fun of the moment will pass. In moments of tranquility, remind kids that peaceful tranquility doesn't involve pain, nor peaks of happiness, and it's a good state to be in.

I'll report back in two years about if it works.

  • Awesome. Be very interested in the progress. – Motivated May 11 '15 at 7:30

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