Tuesday, August 09, 2005

An Introduction

As Buddhist communities continue to be born and to grow in the West, more of these sanghas are wondering how to teach Dharma to their kids. A dearth of curriculum materials often has them seeking help from other established communities, like Dharma Rain Zen Center in Portland, Oregon. DRZC has been conducting a Dharma School since around 1986. Word has it the push came from members who were parents and wanted a Sunday School for their children. Dharma Rain sought help from the long established Jodo Shinshu temple in the area, got their hands on some Buddhist songs for kids, and the Dharma school grew from there.

Almost 20 years later, more songs have been added (some of them written by members) and a 5-6 year curriculum has been established. Efforts have been made for several years to write a book so others could benefit from Dharma Rain's experience, but it seems the best way to capture the curriculum is to get the lessons from the teachers as they create and deliver them. This is our effort to do so.

The history and background of the Dharma School program can be found here at Dharma Rain's website.