Monday, April 10, 2006

Children's Jukai Ceremony

Every year the children in Dharma School have a chance to renew their commitment to this Buddhist practice they are learning about. The ceremony is simple, but with the help of their teachers and their parents, they understand the gravity of the ceremony. At it's most basic level, becoming a Buddhist means taking refuge in the Three Jewels. This is what the children do in their Jukai Ceremony. On another basic level, Buddhism provides a structure to develop compassion and wisdom, and the children do this through their Two Promises.

We get the Three Treasures and The Two Promises from the Community of Mindful Living, Thich Nhat Hahn's lineage. Like the Community of Mindful Living, we feel it very important that children be allowed to make their own choices in this, and they know they will not be asked to make a lifetime commitment. We give them information, tell them what we have learned, involve them in lessons, but we don't tell them they must believe this or that.

The Three Treasures
  • I take refuge in the Buddha, the one who shows me the way in this life.
  • I take refuge in the Dharma, the way of understanding and love
  • I take refuge in the Sangha, the community that lives in harmony and awareness

The Two Promises

  • I vow to develop my compassion in order to protect the lives of people, animals, and plants.
  • I vow to develop understanding in order to live peaceably with people, animals, and plants.

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