Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Dragon King's Daughter

In March we had the lesson on the Dragon King's Daughter from the Lotus Sutra. So often in Buddhism, women are seen as inferior, but not in this teaching. Not only is she female, she is a child, and the Dragon King's Daughter is presented to the followers of Buddha as one who is capable of attaining enlightenment.

My co-teacher in this endeavor, Kim, read the story to the girls, then she had another story for them, more contemporary. She read the book, Brave Harriet: The First Woman to Fly the English Channel. In the early days of flight, people were still getting lost when they attempted the English Channel. Brave Harriet Quimby knew she could do it as long as she trusted her compass. Even her best male friend was afraid she would fail. Harriet succeeded well before Amelia Earhart gained fame for flying across the ocean, but Harriet's story was trumped by the sinking of the Titanic. This was a wonderful story of a woman having certainty in herself, even while people around her expected failure because she was a woman. It was a story about confidence, and confidence in our own wisdom and ability was the message Kim wanted to emphasize.

For an activity, Kim had the girls paint a picture of who they wanted to be when they grew up. Paint was a novelty we haven't experienced in a Dharma School class before, but we had some handy acrylic paint pens that prevented a mess.

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