Friday, October 20, 2006

Dana Paramita

I introduced the lesson on October 15 by talking a little bit about what dana means. It is giving, or generosity, but it is not the kind of giving where you expect some kind of reward. It is a kind of giving where you give because you don't feel separate from the other, it's just the natural action to take. You don't think about yourself, you just give.

I read the story "The Living Kuan Yin" from the book The Wisdom of the Crows and Other Buddhist Tales, stories retold by Sherab Chodzin and Alexandra Kohn, illustrated by Marie Cameron. This is a traditional tale from China in which a young man gives away all his wealth. He had so much gold he thought he'd never run out, but he did. He decided to travel to the land where the living Kuan Yin lived, and ask her why he was so poor. On the way he meets others who have questions for Kuan Yin. I like this story as a way to demonstrate dana because throughout the story the young man gives without a thought for himself. The one time he does consider himself, he makes his decision based on his promises to others. As happens with folk tales, he got his answer through his giving. Everything came out all right. The others who had questions also got their answers through giving, and love.

The girls had no problem accepting the dragon parts of the story, but expressed doubt that two people could meet and instantly fall in love and get married. We had a little impromptu conversation about folk tales and love. (Savvy kids these girls.)

I chose a simple craft for the girls, a refrigerator magnet that they could color. I happened to have some magnet sheets for the printer.

I chose this illustration from the story:

kwan yin dragon story copy

In adobe photoshop I used the photocopy filter to get a black and white image. (click on filter ->sketch ->photocopy if you want to recreate this technique) After that I simply inserted the jpeg into a word doc, formatted the size, and copied so I would have 4 to a page.

IMG_0304 copy

This coloring works best with lighter colors, so I weeded out my darker markers for this project.

IMG_0305 copy

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