Sunday, January 27, 2008

Six Realms: The Heaven Realm

My co-teacher began this lesson with a lying-down yoga meditation. She got them comfortable on the floor, making sure they were not touching each other by giving them gentle directions. She did some guided meditation, then carefully brought out her ukulele to make a big, sudden sound. It woke them up! Kim used this to demonstrate how we can get sleepy and complacent when we have an easy life. We had the kids look closely at the Asura, or Fighting Gods Realm. We asked them what they could see (clouds, building, tree, forest, etc). Then Kim taught them more about the myth of the Heaven Realm. The people who live there are the Devas. People got to this realm by doing good things in their lives. People in Heaven get to sit around and play games, and are waited on. They never sweat. Basically those things we might all think of when we think of Heaven. The city, she said, is called Lovely. There's a wish-fulfilling tree in Heaven, as well as a forest. Sometimes people want to get into Heaven and attack them. The people don't want to fight, of course. They use the power of the magical forest in those cases. People there are concerned about others, but they can become sleepy and complacent. "Not my concern," one child responded. The other problem about doesn't last forever. It's good to enjoy Heaven realms while we have them, but not to get too attached. For the craft activity, Kim prepared a poster on which the kids could put their own bits of Heaven. They had paper for themselves as well, so they could take something home. Five years later, the poster still hangs in the Zen Center library.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Six Realms: The Hell Realm

I have a couple of lessons that we covered in November that I started writing about but haven't finished. We did this lesson on the Hell Realm in January. I've been noodling around with Web 2.0 for work, so I decided to create this Google slideshow presentation. Enjoy.

You can view a larger version here.