Sunday, November 23, 2008

Life of Buddha: The Middle Way

I used a combination of my own narration, and some excerpts in verse from The Light of Asia by Sir Edwin Arnold.

After Siddhartha left home, he cut off his hair, and traded his clothes for old yellow robes. He joined some monks, or yogis, who thought if they deprived themselves, and treated their bodies in extreme ways, they could achieve a certain wisdom. This old poem form of the story has wonderfully grotesque descriptions of the scene. However, it would work better for children a little older with more vocabulary. Also, it is good to begin a lesson with a vocabulary game of some sort, covering those more complex words.

Siddhartha nearly died, but a girl passing by offered him some food, which made the monk realize his old life of riches didn't give him what he needed, but neither did this life of deprivation. It is compared to a musical instrument, the lyre, this middle way that he found. The key is not to make the strings too tight, or too loose.

I asked the kids if they had examples of "too much" or "too little" like this. Not really, so I discussed the Buddha's two extremes some more.

For our activity, I created a coloring page using imagery from the coloring book, and an image of a lyre. In the instrument, I punched holes so the girls could insert some glittery string, taping it on the back. Here is the Middle Way coloring page.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Life of Buddha: Encountering Suffering

Various picture books of the Buddha's life have different qualities that make them good. I chose bits from each of the three books for this lesson. I reminded the girls of The Charioteer Song that we sing sometimes. This story, they are familiar with.

For an activity, I created a scroll using the images from the coloring book of Buddha's life. Click for the Buddha's four sights away from the palace. For prep, I printed, cut in half, pasted the two pieces, and pasted popsicle sticks on the ends.

To learn the full story of the 4 sights that prompted Siddhartha to leave home, see the song:
The Charioteer Song page 1
The Charioteer Song page 2