Kids & precepts

A forum for discussion of Buddhist ethics.

Kids & precepts

Postby shaunc » Thu Dec 19, 2013 10:51 am

I was talking to a friend today & mentioned that the 5 precepts are the minimum precepts that a lay person is expected to observe. I then told him I'd been teaching Kathleen my 4 year old daughter about them, but that I only teach her 3 precepts, I don't bother teaching her about the 3rd & the 5th as she's only 4. My friend said if 5 is the minimum, I really should teach her all 5 precepts. I don't feel that a 4 year old needs to learn about booze & sex. The other thing is, that although I choose to uphold the 5th precept, her mum, my wife likes to have a drink from time to time & I don't want her to think that her mother isn't doing the right thing.
I'm interested to hear other peoples views that have also raised kids. Thanks.
shaunc
 
Posts: 303
Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2013 8:10 am

Re: Kids & precepts

Postby Seishin » Thu Dec 19, 2013 11:40 am

Whilst I'm not raising my daughter "buddhist" I am using buddhist principles in her upbringing. So far those principles cover stealing, killing & lying, but as she is so young I do not feel the need to mention alcohol or sex. She simply wouldn't understand (she is two tomorrow).

I think you should be the judge on whether your child should learn about these things or not, bearing in mind what she may be learning at school and from her peers. Use skilful means to explain them in a way she would understand and be able to put them into practice. You and your wife need to be together on what you teach her. If you're telling your daughter not to do something and your wife does it, it will confuse her. Speak to your wife and see what she thinks.

Gassho,
Seishin
User avatar
Seishin
Former staff member
 
Posts: 1420
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:53 am

Re: Kids & precepts

Postby kirtu » Thu Dec 19, 2013 12:07 pm

You could teach her that some substances cloud the mind (I will avoid clouding the mind is how some Zen centers initially present this precept). For little kids, they of course do not need to know about alcohol, etc. . For them what substances cloud the mind? Too much sugar, chocolate, and other candy.

Your friend is not correct that five precepts are the minimum. That would be true for teenagers and young adults and up.thoughtlessly harm others

However the fundamental principle behind all the precepts is not harming. So you could prepare your children for that precept by emphasizing that we don't use our body to harm people. At 4 and 2 they are too young to use the term body but we don't harm people. By 4 some kids show selfishness and by 6 they can thoughtlessly harm others usually in minor ways (pushing in line or worse). I was frankly shocked to see that 5 and 6 year olds had full blown egos. As part of this training you could teach them to apologize graciously and sincerely.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche
User avatar
kirtu
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4531
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:29 pm
Location: Baltimore, MD

Re: Kids & precepts

Postby Simon E. » Thu Dec 19, 2013 1:29 pm

An excellent recipe for driving kids away from wanting anything to do with Dharma when they are about 16.
The fallout among kids born to Buddhist parents in the UK is very high indeed.
16 year olds need something to push back against when they get to their teens.
Its how they get to form their own identity.
And if Buddhism is what you've got..then that's what they are likely to push against.
Simon E.
 
Posts: 2543
Joined: Tue May 15, 2012 11:09 am

Re: Kids & precepts

Postby Seishin » Thu Dec 19, 2013 1:34 pm

Simon E. wrote:The fallout among kids born to Buddhist parents in the UK is very high indeed.


Is there a source for this? :shrug:
User avatar
Seishin
Former staff member
 
Posts: 1420
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:53 am

Re: Kids & precepts

Postby Simon E. » Thu Dec 19, 2013 1:42 pm

Purely anecdotal Seishin.
I have now seen three generations of kids born to families whose mothers/fathers /grandparents became Buddhist in the 60's.
A constant refrain from many of them is the
lack of interest or even hostility about the issue from kids and grandkids.

And I think that's fine and natural.
Later on perhaps they will become interested , but it has to come from them.
As CTR used to say ' there are no born Buddhists '.
Simon E.
 
Posts: 2543
Joined: Tue May 15, 2012 11:09 am

Re: Kids & precepts

Postby Ayu » Thu Dec 19, 2013 6:33 pm

shaunc wrote:I was talking to a friend today & mentioned that the 5 precepts are the minimum precepts that a lay person is expected to observe. I then told him I'd been teaching Kathleen my 4 year old daughter about them, but that I only teach her 3 precepts, I don't bother teaching her about the 3rd & the 5th as she's only 4. My friend said if 5 is the minimum, I really should teach her all 5 precepts. I don't feel that a 4 year old needs to learn about booze & sex. The other thing is, that although I choose to uphold the 5th precept, her mum, my wife likes to have a drink from time to time & I don't want her to think that her mother isn't doing the right thing.
I'm interested to hear other peoples views that have also raised kids. Thanks.


You are completely right. Childrens education is made by intelligent feeling. Best contact to and understanding of the kid is by the parents.
A friend could tell you, how he is bringing up his own children. And then you can see, how beneficial this education is. It is not a theoretical but a very practical issue.
Especially one should not confuse a small child about it's own mother.
You are intuitivly right.


And: a lay person can take only three precepts also. Five Silas are not the minimum.
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
From 10th of 37 Bodhisattva Practices
User avatar
Ayu
 
Posts: 1033
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:25 am
Location: Europe

Re: Kids & precepts

Postby Konchog1 » Thu Dec 19, 2013 8:39 pm

Seishin wrote:Use skilful means to explain them in a way she would understand and be able to put them into practice.


Maybe:

3. Hurting yourself and others by being obsessed with what you want.

5. Eating or drinking poison.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
User avatar
Konchog1
 
Posts: 1341
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2011 4:30 am

Re: Kids & precepts

Postby yan kong » Thu Dec 19, 2013 9:55 pm

I don't see any problem. She is after all observing all five precepts, even if two of them are due to her age.
"Meditation is a spiritual exercise, not a therapeutic regime... Our intention is to enter Nirvana, not to make life in Samsara more tolerable." Chan Master Hsu Yun
User avatar
yan kong
 
Posts: 149
Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2012 1:01 am

Re: Kids & precepts

Postby Konchog1 » Thu Dec 19, 2013 10:06 pm

yan kong wrote:I don't see any problem. She is after all observing all five precepts, even if two of them are due to her age.
Buddhist virtues are virtues of the mind, never of the body or the speech.

Suppose there are two people and one vows not to kill and the other makes no such vow. If neither of them kill, who is the virtuous one?

Furthermore, if the girl doesn't create the habit of restraint now, then when the possibility of sin appears, she will indulge.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
User avatar
Konchog1
 
Posts: 1341
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2011 4:30 am

Re: Kids & precepts

Postby yan kong » Thu Dec 19, 2013 10:11 pm

Konchog1 wrote:
yan kong wrote:I don't see any problem. She is after all observing all five precepts, even if two of them are due to her age.
Buddhist virtues are virtues of the mind, never of the body or the speech.

Suppose there are two people and one vows not to kill and the other makes no such vow. If neither of them kill, who is the virtuous one?

Furthermore, if the girl doesn't create the habit of restraint now, then when the possibility of sin appears, she will indulge.


I'm not saying these precepts should never be explained to her, but I doubt she would understand sexual misconduct at her age.
"Meditation is a spiritual exercise, not a therapeutic regime... Our intention is to enter Nirvana, not to make life in Samsara more tolerable." Chan Master Hsu Yun
User avatar
yan kong
 
Posts: 149
Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2012 1:01 am

Re: Kids & precepts

Postby reddust » Thu Dec 19, 2013 10:16 pm

I grew up on a farm, I saw sex early, pigs, goats, sheep, horses, cattle, chickens….eeekkk and decided I wanted nothing to do with it! Hormones changed my mind later, boys like Billy Randall started looking so cute. But yes, I do not want anyone telling my kids about sex, drugs, suicide, until I think they are ready to know and that is usually when they start asking questions. I think all the precepts can be taught through how we behave as adults. That's why we have to be careful who our young kids are influenced by. Nature is the best teacher of all, get those kids with nature and let her teach them! If I had to do it over again my kids would never step into a public school until they went to college.

My kids were given a choice, I introduced them to all the religions, several of my kids visited centers for Jewish, Catholics, Muslims, Christians and Buddhist. I had friends who invited me and the kids tagged along. I wanted my kids to know about other cultures. My youngest who is now 25 went to Goenka's meditation for young kids, she hated it so I stopped taking her. None of my kids are Buddhist, one is a faithful Christian the EDIT: ALL (even the Christian one) are just spiritual, kind and well functioning people.
Mind and mental events are concepts, mere postulations within the three realms of samsara Longchenpa .... A link to my Garden, Art and Foodie blog Scratch Living
User avatar
reddust
 
Posts: 761
Joined: Thu Nov 14, 2013 7:29 am
Location: Oregon

Re: Kids & precepts

Postby dude » Fri Dec 20, 2013 1:41 am

A kid will choose a religion when the time comes.
Sounds like you've done well, reddust.
dude
 
Posts: 555
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 3:38 am

Re: Kids & precepts

Postby shaunc » Fri Dec 20, 2013 1:42 am

Thanks everyone for your replies. It seems I was doing it right anyway, & no matter how we do it, I won't please everyone. The fact of the matter is that she's 4 years old not 24 & I managed to break her of one of her favorite habits of killing bugs & ants in the garden. A small win is better than no win.
shaunc
 
Posts: 303
Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2013 8:10 am

Re: Kids & precepts

Postby kirtu » Fri Dec 20, 2013 11:32 am

shaunc wrote:The fact of the matter is that she's 4 ... & I managed to break her of one of her favorite habits of killing bugs & ants in the garden. A small win is better than no win.


:woohoo: :applause: Excellent!

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche
User avatar
kirtu
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4531
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:29 pm
Location: Baltimore, MD

Re: Kids & precepts

Postby futerko » Fri Dec 20, 2013 11:39 am

Konchog1 wrote:Suppose there are two people and one vows not to kill and the other makes no such vow. If neither of them kill, who is the virtuous one?


Interesting question. Personally, I think that if someone arrives at a mode of action through their own insight, then that is superior to the one who is following external rules.
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
User avatar
futerko
 
Posts: 993
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:58 am

Re: Kids & precepts

Postby kirtu » Fri Dec 20, 2013 12:06 pm

Konchog1 wrote:Suppose there are two people and one vows not to kill and the other makes no such vow. If neither of them kill, who is the virtuous one?


The teachings clearly say that a person who makes the vow is more virtuous because it creates a special intent in their mind. By "the teachings" in this case, I mean the Abhidharma and teachings from lamas.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche
User avatar
kirtu
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4531
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:29 pm
Location: Baltimore, MD

Re: Kids & precepts

Postby futerko » Fri Dec 20, 2013 12:27 pm

kirtu wrote:
Konchog1 wrote:Suppose there are two people and one vows not to kill and the other makes no such vow. If neither of them kill, who is the virtuous one?


The teachings clearly say that a person who makes the vow is more virtuous because it creates a special intent in their mind. By "the teachings" in this case, I mean the Abhidharma and teachings from lamas.

Kirt


In the case of a child, surely it is better for them to know why, rather than telling them it is just "wrong because someone said so and them's the rules"?

Even in the Mahayana path, prajñā is considered superior to sīla.
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
User avatar
futerko
 
Posts: 993
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:58 am

Re: Kids & precepts

Postby seeker242 » Fri Dec 20, 2013 12:49 pm

At what age do schools generally start teaching kids sex ed? From NY times article: http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/20 ... and-beyond

    Quality sex education should start in kindergarten. Early elementary school students need to learn the proper names for their body parts, the difference between good touch and bad touch, and ways in which they can be a good friend (the foundation for healthy intimate relationships later in life). Fourth- and fifth-graders need information about puberty and their changing bodies, Internet safety, and the harmful impact of bullying. And seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders are ready for information about body image, reproduction, abstinence, contraception, H.I.V. and disease prevention, communication, and the topic they most want to learn about: healthy relationships.

Agree with all of that. Sounds quite reasonable. 3rd precept would seem appropriate around the same time as "reproduction, abstinence, contraception" etc. which would mean 7th, 8th, 9th grade.

At what age do schools generally start teaching kids about drugs and alcohol? I doubt they are out there telling preschoolers "don't smoke crack". :lol:
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!
User avatar
seeker242
 
Posts: 712
Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2012 2:50 pm
Location: South Florida, USA

Re: Kids & precepts

Postby kirtu » Fri Dec 20, 2013 2:47 pm

futerko wrote:
kirtu wrote:
Konchog1 wrote:Suppose there are two people and one vows not to kill and the other makes no such vow. If neither of them kill, who is the virtuous one?


The teachings clearly say that a person who makes the vow is more virtuous because it creates a special intent in their mind. By "the teachings" in this case, I mean the Abhidharma and teachings from lamas.

Kirt


In the case of a child, surely it is better for them to know why, rather than telling them it is just "wrong because someone said so and them's the rules"?

Even in the Mahayana path, prajñā is considered superior to sīla.


(Of course it's better for them to know what rather than just telling them to follow a rule, just because.

Why did the Buddha give five precepts to begin with? Back in his time, people attained realization faster. Also the five precepts prevented one from committing great harm, even if taken for just one day. In general the precepts are for creating good karma by not creating negative karma, especially harming. However they are also for purifying the mind by training to refrain from improper activities. People have to think about why these activities are harmful to begin with.

Anyway, the Abhidharma and lamas (and Theravadin teachers) I have had say that making a vow is more virtuous than just engaging in virtuous behavior because of the seed of the special intention that the vow plants in the mind.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche
User avatar
kirtu
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4531
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:29 pm
Location: Baltimore, MD

Next

Return to Ethical Conduct

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests

>