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Thread: ANNOUNCEMENT: Let's Make Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) a Family Event!

  1. #1

    ANNOUNCEMENT: Let's Make Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) a Family Event!

    Hi All,

    It is often said that Buddhist groups in the West are not very welcoming of children, and that we lack some things (found in both Buddhism in Asia and in other religions in the west) to communicate basic teachings and practices to kids. In both Asian Buddhism and for other religions in the west (but, somehow, not so much for "Western Buddhism"), "religious holidays" can be a time for families to unite, to bond through customs and practices, and to bring children into the spirit of the time through the celebration. Holidays can be an important time to expose children to Buddhist teachings and values in ways that leave a lasting, positive impression for the future. Is there a way to make various Buddhist holidays more "kid friendly" while preserving the traditional message, values and customs of the original?

    This is something that weighs heavily on many Buddhist parents at this time of year, when the other religions have their big celebrations. Buddhist children might feel left out, and we may be missing an opportunity to teach them important lessons while making them feel included in our Practices and have a positive feeling about Buddhism as they grow up. Also (and most importantly), I feel that we can do so BOTH while preserving the true message of this Buddhist holidays AND avoiding the crassness and commercialism that has come to represent this time of year.

    I want to "redesign" a couple of traditional Buddhist holidays to suit western needs a bit more, and especially the needs of families and the teaching of good lessons to children. I have asked our "KellyRok" (Kelly) to head up and form a committee to do just that, and to gather with her parents of small children on the committee (I feel they are more closely in touch with these issues than folks without kids) to build these holidays. I have asked her to contact folks to work with her, and please write her if you feel you might be interested. Kelly is the Holiday Czar!

    memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=4576

    Here is where I am coming from: In Judaism, "Hanukkah" was never traditionally a major Jewish holiday until folks in the west decided that Jewish families and children needed a holiday at this time of year (it is, in large part, an "invented holiday"). Likewise, "Kwanzaa" was a holiday pretty much "invented" in the 1960's to celebrate African-American heritage at this time of year.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kwanzaa

    WITHOUT the department stores (by emphasizing, for example, giving to charity, unselfish giving to others, the making of homemade or giving of Buddhism related presents), WITHOUT the glitz and commercialism, we can turn Rohatsu and some other holidays such as Vesak into FAMILY FRIENDLY events WHILE PRESERVING THE TEACHINGS. The central messages of the holidays ... selflessness, generosity, non-attachment, peace, awakening, compassion, loving kindness ... can be both PRESERVED and PASSED ON to children through the vehicle of these holidays. The message on these holidays is now conveyed through chanting and ritual ... so why not through joyous songs and home rituals that the whole family can partake in? NOTHING of the meaning, traditions and authenticity of these holidays need be lost.

    What is more, I do not want to be accused of merely "trying to copy" Christmas, but we could offer western Buddhist Children some feeling that they too have a "Buddhist Christmas" perhaps. I do not think we actually would want to go so far in overtly copying Christmas, but we should have symbols, songs and rituals that kids and parents can relate to. Both Rohatsu (celebrating Buddha's enlightenment) and the other holidays share in being joyous events. I would like to see the holiday cover the period from Bodhi Day (Dec. 8th) until New Years Day, just like Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.

    In the Spring, I would like to see Vesak (celebrating Buddha's birthday, April or May in different Asian countries) become a Buddhist "Easter" of sorts ... emphasizing messages of the Buddhist Teachings in ways children can understand.

    That is why I asked Kelly to be in charge of forming a committee to design these holidays, from top to bottom ... commissioning the writing of new songs (I foresee a "song writing contest" to find the next Buddhist "Irving Berlin"), stories to tell the children at celebratory meals, symbols (the equivalent of the Christmas tree, Manger scene or Menorah candles), how to handle gift giving in a positive way (for others, not ourselves), other customs and rituals, where traditional rituals fit in ... top to bottom. We should respect current traditional content (meant for monks in monasteries mostly, not families at home), and express and fully maintain those too.

    I think that parents with kids need to be the primary driving force of the committee, as they know best what the families would benefit from and need. So, I would like to have most of the folks on the committee be primarily mothers and dads with kids. Of course, everyone in the Sangha is welcome to add their ideas to the soup in threads (I may start a special section of the Forum specifically for this project).

    My plan is that, first, we design holidays mainly for our own Sangha, looking toward 2011 (too late for this year). Then, when we come up with some nice content, I would like to start encouraging other Zen Sangha in the west to follow our lead. Then, after that, other western Buddhists of all kinds.

    What do you think (and non-think) about it?

    Gassho, Jundo

  2. #2

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Let's Make Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) a Family Event!

    Hello Jundo,

    I greatly appreciate this project.

    Maybe the scribes just forgot that Shakyamuni Buddha was sitting in a "reindeer park" actually and not just a deer park.


    Gassho,

    Hans

  3. #3

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Let's Make Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) a Family Event!

    Hi Jundo!

    I don't have kids for the moment (but I know a little mademoiselle who can't wait) but we talk a lot about these kind of things (family events and theirs signification for us).

    Anyway, It is a wonderful idea!Thanks to all involved! And let us know! :wink:

    deep gassho,
    Jinyu

  4. #4

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Let's Make Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) a Family Event!

    I think this is a wonderful idea. Two of my daughters are from a previous marriage and their mother raises them in a Christian environment. They have a natural curiosity in the religions of their friends at school (Hinduism) and of course my practice. I would love to be able to build upon the important events in Buddhism, putting them into a context that is understandable for them. To this point, I have loved sharing with them some of the Zen stories as portrayed by Jon Muth's books. They are from a perspective kids can relate to and I highly recommend them. You can read a little of them and see a video of the first of the three books, Zen Ties, at Amazon.

    http://www.amazon.com/Zen-Ties-Jon-J-Mu ... gy_b_img_b

    PS - For any artists out there, myself not being one of them, Jon has held watercolor retreats at ZMM in NY in the past.

    Gassho,

    s

  5. #5
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Let's Make Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) a Family Event!

    Hi all,

    I think this is a great idea, so sign me up! A couple weeks ago I posted about a flyer my son's teacher had sent home asking what traditions we celebrate this time of year. I wanted to include Rohatsu, but could think of little to write down...so this is perfect! I agree that sangha members with kids have unique contributions to this effort, but I really hope it is something to which everyone contributes.

    Happy holidays!

    Gassho,
    Dosho

  6. #6

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Let's Make Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) a Family Event!

    A grreat idea Jundo,
    The OBC already involves kids and families in various events such as Wesak, feeding of the hungry ghosts, Buddha day, they all seem to enjoy it. Perhaps Kelly to talk to to Mount Shasta, they may have some helpful ideas, after all we are all Soto.

    Gassho

    Joe

  7. #7
    Senior Member Ronchan's Avatar
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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Let's Make Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) a Family Event!

    Great, Jundo.

    I'll chip in when needed, but my 'little one' (he'll KILL me if he reads this!) just turned 17.. (you know the type: 6' 2'' , it makes noises and lives in a sort of a dark cave on the second floor of the house) and he is (has always been) so curious and interested in what dad is doing and craves more guidance/understanding/explaining and so on.. He would love this to happen, for him as well as others.
    So I don't think it is only the young - or very young - kids who will welcome this and who are really interested.
    Just food for thought, please understand me correctly.
    But of course, by all means, let's get started here.
    Kelly, let us know, please?

    Gassho,
    Ronald.

  8. #8

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Let's Make Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) a Family Event!

    I really like this idea! I know next to nothing about Buddhist holidays, and would like raise my daughter with an appreciation of them. By the way, she saw a picture of you, Jundo, and asked who you were. I told her that you were daddy's zen teacher. she replied "ohhhh, he's a good guy!" Super cute from a 2 year old.

  9. #9

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Let's Make Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) a Family Event!

    It's a lovely idea!
    My son is 1 year old today, and I'd love to have something to share with him next year, so he can understand why dad is sitting quietly with no purpose

    Count me in to help designing the Rohatsu

    Gassho

  10. #10
    Treeleaf Unsui Shohei's Avatar
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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Let's Make Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) a Family Event!

    Cool. Count me in!!!

    Gassho
    Shohei

  11. #11

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Let's Make Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) a Family Event!

    As a father of small children, I find this idea intriguing. Although I must say, many non-Christians (myself included) celebrate a secular version of Christmas (X-mas?). Santa Claus is a character all his own, and kids enjoy the holiday mostly for the excitement of Santa's arrival and, of course, presents! The adults in my family typically pool money and then donate to a different charity each year. But for the kids, we still have presents under the tree, and we certainly don't go overboard.

    So I think we will always celebrate the /secular/ traditions of Christmas.They are so ingrained in the American psyche. But maybe I'm alone on this one!

  12. #12

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Let's Make Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) a Family Event!

    Quote Originally Posted by Matto
    As a father of small children, I find this idea intriguing. Although I must say, many non-Christians (myself included) celebrate a secular version of Christmas (X-mas?). Santa Claus is a character all his own, and kids enjoy the holiday mostly for the excitement of Santa's arrival and, of course, presents! The adults in my family typically pool money and then donate to a different charity each year. But for the kids, we still have presents under the tree, and we certainly don't go overboard.

    So I think we will always celebrate the /secular/ traditions of Christmas.They are so ingrained in the American psyche. But maybe I'm alone on this one!
    Just a couple of notes. I'm going to be setting up today a special section of the Forum where Kelly and Committee can hammer out all these issues, and where all members of the Sangha can toss in ideas.

    About Santa and such ...

    Personally, I think we can walk a fine line here. On the one hand, we want to remain absolutely sincere and faithful to our own traditions, not "watering down" the message of Rohatsu and "enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree", or simply copying "Christmas" or other holidays. We have to preserve and keep Rohatsu as Rohatsu.

    On the other hand, in small ways, if we were to unite with some other holidays in order to appeal to children, I do not see the harm. So, for example, Kannon Bodhisattva, the very spirit of Compassion and Generosity, is said to appear in 10,000 manifestations. And so, were we to allow the kids the idea that, well, Santa is one of those 10,000 manifestations ... I would not see the problem.

    And would it be going too far to allow us to have and decorate a "Bodhi tree" in the house, perhaps of a slightly different shape to the traditional "Christmas Tree"? Or that we light incense each day like lighting a candle on a Menorah for each day of Hanunkah? Would that be going too far? Hmmmm. We need to sit with that.

    Can we walk the fine line between our own customs and traditions and "mixing in" these others? I think so. On the other hand, if we do it in a bad way, or go too far in mixing in, we could end up with a real mess. Like this:



    Gassho, J

  13. #13

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Let's Make Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) a Family Event!

    Also, I hope everybody caught this (watch the whole thing). It was "chanted tongue in cheek" by a Japanese Shingon priest ...

    viewtopic.php?p=43565#p43565

  14. #14
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Let's Make Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) a Family Event!

    Quote Originally Posted by Matto
    Many non-Christians (myself included) celebrate a secular version of Christmas... and we certainly don't go overboard.
    I'm in this boat. I usually put my practice into the flow of the holidays as my family has always celebrated them, cherishing the particular flavor that my family and "culture" has, and enjoying being with them. There are also a lot of lessons every year about non-attachment and mortality and letting-go. I don't see the need to do anything different if it distracts me from just being.

    I don't really worry too much about "everyone feeling included," since that's not really how life works. Also, something I really enjoy about Zen is the fact that it doesn't need anything extravagant to feel really worthwhile.

    I've never met anyone of another faith who really lamented the fact that they don't celebrate Christmas... Everyone likes to do their own thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    On the other hand, in small ways, if we were to unite with some other holidays in order to appeal to children, I do not see the harm. So, for example, Kannon Bodhisattva, the very spirit of Compassion and Generosity, is said to appear in 10,000 manifestations. And so, were we to allow the kids the idea that, well, Santa is one of those 10,000 manifestations ... I would not see the problem.
    I don't see any real harm in this either, but it kind of sounds like rationalizing. Either a child believes in Santa or doesn't... This would be especially strange for kids who already have their own idea of Santa... It also seems like a non-issue, seeing as kids tend to believe in Santa for only around the first five to seven years of their life, if even introduced to the idea at all.

    As I got older, Santa just became a figure of the season that represented the unconditional jolly-grandfather-(and yes) Buddha-type, love. This is not true for all kids, though I've never known a child who had a real trauma with it.

    At this point, I feel like I am totally raining on your parade, and would like to mention that I feel any illuminating or enjoyable idea is worth pursuing, since doing is all we can do in this life, and not doing something one is driven to do can interrupt the "flow."

    I understand that illuminating and enjoyable ideas to some aren't necessarily good for others, but that is another discussion...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    And would it be going too far to allow us to have and decorate a "Bodhi tree" in the house, perhaps of a slightly different shape to the traditional "Christmas Tree"?
    I know a Jewish family that has a "Hanukkah Bush," because the mother came from a Christian family, and really all she missed was the tree. She said there were some other things she missed, but the holidays were essentially the same-- it was still about being together and enjoying warm colors and warm music, and sharing some gifts, if only just a couple of small things needed around the house.

    However, from my own personal view, no religious belief should be so unshakable that one must rationalize everything to it. The only reason I practice Zen is because it helps me to put myself in the mindset that doesn't need to make anything a certain way-- even though it technically is a religion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Can we walk the fine line between our own customs and traditions and "mixing in" these others? I think so. On the other hand, if we do it in a bad way, or go too far in mixing in, we could end up with a real mess.
    I do this with things like Yoga and mantra and Zen and Taoism... and sometimes I feel real moments of connectivity and illumination, or deep peace. And sometimes it is just what you said: a mess. I, myself, still don't know how I want to go about handling the fact that there are so many different pieces of so many different religions that I enjoy, but I guess I just have to sit with it. 8)

  15. #15
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Let's Make Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) a Family Event!

    Quote Originally Posted by Amelia
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    On the other hand, in small ways, if we were to unite with some other holidays in order to appeal to children, I do not see the harm. So, for example, Kannon Bodhisattva, the very spirit of Compassion and Generosity, is said to appear in 10,000 manifestations. And so, were we to allow the kids the idea that, well, Santa is one of those 10,000 manifestations ... I would not see the problem.
    I don't see any real harm in this either, but it kind of sounds like rationalizing. Either a child believes in Santa or doesn't... This would be especially strange for kids who already have their own idea of Santa... It also seems like a non-issue, seeing as kids tend to believe in Santa for only around the first five to seven years of their life, if even introduced to the idea at all.
    I would tend to agree with Jundo here and I honestly don't think he is rationalizing. There are countless examples of buddhism and zen absorbing rituals from the cultures it encountered as it headed west. I also disagree with your idea that "a child either believes in Santa or doesn't" and thus wouldn't understand the idea of Santa as a bodhisattva. I think kids are much more accepting of such "strange" nuances than most adults are and I think most would welcome the new celebrations with open arms. And, only speaking from my own experience, I think kids tend to believe in Santa longer than the age of 7.

    Gassho,
    Dosho

  16. #16

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Let's Make Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) a Family Event!

    Beautiful idea and great project. Even more so as me and my wife are expecting a new member to our family.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    What is more, I do not want to be accused of merely "trying to copy" Christmas, but we could offer western Buddhist Children some feeling that they too have a "Buddhist Christmas" perhaps. I do not think we actually would want to go so far in overtly copying Christmas, but we should have symbols, songs and rituals that kids and parents can relate to. Both Rohatsu (celebrating Buddha's enlightenment) and the other holidays share in being joyous events. I would like to see the holiday cover the period from Bodhi Day (Dec. 8th) until New Years Day, just like Hanukkah and Kwanzaa
    BTW, from a Mexican cultural pov, traditionally, Mexican families have not celebrated Xmas since most Mexican Catholic families used to celebrate more the "Los Reyes Magos" or Epiphany. This takes place until Jan. 5th to the 6th. With the growing the US cultural influence in Mexico, that has shifted with Santa Claus and Xmas taking a more central stage. But. Since we Mexicans love celebrations, the celebrations have extended from December 24th all the way to the jan. 6th. Almost two weeks worth of partying (Xmas, New Year's, and Reyes Magos).

    My humble suggestion. From Rohatsu to Vasek...non-stop! :mrgreen: :wink:

    In the Spring, I would like to see Vesak (celebrating Buddha's birthday, April or May in different Asian countries) become a Buddhist "Easter" of sorts ... emphasizing messages of the Buddhist Teachings in ways children can understand.
    I think you will find most Buddhist communities (Asian and non-Asian)in the US now have Vesak as a central celebration. I know that in our sanghas discussion on Rohatsu, all members new about Vesak, but less no Rohatsu. We had a very good observance day for Rohatsu, btw. Our community is looking forward to Vesak celebration.

  17. #17

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Let's Make Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) a Family Event!

    I find it odd to create traditions. I guess they were created somewhere, but to manufacture a holiday... well.. umm it sounds like exactly what coca cola did when it created santa claus.

    Christmas is really the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. What it means though to most people is celebrating the winter solstice.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Let's Make Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) a Family Event!

    Quote Originally Posted by Dosho
    I also disagree with your idea that "a child either believes in Santa or doesn't" and thus wouldn't understand the idea of Santa as a bodhisattva.
    I do think that some children would be able to grasp the idea. However, I wondered mostly about older children who already have their idea of Santa ingrained in them, or families with only one Buddhist in them, who wouldn't really feel comfortable with changing too much.

    There are so many ways these things can go. I still stand by what I said before: Any illuminating/ exciting idea should probably be given thought and pursuance, and I fully endorse Jundo creating that type of atmosphere for the sangha and his children.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dosho
    I think kids are much more accepting of such "strange" nuances than most adults are and I think most would welcome the new celebrations with open arms. And, only speaking from my own experience, I think kids tend to believe in Santa longer than the age of 7.
    You're right. However, I do have a recent story from my boyfriend, who works with kids every day, that they aren't believing in much these days. He had to stop some fourth or fifth graders from telling the younger children that Santa wasn't real. He said something along the lines of, "If I still get presents from Santa, then he's real, and I don't want to hear anything else about it."

    After sleeping on it a night, I do like the idea much better.

  19. #19

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Let's Make Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) a Family Event!

    In hindsight, I'm in a crappy mood so I think I'm being a bit grinchy about the idea. lol I am interested in seeing how it goes.. especially any songs.

  20. #20
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Let's Make Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) a Family Event!

    Quote Originally Posted by cyril
    In hindsight, I'm in a crappy mood so I think I'm being a bit grinchy about the idea. lol I am interested in seeing how it goes.. especially any songs.
    In reference to your post and the one Amelia made in response to mine, I do tend to be an idealist and perhaps I imagine a more ideal world than really does exist. I definitely need to have a regular dose of realism so I don't become sappy!

    I have never felt the need to indocrinate my kids into zen or buddhism and merely try to act in ways that I would like them to emulate. In the end it will be their choice to listen or not and, for example, start adhering to some esoteric religion where people shave their heads, wear dark robes, and go on and on about suffering....oh wait, that's me.

    Kidding aside, I think we can work to create rituals (or bring back old ones) that help us teach our chuldren the values we'd like them hold. But we cannot control how those messages are taken in by our kids as their influences multiply, including the older kids Amelia mentioned. Just today my 5 year old told me he no longer likes shows we had him watch when he was younger like Curious George and Clifford the Big Red Dog...he likes Battle Force 5! But he also told me just a few minutes ago that I should make sure to leave the door open a little on Christmas Eve so the elves can get in..."They have really small hands,'' he said.

    In parenting as in practice, you do your best and hope it's enough.

    Gassho,
    Dosho

  21. #21

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Let's Make Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) a Family Event!

    Hi.

    There is some great threads on the parentingbusiness here on treeleaf..

    viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1359&start=0&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&hi lit=parenting

    viewtopic.php?f=9&t=2375&p=33725&hilit=parenting#p 33689

    I'm not an moderator (i noticed we have one now... :roll: ) but please stay on topic and develop these other threads as well, or make a new one !

    Great thread otherwise!!

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

  22. #22

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Let's Make Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) a Family Event!

    What a wonderful idea. I have not had experience with the practice of raising children, but I did find a similar thing going on elsewhere:
    http://villagezendo.org/journal/october ... ct_08.html
    ...an idea for which time has come, I think.
    Gassho,
    Don

  23. #23

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Let's Make Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) a Family Event!

    Great minds are thinking alike: Here is another article on a similar vector: http://incultureparent.com/2010/11/a...oliday-season/

  24. #24

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Let's Make Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) a Family Event!

    Hello all,

    I've taken a great deal of time reading your posts and doing research on how various cultures celebrate Buddhist holidays. I wanted to be sure of my words before I posted, then I realized that I can never be 'sure', so I apologize for my absence so far. I have to say, that I'm very excited about this project for our Sangha and am so glad that so many of you have volunteered to help. This is a big undertaking, but I feel it is so important and necessary. It won't happen without a few missteps or roadblocks, but we'll manage throught it together. I don't think this is a matter of "creating" holidays as these traditions are already being celebrated in so many different ways, in different countries. It is more a matter of bringing these holidays into our Sangha and making fun, educational and meaningful traditions for our families to learn and grow together.

    Rohatsu can involve a Bodhi tree if you choose. I know some people like to decorate a living tree like a ficus (benjamina), or even an evergreen that can be planted at a later time. We used an artificial tree this year and placed our Buddha statue beneath it. We are making our own decorations to add to it, to include: paper stars to signify the morning star that Buddha saw the morning of his enlightenment, paper bodhi leaves (traced with a heart-shaped cookie cutter), and I hope to add some pictures of family members who we cannot be with during the holidays. We light three candles each night at dinner. At dinner we discuss what good deeds we have performed during the day and how it made us feel. I had my boys choose two kids off our "Angel" tree at school and they each donated their own money (earned by doing their chores) to help pay for a gift for each child, a child who attends our school. Almost every night, we read stories from one of our favorite books (Buddha at Bedtime) that includes a retelling of a Jataka tale and offers a moral. Next year I plan to do a little more...

    Our next holiday, like Jundo stated is Vesak. We have discussed the day in which to celebrate it, and we have decided to stick with April 8th, as it is the celebrated day of Buddha's birth in Japan. So we are tasked with finding some stories to tell our children, some songs to help their understanding, and some positive activities that we can do with our children. I love Jundo's idea of having a song contest, but I really need help in getting it all set up. Where do we go to first- advertise the contest, second- have a place to submit the songs, and third- have a way to review and vote on these submissions? We are going to open this up to Buddhists from all traditions...YouTube? Any suggestions?

    Please feel free to post here any and all suggestions, ideas, concerns, etc. This project can be great - it will be what we make of it. Keep in mind, that this is a work in progress - so if we find something that doesn't work, be honest about it and we can rework it and move on.

    Thank you all for your suggestions and opinions so far - bows to you,
    Kelly/Jinmei

  25. #25

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Let's Make Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) a Family Event!

    Quote Originally Posted by KellyRok

    Rohatsu can involve a Bodhi tree if you choose. I know some people like to decorate a living tree like a ficus (benjamina), or even an evergreen that can be planted at a later time. We used an artificial tree this year and placed our Buddha statue beneath it. We are making our own decorations to add to it, to include: paper stars to signify the morning star that Buddha saw the morning of his enlightenment, paper bodhi leaves (traced with a heart-shaped cookie cutter),
    Oh my. I am saving your post for our next obversance of Rohatsu. I specially like the part of the paper stars.

    and I hope to add some pictures of family members who we cannot be with during the holidays.
    We did this in one our sanghas. Coupled with our Mexican culture (Dia de los Muertos), our group felt at home with this.

    Our next holiday, like Jundo stated is Vesak. We have discussed the day in which to celebrate it, and we have decided to stick with April 8th, as it is the celebrated day of Buddha's birth in Japan. So we are tasked with finding some stories to tell our children, some songs to help their understanding, and some positive activities that we can do with our children. I love Jundo's idea of having a song contest, but I really need help in getting it all set up. Where do we go to first- advertise the contest, second- have a place to submit the songs, and third- have a way to review and vote on these submissions? We are going to open this up to Buddhists from all traditions...YouTube? Any suggestions?
    My two pesos. If Jundo and Taigu can permit it, how about setting up a blog and using youtube as conduit for video/audio media? The blog can explain, track, and show the different posted songs. We can start by posting here in TL and at Shambhala...or wait... http://www.shambhalasun.com/sunspace/?p=19801 . ..... :mrgreen:

  26. #26
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Let's Make Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) a Family Event!

    Hi all,

    Kelly, you always amaze me with how many traditions you have already found or created to share with your kids. It makes me realize that I haven't really brought my kids into my practice. My oldest knows I sit and that it has something to do with buddha and retreating, but that really is about it. I never wanted to push it on them for fear they'll just roll their eyes at me after awhile, so I really wanted to wait and see if they had questions about it before thrusting it upon them. I wanted to let them come to it if they so chose without any thought that I would frown upon them choosing something else. Now, with this charge of creating, gathering, and celebrating holiday traditions with my Treeleaf family I'm not sure how I feel about involving my kids.

    So, I'd be curious to hear how others are already involving their kids in their practice. As to Kelly's question about how we should advertise, I'm honestly not sure. Opening it up to a wide audience can generate some pretty creative ideas, but can also make you feel inundated with options. I'll have to think on that one.

    Regardless, I'm very glad to be a part of this project.

    Gassho,
    Dosho

  27. #27
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Let's Make Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) a Family Event!

    Quote Originally Posted by KellyRok
    I know some people like to decorate a living tree like... an evergreen that can be planted at a later time.
    I have been interested in this idea for some time, as in my recent years decorating a cut evergreen I have felt kind of morbid about it. Right now, however, my family is using a small artificial tree, mostly because we couldn't afford the usual big one. I feel a kind of relief about this, though I miss the scent of the tree. In the future, I will try to get one of those trees that come in the pots, and then I can plant it up around my family's cabin, or call that number that comes on it and have them pick it up and plant it wherever.

  28. #28
    Treeleaf Unsui Shohei's Avatar
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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Let's Make Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) a Family Event!

    Im with Chugai on this idea 100% in the spirit of truly giving, planting a tree and growing it for this purpose I have always thought a good idea Christmas or Rohatsu!


    Gassho
    Shohei

  29. #29

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Let's Make Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) a Family Event!

    Quote Originally Posted by KellyRok
    Rohatsu can involve a Bodhi tree if you choose. I know some people like to decorate a living tree like a ficus (benjamina), or even an evergreen that can be planted at a later time.
    Quote Originally Posted by Amelia
    Quote Originally Posted by KellyRok
    I know some people like to decorate a living tree like... an evergreen that can be planted at a later time.
    I have been interested in this idea for some time, as in my recent years decorating a cut evergreen I have felt kind of morbid about it. Right now, however, my family is using a small artificial tree, mostly because we couldn't afford the usual big one. I feel a kind of relief about this, though I miss the scent of the tree. In the future, I will try to get one of those trees that come in the pots, and then I can plant it up around my family's cabin, or call that number that comes on it and have them pick it up and plant it wherever.
    It may sound Arbor Day-ish :mrgreen:, I am really liking very much the idea of somehow having a planting of tree or as an alternative buying a small house potted plant/flower. Since a good number of Americans live in apts, buying a tree may not be an option. And having to take care of a small potted plant does take practice. I like the significance of that. Even though we observe one day for Rohatsu, our Buddhist practice is each day.

  30. #30

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Let's Make Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) a Family Event!

    Quote Originally Posted by Dosho
    It makes me realize that I haven't really brought my kids into my practice. My oldest knows I sit and that it has something to do with buddha and retreating, but that really is about it. I never wanted to push it on them for fear they'll just roll their eyes at me after awhile, so I really wanted to wait and see if they had questions about it before thrusting it upon them. I wanted to let them come to it if they so chose without any thought that I would frown upon them choosing something else. Now, with this charge of creating, gathering, and celebrating holiday traditions with my Treeleaf family I'm not sure how I feel about involving my kids.
    I feel the same way. I felt that religion was thrust upon me as a child, and I do have some resentment over that. A child doesn't have the capacity to understand the significance or depth of practice or literature, so I think it can be a very dangerous thing. I would rather let them come to it, as you have noted, when and if they are ready. Or to something else if that suits them.

    But I'm ambivalent...

  31. #31

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Let's Make Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) a Family Event!

    Quote Originally Posted by Matto
    Quote Originally Posted by Dosho
    It makes me realize that I haven't really brought my kids into my practice. My oldest knows I sit and that it has something to do with buddha and retreating, but that really is about it. I never wanted to push it on them for fear they'll just roll their eyes at me after awhile, so I really wanted to wait and see if they had questions about it before thrusting it upon them. I wanted to let them come to it if they so chose without any thought that I would frown upon them choosing something else. Now, with this charge of creating, gathering, and celebrating holiday traditions with my Treeleaf family I'm not sure how I feel about involving my kids.
    I feel the same way. I felt that religion was thrust upon me as a child, and I do have some resentment over that. A child doesn't have the capacity to understand the significance or depth of practice or literature, so I think it can be a very dangerous thing. I would rather let them come to it, as you have noted, when and if they are ready. Or to something else if that suits them.

    But I'm ambivalent...
    I do not think we want to smother and choke children with religion, or beat them over the head with it. Many youngsters grow up to rebel against such things.

    But I feel that most children, raised in a nurturing atmosphere, do sometimes return to their roots when older. As in many things, there are good and bad ways to expose children to certain traditions and values.

    The most striking example of this, I feel, is with the Amish ... such a conservative society ... yet a surprisingly high percentage of their children choose (they are giving a completely free choice upon adulthood) to return of their own will ...

    Rumspringa (..., derived from the Pennsylvania German term for "running around")generally refers to a period of adolescence for some members of the Amish, a subsect of the Anabaptist Christian movement, that begins around the age of sixteen and ends when a youth chooses baptism within the Amish church or instead leaves the community.

    They're encouraged to experiment and explore. The idea is that teens will come back to the church after tasting the modern world. For most, this means a tentative foray a trip to the local movie theater, or driving lessons. But for some, the experience, called rumspringa, is all about sex, parties and fast cars.

    The vast majority choose baptism and remain in the church


    I think we have to provide stability and structure to our kids. Most kids do come back to their childhood religion (80 to 90% of Amish kids, for example http://www.npr.org/templates/story/stor ... Id=5455572!) after periods of experimentation ... and IF it was a good experience for them to grow up in such a family (many of the people I know who turned to Buddhism did not have such a good experience with their family religion). It is important, I think, to have home rituals, customs and holidays to pass down some traditions to kids.

    Gassho, Leon's Dad

  32. #32

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Let's Make Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) a Family Event!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    I think we have to provide stability and structure to our kids. Most kids do come back to their childhood religion (80 to 90% of Amish kids, for example http://www.npr.org/templates/story/stor ... Id=5455572!) after periods of experimentation ... and IF it was a good experience for them to grow up in such a family (many of the people I know who turned to Buddhism did not have such a good experience with their family religion). It is important, I think, to have home rituals, customs and holidays to pass down some traditions to kids.
    Having been raised in a very Catholic country (Mexico) with an extended family of different levels of Catholicism and being raised in a Humanist household, I can understand the idea of not pressuring your children into a faith. One side of the family is very very Catholic. They were raised very traditional and with the Catholic faith instilled strongly. My parents never forced me into not believing. I was baptized, but that's it. Parents celebrated Xmas and Los Tres Reyes Magos, but that is as close as we came to religious rituals. Most of my friends were nominal Catholics and our conversations as kids stayed away from matters of faith.

    But.

    I think there is another level that we can not leave off and that's what parents did instill on me in so far as matters of religion. My father had/has a good number of books regarding The Bible and Christianity. He knows his Bible. Even though I never considered myself a Christian, I have read the Bible and the New Testament. As I grew up, I read more on other religions. At 17, I read Siddhartha and that started my path into Buddhism.

    In short. I do think children do need to read about the different faiths including the one as a parent is involved in. That's one side of our education as we grow up makes a more rounded human. Of course, not shoving our Buddhist beliefs on our kids, but teaching them what we believe, what guides us, what makes us tick. In many ways, your child will get to know where you stand. They may or not grow into Buddhists, but at least you have educated them on one aspect of this that makes us Human.

  33. #33

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Let's Make Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) a Family Event!

    Thanks for the additional perspectives, all! That helps me see including children from a different angle.

  34. #34

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Let's Make Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) a Family Event!

    ...

  35. #35

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Let's Make Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) a Family Event!

    Without getting further off-topic, there are a couple of great articles at The Christian Science Monitor series worth the read.

    This article part of the cover story project on how parents keep the faith appears in the Dec. 20, 2010 Christian Science Monitor weekly magazine.
    How parents keep the faith: Mandate a moral code, not theology
    For the Unitarian Parker parents, to keep the faith is to offer a universal moral code and let the child pick theology.
    By G. Jeffrey MacDonald / December 19, 2010
    http://www.csmonitor.com/The-Culture/Re ... t-theology

    How parents keep the faith: getting spiritual meaning at home, not church
    These parents keep the faith in Christ by teaching spiritual meaning in everything from the food they eat to TV commercials.
    By G. Jeffrey MacDonald / December 19, 2010
    http://www.csmonitor.com/The-Culture/Re ... not-church

    There are more at TCSM.

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