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Thread: Rohatsu Ideas

  1. #1

    Rohatsu Ideas

    Hello all,

    I had quite a few ideas for Vesak, but somehow I haven't come up with many for Rohatsu. Maybe that's okay, maybe we don't need too many. At any rate, I would love to have some help here. Some of the things we do for Vesak could also apply to Rohatsu.

    I've included some of your ideas below, but wanted to know if you had anymore. See what you think and please add what you would like.

    1. Plant a tree as your Bodhi tree, or buy a potted tree to decorate indoors to plant later. If you can't plant, put up an artificial tree and adorn it with lights.
    2. Make your own decorations for the Bodhi tree. Cut out and decorate paper Bodhi leaves. Cut out paper stars to color and decorate with your children. The stars will symbolize the morning star Buddha saw on the morning of his enlightenment. You may also want to put on your tree, pictures of loved ones whom you cannot be with for the holidays (due to death or living too far away from each other).
    3. Share at least one meal everyday as a family and reconnect. Light incense or candles to symbolize Buddha's awakening.
    4. Help your child(ren) make his/her own Buddha to be placed under your Bodhi tree. Pictures can be found at this site:
    5. Write a letter, card, or thank you note to your family members to tell them just how much they mean to you.
    6. Sit Zazen together as a family: under, near, around your Bodhi tree. It doesn't have to be a long sit, maybe between 10-15 minutes depending on the age of your children.

    Does anyone know of any stories, for children, that talk about Buddha after he became enlightened. Are there any stories that refer to the Noble truths, or the eightfold path? It would be nice to read something like this together.

    My creative juices aren't flowing this week, have some sick kids again. Please help me brainstorm.


  2. #2

    Re: Rohatsu Ideas

    I wonder if there are some good stories that someone could translate from Japanese...where would we find a Buddhist Japanese-English translator? :wink:

    I like your ideas so far, but I'm thinking of activities that would be appealing to older kids as well. (My daughter is in this phase where she shuns activities that are targeted towards younger kids -- she imagines she's 27 already, while she's not yet 12 )

    Origami and papercrafts are still fun for her -- she loves to fold cranes, and make cards. Older kids could be the ones making the cards to send to appreciated family and friends, perhaps.

    No holiday is complete without some special foods -- not to overemphasize the eating ritual a la Thanksgiving, but what kinds would be appropriate?

    I need to think more about it, but this is what came to mind.


  3. #3

    Re: Rohatsu Ideas

    Hi all,

    Julia - wonderful ideas! My boys, 10 and 7 love origami and cardmaking. Paper cranes can be lovely gifts when put on a string and hung in a window!

    I definitely agree that food is important when getting together with family for the holidays. I believe we are going to have a recipe contest to go along with the song and story contest. Or even just a group of recipes that are member favorites would be wonderful. I would love to hear more vegetarian recipes. I suggested for Vesak, a meal of rice or rice pudding (kind of like rice milk that was given to Buddha) - maybe it should go under Rohatsu, maybe both. I'm just not sure.

    I also had another suggestion. During Ango, we make an effort to give up something for the duration of the intensive practice period. Could we not do this as a family - I'm thinking of a period of 7-10 days (for kids) before Rohatsu? My kids voluntarily gave up video games for one about 4 days this last December in honor of the occasion...they have seen me give up peanut butter and snacks in the evening and wanted to do something on their own.

    I would love to have some ideas for older kids too. I'll think more...


  4. #4

    Re: Rohatsu Ideas

    Thinking........thinking........thinking.......... ..........................I really like the ideas so far all round I always think of this time of year for family and being thankfull Not a very creative fellow myself so.......Thinking...............thinking.......... .... :roll:
    Just wanted to voice support I guess.
    Gassho ~D.

  5. #5

    Re: Rohatsu Ideas

    Origami is a very cool idea. I have this book at home: "Creative Origami" by Kunihiko Kasahara and it is a very nice one. It has plenty of original designs like astronauts, dinosaurs,squids, nuns... You name it. More interestingly for us, it includes a lotus flower and a sitting Buddha. The lotus flower is relatively easy; the sitting Buddha is quite complex. If people are interested, i can scan those pages.



  6. #6

    Re: Rohatsu Ideas

    Many good ideas here for Rohatsu. It's difficult for me to come up with anything to add, partially because of my view (perhaps incorrect) of the holiday. I look at Rohatsu as a counterpart to Advent. They're not strictly comparable, but both have a monastic flavor of contemplation & anticipation. Since most folks have done away with Advent, Rohatsu seems a welcome event prior to the full-on celebration of Christmas. I suppose this is my long winded way of saying that while Vesak seems like something easily shared as a family, Rohatsu is intensely personal in my world. I look forward to the compilation of all these ideas; thank you again, Kelly, for all your hard work.


  7. #7

    Re: Rohatsu Ideas

    Hi Kelly,

    I finally got a chance tonight to sit down and look over the thread and in the end I have to echo what Hogo said. I can't really think of anything to add, but that's really because the ideas are very creative and are more thoughtful than anything I would have come up with myself. I will think on it this week, however, and see what pops up...probably during zazen!

    Thank you so much for doing this Kelly as it is an important undertaking that will greatly benefit our sangha and perhaps beyond.


  8. #8

    Re: Rohatsu Ideas

    I'm not sure for what holiday this would be best, because I still need to familiarise myself with the important holidays. However I thought of having a haiku contest -- since this is a form that can be simple or complex, it's suitable for different ages. The problem is that we are dealing with a number of native languages and not everyone is comfortable composing haiku in English, perhaps.

    Just an idea that popped into my head...other "friendly" contests would be fun as well.


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