Meditation for Beginners1.The Parent-Child Relationship # 3Setting a good example to your child1. Training them in virtue: The first ‘good friends’ to each and every one of us in the world are our parents or guardians. As such, parents need to take great care in teaching their children to distinguish between right an wrong, Through consistent guidance, the child will develop the ability to be “a teacher to themselves” [yonisomanasikara],namely adopting the positive core values mentioned in Chapter One. Thus each parent must take responsibility for the child’s initial guidance-from the time thieir child first opens their eyes to the world onwards. There is ample medical and psychological evidence to suggest that every individual is impressionable right from the time of being a baby-for example a baby whose diaper is left unchanged regularly and soiled for long period of time is liable later in life to unhygienic and messy habits. Parents should thus not be neglectful in setting up the sort of habits they would like to see in their children. As for higher virtues-the importance is proportionally greater – you cannot just wait for teachers or schools to do the job for you – they will never be able to give full attention to the task because their students are many and their time limited. What’s more, the time a child spends at school is significantly less than the time spent at home. For all of these reasons-the instilling of virtue in children is a duty which falls squarely on the shoulders of the parents-right from the time the child is still a baby. It is a duty which requires perseverance and consistency and requires an understanding or sequencing and graduation in virtues taught to know what to teach a child first and what to keep until they are older. Parents should not be afraid to tell their children, “This is a virtuous deed- even if it doesn’t earn you the fame and fortune in the eyes of another hundred million people in the world, you should go ahead with the confidence that this is to be done-whether it be generosity, keeping the Precepts or meditating”. Justas mentioned for “preventing your child from doing evil”, the parents can influence the child in a positive ways by:The four virtues for a householderSetting a good example to your child: parents should, for example, show their generosity and do chanting in front of their child and be seen by their children to take an interest in reading books on beneficial subjects.Choosing good friends for your child: It may seem trivial or overzealous to worry about s many aspects of a child’s environment and development. However, it should be pointed out that a child left to his own devices has a very slim chance of developing into a well-balanced adult. Just as a child left alone will choose junk food or convenience food rather than nutritious food and grows up physically weak, a child left to choose its own sources of knowledge with out any guidelines will develop a flawed character. Thus, every child who grows up with a genuine respect for the Precepts and meditation together with a generous heart, does so only as the result of unflagging enthusiasm by his parents for instilling the ten positive core values. Of course the possible virtues you can teach to a child are many, but for those professing Buddhist faith, the most important in the development of “being a teacher to yourself” are:Living in an amenable location1. Knowledge of the highest aim of Buddhism (the highest aim in life of humankind). Buddhism teaches us to pursue perfection-when our perfections are us to pursue perfection – when our perfections are fulfilled we will be able to overcome the last of the defilements in our minds-and we will be able to break free feom the cycle of rebirth.2. Knowledge of how to practice in order to achieve our highest aim in life: normally the threefold training of self-discipline [sila], meditation [Samadhi] and wisdom [panna].3. The four virtues for a householder: [gharavasadhamma]: 1. Truthfulness [sacca]; 2. Training oneself [dama]; 3. Patience [khanti], and; 4. Self-sacrifice [acga].4. Supporting their religion: That Buddhists have the job of supporting their religion: Because man’s highest refuge is the Triple Gem, it means that care should be taken to support the Sangha or monastic community who perpetuate and spread Buddhism. If any monastic member is deprived of the support of householders-before long he will be unable to continue in his duties-and in turn that is the end of the life of Buddhism-in other words it is the job of Buddhists to support their religion.Training them in virtue5.The Blessings of Life: Principles in keeping with (especially the first six) blessings of the Mangala Sutta:5.1 not associating with False Friends: mother and father must teach children how to choose appropriate friends and spouse;5.2 associating with True Friends:i.e. those who are adept in self-discipline [sila], meditation [Samadhi] and wisdom [panna];5.3 honouring virtue in a person: honouring all who exhibit virtue whether they be clergy, monks, monarchs, parents and elder relatives or various teachers-even one’s boss (if he is honest). Having respect for such people’s virtues means attempting to follow the good example set by such people.5.4 Living in an amenable location: an unpolluted environment with good prospects for work and education both in worldly and spiritual ways – and even government-not somewhere dominated by the criminal underworld.5.5 Having done good deeds until used to them: Our work in the present time will bring its fruits in the future. In same way the happiness we receive in the present must be the result of our pursuit of perfection in the past. The merits accrued will bring fruits ensuring our intelligence, prosperity and progress in pur duties in the future-and happiness in life in accordance with the Buddhist proverb:Sukhho punnassa uccayoThe accrual of merit brings happiness(Dhammapada 118, Dh.33)AndPunnani paralokasmim patittha honti paninamMerit is the refuge of beings in the world to came(Bilarikosiys Jataka, J.iv.64)Furthermore, the faith of those who are steadfast the accrual of merit will be a shield to protect them from the temptation of evil ways.5.6 Setting oneself up properly in life: especially having the correct aim in life.Knowledge of the highest aim of BuddhismAnyone who has accumulated all the foregoing virtues will be sure to have developed the ability to be a teacher to themselves-with the flexibility to adopt appropriate to any circumstances-and will be able to earn their living successfully-life will be happy and such a person will have worth to society. Apart from the virtues mentioned above, parents should be ultra-critical of table manners, sleeping habits (especially fixing bedtime) and working habits (especially working hours)-because these are all fundamental ways of developing self-discipline. Without the parent’s prodding, you can be certain that self-discipline will not develop by accident. A child should also be expected to make a contribution to the work of the household since the time they are small. If they are waited upon hand and foot and have too much time on their hands, when the child grows up he may be unable to help himself;to be continued...
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1.The Parent-Child Relationship # 3
Training them in virtue: The first ‘good friends’ to each and every one of us in the world are our parents or guardians. As suchDhamma Articles > Meditation Articles and Techniques > Meditation for Beginners
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