Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Buddha 101

I get a chatty, philosophical email everyday from Brian Johnson of Zaadz. Usually a quote to urge me further down the path of the examined life with a bit at the end elucidating further on the life or ideology of the quotee. It's like a little slice of crunchy California sunshine every morning...

I've started to read and discuss some of these quotes with the boys. Today's quote was from Buddha:

"One who conquers himself is greater than another who conquers a thousand times a thousand on the battlefield."

"What do you think is meant by 'one who conquers himself'?" I asked first.

Glum silence of disinterest.

"Well, what does
conquer mean?" I continued.

"To FIGHT AND KILL AND DESTROY!" the second-born shouted in a most un-Buddha-like manner, suddenly enthralled by today's lesson.

"Okay, those are some examples of conquering," I agreed. "But would you do those things to yourself? Do you think that Buddha wanted people to...hit themselves with a big hammer over the head? Would that be better than conquering a thousand times a thousand people on the battlefield?"

Upon deeper consideration...about five minutes worth...with re-enactments...and sound effects...we decided that no, that's not what Buddha was after. We decided that Buddha wanted us to look at the things we most wanted to change in ourselves.

And that's when things got good.

"I wish I weren't so quick to yell," Ben said. "And I wish I didn't argue so much with Dad."

"Kinda feels like a battle, right? Fighting against those habits?" I asked.

"Yeah," he agreed. "Absolutely."

"I wish I weren't so wiggly," James offered then.

"Do you think there's stuff that mom fights against, too?" I asked. "Stuff I'd like to do better?" We agreed that mom most certainly had her own internal struggles...rarely such unanimous assent here at home school high...

Afterwards, the boys drew pictures of some of the habits and traits they battled. I'm gonna work on my drawing later, after the boys are in bed...

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