B is for Buddha
An enlightened alphabet book
Anasuya Weil is a grandmother of five children, biological mother of three and surrogate parent for at least three others. She lived in India for two years, has been a Buddhist practitioner since 1971, and has had the great fortune to study with many amazing Buddhist teachers and lamas. The teachings of the Buddha have been a refuge and support. Her root Guru is Neem Keroli Baba and his kindness towards all has always been an inspiration. Anasuya currently practices Tibetan medicine in Northampton, MA.
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Joseph Goldstein is one of the first American vipassana meditation teachers, co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society, contemporary author of numerous popular books on Buddhism, resident guiding teacher at IMS, and leader of retreats worldwide on insight and lovingkindness meditation.
Sharon Salzberg is a New York Times Best selling author and teacher of Buddhist meditation practices in the West. In 1974, she co-founded the Insight Meditation Society at Barre, Massachusetts with Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein.
Surya Das is an American lama in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. He is a poet, chantmaster, spiritual activist and author of many popular works on Buddhism; a meditation teacher and spokesperson for Buddhism in the West.
The idea of this book came to me while I was sitting a six week silent retreat. It was intended as a Christmas gift to my grandchildren. Although I have practiced Buddhism since I was 19, for many years I did not call myself Buddhist. It seemed that it was enough to be a good person and I wanted my children to have the freedom to choose their own belief or religion. As I got older I became more open to using that terminology because I follow the Buddhist path and because I wanted my children to have clarity about my own choice. It is certainly not necessary to be a "Buddhist." We all want our children to be happy, healthy, caring human beings that contribute to society and find meaning in their lives. How can we help that happen?
Parents and close family make the most lasting impression by being role models. Treating our children and those around us with kindness, having integrity and humility, being careful with our emotions, paying attention to our own spiritual growth will resonate deeply with children growing up in this environment. The things we don’t say will be as important as things we do. It is also helpful to say some things out loud, to make them explicit.
The Buddhist ideas of loving kindness, compassion, joy and questioning our body and mind deserve to be spoken out loud. Especially the notion of questioning ‘ourselves’ as being separate solid entities. Examining what we call our body and mind is an important tool in navigating our experience and there are very few places where children will hear this. I hope that this book will plant seeds of curiosity about the Buddha and his teachings that will germinate later in life. It is my hope that being a kind, compassionate person is not only a notion that is considered acceptable and commonplace but also a desirable way of being.
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