Unhappy children at dhamma schools


The incident with the crabs appears in the debate with Saccaka (‘SuttaCentral’). I’m not aware of it existing outside of that but it may. The (an?) incident of the Buddha teaching young boys hurting fish is found in the Udana (SuttaCentral)


I also found that I had to keep it simple. Kids tend to retain the first concept, and so I focused a lot on a single concept in each lesson, which didn’t require a lot of memory power! The rest was often filler material, examples etc. I used lots of powerpoint, etc and pictures, youtube videos, animation and so on.


You are a brilliant man it would seem sir. Sadhu :pray:


Not so much- google how to teach children!

with metta,


Exceptional work Ajahn snowbird! Magnificent!


udāna 5.4

kumārakasuttaṃ 44

The Discourse about the Young Boys

thus i heard: At one time the Gracious One was dwelling near Sāvatthī, in Jeta’s Wood, at Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Then at that time many young boys who were between Sāvatthī and Jeta’s Wood were catching little fish.

Then the Gracious One, having dressed in the morning time, after picking up his bowl and robe, was entering Sāvatthī for alms. The Gracious One saw those many young boys who were between Sāvatthī and Jeta’s Wood catching fish. Having seen that, he went to those young boys, and after going, he said this to those young boys: “Are you afraid, boys, of suffering? Is suffering unpleasant to you?”

“Yes, reverend Sir, we are afraid of suffering, suffering is unpleasant to us.”

Then the Gracious One, having understood the significance of it, on that occasion uttered this exalted utterance:

“If you have fear of suffering, if suffering is unpleasant to you,
Don’t do any bad deeds, whether in the open or in secret.

“But if you will do, or now do do bad deeds,
For you there is no freedom from suffering, even after going, while running away.”


"Sir, suppose there was a lotus pond not far from a town or village, and a crab lived there. Then several boys or girls would leave the town or village and go to the pond, where they’d pull out the crab and put it on dry land. Whenever that crab extended a claw, those boys or girls would snap, crack, and break it off with a stick or a stone. And when that crab’s claws had all been snapped, cracked, and broken off it wouldn’t be able to return down into that lotus pond. In the same way, sir, the Buddha has snapped, cracked, and broken off all Saccaka’s tricks, dodges, and evasions. Now he can’t get near the Buddha again looking for a debate.”

An aptitude informed teaching, well, that’s what I think.


Good rep for teaching kids?
Does anyone else know the above place above?

Now may I present:

A very nice person on the phone spoke to me about venerable mahinda, and said he is currently away at this time. Did anyone else know that pockets of people doing meditation has been scientifically proven to reduce warfare, the statistics are stronger than the ones than that imply that ‘aspirin cures a headache’.

Did anyone else know that? Care to share?


Hi Vattha, I think there are a lot of reasons why I child would be happy or unhappy at dhamma school. I have only taught in the English medium at two dhamma schools in Sri Lanka, but the kids in my classes were very happy. The one kid who wasn’t really happy was a child who knew no English :slight_smile: The older kids who really enjoyed the classes seemed to be more intellectually inclinded. The younger kids like 7 to 9 or so were happy to listen to stories and draw pictures of the Buddha meditating and Jataka stories. Like all teaching, the pedology comes from the teacher themselves. It helps if the course material is well done. The Sri Lankan English course material seems to be created by academic monks who are translating into a language that is not their native language. Also, the dhamma is a living teaching, so if the teacher does not understand the living application of the practice then it would be difficult to teach the children it. Unfortunately, I am sure you are referring to teachers who teach children to memorize instead of teaching them dhamma. It seems to me the ultimate purpose of a dhamma school is to teach the children dhamma through the course material, not only memorization of concepts. I would love to develop the dhamma school idea even further based on contemporary scholastic research. Dhamma school, I think, can be a fun and enlightening experience for all. I know as a dhamma school teacher, I have learned so much.


OK I think I understand, great techniques. Thank you. :sparkles:


I think the experience of mindfulness meditation is very important. The ‘don’t tell them, show them’ principle applies. If they see significant benefit from meditating they will be more likely to stick with it. I saw some research into mindfulness in school classrooms showing that meditation even once a week minimum, has beneficial effects for children. Theory is easily forgotten. Teach a skill and it might last, as long as there’s a benefit from it.


I doubt it has or can be definitively researched. There might be more evidence for Aspirin curing headaches. :grin:


Thanks, in my memory I have sometimes confused these two stories, I will make a note to correct it in future!


Can we shut them?! I don’t know. There were no ‘formal’ classes in the Dhamma, during Buddha’s time, for young children OR adults!

closed #56


This just came into my email. It looks great…