Monday, January 29, 2018

Simplicity and children's books



This book is addressed to children aged five to ten. It is beautifully produced with illustrations by the author herself. The story is uncomplicated. A poor girl, Padme, grows up in a rich household. Her task is to sweep which is all she does, all day long, all life long, for her demanding employers. But she is grateful to have work and a place to live.

One day, a great man arrives. This is the Buddha himself, who is gracious and cheerful. After a meal, he invites everyone into the garden where he teaches about life, suffering, and meditation. Everyone receives a blessing. Padme asks how she could meditate in her very busy life - there is always something to clean or dust. The Buddha teaches her about meditation while working - to work and live mindfully, in meditation.

The Buddha returns to teach another lesson. That caring for others, concern for their suffering and their happiness, can be a prayer.  That a heart filled with such prayer is an indication of greatness.

This story is perhaps what five-year-olds need. Stories are perhaps what ten-year-olds need. Mindfulness and compassion are what we all need.

Time was, we had daughters of between five and ten. I tried to read to them and sometimes succeeded. I remember Goodnight Moon and Charlotte's Web and Where the Wild Things Are. I think fondly of The Phantom Toll-Booth and of Holes. They grew up, naturally. For a while, there were the Harry Potter books.

Now they are on their own. May mindfulness and compassion fill their lives.


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Simplicity and children's books

This book is addressed to children aged five to ten. It is beautifully produced with illustrations by the author herself. The story is u...