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Exploring Buddhism: A Visit to the Temple

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Buddhist Retreats for Children Offer Lifelong Lessons

A Buddhist retreat for children, held at the Thiên Khánh Temple, offers more than just a spiritual experience for the young attendees. Parents also seize the opportunity to “audit” and learn about life skills and Buddhist teachings being imparted to the children by the venerable teachers and volunteers.

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Children participating in a retreat at the temple

A Joyful Learning Experience at the Temple

Children eagerly participate in the “Learning to Be Useful” retreat at Thiên Khánh Temple, organized by Venerable Thích Minh Thạnh, the temple’s abbot. Held twice a month on Saturdays, the retreat has consistently attracted nearly 100 children from the surrounding area over the past three weeks.

In the temple’s modest space, the children engage in both learning and play. Guided by the abbot, they practice mindfulness meditation and chant short sutras turned into poems. Even though the sessions last only 5-10 minutes, the children enjoy them, eagerly sharing their experiences with their families, and even teaching their parents the practices.

“Organizing a retreat for children is three times more challenging than for adults,” shares Venerable Thích Minh Thạnh. “We have to make the content engaging and plan a diverse program, including fun activities and ensuring the children are well-fed and comfortable.”

The abbot’s vision is to instill good virtues in the children: gratitude, filial piety, the life of the Buddha, and more. He wishes to create beautiful childhood memories associated with Buddhism and the temple, nurturing seeds of compassion and wisdom in the young minds.

Young Buddhists passionate about the Dharma have been invited to teach and share with the children. The program’s diversity ensures each session is a unique and enjoyable experience, not just for the kids but also for the volunteers and teachers involved.

Parents’ Perspectives

The retreat, though intended for children, has also become a learning opportunity for parents. Some parents from other districts have even brought their children to participate.

Ms. Diệu Hậu, a parent whose child attends the retreat, reflects on her own transformative experience with Buddhist youth activities during her student years. She wants to pass on these positive influences to her son and other children. “I am glad Thiên Khánh Temple organizes this retreat. For many parents like us, it’s very meaningful,” she expresses.

Volunteers like Ms. Thường Lạc find that guiding the children in activities and exploring Buddhist teachings enriches their own understanding of the Dharma.

With increasing attendance and positive feedback from parents, the temple is motivated to organize more retreats, creating a nurturing environment for children to grow in their understanding and practice of Buddhism.

(Source: Giác Ngộ Online)

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