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  22/11/2023

Teaching Buddhist Values to Children: The Role of Grandparents and Parents

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Many Vietnamese children, when asked, respond that they have heard stories about Buddha and the wise teachings of Buddha from their grandparents or elders. They understand the moral values that their grandparents have passed down through these stories.

In Vietnamese families, it is common to have multiple generations living together: grandparents, parents, and children (three generations under one roof); or even great-grandparents, grandparents, parents, and children (four generations under one roof).

Traditional values hold a prominent place in Vietnamese families. While educating children in ethics is mainly the responsibility of parents in urban families, in rural Vietnamese families, this duty is not limited to parents. In fact, the role of grandparents is significant in imparting moral values, especially Buddhist teachings, to children.

In Vietnam, most Buddhist temples follow the Mahayana tradition. Vietnamese people visit temples to pray and recite Buddhist scriptures. They have a strong belief that Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and Enlightened Monks bear witness, grant blessings, and cleanse their sins.

People aged 45-50 and above are considered regular temple-goers. They are often grandparents, and they have fully absorbed the moral values of Buddhism. They carry these values with them and pass them on to their descendants, sometimes through stories and sometimes through direct teachings to children.

Many grandparents effectively apply methods to impart Buddhist moral values to their grandchildren. In Vietnamese families, besides grandparents, parents also play a significant role in passing down Buddhist moral values to their children.

In practice in Vietnam, it is evident that many parents, who were once children in previous generations, were to some extent educated in the moral values of Buddhism by their grandparents. Consequently, what they teach their children today carries the moral values of Buddhism. Thus, parents indirectly transmit these moral values of Buddhism to their children.

The tradition of grandparents and parents attending Buddhist ceremonies in Vietnamese Buddhist families is well-preserved. Both grandparents and parents emphasize the recitation of scriptures, Buddhist meditation, and in many places, the organization of religious teachings (Buddhist doctrines) for Buddhist followers.

As a result, the methods of nurturing and educating children in Vietnam through Buddhism often involve recitation of scriptures, Buddhist meditation, an understanding of Buddhist values, and passing these on to the younger generation.

Currently, organizing Buddhist summer retreats is one of the direct methods of educating young children. Therefore, children are educated in the moral values of Buddhism not only directly by monks but mainly indirectly through the stories and teachings of their grandparents, parents, and elders.

It can be observed that the moral values of Buddhism have blended into the traditional moral education of the people, creating an underground stream of values passed down from grandparents to parents to children.

In the context of a new culture, where foreign influences are increasingly penetrating our country, bringing both positive and negative aspects, the role of Buddhist education becomes even more important and plays a role in guiding the morality and lifestyle of young people, including children.

Fundamentally, it can be understood that religious teachings, in general, and Buddhism, in particular, have provided the traditional moral education of the Vietnamese people with good moral content closely aligned with our national traditions. This contributes to preserving our traditions and mitigating negative moral aspects among children in our country today.

According to hoadatviet.phunuvietnam.vn

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