Dharma Lessons

Who is God?

Buddhism is considered by many to be atheistic. Though some Buddhists are not atheists. Although Buddhism on the whole does not confirm the existence of a god, but it also does not deny the existence of a god.Whether or not a god exists is considered irrelevant. In Buddhism one can believe in God or disbelieve - it is an individual choice.

Many children ask about God. They are curious. Here's a lesson to help with answering the question that so many children ask "Who/What is God?" I recommend not presenting this lesson unless your child asks about a god. If your child expresses a belief in God, don't try to dissuade them. Respecting your child's believe will allow them to develop respect for the beliefs of others.

Read & Discuss

Read the book What is God? by Etan Boritzer.
Ask the children if they ever felt anything special like looking at a beautiful view from a mountain or looking at the stars (as listed on the second page of text). Discuss how this is what some people feel about God.

Talk about how other people feel about God. Let your children know that people of different religions believe differently and that we must all respect the beliefs of others.

Follow the meditation practice on the last page of the book which starts:

"So if you really want to feel God,
You can close your eyes now,
And listen to your breath go slowly in and out,
And think how you are connected to everything,
Even if you are not touching everything."

Talk about how this is a form of meditation and being connected and interdependent is very much what Buddhism is all about.

Further Studies

You might want to take a look at how each of the major religions looks at God. You might watch the video Prince of Egypt for a look at the Judeo-Christian God. Or you might read Bible stories to your children since many of these stories are a part of our cultural history also.

For Older Children & Teens

Discuss your own beliefs about God . Be sure to be open and honest about your own beliefs. If you don't believe, explain why you don't believe. If you do, explain what you do believe. If you are unsure, be honest about that also. Ask your child what they believe.

Research different cultures and beliefs in gods. Discuss these beliefs. How are beliefs the same?

Activity for exploring the development of beliefs in god. Have your child come up with their own god and a belief system to support belief in the god. For instance, my nine year old son decided that God is gravity. He had heard that God is a force and he knew gravity is a force. He then developed the beliefs that God helps hold everything together and gravity helps holds everything in place. God is everywhere - gravity is also everywhere.

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