Dharma Lessons

Respect Life

For the younger ones:
Text: Hey, Little Ant  by Phillip and Hannah Hoose illustrated by Debbie Tilley,  Scholastic Inc.  1998

Story Snyopsis:  This is the story of a boy who is about to squash an ant, but the ant pleads for his life.  The story ends leaving it up to the reader to decide.

Discuss:  What should the boy do?  How can we learn to respect ants?  What good things do ants do?  If getting into our food is the problem with ants, what ways can we keep ants away from our food?

Practice:  Let a bug live.  If you can find a bug in the house and don't want it there, capture it and take it outside.

Other Notes:  On vacation with my children this summer in Tucson.  I was waiting at the airport for a shuttle bus.  Another woman and her 3-4 year old child were waiting, too.  A big interesting bug crawled by.  The woman exclaimed to her son "Oh, look at the bug!"  I felt joyful in seeing a mother share nature with her child.  But my joyfulness was cut short with the woman's command to the child "Squash it!"  The child obeying his mother, stomped on the bug.   My children and I looked on horrified.   It all happened too quick to intercede.   A few days later we attended the Bodhisattva Institute, before services began a young man gently captured a bug and carefully carried it outside.  I explained to my children what the young man was doing and how it was important to respect life.  Often we respond to bugs in the way the mother did squashing it, but if we can learn to respect the life of an insect, we can respect the life of all beings.

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