A fundamental teaching of all schools of Buddhism is the idea that everything is connected to everything else. Together, we will explore how this is possible and what it means. We'll read a couple of stories, have a snack, and do a simple craft.
“…educating children with warm hearts and clear heads; children who will one day help to create a more compassionate, intelligent and peaceful world.”– Inspired by the words of His Holiness the Dalai Lama
In 2011, the Buddhist Faith Fellowship began supporting area parents and their children in the practice of mindfulness meditation and the understanding of Buddhist teachings through its Family Dharma program. The intention of this program was to nurture the whole family so adults and children could learn and grow together in the Buddhist teachings.
In 2013, the Fellowship transformed its Family Dharma program into a Buddhist Sunday School. This was designed to meet the needs of children by integrating Buddhist, Montessori, and secular mindfulness educational approaches to provide the very best spiritual experience for children, while allowing parents an opportunity to enjoy the adult community gathering. More recently we have adopted a shorter format so that families and children can again learn side by side in our new Family Buddhist Practice.
What is Buddhist Family Practice?
Buddhist Family Practice is an opportunity for families with children to practice mindfulness and learn traditional Buddhist teachings such as compassion, interdependence, and gratitude. It follows the general format of the Buddhist Faith Fellowship’s regular weekly gathering, but in a shorter, more relaxed format, with elements tailored to children under 13. Babies and Toddlers (with parent or guardian) are welcome too! We try to be as inclusive as possible.
Where and when do we meet?
We meet at the Wesleyan University Campus in Middletown, Connecticut, at the same location as the regular Buddhist Faith Fellowship gathering:
College of East Asian Studies Wesleyan University, 343 Washington Terrace Middletown, Connecticut
We generally meet on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., just before the regular BFF gathering at 10:00. Please check our calendar for updates and to RSVP.
What can I expect?
A typical practice session will include:
Candle Lighting Ceremony Light symbolizes wisdom transforming our suffering into understanding and compassion. We “light” a safe (battery powered) candle to set the tone and intention of the gathering.
Listening to the Bell Listening to the beautiful sound of the bell and following our breath is wonderful way to learn to calm our minds and return to ourselves
Mindfulness Verses As a group we read short verses (gathas) to learn Buddhist themes such as compassion and gratitude or Buddhist ethics such as the Five Precepts
Sitting Meditation We practice a short period of sitting meditation, with special options for younger children
Mindful Movement Awareness of body is another way to develop mindfulness. We do simple yoga postures, sometimes combined with “Touching the Earth” practice, which emphasizes inter-connectedness
Book Reading or Activity To keep things interesting for children, we read from an age-appropriate book featuring mindfulness or Buddhist themes, or do a short activity
Voice Meditation Music, singing, and simple chants are another fun way to connect the mind, breath, and present moment
Closing Dedication We close the practice with a short verse and chant in which we dedicate our efforts to helping others
Walking the Path Together
An important part this experience is having parents and caregivers equally engaged in mindfulness practice by learning its content and practical applications. Because your own mindful development is an integral part of your child’s education, we require parents or guardians to attend with their child.
Additionally, we invite you to attend the Buddhist Faith Fellowship’s Sunday morning gatherings starting at 10 a.m. or another local meditation group on alternate weeks so you can deepen your assimilation of meditation and mindfulness into your life, In this way, you and your family can together walk the path of awareness, balance, and compassion.
Your Generosity is Appreciated
This program is run by volunteers, but there are material costs and we pay a fee to rent the beautiful space at Wesleyan where the program is held.
A donation of $10 per family is suggested to help defray our costs. (Please bring cash or check payable to BFF of CT).
If you find your family attending on a regular basis, we encourage you to become a member to help support the greater community and all of its offerings.
Membership donations help to defray operational costs; however, any family is welcome to participate in the community, regardless of what can be donated. The BFF is incorporated in the State of Connecticut and registered as a 501(c)(3) so all donations are tax deductible.