Friday, February 11, 2011

Zen Shorts and the Buddha Board

Let go of things you don't need.
Good luck can sometimes be bad. Bad luck can sometimes be good.
Be happy with who you are and what you have.
In the book Zen Shorts, Jon J. Muth shares a story of what happens when 3 siblings befriend a giant panda named Stillwater. Each day as the siblings take their turn to visit with Stillwater, the giant panda chooses an appropriate Zen fable to share with each child. To Addie he tells a story about the value of material goods. To Michael he pushes the boundaries of good and bad. And to Karl he demonstrates what it means to hold on to frustration. They way Muth has structured these stories within a story brought a great practice of focus and a test of attention at Storytime Yoga. There are great lessons to be learned in this book and each time I read this story to a child, I wait for that "Ah-Ha" moment in their eyes.
After the story, in hopes of holding on to the focus gained during the story, I introduced the Buddha Board. The Buddha Board is based on the Zen concept of living in the moment. Painting on the surface with water allows a design to be created. Then, as the water slowly evaporates, the art will magically disappear leaving you with a clean slate and a clear mind - ready to create a whole new masterpiece. I had my storytime kid take a turn to draw something from the story that stood out to him. After the image was created, the goal was to sit as still as possible until the entire image disappeared. Now, maybe it was the peace of the studio setting that made him sit still the entire time focused on the board - maybe it was the calmness of the storyline in Zen Shorts...maybe this little boy found his inner peace - the peaceful state that lies within each one of us, that we are all capable of achieving. It was a very proud moment.

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