Description of Primary Content

The syllabus for primary students consists of eight work units. Students will learn about the Buddha’s early life as a prince. What was it like for him growing up in luxury and what was the significant event in his life that made him throw it all away to become a monk? They’ll also find out about the Buddha’s subsequent Enlightenment, his role as a Teacher, and his passing away at the age of eighty. There’s an introduction to the Buddha’s teaching on loving-kindness plus the practice of Taking Refuge is explained. This is one of the most important in the Buddhist tradition.

All the units include a fun quiz. Kids can test themselves on how much they’ve remembered from the class. There’s also an Activity Box. This may include a colouring book or individual pictures to colour in, guided meditations, a Buddhist story to read and discuss, Buddhist songs, Buddhist word puzzles, a class play, the illustrated Buddhist story “Rahula Leads The Way”, a Buddhist greeting cut-out, and a how-to for making special Buddha day gifts.

Primary Work Units(8)

Unit 1: Who was the Buddha?
This unit charts the early years of Siddhartha. Before he became a Buddha, Siddhartha was a prince. But he wasn’t just any old prince, his mother had prophetic dreams before he was born and wise men made great predictions about his destiny.

Unit 2: Leaving the Palace
This unit describes a key turning point in the Buddha’s life. During an excursion outside the palace walls, Prince Siddhartha was so deeply affected when he saw a sick man, an old man and a corpse, he decided to leave the palace and become a monk.

Unit 3: Under the Bodhi Tree
Nirvana or Enlightenment is the goal of all Buddhists. This means putting an end to the suffering we experience in life. The Buddha endured six years of physical hardship as a monk before he attained Enlightenment whilst meditating under the Bodhi tree.

Unit 4: What the Buddha Taught
The most important Buddhist Teaching is the Four Noble Truths. This explains why we suffer and what we can do to eliminate suffering from our life. After the Buddha attained Enlightenment, this was his first Teaching. His first lucky students were five monks he knew.

Unit 5: The Buddha’s Disciples
This unit introduces the Sangha – the Buddha’s male and female disciples, during his lifetime and right up to the present day. Although Sangha traditionally refers to monks and nuns, these days it also refers to lay followers of Buddhism.

Unit 6: Loving-Kindness
The Buddha taught that positive qualities such as loving-kindness should replace negative ones such as selfishness. One way of doing this is through meditation. Without developing a good heart, it’s impossible to achieve lasting happiness.

Unit 7: The Buddha’s Last Days
This unit follows the Buddha on the last stage of his journey. Even great teachers must die, and the Buddha was no exception. However, his death was by no means the end of the story. Today his Teachings are still very much alive.

Unit 8: Who is a Buddhist?
This unit defines a Buddhist as one who takes refuge in the Triple Gem (the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha), and willingly follows the Five Precepts. These are rules for living a moral life, and include not killing, stealing and lying.


Addition Material

Story of the Buddha

The story of the Buddha is presented in ninty-three annotated slides, which cover both biographical details and Buddhist teaching. Each of the line drawings provides a useful stimulus while the text helps to explain the significance of key events in the life of the Buddha. The material could be used both as an introduction to the Buddha or as part of a research project to further their learning. This section also contains short extracts of text with useful visual stimulus while still providing key information on the Buddha and his teaching.

Teaching Stories – The Jataka Tales (Volume 1 & 2)

All major spiritual traditions have them – stories that help develop the characters of the people who hear them. The Jataka Tales – Vol. 1 & 2 are no exception. They might have originated hundreds of years ago, but today their main message – on how to live morally – is no less relevant.

The Activity Box

Guided Meditation
Instruction for teachers on how to teach kids the practice of meditation. There are seven guided meditations to choose from. Each one gives children the opportunity to experience first hand the mindfulness teachings of the Buddha.

A Buddhist Tale to Read and Discuss

What better way to bring the Buddha and his Teachings to life than through storytelling? These selected tales are more than great yarns. Each one has a moral, providing teachers with plenty of material for any following discussion.

Buddhist Songs
This is another great way to engage children in the life and teachings of the Buddha. The seven songs offered here include simple, easy-to-remember lyrics and catchy tunes.

Buddhist Word Puzzles
A great way for kids to have fun and learn at the same time. Includes “circle it” puzzles and a word matching game where the aim is to match the Buddhist words with their meaning (e.g. Metta with loving-kindness).

Class Play
Kids will love acting out some of these classic Buddhist stories. Scripts are provided. But the young actors might want to improvise as they become more familiar with the Buddha’s teachings.

Rahula Leads the Way
A delightful story that describes the adventures the little boy Leo has when he meets the young monk Rahula. Thanks to Rahula’s monk’s training and good sense, Leo learns how to be the best little boy possible.

Colouring In
A picture paints a thousand words. There are individual line drawings (e.g. a Dharma wheel, a lotus flower) as well as a colouring book of drawings depicting all the important events in the Buddha’s life.

Buddhist Greeting Cut-out
How do you greet the Buddha? It is easy with this cut-out. Buddhist greeting consisting of two hands and some prayer beads. Just grab a pair of scissors and follow the dotted lines.

Creating Vesak Gifts
Vesak is the most important day in the Buddhist calendar, honouring the birth, death and enlightenment of the Buddha. This book shows you how to create gifts and cards to help celebrate the occasion.