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Buddhist Parenting and Discipline

posnoQuestion

Hi, I just wanted to say how much I enjoy the Daily Buddhism. I have recently taken my dedication to Buddhism seriously. But sadly, I am having a hard time bringing it to my parenting particularly with discipline. I can hug, hold, listen etc. with 100% of my being but I am still struggling with disciplining my children in a “KIND” way. I was wondering if you could help me with this?

Any info would be of great help.

Answer

First, let me point out that I am not a parent, so this is an entirely unqualified opinion on the subject– take all that follows with a skeptical grain of salt.

I’m not a parent, but do babysit my niece and nephew fairly often. My niece is calm and quiet and she hangs on my every word, eager to please. My nephew, however, lives in his own little world, quite often babbling so much that even he doesn’t know what he’s saying or doing; it’s very hard to get his attention sometimes without yelling. I often feel bad about yelling, even though I know full well that there’s no other way to get his attention. I’d never dream of hitting him, but I often feel bad about just raising my voice. I can certainly imagine what it must be like dealing with this kind of thing on a daily basis.

tantrumsDiscipline has its place, but you already know that. The problem is that with discipline of any kind, the child cries, pouts, or otherwise displays ‚Äúhurt.‚Äù We feel bad because we have ‚Äúhurt‚Äù the child. I don’t mean physical hurting, I mean displeasure at not getting their way or maybe shame/guilt at being reprimanded. Yet, even with something like a time-out, standing in the corner, or losing a toy for the day, the crying begins.

mother-child-discipline-smallIs that a bad thing? You are in fact creating suffering for the child. Surely that cannot be a good thing. On the other hand, think of the alternative to proper discipline. We’ve all been in stores and seen someone else’s little monsters acting up while their parents ignore them; we comment that ‚Äúmy child would never act like that.‚Äù Why wouldn’t your children act like that? Discipline. Eventually, children learn social rules and will behave appropriately on their own, but is that the case for very young children? No. Children are in many ways, “primitive.” They understand fear. Fear of what disobeying means. Fear (and in a Buddhist sense, suffering) can be a valuable learning tool. We learn not to do those things which cause suffering.

Again, I am one of those pacifist people who absolutely advocates not hitting, beating, slapping, or anything like that, but I do believe that children need to fear discipline, or they have no reason to obey. I’m talking about young children, maybe ages 3-7. Beyond that point, they should be able to behave on their own, but even then, they are about to make the occasional mistake. Although terrorizing your children isn’t going to be productive, a bit of healthy fear (maybe respect is a better word) is going to help them learn, and is, in the long run, a good thing.

You state in your question that you want to do ‚Äúkind‚Äù discipline, which I am interpreting to be ‚Äúdiscipline without the tears.‚Äù I’m not sure that there is such a thing. Discipline is always going to go against the child’s wishes, and that’s always going to result in tears and “suffering.”

I hope that some kind reader who is also a parent will chime in here and offer some advice from experience!
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20 comments to Buddhist Parenting and Discipline

  • From a reader who emailed their comment:

    Thank you for bringing up this topic, as it is near and dear to my heart.

    Your answer was a good one, but really struck a note in me – the Dogma Note. :) To be a Buddhist parent, the parent must understand that there are no “rules” or “ways” to parent in a Buddhist manner, other than just being 1) Buddhist and 2) a parent.

    For years I worked on helping other Buddhist parents with “ways to parent/discipline/teach/homeschool/etc.,” but found that those folks soon started to find my way as their way. While that is all fine and well, the techniques I’ve found for my family are not a panacea for Buddhist parents.

    Discipline is an important part of Buddhism, but physical action against another is not. This is where you and I agree. However, kids from the age 0-19 or so totally need boundaries and discipline. If I let my 10 year olds have no boundaries or discipline, I would have a serious nightmare on my hands.

    Also, no child is a monster on its own – fruit rarely falls far from the tree. For 5 years I worked with kids at a resort hotel. The kids that caused the most problem for the counselors also had the problematic parents. The kid who bullied the other kids had a dad that bullied his son or other parents/adults.

    The best teacher for children is a parent. If we model behavior such as saying, “little monster” about a child, then that child will be, in fact, a little monster.

    The Buddha says:
    /All that we are is the result of what we have thought./

    If we think our kids are problems or “bad,” then they will be exactly as we think.

    I’ve been a mom for 10 years, a Buddhist for around 5. What brought me to Buddhism was having children, as you can totally identify with the Buddha’s teaching after raising kids (as can those without kids). The Four Noble Truths should be a mantra for each new mom, and the Eight Fold Path is the best parenting “book” out there.

    A good book to read is by HHDL’s mother, Diki Tsering. In the book “Dalai Lama, My Son,” the reader can get a pretty good idea how to be a good “buddhist parent” if that is what they need; however, the book gives so much more to a person already on the path. The answer? Do your best. Take time to meditate. Find the answers within. To be a “good parent” is to be an aware parent.

    Excerpt here :
    http://www.gracecathedral.org/enrichment/excerpts/exc_20000620.shtml

    For the last few months I’ve been working on a Buddhist Parenting site. Each time I start to write I think, “am I SURE.” My answer is always, “well, I’m sure for myself, but for others I cannot be so sure, and to think I know what is good for others only causes me suffering, as I will worry about how they use my words…”

    =)

    When the site is finished, I will let you know. Until then, think about parents as great vehicles on The Way. This may help you answer the reader’s question.

    Om Mani Padme Hum,

  • steven oldner

    As a parent with 3 children and 1 of them ADHD, I can say there is no “discipline without the tears”. Usually it’s the parents that need the dicipline to set boundries and consequences for the children. Each of our children resond to different types of punishment – so we individualise it. And we have told them up front that we are. There is no “one size fits all”. Also, most of what we have read on modern childrearing is crap. Kids are not adults! Their brains are developing and the punsihment/rewards used last year need to be adjusted likewise.

    Finally, what we have read on ‘modern’ child raising is crap. Parents must be involved in ALL activities of the child – nothing is ‘personal’.

    Again, parenting is like any other skill, to be good takes dicipline.

  • stacey

    I myself am not a parent, but I am a very strong influence in my nephew’s life. I have often been called his surroget mom by family, friends and even his teachers. My nephew has had a somewhat troubled begining to this life which has resulted in his mother not being present in his life since about 2 years of age, we recieved custody of an amazing little boy with a handful of problems. I’ll spare the details, but my point is that discipline was no easy walk in the park. I had many many challenges to overcome but i was determined to bring Buddhism into my discipline. I have found that by having conversations with him, about what his bad behavior means to him and everyone around him, it brought alot more awareness. I’m not saying this was easy, it was definetly a challenge but I have most definetly noticed a difference. I still punish ( take toys away, no video games etc) but he has a much better understanding of why it has happened. He’s 9 years old now, and while his behavior is not 100% ( whose is?) we have certainly come a long way from where we were. I think it’s important for him to know how his actions affect everyone around him,and not just be concerned about whether or not he won’t get to watch tv that night. It makes him think, and make good decisions. I hope this helped!

  • Sarah

    I highly recommend two books… “Happiest Toddler on the Block” (I like the DVD) and “The No Cry Discipline Solution.”

    The toddler one can be used as long as your child has feelings, heck it even works on me sometimes. It is about recognizing what emotions your child is having and acknowledging them. Defusing your child by respecting their emotions often stops bad behavior before it starts.

    “No Cry” helps you see long term and parent towards your ultimate goals. We basically have one rule in our house. Do not hurt others (animals, earth included) or yourself. My son is almost 3 and has only had to sit in time-out twice (for crawling out the dog door).

    You do have to use the “voice of authority” or else your child won’t understand the importance of not running in the street or touching the electrical outlet.

  • Jami

    Parenting can teaches us about emotion and how we excercise ‘authority’. Power of course can be abused and, for the ego, an addiction. “The chains of habit”, a thoughtful person said, “can be to weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken”.

    In general, non-Western cultures habitually have firm parent-child relationships. Buddhist countries are not an exception. Most Eastern Monks and Nuns, would have grown up with the odd slap or two.

    And even in the Monastery, it would appear the relationship between monk and novice is hierarchical and not free from the kind of disciplinary practices associated with parent-child relationships in wider society.

    There is an art to parenting. One that is culturally learnt. Violence need not be used since words can be as effective as ‘blows’. Discipline is open, plural. It may take many forms (restricting who your children plays with, what they watch, where they go etc).

    Combined with the instilling of virtous precepts and values and ideals. The question is, do Euro-American children have better manners than chidren elsewhere? Answering that may not be simple and the importation of other’s ‘ways’ may not suit your cultural background. But it may provide an insight into what techniques may be ‘helpful’.

  • mark

    its more harmful to try to keep your kid from crying by giving them what they want all the time. you need to be able to say no if there is a good reason, you also need to let your kid be sad about it, and feel their feelings, and support them as they do that.

    alot has to do with HOW you behave when you discipline – are you flying off the handle or are you calm? are you using natural consequences? Barbara Coloroso is great for that. I would also recommend the book “Playful Parenting” by L Cohen, and “Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason” by Alfie Kohn

  • Here’s another comment from my emails.

    I wanted to thank you so much for your response to this email because I have
    recently begun meditating and really “sinking my teeth into” the Buddhist
    practices. I have been listening to all the Podcast that are still
    available and reading books by His Holiness The Dalai Lama and other monks,
    etc and although I was raised Catholic, and attend an Anglican church, I
    find that the Path of Buddhism is more fitting of my spiritual & personal
    views at this point of my life. I think that your response was dead on
    because I believe that there has to be a certain Respect for parents and
    that of course it will cause a certain level of “suffering” to the child, it
    is better that the child be upset for a brief period of time, then grow w/o
    knowledge of respect, boundaries, and discipline.

    I recently began saying a simple prayer in the morning with my two boys and
    have found that it helps center them. They are still too young to really
    focus on Meditation exercises but, I believe that when they start the day
    off this way they seem to keep focus more easily. I remember before I had
    children and I would experience the situation you mentioned about the
    “little monster in the grocery store” and had the same thoughts… “NOT MY
    KID”… but, the reality is that I HAVE had that happen to me, & I NOW know
    that the fact that I dealt with it in a calm way and refocused my children’s
    energy and emotions to a CENTER…. they have been able to learn that the
    suffering of that moment was worth it because they see it now when they are
    with me & someone else’s “little monster” acts up.

  • I, too, have been wondering about this and have come to two very vague ideas (I would say conclusions, but that implies finality, which as a parent I rarely can afford to have!).

    1. When you discipline you are causing present suffering (which is bad), but you are probably causing future “good.” (which over a lifetime probably outweighs the current suffering). Although Karma shouldn’t be thought of as a scale in my opinion because that implies greed, this thought helped me out.

    2. By setting boundaries you are teaching the child not to be permanently attached to anything (in a lot of cases, their freedom to do what they want, when they want to). Although in a lot of ways this is a wonderful trait, it can also cause horrible damage if not used with wisdom (brought by experience).

    3. You are imparting your wisdom onto the child by setting boundaries. It is your responsibility to teach them things so they will hopefully grow up to find out what you said is not only true because you said it, but because they see/know it to be right. Children don’t have that ability yet, but with your help will develop it later. I used to think my parents were too strict, but now I see they were right. Not because they said it, but because I know it to be true after time.

    Please remember that my practice is still ongoing and relatively new so the mileage on any of this advice isn’t that much!

    Good luck on finding your own discipline methods that will work because there is no universal discipline methods despite what the self help books will tell you. Find your own effective methods and go with it and don’t be afraid to admit, okay, that didn’t work, we need to find something else that might work. Experiment and you will find the right method.

  • Mike B

    As a parent of one young daughter, the biggest lesson for me is being balanced in your discipline, message, and how its delivered. With a compassionate focus, and a mindful awareness, it helps to meet the sterness of having to relaying boundries through yelling or notating fear of something(staying aware from a hot stove for example). Its a constant battle, but one I try to keep aware of with being in the moment, and being mindfully aware.

  • David

    Hi I am a parent of a, now 22 year old son, and I would agree with Stacey about teaching children awareness of the effect their actions have on themselves, others and the world at large. Much easier said than done but I think it is the only way to go. When my son was young and did something I felt was either dangerous or unacceptable I would take the time to sit with him and tell him why and ask him to come up with a suitable punishment. This was not an easy way out for him as if the punishment were not suitable, either too soft or more often too harsh, I would send him away to think some more. I believe this way had far more effect as I hope it made him think before acting willfully. That said none of us are perfect and we all do things, from time to time, which are unacceptable or dangerous and as such you might say we need to be “told off” I would prefer to say we need to be educated. I clearly remember one occasion when this was not the case and I stupidly reacted in a way that my adopted father would have acted, without thinking and lashed out verbally and grabbed him and have carried the pain of this with me ever since.

    When we talk about discipline and respect we have to look carefully at ourselves. Do we demonstrate to our children that we respect ourselves and that we respect them as individuals who share our lives and not as belongings. Do we demonstrate personal discipline or do we take the old lie “do as I say and not as I do”? When we talk about punishment for wrong doing we need to be careful that we teach the right action and instill respect and not instill fear and then deception. This done wrong will only teach the child to be fearful of the punishment and not learning about why they are being punished. Now I am not an expert by any means but I have been on the receiving end of corporal punishment from parents, much of which was very severe and my own experience has lead me to believe that this is the case. One thing is certain my adopted parents’ physical violence on me never did me any good whatsoever.

    As a final thought we should remember not to stop children exploring or discovering for themselves and carefully avoid seeing this as misbehaving, better that we facilitate this in a safe and nurturing way which helps them grow as individuals, you never know you may learn as much from them as they do from you.

    Just a few thoughts

  • Micah

    As everyone knows, there are no perfect parents. I once heard Gil Fronsdal (a Buddhist teacher) say- something to the effect of- I have stopped trying to be the perfect parent, now I just try to give my children the inner resources to work through all of the issues I am inadvertantly giving to them :)
    I have a five year old and an 18 month old. I am also a psychotherapist. I have seen, first hand, where some- very well meaning- parents have neglected discipline for their children at an earlier age only to struggle with trying to implement it in their teen years, which can be VERY difficult.
    I try to keep in mind compassion with wisdom. I do not want to give my children needless suffering. However, it is important for me to give consequences which are uncomfortable so that they do not have to have greater suffering as an adult. Rules and consequences are a part of life, for ALL of us. For younger children the consequences need to be as immediate as possible. They also need to be age appropriate. This can be difficult to decern at times. This is where good parenting books can help. Also, it is important to help children learn to problem solve. For example, if little five year old Jimmy hits his sister it is important to not only give him a consequence for hitting but also to sit with him and find out a. how where you feeling when you hit your sister?(was he mad, or just playing around) b. If you were mad, what were you mad about (maybe little sister is tearing up his train set and I didnt see it- which still doesnt make hitting right)c. instead of hitting what could you have done differently? (come tell mom and dad, etc).
    After the consequence is served. Then it is important to MOVE on. Dont keep bringing it up. Everytime I talk about my son and the way he treats his sister I always describe him as “a GREAT big brother”. He is. But, he does get angry and push her down or hit her from time to time. But, I NEVER say “he is ok as long as she doesnt touch his stuff, etc. etc.” No, We treat his breaking the rules as a “fluke”. He IS a great kid. But, like all of us, he makes mistakes.
    It is also important for the parent to keep their cool. This is where meditation practice can help (there is a reason why I started my meditation practice five years ago… the same time I had children). The parent should try to stay matter of fact (“You hit your sister, you need to go to timeout”) and leave out all of the extra stuff (“What are you doing? what is wrong with you? she didnt do anything to you. you are NEVER going to be allowed to play with your train again. You…blah, blah, blah). I believe this goes with the Buddhist principle of refraining from harsh speech. It is one thing to be stern. It is another thing to be mean in our speech. Of course all of us get frustrated. But, we need to try to keep ourselves as calm as possible disciplining.
    Last, it is important to continually build our relationships with our children. Sometimes parents fall into the pattern of only giving their children attention when they are acting up. The parent comes home after a long day and sits on the couch and doesnt spend time with his kid. Then, when the kid acts up. The parent disciplines him. It, inadvertantly, reinforces the misbehavior. The kid has the parents 100% attention when he acts up. Therefore, it is important to talk, play, etc with our kids a little everyday- thereby reinforcing their good behavior.

    Model good relationships by having a good relatioship with your spouse. Work together as a team (enforcing each others rules and consequences) and give each other breaks when needed.

    All kids are different. They all have their different personalities. Even if a person could parent perfectly (which is not possible) there still would be issues. It is just the nature of the beast. Parenting is like the peace corps “the toughest job you’ll ever love” :)

  • Jenny

    Great Topic… and I might also add that any parent, Buddhist or not, seeking an alternative to not cause “pain” or “tears” to their children are to be looked up to. The “spare the rod, spoil the child” cliche has always been a controversial one. In matters of discipline, we should discipline our children only to show them a consequence for their actions. Not out of personal frustration, etc. We prepare them for consequences in the real world. We are raising men and women. I look at my ten year old every single day and see that I am raising a man. I teach him to trust, tell the truth, love, be kind to others and be strong in speaking how he feels. Of course he is a boy, he plays video games and rides a skateboard as other children his age would. I just ingrain in him the ability to avoid conflict between us by giving him spiritual lessons…. and then we have few disagreements. Its like watering a plant… you water the plant to nurture and prepare for a long healthy life. Parenting is similar… we are watering our future… for OUR children are the FUTURE of this planet. They are our vision of the world UNTO the world. So, good luck and know that kindness is the key. If we show kindness unto them, we will cultivate kindness within them.

  • Pete

    This is a great topic, I’ve always wondered about this myself.

    I just wanted to chime in and add that parents who use the “time-out” technique on their children usually end up losing control of their kids. It seems like a easy way to get children to listen and to get in line but since there isnt much fear involved it seems to be a weak way in to keeping your kids from shouting and running around in a public place.
    I’m not a parent myself but I’m soon going to have a total of seven nieces and nephews- I’m just making an opinion out of what I’ve observed.

    Children pick up most things from the parents – everything an adult will say or do is almost gospel to them until a certain age, so excluding discipline and behavior from this does not make much sense.

  • Abe Simpson

    Although it may not feel like it, disciplining a child IS kindness.

    Sometimes kindness comes in a SHOUT. SOMETIMES IT COMES IN A whisper.

    Not teaching your child discipline by enforcing discipline on them when they won’t or can’t, is an act of unkindness.

    How you do that is between you and your child. One universal rule it any communication with your child is to be, here, now.

    Remember not to adopt their emotions, and to rely on your practice to stay centered when they can’t or won’t.

    Be Kind,
    Abe

  • Jo

    I do not see how any of above posts are the buddhist way. At first glance all posts look all well and good but the underlying message is that you are in fact trying to CONTROL your children. If you actually feel the childs behaviour is wrong and it angers you but you do not show your anger your child will still pick up on your underlying feeling. This is no better. One needs to discipline/teach with compassion, not sympathy. This does not mean permissive but with wisdom and to remain calm and firm. A good way to view your child is as a teacher, ie, without them testing your patience how can we learn patience? Or your child could have been your mother in a previous life or theyn could be the next Buddha. Treat your child how you would treat your friend. The answer lies in non-attachment. Punishment does not work, yes it works to an extent but not the whole way. Basically, once you are on one side and the child on the other the chld will become defensive and see you as the enemy. Punishment is more about fear than respect and respect is best taught using your own ways/actions/speech as an example. Praise is also damaging, oh yes it is! It can reduce confidence, de-motivate, capitalises on childen’s craving for our approval, can be used to manipulate, increases childrens’ dependence on us, undermines interest and pleasure, reduces the behaviour we try to encourage and it de-motivates. Instead try to suppot the child’s ability to self-encourage. Sometimes saying nothing is best, let them discover that appropriate behaviour has its own rewards. Give feedback instead of praise – i.e. point out the obvious etc without feeling you need to add a “well done” or “good girl/boy” which basically say to the child that unless you give your opinion it ain’t good enough…de-motivating to say the least. Read ‘Buddha Heart Parenting’ ot will speak to your common sense if you listen within.

  • Scott

    As a parent my roll is to raise children that can succesfully integrate with society. As a reult, structure and boundaries are need to be taught.
    The best way to tech these is to calmly with love and empathy show the child that all actions have a consequence. Then show them the better choice.
    Calm love and empathy even in the eventual face of tantrum.
    I’m not doing my child any favors by letting their tears decide the course of parenting.

  • Tab

    This is a great topic. As a mom to 2 – one of whom has developmental disabilities – I really can struggle with how to be kind, compassionate, and still get to school on time, get homework done, and keep them from hurting one another. Why aren’t there more Buddhist temples that offer classes to children/families? I’ve looked in my area and have found only 1. I want guidance – I want to be a good mother – I want lessons that embody the unique challenges of parenting. Unlike a job that causes you frustration – you can’t quit your kids and get new ones… you need to be mindful of what you say/do because you’re helping another human being lay the foundation of their life – and awesome responsibility for such an imperfect soul. Christian traditions have Sunday School – Jewish tradition have Hebrew school – Muslem traditions have child-specific schools, too. Am I missing something? Where is that resource in the Buddhist community?

  • Discipline has been a non-issue once applying the buddhist path in our household. This is consistent with “Jo” above. Why would a child need to be disciplined? Seeing the child as the cause of an issue is ignorance, and demonstrates a lack of the understanding of emptiness.

    When children misbehave, one helpful strategy is instead of blaming of the children, blame Mara, the demon of ignorance. When we are under stress we know from psychology we exaggerate, and this is the root of ignorance. When children misbehave we are most stressed and are going to have a hard time being high and noble and do the right thing. Physiologically the brain exaggerates especially under times of stress, and ignorance is deepest. The mind wants someone or something to blame. Allowing this thing to be Mara is very helpful. It gives the mind something real and tangible.

    The benefits of seeing Mara attacking our children is that it allows us to displace our frustration towards Mara, and fundamental ignorance, which also increases our desire to follow the path. Further, blaming Mara engenders compassion for our children who are being attacked. The children are the victims of misbehavior. They misbehave because they themselves have the causes and conditions of suffering. Using the word “attacked” is important because we would react quickly and strongly to our children being attacked and we would see ourselves on their side, rather than on the opposing side. We stand united in our fight against ignorance!

    For example, when my children fight, I quickly think they are being attacked, and I realize that they are doing so because they are both ignorant. I feel bad for them. I see that they fight because they suffer. They suffer because they are attacked. They suffer because they exaggerate. I have great compassion for them. I get angry at Mara instead. I feel like it’s us against Mara. I show them both kindness, and kindly physically separate them. I see them almost as infected with the disease of ignorance. I love them both.

    What other discipline issues are there? There are natural consequences, from certain actions such as not wearing a coat outside. The consequence? They get cold.

    There are some situations in which the children are doing something dangerous, but these situations should be rare, and if they are not, then you probably have issues with where they are living or where you are taking them. If you have things in your house that you are attached to, then attached to that get damaged, then again this is your issue of attachment.

    Discipline just reinforces fundamental ignorance by encouraging the development of a self that has power. The children, nor do we, have power. This is the root of ignorance: the belief in inherent selves and their power.

    The other issue that is helpful in children is that children are like emotions that are outside of our body. They react in ways that we cannot control and they can be an amazing teacher. We often want to hide, suppress, or control our emotions. Children remind us this is not possible. Like emotions, they are beyond our control. They are perfect opportunities to practice the Middle Way. This is practicing the dharma. Often people look to meditation as the only way to develop themselves, but practice itself is very valuable. When you have children you have the opportunity to practice selflessness (not to be confused with self sacrifice).

    For what it’s worth my children have been professionally evaluated and are constantly evaluated at their school. They both rank exceptionally high on the scales of empathy, security, and assertiveness. In other words, this is not theory, it works. :)

  • James

    I think the fundamental failing of American Buddhism is its failure to include children in the sangha. I wouldn’t dare to take my children to my former sangha. I am the main care take of two toddlers and feel I have no community. It’s hard to practice selflessness in such a self absorbed environment. A friend of mine took me to his Evangelical church and although I would never believe in the religion, I understood its growth and influence. They had a family time for everyone with informal talks and Music, then came the preaching / prayer/meditation time and all little ones went to their care room where they were cared for a thought lesson at their level. There was a cry room for parents with babies. I was never ask to give them money. In American Buddhism parents and children have no place and you are forced to choose between being a good parent or a practicing member.

  • jim ireland

    I’d like to say what a wonderful topic this is and my continued practice of Buddhism is largely driven by my desire tone the best parent I can. As monasticism is at the core of traditional practice then it is not surprising there is so little for families and young children. This is definitely where we in the west can learn from our Asian brothers and sisters,as well as closing the gulf between Buddhist ‘converts’, and those born into the faith. Until such time as Buddhism is a family activity it will remain a fringe activity and little more than another form of therapy for many in the West. I do feel somewhat saddened by the lack of support and desire to value the family unit and parenting process amongst the western sanghas that I am familiar with. perhaps this is an inherent part of the monastic tradition.

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