The Enlightenment

This lesson was shared with children between the ages of 5 and 8.  I read the story from pages 15-17 of Buddhism Key Stage 2.  You can download it for free by clicking here.

Keep it simple.
There were three main points I wanted the children to remember:
1. The middle path
2. The causes of suffering
3. All  beings can become enlightened

I took breaks in the story to discuss each point, asking questions like these:

The Middle Path
Could Gautama find the way of truth when he was super comfy and living in the palace?  (No.)
Could Gautama find the way of truth when he was torturing himself and weak with hunger?  (No.)
When did Gautama find the way of truth?  (When he meditated but had a little food too.  When he wasn't trying to be too comfortable or too uncomfortable.)  

The Cause of Suffering
What did Gautama realize were the causes of our suffering?  (Greed, selfishness, stupidity/ignorance)
What is greed?  Selfishness?  Ignorance?  (Accept any reasonable answers)
What will make people happy?  (Getting rid of greed, selfishness and ignorance) 

Buddha Potential
Who can become enlightened?  (All beings)
Can we become enlighetend? (Yes.)
Can the people we know become enlightened?  (Yes.)
YES!  Everyone has the potential to become a buddha!  Potential means it's possible, we have the ability. 

To celebrate the story of Gautama's enlightenment I wanted the children to make something special.
We made paper images of the Buddha under the Bodhi tree inspired by a project I found here.     
Use what you have.
Instead of paper towel rolls, we simply rolled and pasted brown construction paper into a cylinder.
I cut the brown paper and leaves out ahead of time.
I traced and copied a picture of the Buddha that I liked.  The kids colored and pasted it onto the bottom of the  paper tree.  You could also have the kids draw their own pictures or print out a picture or coloring page from the web.  (Just Google Buddha coloring pages and you'll find plenty of choices.)
The children then pasted leaves at the top of the tree.
We set them on a shelf to dry and stabilize before the children took them home.

This project was simple enough for the youngest children to do with very little help and nice enough that the oldest of the children still enjoyed making it.

Next week:  Buddha's meditation and Mucalinda's protection

May all be free from suffering by the power of the triple gem.  


  1. It's very good to hear you say that everyone has the potential to become a Buddha!