[BlogEntry] Buddhism, translated by a 4yr old

A long time ago I got a book of Buddhist fairy tales for the kids. It's too advanced for them, and it's been sitting on the shelf. The other day Katherine gets it and says, "We never read this one." So we've been reading it. Keep in mind that this is a girl who lately has told me, while reading stories, "Daddy, you have to use your magination. Picture it in your *mind*." With appropriate emphasis on "mind" as she points to her head. Don't know where she learned that.

Although the moral of these fairy tales might be obvious to a grown up, they are a little…violent for little kids. Like the one about the monkey who had plenty of fruit on his side of the river, and the crocodile who convinced him that the *good* fruit is over on the other side of the river, and all the monkey need do is hop on the crocodile's back for a ride. Naturally the crocodile gets to the middle of the river and starts to sink, in an attempt to drown the monkey and eat him. The monkey escapes to tell more stories. But the moral is supposed to be something like, "The monkey knew not to trust the crocodile, but he was greedy to get at the fruit on the other side, and if he was happy with what he had instead of desiring what he didn't have [which turned out to be an illusion anyway] he would have been able to think straight and see the danger."

Translating this into something a 4yr old can understand, I try to make the analogy to the whole "stranger with candy" thing, and if somebody ever came up to you who you didn't know and offered you all the candy or toys in the world you still should know not to go with them.

Katherine tells me, "You know what else it's also like, Daddy? It's like if we were down at the river, and I told you to get on my back so we could swim across, and then we got out to the middle and I told you I was gonna bite your nose off."