Katie Clifton-Wright was looking for a spiritual center for her family when she began meditating at Roanoke’s Dharmapala Buddhist Center last summer.
The Roanoke mother enjoyed the peace that the practice gave her and wanted to share it with her two children, Harrison, 5, and Tallulah, 18 months. But there were no local programs for kids.
Buddhist children’s programs aren’t as easy to find as Sunday school for Christian children, Koranic school for Muslim kids or Hebrew school for Jewish children.
So Clifton-Wright, a teacher at Community School, decided to start one herself.
Last September, she began Dharma for Kids, a program that takes place on the third Saturday of each month at the Dharmapala Buddhist Center.
“Buddhism is really fun for children,” she said. “There’s so much love and joy and giving in Buddhism, and that’s what children are about.”
The type of Buddhism practiced at the Dharmapala Buddhist Center — the New Kadampa Tradition — has several programs for children worldwide.
The center’s educational program coordinator, Sherri Spain, said the Kadampa tradition is well suited for children because it’s accessible and geared to the West, and it focuses on simple instructions such as how to be kind or patient.
“I think this is pretty unique to our tradition,” Spain said about Kadampa’s number of children’s programs.
During each session, Clifton-Wright includes a brief meditation, teaching, story and art activity.
Clifton-Wright began a recent session by leading five children through a meditation about seeing and appreciating the things you have.
Then she read “Peach and Blue,” a children’s book about an adventurous peach who teaches a big blue-bellied toad how to appreciate the beauty of his home.
She likened the tale to how Buddha teaches people to see the joy and beautiful things around them.
Then she pulled out some bright foam glasses and glitter and asked the kids to make “Buddha glasses” to help them see the world through his eyes.
Parents send their children to Clifton-Wright’s program for a variety of reasons.
Some practice Buddhism and want their children to as well. Others are looking for other options for spiritual training besides formal religion and want their children to explore life’s big, universal questions.
Others send their children because of meditation’s power to relax and calm them.
Tracie Berra described meditation’s wonderful calming effect on kids and said she’ll ask her son Brian, 7, to breathe in and out when he has a temper tantrum.
Another mother, Traci Bitrick, said the program was good to introduce Buddhist concepts to children and said meditation helped calm her hyperactive son Eli, 10.
“When kids get quiet, they can realize that all the strength they need is inside them,” Clifton-Wright said.
She also believes that Buddhism has made her a better, stronger mother, especially after she separated from her husband seven months ago.
“I just think it saved my sanity and grounded me,” Clifton-Wright said. “Thank goodness for Buddha.”
Press Information Bureau
(C.M. Information Campus)
Information & Public Relations Department, U.P.
C.M. reviews conclusions of Principal Secretaries/Secretaries meeting
Lucknow: 09 September 2010
The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Ms. Mayawati has directed the officers
to ensure all necessary arrangements for record kharif production this year.
She said that seeds which needed less water should be made available under
alternative arrangement in those districts, where sowing had become affected
due to less rains. Similarly, where the crops had been damaged owing to
floods, arrangement of seeds for late crops should be made available to
farmers, after the flood water recedes, she added.
The Chief Minister gave these directives, when Cabinet Secretary Mr.
Shashank Shekhar Singh, Chief Secretary Mr. Atul Kumar Gupta and
Additional Cabinet Secretary Mr. Netram apprised the Chief Minister of the
conclusions of Principal Secretaries/ Secretaries review meeting held at Yojana
Reviewing the works of agriculture department, Ms. Mayawati said that
availability of fertilizers should be maintained during kharif season at all costs.
Referring to the smuggling of fertilizers at Nepal Border, she directed the
officers to prevent it strictly and ensure that fertilizers should not remain
available more than the demand in the bordering districts of Nepal. She said
there was a large difference between soil testing and soil health card data,
which made it clear that farmers were not getting soil testing reports timely.
She directed that soil health card should be made available to farmers after a
certain period of time after soil testing. She said though 50 per cent more
crop loans had been distributed to farmers this year in comparison to last
year, but much improvement was needed. She said that Kisan Credit Cards
should be distributed to farmers according to target fixed by organising
Reviewing the State Government
’s Scheme to double the income of
farmers, the Chief Minister directed the officers to estimate that how much
the income of farmers had been increased. Necessary parameters should be
fixed for it. She directed the Principal Secretary for agriculture to visit the
villages twice in a week to monitor the progress and the implementation of
the schemes being run for farmers. Directing the officers to get the amount of
money from the Central Government according to the recommendations of
Vaidyanathan Committee to strengthen co-operative societies, she said that
facilities of necessary agriculture inputs should be made available to farmers
through these co-operative societies. She also directed that effective
arrangement should be made for paddy purchase and all necessary
arrangements should be completed timely. She said that farmers should get
remunerative prices for their produce. The harassment of farmers would not
be tolerated during paddy purchase, she warned.
The Chief Minister said that a new rehabilitation policy had been
announced by the State Government for farmers regarding land acquisition
cases. She said that farmers should get proper benefit under this policy. She
also directed that all details should be collected about the farmers being
affected by land acquisition.
Reviewing the situation of flood affected areas, the Chief Minister
directed the officers to estimate the loss due to the floods on priority basis.
Distribution of financial assistance should be made soon as per rules. Besides,
repair of damaged roads and basic facilities should be made in flood affected
areas. She directed the medical and animal husbandry departments to take
immediate action for prevention of any disease in flood affected areas. She
said that Additional Director Health would be held directly responsible for
spreading of disease in flood affected areas.
Reviewing the functioning of hospitals, the Chief Minister said that there
was a lot of scope in its improvement. Directing the officers to improve the
conditions of operations being carried out in the hospitals, she said that there
was shortage of nurses in the government hospitals, so the vacancies should
be filled at the earliest. Asking the officers to exploit all the health facilities
available in the hospitals to the maximum, she said that the people should be
provided good health facilities.
Assessing the progress of U.P. Mukhya Mantri Mahamaya Garib Arthik
Madad Yojana, Ms. Mayawati said that the time table formulated for this
ambitious scheme should be strictly adhered to. She warned that any
discrepancy in the selection of beneficiaries would not be tolerated. She said
that on the spot review of this scheme should be conducted through
government-level officers from time to time.
Discussing the shortage of teachers in Basic and Secondary schools, the
C.M. directed that the vacancies should be filled at the earliest. Considering
the problems of the students living in the flood affected areas, she directed
the Secondary Education Department to give enough time to the board
students for registration. She directed the officers to improve the quality of
basic education. Reviewing the progress of Mid-Day-Meal Scheme, she said
that its quality should not be compromised. She said that the paucity of edible
articles should not occur under this scheme in any part of the state. She
directed the officers to review the stock in timely manner at all costs.
Reviewing the progress of the Rural Development Department and
MNREGA, Ms. Mayawati said that the beneficiaries of the schemes should get
all the benefits in qualitative manner. She warned that any corruption in the
implementation of schemes related with the poor people would not be
tolerated. She said that solar street lights should be installed in Ambedkar
Gram Sabhas. Asking the officers to ensure de-silting of the canals, she said
that the Irrigation Department should prepare a detailed work plan for it and
inform the Government about it. She said that the senior officers of the
government should carry out surprise inspections of the de-silting work.
Regarding plantation, she said that this work should be done with full
seriousness. She said that for Bundelkhand a plantation scheme for planting
about 21 lakh saplings at an area of 7,000 hectares had been prepared. A
similar scheme should be prepared for Vindhya region as well, she said. She
directed the officers to fill all the vacancies created in the new districts.
The C.M. directed the officers that action taken, on the pending matters
referred to by her, should be sent to her immediately. She said that any laxity
in it would not be tolerated. She directed the senior officers of the
Government that while carrying out surprise inspections to check out on-thespot
progress of various schemes, they should not confine themselves to the
district and tehsil HQ only; instead they should also visit the interior rural
areas for inspection and meet the beneficiaries of various schemes to take
their firsthand feedback.