Picturing Buddhism

Karen Derris

in Little Buddhas

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199860265
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979929 | DOI:

Series: AAR Religion, Culture, and History

Picturing Buddhism

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Storytelling has served as a primary resource for cultivating children’s religious and ethical worldviews in Buddhist cultures across Asia. Children growing up in Buddhist societies hear stories about the Buddha, (in)famous monks and nuns, and Buddhist legends from their parents and grandparents. This chapter explores how Buddhist worldviews may be cultivated in children growing up in Western cultural contexts where parents or grandparents may not have knowledge of or investment in narrative resources for children’s religious and ethical formation. A considerable number of children’s Buddhist storybooks have been published in English. By considering the Buddhist teachings, practices, and values expressed in these stories, we can begin to describe what a Buddhist worldview of children raised as Buddhists in the West might be. This analysis suggests the role a newly emerging corpus of Buddhist children’s literature might play in the generational development of Western Buddhism.

Keywords: eastern children’s literature; Jon Muth; Thich Nhat Hanh; Jātaka; picture books; animals; conversion; converts

Chapter.  10240 words. 

Subjects: Buddhism

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