Open Youngsters' Eyes

Yutang Lin

Passing fire to light up incenses as offerings,
Lacking proper conditions makes it difficult.
Soil, water, sun and air grow plants together,
Being mutually dependent in life of oneness.


How to explain the view of mutually dependent origination to children?

I teach my son Andrew how to pass fire to light up incense sticks. If the wooden stick for passing the fire is held horizontally, then it will go off easily. One need to hold it slanting downwards so that the fire can burn gradually upwards along the stick. Then it will last for a while, enough to serve our purposes. A bunch of incense sticks held tightly together will be difficult to light up completely. One need to spread the incense sticks so that each stick has a little space around it, then there will be enough air for all sticks to catch fire readily. I use these examples to explain that the lacking of proper conditions will make things difficult or impossible. I use the fact that cultivation of plants requires the coordination of soil, water, sun, air and seed or root to explain the view that there is no independent existence, and that, instead, all are mutually dependent for coexistence in oneness.

In this way, using matters in children's daily life to illustrate the abstract views, one can help them to comprehend sooner the reasons why one should not act in self-centered ways without regard for others or for all as a whole.

Written in Chinese on May 24, 2002
Translated on May 25, 2002
El Cerrito, California

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