Buddha at Bedtime

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Subtitle: Tales of Love and Wisdom for You to Read with Your Child to Enchant, Enlighten and Inspire
Author: Dharmachari Nagaraja
Softcover ~ 144 pages

Many of today’s children face challenges and obstacles far beyond what their parents ever imagined. These 20 thoroughly modern retellings of ancient Buddhist tales give parents a fun, low-pressure way to impart wisdom and moral guidance without preaching. Each story highlights a moral or ethical dilemma that echoes those that children face in their own lives, providing insight and enlightenment that they can use to defuse trying situations. At the conclusion of each story, applicable Buddhist principles are discussed. Featuring engaging characters, enthralling adventures, and modern language that speaks to today’s kids, these beautifully illustrated stories can help children relieve stress, attain greater academic and social achievement, and enjoy a more positive outlook on life.

Buddha at Bedtime is simply lovely. Appropriate for children ages 4-10, this collection of bedtime stories is based on Buddhist Jataka Tales ~ a collection of folk tales originated in India, and used to relay ethical teachings to children. Many of these stories feature animals and magical creatures, and in Buddhist cultures are often performed through song and dance at festivals.

Buddha at Bedtime retells some of these stories in contemporary words and style, and includes luminous anime-style pictures at the start of each story. Each story begins with the phrase "Relax, be very still, and listen", and ends with a summary of the lesson, such as this one at the end of the first story, 'The Brave Little Parrot': "Sometimes we can feel helpless when faced with a great challenge. A wise person knows that love and compassion can give them the courage to achieve things that they thought were impossible."

Or this, from the end of 'Two Ducks and a Turtle': "All too often, we open our mouths in anger without thinking about what might happen next. A wise person thinks before they speak, and if they can't say something kind, they keep silent."

The book also includes a great and accessible introduction to Buddhism, including an overview of The Four Noble Truths, The Eightfold Path, and The Five Precepts. It offers suggestions for how to discuss the stories with your children, and guidelines for introducing some age-appropriate relaxation and meditation techniques. The book is meant to be read aloud to children ages 4-12.

About the Author:
 Dharmachari Nagaraja regularly presents BBC Radio 2's Pause for Thought with Terry Wogan, and has appeared on BBC 1's Heaven and Earth programme. A practising Buddhist for nearly 20 years, he formerly ran the Covent Garden Meditation Centre in London. He is currently involved with the Glasgow Buddhist Centre, where he works as a psychotherapist.