Green class, fall session

In the fall, Green class will use Further Tales from the Jatakas, a comic book published by Amir Chitra Katha (Mumbai, India).

Table of contents

Sep 13, 20 — Getting to know you games
Sep 20, 20 — The Magic Chant
Sep 27, 20 — The Election
Oct 4, 20 — The Earth Broke and The Lost Gram
Oct 18, 20 — The Giant and the Dwarf, pt. 1
Oct 25, 20 — The Giant and the Dwarf, pt. 2
Nov 1, 20 — The Priceless Gem, pt. 1
Nov 15, 20 — The Priceless Gem, pt. 2

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Sep 13, 20 — Getting to know you games

Opening:

Light chalice, stuff.

Story and discussion:

Which story. Discussion questions.

Enriching activity:

Describe the activity.

Closing:

Check out, unison benediction.

———

Sep 20, 20 — The Magic Chant

Opening:

Light chalice, stuff.

Story and discussion:

Which story. Discussion questions.

Enriching activity:

Describe the activity.

Closing:

Check out, unison benediction.

———

Sep 27, 20 — The Election

Opening:

Light chalice, stuff.

Story and discussion:

Which story. Discussion questions.

Enriching activity:

Describe the activity.

Closing:

Check out, unison benediction.

———

Oct 4, 20 — The Earth Broke, and The Lost Gram

Opening:

Light chalice, stuff.

Story and discussion:

Two shorter Jataka tales this week, both from “Further Tales of the Jatakas” comic book, first section. The first one is “The Day the Earth Broke in Two,” pages 17-22. The second one is “The Lost Gram,” pages 29-31. These two stories are both short, and if you have time for a third story, use “The Sadhu and the Ram,” pages 15-16.

Not everyone in North America may know what a “gram” is — a gram is a seed of one of the legumes, most often a chickpea. So when reading this story, the children can think of it as “The Lost Pea.”

Enriching activity:

Describe the activity.

Closing:

Check out, unison benediction.

———

Oct 18, 20 — The Giant and the Dwarf, pt. 1

Opening:

Light chalice, stuff.

Story and discussion:

This story is in the “Further Tales from the Jatakas” comic book, the first section, pages 1-11.

Discussion questions.

Text version of the story: The Giant and the Dwarf, part one

Once on a time when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, the Bodhisatta was born a brahmin in a market-town in the North country, and when he was grown up he studied under a teacher of world-wide fame at Takkasila. There he learnt the Three Vedas and the Eighteen Branches of knowledge, and completed his education. And he became known as the Sage Little Bowman.

Leaving Takkasila, he came to the Andhra country in search of practical experience. Now, it happened that in this Birth the Bodhisatta was very short and had a comical appearance, and he thought to himself, ” If I go before any king, he’s sure to ask what a tiny little person like me is good for. But why couldn’t I use a tall broad fellow to go before me for the sake of appearance, and earn my living in the shadow of his more imposing body?”

So the Sage Little Bowman took himself to the weavers’ quarter, and there spying a huge weaver, saluted him, asking the man’s name.

“Bhimasena is my name,” said the weaver.

“And what makes a fine big man like you work at so poor a trade?” asked the Bowman, for weavers did not earn much money in those days.

“Because I can’t get a living any other way,” said Bhimasena.

“Weave no more, friend,” said the Sage Little Bowman. “I am the best with a bow and arrows of anyone in the whole continent. But kings would scorn me because I am so small. And so you, friend, will be the one who talks about how good an archer he is, and the king will take you into his pay. I shall be behind you to perform the duties the king asks of you, and so I shall earn my living in your shadow. In this manner we shall both of us thrive and prosper. Only you must do as I tell you.”

“Done,” said Bhimasena, agreeing with him.

Accordingly, the Bodhisatta took the weaver with him to Benares, pretending he was the little servant of the other, and putting the other in the front. They arrived at the gates of the palace, and the Sage Little Bowman told his big friend to send word to the king. When the king summoned them into the royal presence, they entered together and bowing stood before the king.

“What brings you here?” said the king.

“I am a mighty archer,” said Bhimasena; “there is no archer like me in the whole continent.”

“What pay would you want to enter my service?” asked the king.

“Two thousand pieces of gold a month, sire,” said Bhimasena.

“What is this man of yours ?” asked the king.

“He’s my little page, sire.”

“Very well, enter my service,” said the king.

So Bhimasena entered the king’s service; but it was the Bodhisatta who did all his work for him.

Now in those days there was a tiger in a forest in Kasi which blocked a frequented high-road and had devoured many victims. When this was reported to the king, he sent for Bhimasena and asked whether he could catch the tiger.

“How could I call myself an archer, sire, if I couldn’t catch a tiger?” said Bhimasena.

The king gave him gold, and sent him on the errand.

And home to the Sage Little Bowman came Bhimasena with the news.

“All right,” said the Bodhisatta, “away you go, my friend.”

“But are you not coming too?” said Bhimasena, in a worried tone.

“No, I won’t go; but I’ll tell you a little plan. Don’t go and approach the tiger’s den alone. What you will do is to muster a strong band of country-folk to march to the spot, with a thousand or two thousand of them carrying bows. Then when you know that the tiger is aroused, you run into the bushes and lie down flat on your face. The country-folk will beat the tiger to death; and as soon as he is quite dead, you bite off a vine with your teeth, and draw near to the dead tiger, trailing the creeper in your hand. At the sight of the dead body of the brute, you will cry out: ‘Who has killed the tiger? I meant to tie it with a vine, and lead it like a tame animal to the king, and I had just stepped into the thicket to get a vine. Who killed the tiger before I could get back with my creeper?’ Then the country-folk will be very frightened, and bribe you heavily not to report them to the king. You will be credited with slaying the tiger, and the king too will give you lots of money.”

“Very good,” said Bhimasena; and off he went and slew the tiger just as the Bodhisatta had told him. Having thus made the road safe for travellers, back he came with a large following to Benares, and said to the king, “I have killed the tiger, sire; the forest is safe for travellers now.” Well-pleased, the king loaded him with gifts.

Another day, tidings came that a certain road was infested with a buffalo, and the king sent Bhimasena to kill it. Following the Sage Little Bowman’s directions, he killed the buffalo in the same way as the tiger, and returned to the king, who once more gave him lots of money. He was a great lord now. Drunk with his new honours, he treated the Sage Little Bowman with contempt, and scorned to follow his advice, saying, “I can get on without you. Do you think there’s no man but yourself?”

To be continued….

Adapted from Jataka Tales, ed. H. T. Francis (Cambridge, England: University Press, 1916).

Enriching activity:

Describe the activity.

Closing:

Check out, unison benediction.

———

Oct 25, 20 — The Giant and the Dwarf, pt. 2

Opening:

Light chalice, stuff.

Story and discussion:

This story is in the “Further Tales from the Jatakas” comic book, the first section, pages 12-30.

Discussion questions:

Text version of the story: The Giant and the Dwarf, part two

As you may recall, the Sage Little Bowman is the greatest archer in all the continent. He’s also a previous incarnation of the Buddha. But he’s so small, people laugh at him. So he got big tall Bhimasena to pretend to be a great archer, and they got a job working for a king. Everything went fine for a while, but then Bhimasena decided he could do everything on his own, without the Sage Little Bowman….

Now, a few days later, a hostile king marched upon Benares and beleaguered it, sending a message to the king summoning him either to surrender his kingdom or to do battle. And the king of Benares ordered Bhimasena out to fight him. So Bhimasena was armed in soldierly fashion and mounted on a war-elephant in complete armor. And the Bodhisatta, who was seriously alarmed that Bhimasena might get killed, also armed himself, and seated himself modestly behind Bhimasena.

Surrounded by a an armed regiment, the elephant passed out of the gates of the city and arrived in the forefront of the battle. At the first notes of the war drum Bhimasena fell a-trembling with fear.

“If you fall off now, you’ll get killed,” said Bodhisatta, and accordingly tied him onto the elephant. But the sight of the field of battle proved too much for Bhimasena, and the fear of death was so strong on him that he wet himself.

“Ah,” said the Bodhisatta, “it used to be that you thought you were a great wrrior, and you said you didn’t need me any more. But now all you can do is to foul the back of the elephant you ride on.” And so saying, he uttered this stanza:

You vaunted your prowess, and loud was your boast;
You swore you would vanquish the foe!
But is it consistent, when faced with their host,
To vent your emotion, sir, so?

When the Bodhisatta had finished teasing Bhimasena, he said, “But don’t you be afraid, my friend. Am not I here to protect you?” Then he made Bhimasena get off the elephant and bade him wash himself and go home.

“And now to win renown this day,” said the Bodhisatta, raising his battle-cry as he dashed into the fight. Breaking through the king’s camp, he dragged the king out and took him alive to Benares. In great joy at his prowess, his royal master loaded him with honors, and from that day forward all India was loud with the fame of the Sage Little Bowman.

To Bhimasena he gave some gold, and sent him back to his own home. And as for the Sage Little Bowman himself, he became known far and wide for his charity and his good works, and because of his good works during this lifetime, at his death he passed away to be reborn to a higher position in his next life.

Adapted from Jataka Tales, ed. H. T. Francis (Cambridge, England: University Press, 1916).

Enriching activity:

Describe the activity.

Closing:

Check out, unison benediction.

———

Nov 1, 20 — The Priceless Gem, pt. 1

Opening:

Light chalice, stuff.

Story and discussion:

Which story. Discussion questions.

Enriching activity:

Describe the activity.

Closing:

Check out, unison benediction.

———

Nov 15, 20 — The Priceless Gem, pt.2

Opening:

Light chalice, stuff.

Story and discussion:

Read the story aloud.

Discussion questions.

Enriching activity:

Describe the activity.

Closing:

Check out, unison benediction.