Buddha Lesson for Kids: Story & Teachings

Instructor: Jennifer Lowery

Jennifer has taught elementary levels K-3 and has master's degrees in elementary education and curriculum/instruction and educational leadership.

Siddhartha the Buddha was a prince who decided to explore and change the unhappiness in his life. In this lesson, learn about the story of Buddha, and find out about his teachings and how Buddhist ideas are practiced today.

Unhappy Prince

If you could live in a palace and have anything you wanted, would you be happy? Your answer is probably a big yes! However, there was a prince named Siddhartha Gautama who lived in India thousands of years ago, and he felt differently. He was unhappy, even though he had riches and was born into a powerful family. He decided to leave his comfortable home and find out what life was like beyond the palace walls.

Life-Changing Travels

Siddhartha Gautama took four trips outside the palace, and was sad with what he saw. He noticed that people suffered as they got older, and that people eventually died. On his fourth trip, he met a man who was a monk. A monk is a man who lives simply and dedicates his life to a particular religion or system of beliefs. This monk had no riches, and this made Siddhartha Gautama curious.

Siddhartha Gautama traveled outside his comfortable palace to find out how life could be different.

He decided to become a monk himself and give up his riches. He spent a lot of time meditating, which meant he would sit silently and think deeply. During this meditation time, he came up with specific ideas on how to end suffering. When he shared these ideas with others, they agreed with Siddhartha Gautama and decided to follow him. He became the Buddha, which means 'awakened one'.

Four Noble Truths

So what were Buddha's ideas? First, he understood that there were Four Noble Truths:

  1. Everyone suffers, from the poorest person to the richest king.
  2. People cause their own suffering. This is because people do not seek knowledge, but are greedy and want material things.
  3. Suffering can end by eliminating greed and ending ignorance.
  4. A person should decide to follow a specific path, which will end suffering.

These Buddhist children live simply in order to avoid greed and suffering.

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