Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Building Bridges: A World Religions Program for 8th-9th Grades

Alternate Activity 2: Story - The Banyan Deer

Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Read the story so you will be comfortable presenting it.

Description of Activity

Youth hear a Buddhist story about compassion.

Tell or read the story.

Then, ask participants what quality the story exemplifies. Say it is the quality of compassion.

Tell the group "The Banyan Deer" is one of the Jataka tales, which comprise more than 500 short stories. Similar to the parables of Jesus, these stories are said to have been told by the Buddha to illustrate great truths to his listeners. Unlike the parables of Jesus, however, most of the Jataka tales have as protagonist an animal (or, less often, a human) that is a previous incarnation of the Buddha himself.

Invite the youth to briefly share stories of a time in their own life when they witnessed or showed compassion.