Parent-child relationship according to Buddhism


Children are the most precious resource of lay people. When asked what is the treasure of people, Lord Buddha said that the greatest treasure of people is children (Putthathathumanussanang). Every mother and father work hard for their children. Lord Buddha declared the service of parents thus. "Brothers, parents are very helpful, guiding, nurturing and introducing this world to children.

In the Anguttara Sect, Subrahma Sutra, there are three words that express the responsibility of parents: Apadaka, Posaka, Imasalokassa Dassetaro. By paying attention to this, it is possible to explain how much service parents do for their children. Apadaka means developing the child's physical and mental capacity. The commentators interpret this word and state that it means apadaka to guide the children in the right way.

(Apadakathianupalaka) The basic knowledge necessary for the child's survival is provided here. In infancy, the child is unaware of the danger around him. His parents support him there. Posaka means providing proper physical and mental nourishment to the child. There are four types of food that help the physical and mental survival of the animal. Kabalingkara food, Phassahara, Manosanchetana food,Consciousness food are those four.

Crude food is the solid food material needed to nourish the body. The Maha Tanha Sankhaya Sutra of the Majjima Sect shows the sequence of development of a child from the conception of a child to a human being through parental contact. After the pregnancy progresses properly, the mother gives birth to the child in a healthy manner and then feeds the child with her own blood. (Lohitha means mother's milk) From mother's milk to solid food, all the food required for physical nutrition is called Kabalingkara food.

This solid feeding leads to physical and sensory growth (maturing in a suitable way). The rest of the three meals are a bit more in-depth commentary. Touching the experiences gained through the senses such as eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind is known as phassa food, providing food to the mind based on the various experiences received through the senses is known as manosanchetanahara, and the knowledge gained about goals is known as Consciousness food. Simply put, these three things are related to the mind and affect its development.

All these four types of food help the physical as well as mental growth of the animal. According to Buddhism, nurturing means providing nourishment for physical as well as mental growth. Both these aspects must be balanced. (Imassalokassa Dassetaro) Parents are known as those who show the world to their children. Except for a human child, no other animal is helpless at birth. While other animals are able to stand up from birth, it takes time for a human child to do so.This helpless child has been nurtured by his parents for a long time. The necessary guidance to get everything he needs to acquire in this world comes from his parents.

Therefore, parents are considered to be the ones who show the child in this world. Preparing children's wealth, which is the absolute wealth of lay life, should be done with great understanding. Good children are born to good parents. Only a virtuous woman can be happy as a person with children. It is clear from these teachings of the Lord Buddha that if young men and women who are looking for marriage turn to religion and regularly engage in meritorious acts of charity, they have the ability to get lucky children.

It is the duty of a husband to provide proper nourishment to a wife who is expecting a child. It is a very old Buddhist custom for pregnant women to practise virtue and benevolence. Prince Bodhiraja's mother went to Lord Buddha when she was pregnant and worshipped him twice and stayed in Tisarana both times. The second obeisance and the second auspiciousness are for the prince Bodhiraja who was in her womb.The ancient Buddhists followed this ritual called 'Gabpelahara'. There, pregnant women engaged in daily religious rituals and read religious story books like the Jataka Book. This provided her with the physical and mental relief she needed. 

Mother's responsibility

The mother has a special responsibility in obtaining child resources. The closest person to the child is the mother. In the story of Sonanda Jataka, which appears in the book Jatakakata, there are four words that show the mother's responsibility. She is known as the mother who loves the child first. A woman's first love occurs when she conceives and gives birth. The mother gives a healthy birth to the child conceived in the mother's womb, so she is called 'Janetthi'.

Mother comforts the child by giving breast milk to the crying child and singing melodious songs, and the mother comforts the child by hugging the child and providing body warmth, so the mother is called Thosenti, or happy person, and because she gives proper physical and mental nourishment to the child, the mother is also called Posenthi. These words in the Jataka story show how deep the bond between the mother and the child is. Every Buddhist teaching on raising children points out that it is the parents' duty to give birth to children full of virtue and wisdom.

It is a great merit to give birth to a good child who is good for the society. The role of parents in the socialisation of the child is given under five points in Sigalovada Sutra. Preventing children from bad deeds, engaging them in good deeds, imparting arts and crafts, fulfilling suitable marriage arrangements, handing over the inheritance of parents when appropriate, etc.

The first two of these five points represent the moral education of the child. Parents must guide their children. Children who are well-groomed from childhood are a great blessing to society. As Buddhists, it is essential to introduce our children to religion from an early age. The next responsibility of parents who raise a moral child is to provide a useful education for a livelihood. Marriage is an important milestone in lay life.

Therefore, it is the responsibility of the parents to arrange a suitable marriage for their children when they reach the appropriate age. Parents' blessing and guidance are considered mandatory in marriage in the society that accepts Buddhist culture. In Sigalovada Sutra, the word 'pathirupa' (suitable) emphasises a suitable marriage. Accordingly, parents as well as young women should understand that there are inappropriate and incompatible marriages. The final point suggests that endowments should be handed over at the appropriate time.

Parents should take care of the child's morals, education, marriage and economic security. Children also have many duties towards their parents. However, one hears of parents being neglected by their children. The Sigalovada Sutra mentions five duties that children should perform for their parents.Nurturing the parents they nurtured after they grow old, looking after all the needs of the parents and fulfilling them well. Maintaining good customs and traditions maintained by parents. Protecting the wealth entrusted to them by their parents without destroying them. After the death of the parents, they are given dakshina and punyanumodana etc.

Lord Buddha preached that even if these five duties are performed well by the children, the sacrifice made by the parents for the children cannot be rewarded. Lord Buddha said that even if a child keeps his parents close to him for a hundred years and nurtures him, he cannot repay the service done to him by his parents.

If a child is well nourished by his parents, it is the reason for his development. A parent's ability to nurture but not to do so is a cause of degeneration. A child who is not cared for by his parents is shown as a vagrant. Lord Buddha preached to the Lichchavi princes that the blessing of the parents leads to the development of the children.

The most important concern for the two parents who helped a child to see the light of day and build his life is to contribute to spiritual development in them. Lord Buddha preached that if parents try to develop the five principles of faith, virtue, sutta, chaga and panna, it is the utmost respect and concern for parents. These virtues are those that make the person sotapanna.If you can help the parents who have suffered endless sufferings like jati, jara, death etc. in the Anavaragra samsara, they can be freed from the sufferings of the world and bring them to the sotapanna state in the present life, it is the ultimate sacrifice and respect for the parents. Therefore, guide the mother and father who have made immense sacrifices for you to the noble path and help them to free them from the suffering of the world.



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