Buddhism from a Nine Year Old

Last night, on the way home from the pool, I answered my nine year old’s “Mom, guess what” expecting to hear about the latest level he’d conquered on Skylanders or the hilarious Garfield comic strip he’d just read. Instead, I got this:

“Mom, guess what.”


“Buddhists believe that you have lots of lives, and you start out bad in your first one and get better each time until you are perfect in your last life.”

“I didn’t know that. How many lives do they get?” I asked.

“Probably 50.”

“100 probably,” argued the four year old from his booster in the backseat, likely aware he needs quite a few more before he turns good.

“Does everyone get the same number of lives?” I asked.

The nine year old thought about it. “I just know they have lots.”

“I don’t believe it,” said the eight year old contrarian. “You get one chance. If you’re a bad guy, you’re a bad guy.”

The nine year old defended himself, “I don’t know if they’re right or wrong. I’m just saying…what they believe.”

“Then what life would you be on?” asked the eight year old.

“I don’t know.”

“Four,” shouted the four year old.

That made the nine year old think again, “Probably fifteen then.”


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