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Others - Miscellaneous

Buddha Mind - get one, be one.

The items above were largely selected because a degree of explanation was required. The material below includes many projects I have used but which are less 'technical' and, hopefully, are relatively self-explanatory. You may also want to read the 'For Teachers' section for general ideas on developing Buddhist themes in relation to activities.

This page includes thoughts and information on making:

These are relatively easy to produce with a computer and a bit of clip art. Original designs are great if you give thought to how they will reproduce at a small size. It is surprising what you can do with a bit of imagination and a scanner. There are a wide range of self adhesive labels available and you may need to experiment with various programs to print.
A similar process to stickers can be used here although you will need to produce round images as most (all?) button making equipment uses round blanks. There are some very cheap kits available if you look around - the blanks can be a bit expensive but the result can be very personal and effective.
Almost anything can be used to jab a stick of incense into or to hold a cone. There are two approaches - make something to hold (sand, rice etc.) material in which the stick will stand - or, making something into which a hole can be drilled to support the stick. The picture is of a very simple and space saving design - and it catches the ash! You could extend the same idea by making a box - part of which stores the incense and the other (or the lid) holds it as it burns.

oil warmer
Not as difficult as you might think and if you light incense regularly it makes the offering that much more special.
Another 'scenting' option is using an oil warmer. Float the oil on water in a dish (lined with foil?) over a candle or some other (gentle) heat source - all made by your own fair hands of course. The link is to a 'how to' page with another link to some suggested scenting recipes.
As with holding incense, the possibilities around making holders or stands for candles are enormous with fire being the only limitation - allow that heat rises and candle flames are HOT.
All it requires is a bit of cloth, stuff to go on it, and some appreciation of what they are. There are many levels that this can be contemplated but I find the thought that what is on the flag (especially the intention that it is invested with) is carried by the wind to many places and people a simple and satisfying explanation. Prayer flags are an offering - of goodness, kindness, love, healing, compassion, well wishing, etc. - to the world. The use of traditional symbols can be helpful but they can be a very personal offering. The picture shows part of a group creation which was developed as part of the stupa consecration. Eventually the flags disintegrate - with all their blessing well distributed. Like the flowers on a shrine the example of impermanence is there, as well as the thought that beauty and goodness last well beyond the objects that evoked them.
This requires special equipment but once made its use can be a ritual/ceremony and the results can form a wonderful part of other rituals.
Design a mantra, symbol, prayer, etc. to fit on a strip of paper - say 1 to 2cm wide x 30cm long (smaller is easier). Have this made as a rubber strip (a stamp maker will do this). Fit this to a disk - with shaft, handle, stand, roller - to end up with something like the picture. Ink the roller - turn the handle - feed in long paper strips (I cut slices off an adding machine roll with a bandsaw). Unless your roller is better made than this you will need at least two people - a turner and a feeder. Hang the strips where you will or have group 'roll ups' where hundreds, if not thousands of them can be neatly rolled and interred as part of something - a stupa consecration, a Buddha image installation, temple/house foundations. Chant the mantra or prayer as you roll them.
If you are having stamps made for prayer strips you could have a few made with various symbols for mandala, etc. stamping or making impressions into clay, plaster or the like.
These can either be premade by adults or children or made as part of a group activity. For the latter, starting with some simple, traditional symbols might be easiest. You can copy the set of 10 from the stereograms page [right mouse click - Save picture as...]. A bit of care can produce some superb stencils. Considering the repetition and symmetry of a mandala you could use stencils effectively here. Or on your prayer flags, or ... on just about anything. Spraying probably gives best results but they can be hand painted or outlined and then filled in with any number of materials
Using Linoleum, cork, potatoes, styrofoam (the more dense variety), clay, ?. This process can be as simple or complex as you wish. Again, simple symbols can be very effective and the results can be used in conjunction with other projects - mandalas, stupas, flags, etc.
These can be the normal rubber variety. [I never found the time to try it but here is a page on making rubber balloons]. Fill them with 'lighter-than-air' gas (e.g. helium) and attach messages of love and goodwill with much the same idea as with prayer flags. I recall a young boys funeral where the ashes were sent aloft along with written expressions from his friends attached. Very poignant. A hot air balloon is not so difficult to make - although not as easy to have it gracefully take flight. [See: RESOURCES - READ] for ideas on making balloons. A message(s) in a bottle could be a similar activity. The picture shows a relatively simple eight panel tissue paper balloon.
Almost as much fun as balloons, easier to make and more ecologically sound. Try tying messages on the string and the wind will carry them up and away.
These can be made with almost any material that will hold some shape. Collecting the material can be as much an activity as the making of the frames. And then there is the picture to go in the frame - stencil, print, mandala, Buddha, stupa... etc.

Drawings, photos, the real thing? can be incorporated in many craft activities. Paper origami lotuses floating on the water in front of the bodhi tree? The stylised form could be the primary structure of a mandala - their symmetry makes them generally very suitable. Stamps, stencils, mobiles, lanterns, a lotus balloon? etc. - they are beautiful in any form and their rich symbolism opens many opportunities for contemplation and discussion. Kaleidoscopes, spirographs and some PC software make lovely lotus variations.
The lotus symbolises spiritual growth and enlightenment - the religious path. Starting life as a seed, it grows in the muddy darkness at the bottom of a pond. The darkness is like our ignorance - we can't clearly see the truth about life. The seed grows toward the warmth and light of the sun just as humans naturally grow toward the warmth of love and compassion, and the light of truth. The mature flower floats freely on the surface, bathing in the full light of the sun.

The wheel is a symbol of the Buddha's teaching - referring directly to his first discourse; in Sarnath, India. [see: ART & CULTURE/SYMBOLS §] Anything round can be used to make a wheel. The process of making them can be an opportunity to discuss their meaning. They can easily be added to other projects. Like the lotus they are suitable as a mandala in themselves. Flags, 'windows', stencils, etc. The picture links to 'how to make one' with a gallery of various wheels you can download (right mouse click - Save Picture as...). See also the twelve linked 'Wheel of Life' and a similar configuration: the 'Six Realms of Existence.'
The Buddha was meditating under a Bo tree when he realised the Truth. On account of this both the tree, but more particularly the leaves, have become a Buddhist symbol. The leaf links to a separate page with craft ideas and general information. More detailed material can be found at: ART & CULTURE - SYMBOLS

There is no end to craft possibilities with many excellent books and web sites available to give you further ideas. When thinking of undertaking a craft project I find a semi-spontaneous mixture of contemplating a Buddhist theme or idea - considering craft mediums - seeing what materials where already available - asking other people (especially kids) usually leads to some good result. An over riding attitude of fun is a good balm for the sting of the over-serious overachievers. Some projects can get quite complicated and it is always important to remember why they were started and what the result was intended for. There is something odd about a group making love bracelets arguing about knots or colour combinations.
making a jig saw puzzle
emotions: discuss and draw pictures See ACTIVITIES - DRAMA for more detail.
key-word crossword puzzles (PC programs available or do them long hand)
prepare a spiritual time capsule - what will help those in the future?
puppets - see ACTIVITIES - DRAMA
using snow and ice
using styro foam - get a hot wire cutter?
body tracing - see: DRAMA - JUST FUN
glass etching - lead light work (real or stick on)
product packaging (a meditation kit - a box selling, promoting space (see skits)
problem page (Aunty Dukkha has been a favourite)
word search - making the keyword list is half the activity (PC programs available or do them long hand)
written reviews - having just read a book, quotation, poem, told a story to a group.
art reviews - of others or own projects
web pages
computer - art, games ( I have written 3 using MMF), puzzles, multiple choice questions....
Pali word - of the month, day...
poetry - haiku - word picture
penpals - especially easy with email - (chat rooms are an alternative)
dates & details of key Buddhist / Buddha events
did you know? . . . that ...
an interview - about someones meditation practice - craft project ...
design a logo - for the All Buddha football team? the Sacred Circle Sitters?
how many words can you make from the word MEDITATION