THE MONKEY KING AND OTHER TALES. Two videos and teacher's handbook. Pounds 49.95. Clear Vision Trust 16-20 Turner Street Manchester M4 1DZ Tel: 0161 839 9579.
The Clear Vision Trust, an educational charity run by the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order, is to be congratulated on this well conceived and well executed project for key stage 1. The pack draws on the rich narrative tradition within Buddhism to provide an accessible introduction to its outlook and values.
Six stories are used - The Monkey King, Angulimala, The Lion and the Jackal, Siddhartha and the Swan, Kisagotami and the Mustard Seeds, and The King's Elephant.
The videos include short, clear commentaries to help pinpoint the moral of each story and its relation to contemporary life, while the stories use coloured stills with excellent narration. The handbook provides activity sheets, ideas for discussion and drama, and a short printed version of each story for use in assemblies.
Buddhism is sometimes presented as a remote, cerebral faith. The Monkey King uses story to illustrate Buddhist values in action over a range of everyday experiences. This is a superb resource for introducing Buddhism. Teachers will applaud its expertise and professionalism.
Chris Arthur is senior lecturer in religious studies at the University of Wales, Lampeter