Thursday, March 8, 2012
6th grade - Wishin' on a Daruma
Never heard of a Daruma? Check it out; it's a great story!
This photo is of an authentic Daruma.
The Daruma is a Japanese toy, based on the legend of Bodidharma, the founder of Zen Buddhism. According to legend, he sat meditating in a cave for 9 years without moving. At the end of that time, his arms and legs had atrophied and he lost all use of them, so he rolled from India to Japan to spread his teachings. Another legend says that he dozed off during those 9 years and got angry that his eyes closed. So he cut off his eyelids and threw them in the dirt, where they grew into tea plants (tea of course helping to keep people awake).
The Daruma toy represents Bodidarma. It has a rounded body and weighted bottom, so that no matter what, it always returns to a standing position, symbolizing Bodidharma's positive attitude and self-discipline. The toy is purchased with blank eyes. The owner paints in the eye upon making a wish or beginning a project. When the wish comes true or the project is complete, the other pupil is painted. Politicians use Darumas for good luck in elections, painting one eye when they begin pursuing a political office, and painting the other one when they have won the election.
My 6th graders built their Daruma dolls using plastic Easter eggs from the $1 store. They used plasticine clay in the bottom to weight them, and some students also chose to add plaster of Paris to the bottom for additional weight. They were then covered with one layer of papier-mache using white newsprint paper, and then painted with traditional coloring but using their own designing. Because they are small, they were given the option to either paint the face or draw it on with a black Sharpie marker. The Darumas pictured below were just completed, and all have been wished upon, as you can see by the single black pupil on each one. I hope they are able to grant the wishes of my wonderful 6th graders!