Part One: The Canon of Secular Life

Chapter Two: Education

2. The Way of Prenatal Education

Human education begins with prenatal education. In ancient times, it is said that Tairen, the mother of King Wen (1171-1122 B.C.), already began teaching her son while he was still in her womb. Since then, the term “prenatal education” has spread throughout the world. If prenatal education is carried out well while our numinous consciousness is still abiding in the fetus inside the womb, then congenitally superior numinous consciousnesses will have their temperaments enhanced, and even inferior ones will find their temperaments improved. If the pregnant mother takes poor care of her body and mind and does not carry out prenatal education well, then regardless of the superiority or inferiority of the fetus’s numinous consciousness, its temperament may decline. Therefore, the Founding Master said, “While the fetus is still inside the mother’s womb, because its numinous consciousness is not yet mature, the parents’ speech, thoughts, and actions can easily influence the fetus’s future disposition. Hence, it is crucially important that a pregnant mother remain careful during gestation.”
The dharma of prenatal education first entails a woman being careful with her body. She should not over-exert herself by lifting objects that are too heavy; she should refrain from climbing up or descending down steep and dangerous places; she should avoid places where cold, heat, dryness, and humidity are excessive; she should not consume unripe fruit or spoiled food, and should be cautious about allowing herself to become overly hungry or overly full, over-exerting herself, or overly indolent. Next, she should keep her mind pure: she should not allow her mind to become greedy, angry, or foolish; she should not show resentment, jealousy, or arrogance; she should let go of worries and defilements, and be careful to calm her mind when she is frightened or alarmed. She should attend dharma meetings often and listen well to the teachings of the Buddha and wise masters, and never let go of a suitable measure of mind practice. Next, she must behave correctly: in her actions, she must not commit killing, stealing, or sexual misconduct; in her speech, she must not utter absurdities, make insinuations, speak evil, or engage in doubletalk. She should always handle all matters in a fair and upright manner, respect everyone in the congregation, make donations as much as she is able, and wherever she goes observe well the local laws and public morality.