Arts of Asia in Reach
Bodhidharma/Daruma Doll Lesson Plan
1. Lesson Overview

A Lesson for Students Ages 4-8, Grades K-2
Designed by Loren Fawcett, Education Assistant, Allen Memorial Art Museum


A Daruma is a spherical doll with a red painted body and a white face without pupils. Daruma dolls represent Bodhidharma, a Zen monk who meditated for almost 9 years while sitting in the zazen meditation posture that his legs were of no use anymore.

Most Daruma dolls are now manufactured by hand in Takasaki (Gunma prefecture). Throughout the year, but traditionally on New Year's Day, one makes a wish or sets a goal and paints one black pupil onto the Daruma doll. When the goal is reached or the wish comes true one then paints on the second pupil and dispose the doll on the following New Year's Day.

  1. Students will learn about the historical Bodhidharma.
  2. Students will learn how Buddhism came to China from India, and later to Japan.
  3. Students will learn about the Japanese New Year's tradition of wish making and goal setting as it relates to the Daruma doll.
  4. Students will learn the legends of Daruma and his dedication to meditation, his achieving enlightenment, and the relationship Daruma has to green tea.
  5. Students will reproduce their own Daruma doll, set a goal, and work towards achieving their goal.

Academic Content Standards

  1. Visual Arts
    • NA-VA.K-4.1 Standard #1: Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes
    • NA-VA.K-4.3 Standard #3: Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas
    • NA-VA.K-4.4 Standard #4: Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures

  2. Social Studies
    • NSS-USH.K-4.4 The History of Peoples of Many Cultures Around the World: Understand selected attributes and historical developments of societies in Asia

  3. Language Arts
    • NL-ENG.K-12.9 Multicultural Understanding: Students develop an understanding of and respect for diversity in language use, patterns, and dialects across cultures, ethnic groups, geographic regions, and social roles.

Ohio State Standards
  1. Visual Arts
    • Benchmark 1A: Recognize and describe visual art forms and artworks from various times and places.
    • Benchmark 1B: Identify art forms, visual ideas, and images and describe how they are influenced by time and culture.
    • Benchmark 1C: Identify and describe the different purposes people have for creating works of art.
    • Benchmark 2A: Demonstrate knowledge of visual art materials, tools, techniques, and processes by using them expressively and skillfully.
    • Benchmark 3A: Identify and describe the visual features and characteristics in works of art.
    • Benchmark 4A: Apply basic reasoning skills to understand why works of art are made and valued.
    • Benchmark 5B: Use the visual arts as a means to understand concepts and topics studied outside the arts.
    • Benchmark 5D: Describe how visual art is used in their communities and the world around them and provide examples.


An Indian sage credited as the founder of Zen Buddhism.

The Japanese term for Bodhidharma; most commonly refers to the Daruma doll.

A blessed state in which the individual transcends desire and suffering and attains Nirvana

An unverified story handed down from earlier times, especially one popularly believed to be historical.

continuous and profound contemplation or musing on a subject or series of subjects of a deep or abstruse nature; "the habit of meditation is the basis for all real knowledge"

meditation posture where the legs are folded and tucked beneath the body.

Zen Buddhism
school of Mahayana Buddhism asserting that enlightenment can come through meditation and intuition rather than faith; China and Japan

Continue to: 2. Lesson Materials