The monasteries were the centers of education during the Buddhist period. Besides monasteries, there were no other organization for imparting education. Only the Buddhist could receive religious and other types of education.
Other persons were deprived of this facility. There was no place for Yajna in the Buddhist system. Buddhist period in Indian education roughly starts from 600 B.C and last for about 1200 years till 600A.D. during Vedic period education was mostly individualistic effort whereas during Buddhist period institutional organization is one of the chief characteristics of education.
Buddhist education was based on the teaching of Gautam Buddha. These teachings were so important that they remained a source of inspiration for individual as well as social development in India. The influence of Buddhist teachings can not be undermined even during later period.
Aims of education
The chief aims of Buddhist education had been the following :-
(1)Development of education:- The chief aim of Buddhist education was all round development of child’s personality. This included his physical , mental, moral and intellectual development.
(2)Formation of character:- During this period, in the organization of education, special emphasis was laid on the formation of character of the students. Student life was hard and rigorous. They observed celibacy.
(3)Religious education:- In the Buddhist era, religion was given top priority and education was imparted through it. The chief aim of education was propagation of religion and inculcation of religious feelings and education served as a mean to achieve salvation or nirvana.
(4)Preparation for life:- In this system of education, there was a provision for imparting wordily and practical knowledge along with religious education so that when the students entered normal life they may be able to earn their livelihood.
Four noble truths
Buddha was primarily an ethical teacher and reformer, not a metaphysician. The message of his enlightenment points to man the way of life that leads beyond suffering. The four noble truths are:-
(1)There is suffering.
(2)There is cause of suffering (Dukhasamaudaya).
(3)There is cessation of suffering (Dukhanirodha).
(4)There is a way leading to the cessation of suffering (Dukhanirodh- marg).
Pabbaja was an accepted ceremony of the Buddhist monasteries. Pabbaja means going out . According to this ceremony the students after being admitted to a monastery had to renounce all his worldly and family relationship. An individual belonging to any caste could be admitted to a monastery and after being admitted he did not belong to any caste. For pabbaja ceremony the individual had to get his head fully shaved and put on yellow clothes. In this shape he was presented before the presiding Bhikshu. On presentation this individual would pray for admission to the monastery. On his prayer the head Bikshu would administer three basic advices:
(1)I take refuse with Budha.
(2)I take refuge with religion.
(3)I take refuge with the order.
The aspirant for admission used to pronounce these advices very distinctly. Then his admission was permitted. On being admitted the individual was called a Sharman.
After pabbaja the Buddhist monk had to undergo the Upasampada ceremony. This ceremony was different from pabbaja ceremony. It was after receiving education for twelve years, that it is at the age of twenty years,Upasampada ceremony was performed. The Sharman has to present himself in front before all other monks of the monastery. One could be admitted for this ceremony only when the majority of the monks voted in favour of the same. After this ceremony the Sharman was regarded as full- fledge member of the monastery. On this occasion all his worldly and family relationships ended.