Buddhist Education

Previous Buddhist Education : Part 1

Responsibility of teacher

Both the teacher and the student were responsible to the monastery or the Budhist order. But regarding education, clothes , food and residence of the student monk, the teacher was wholly responsible.
The teacher was also responsible for any treatment of the student whenever he fell ill. The teacher used to bestow all the affection to his student and used to educate his through lecture and question answer method.

Daily routine of students (Diuchariya)

The student was expected to serve his teacher with all devotion. On rising in the morning the student will arrange everything for the daily routine of the teacher. He will cook his food and clean his clothes and utensils. Whatever he acquired through begging alms, he would place before teacher. The student had to prepare himself to receive education at any time whenever the teacher required him.


The curriculum was chiefly spiritual in nature. It was because the chief aim of education was to attain salvation. So the study of the religious books was most important. This type of curriculum was meant only for the monks. Besides these spinning, weaving, printing of the clothes, tailoring, sketching, accountancy, medicines, surgery and coinage were the other subjects of Budhist education.

Expulsion of pupils

The teacher of a budhist monastery were empowered to expel any student on charge of misconduct or any type of  serious disobedience. However, the student was expelled only when it was definitely ascertained that he lacked faith and respect for the teacher and the other things related to the sanctity of the monastery. After the death of the teacher or when the teacher changed his religion or left the monastery for elsewhere, the students also deserted the monastery. The education of the concerned students ended then and there.

Method of teaching

Budhist education aimed at purity of character. Like Vedic education it was training for moral character rather than psychological development of the students. One has to attain the stage of Bodhisattva. Mental and moral development was emphasized. Following were the methods:-

1. Verbal education: Through the art of writing had been well developed up to Budhist period yet, due to shortage and no availability of writing materials, verbal education was prevalent as it was in Vedic age.  The teacher used to give lessons to the novices who learnt them by heart. The teacher used to put questions on the learning the lesson by heart.
   2. Discussion: In order to win discussion or Shastrartha and impress the general public, it was necessary to improve the power of discussion. This was also needed to satisfy the critics and opposing groups and establish ones own cult. Thus, rules were framed for discussion.
3. Prominence of logic: The importance of discussion encouraged the logic in the Budhist period. The controversial matters could not be decided without logical argument. Logic was also useful in the development of the mental power and knowledge.
4. Tours: The main of the Budhist monks was to propagate Buddhism .Hence some Acharyas like Sariputta, Mahayaggalva, Aniruddha, Rahula, etc gave the importance to tours for educating people.
 5. Conference: Conferences were arranged on every full moon and 1st day of month in the Budhist sanghs. The monks of different sanghs assembled and put forward their doubts freely. The attendance of every monk was compulsory in such conference.
6.   Meditation in solitude: Some Budhist monks were more interested in isolated spiritual meditation in lonely forests and caves. Only those monks were considered fit for lonely meditation who had fully renounced the worldly attraction and had spent enough time in the sanghs and had gained the efficiency for solitary medications.

Assembly of learned people

On the beginning and close of every month learned people used to assemble together. This type of assembly together was a very important part of Budhist education. The purpose of this assembly was to maintain the moral standards of all the monks, because the total education was based on morality. It was compulsory for all the monks to be present in this assemble so much so that even ill monks used to try to attend it anyhow. If due to illness it was not possible for monk to come, then assembly was held near his residence. This assembly was quite democratic and it has immense moral impact on all concerned.

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