Buddhist Monasteries become the Centre of Education :
After admission the students had to follow monastic rules along
with their syllabus and they were classified according to merit. The
period of Education was 12 years.
The teachers were the guardian of the students. They were
responsible for physical, mental, spiritual and moral development of the
students. Since Educational Institution (Monasteries) was residential
therefore the relationship between the teachers and the students were
very very cordial.
Buddhist Education gave emphasis on the moral, mental and physical
development. The main stress was given to have a clear idea of
Tripitaka. In the later period according to the demand of the society
and professional Education art, sculpture, architecture, medicine also
included in the syllabus. At the initial stage medium of Education was
mother tongue, later it included Pali & Prakrit and in the following
days Sanskrit also introduced. It is to be mentioned that Vedic
subjects also included in the syllabus. This was a historic development.
Sangharamas the centre of Buddhist Education later developed into
colleges & universities. Nalanda, Vikramsila, Sompori, Salban,
Pandit Vihar, Taxila were the unparallel universities. Students from China, Myanmar, Thailand, Gandhara came to have their studies there.
The teachers were highly qualified. The aim of Buddhist Education is
to make a free man, a wise, intelligent, moral, non-violent &
secular man. Students became judicious, humanist, logical and free from
superstitious. Students became free from greed, lust and ignorance.
Buddhist Education was wide open and available to the people of all
walks of life. The principal goal of the Buddhist Education is to change
an unwise to wise, beast to priest.
At present Buddhist Education in China, Korea, Japan, Thailand, Myanmar,
Srilanka made tremendous progress with the introduction of modern
subjects. They have made more facilities for the lay people. Education
has been incorporated with modern facilities. Buddhist Education in Bangladesh
is still in a traditional position and could not succeed due to
financial assistance. So, it needs help and guidance from the Buddhist
Buddha, the founder of Buddhism was born in Lumbini present Nepal. In ancient days Nepal, Srilanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Myanmar
was one country and known as Indian Sub-Continent. In Buddhist text it
is known as Jhambudipa. Buddha attained enlightenment in Bodhgaya, Bihar
presently situated in India. He spent 45 years after Buddha hood in different parts of India and propagated his religion. In India
during the time of Buddha what was the condition of society. How
education had come into assistance. There was a racial discrimination in
the society. This discrimination was according to profession of man,
and according to birth. In the society there were four division of man
of whom Brahman was superior. Brahmanism dominated the society and
established their supremacy in the country. They enjoyed rights for
religious training and education. But other category of people deprived
of their religious and educational rights. At that time there were 62
heretical doctrines in existence and priesthood got upper hand. In this
background a religious revolution started in ancient India
in 600 B.C. and a new doctrine or system developed which is called
Buddhist doctrine or Buddhist philosophy. It is to be said that on the
foundation of Buddhism a new and special Education System originated in
ancient India. Buddhism made a tremendous movement which played a valuable role in the development of Education System in ancient India or ancient Buddhist world.
Centre of Education:
The main centre of Buddhist Education was sangharama (Monastery / Vihara, Temple)
where monks and samanaras reside sangharamas were open to all. Here
students from different caste, creed, colour and religion got free
admission. Buddhism was a strong protest against orthodox Vedic (Hindu)
religion and also Education System. Buddhism established democracy,
universalism and monastic life. There was no racial discrimination and
nobody was deprived of his rights. Buddhist Monasteries became the
Centre of Education.
The novices first entered into the Sangha (Bhikkhu Sangha), then had
to follow the monastic rules and Sangha rules. Even today these rules
are followed. There are many rules regarding food, dress, bed room,
meditation, dedication and other rules as laid down by the Sangha. They
had to undergo with physical exercise for maintenance of their health.
They had to clean the campus, rooms, halls, serve the teachers
(Achariya) and assist them in various field. This was the primary duties
of the students. After admission students were classified according to
their merit and put under the guidance of different teachers. They had
to follow the advice of the teachers and obey them. In this way they had
to pass twelve years in learning. Students put questions to the
teachers; teachers answered the question and discussed matters related
to their Education. Students had to perform daily routine works beyond
Duties of the Teachers :
The duties of the teachers were imparting education to the students,
writing Book, propagation of religion, discussion, and arrangement of
debate for the clarification of serious subjects. The teachers were
responsible for physical, mental, spiritual and moral development of the
students. Teachers loved the students and helped them in every affair.
They also took care of them during their diseases and agony. The
teachers were responsible for their food, accommodation and other
necessaries of livelihood. They kept eyes on the all round development
of the students. Specially they were serious about the obeyance of the
Sangha rules, meditation and concentration to their learning.
Relation between the Teachers and the Students :
Sangha (Monastic) life was residential; therefore a cordial
relationship between the teachers and the students grew up. Their
relationship can be compared with the relationship of a father and a
son. The teachers were the guardians and sincere for their mutual
relationship, happiness, development and responsibilities.
Buddhist Education system developed on the basis of some basic
principles. This education gave emphasis on the moral, mental and
physical development and also to divert the students towards the Sangha
rules and guide them to follow it. The main stress was given to have a
clear idea of Tripitaka which consists of Sutta Pitaka, Binoy Pitaka and
Abhidhamma Pitaka. The entire Tripitaka consists of Buddhas teachings,
message, philosophy and rules for the Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunies.
In later period according to the demand of the society and
professional education, art, sculpture, architecture, medicine also
included in the syllabus. Buddhist Education came out from the religious
arena and went out for the benefit of the mankind.
At the initial stage medium of education was mother tongue, later it
included Pali and Prakrit and in the following days Sanskrit also
included as a medium of instruction. Specially the Mahayana Teachers
achieved distinction in practicing Buddhism in Sanskrit. A special
Sanskrit Buddhist literature developed. Mention may be made here that at
the hands of Nagarjun, Asanga, Basubandhu, Santideva, Aryadeva and
Candrakisti Buddhist philosophy and literature made tremendous progress
It is to be mentioned that Buddhist Educational Syllabus included
Vedic subjects also. In this way difference of Buddhist & Vedic
Education wiped out and united. This was a historic development in the
history of Education in India.
Teaching Method :
In early days teaching was a hearing system. The teachers gave
lectures; students heard it and kept it in their memory. In due course
it developed into dialogue and comparison method. The teachers used to
teach the students on the basis of telling stories, arranging dialogue.
Sometimes debate and discussions were arranged to give idea of the
subject matter as well as determination of truth, subsequently writing
At first there was private and group teachings. Later it developed
into class room. In due course Sangharamas developed into residential
college and universities. In the history of Education those universities
played major role in the propagation of Buddhism, Buddhist history, Art
& Culture. In those universities world famous scholars like Atisa
Dipankar, Silabrada, Santarakshit were the teachers. Many valuable books
were written. We still remember the glory of the universities like
Nalanda, Vikramsila, Sompuri, Salban, Jagaddal, Pandit Vihar, Taxila.
The supremacy of those universities were unparallel. Students from China, Myanmar, Thailand, Gandhara and all parts of ancient India
came to have their education in those universities. Buddhist Education
is a combination between individual and classroom education.
Contribution of Buddhist Education :
In the ancient period Buddhist Monasteries and in the later period
Buddhist Universities played major role in developing Buddhist
Education. In the institutions teachers were highly qualified and
sincere to their duties. The main aim of Buddhist Education is to make a
free man, an intelligent man, a wise, moral, talented, non-violent and
secular man. Buddhist Education make man judicious, humanist, logical
and free from superstitions. After getting education in the Buddhist
schools, colleges and universities one can not do any injustice, tell a
lie, commit theft, can not kill, can not be addicted in wine and make
himself free from moral turpitude. In this way students become free from
greed, lust, enmity and ignorance.
Buddhist Education made revolutionary change in the society. The
Buddhists in the world first made Education open to all. Students
irrespective of caste, creed, religion got opportunity to have education
which was denied by the superior class in the society. In India also, in Vedic Educational schools students from lower classes were refused to get admission.
In the early period Buddhist Education was limited within the
monasteries and only for the members of the monastery. But later on it
was open to all, even lay people got scope to have education in those
institutions. In modern days Buddhist Education became wide open and
embraced people of all walks of life. The aim of Buddhist Education is
to change an unwise to wise, beast hood to Buddha hood.
Buddhist Education & Modernization :
It is a matter of great pride that Buddhist Education crossed Indian Sub-continent and expanded upto China, Korea, Japan, Tibet, Mongolia, Srilanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodian, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore,
with the rise and development of Buddhism in those countries. In those
countries Buddhist Education has made tremendous progress with the
inclusion of modern subjects in the syllabus. Today in order to make
more popular more useful and modern subjects have to be included such as
English, Science, Medicine, Engineering, Commerce, Computer and
Information Technology. We are happy that the name of the countries
which I mentioned have made tremendous development of Buddhist Education
with the inclusion of modern subjects. They have made more facilities
for the lay students. it is my suggestion that Buddhist Education
syllabus shall have to be incorporated with modern subject. In Bangladesh,
Buddhist Education is still concentrated in the monasteries. Because of
financial assistance it could not precede upto expectation. Buddhist
Education in Bangladesh needs help, assistance and guidance from the Buddhist World.
（作者系Vice-President of A.C.R.P. & W.C.R.P. Bangladesh Chapter）