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
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
In ancient days Nepal,
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
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 learning.
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
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
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 through Sanskrit.
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 system introduced.
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,
Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia,
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.