Characteristics or features of Buddhist education system

B.Ed First Year Notes English Medium

Q. Characteristics or features of Buddhist Education system

1) Sacrifice of material comforts and luxuries was of prime importance under the Buddhist system of education.

2) Viharas or Buddhist monasteries were the centers of education.

3) Students underwent an ordination ceremony (“pabbajja”) after which they had to lead a novitiate life for 12 years.

4) Students were expected to follow the 10 commandments –

a. Not taking life.
b. Taking what is given.
c. Abstaining from impure practices.
d. Not telling a lie.
e. Not drinking.
f. Not eating out of time.
g. Not dancing, singing and seeing shows.
h. Not using garlands, scents, ornaments, etc.
i. Not using high or large couch.
j. Not receiving gold and silver.

5) At the end of this there was the second ceremony called the Upsampada which now qualified him to be a full-fledged monk or Bhikshu and he was required to –

a. Beg his food.
b. Wear robes made of rags.
c. Lofge at the foot of a tree.
d. Use cow’s urine as medicine.
e. Avoid sex, theft and taking life.

6) This was a 10 year period at the end of which he became an Acharya and could teach other pupils.

7) It stressed on salvation (Mukti).

8) Education was imparted in natural surroundings.

9) Students had a hard life.

10) There was a strict code of morality.

11) The Buddhist centres of learning were rich and could thus could spread the education far and wide in other countries too.

Role of Teacher

1) Teacher and student were united together in mutual reverence and affection.

2) The pupil carried the teacher’s seat, robes, water, tooth stick. He cleaned his begging bowl and utensils.

3) The student accompanied the teacher everywhere as an attendant.

4) The teacher taught him etiquette, discipline, simplicity, and abstinence.

5) He taught him by example and practice.

6) Teachers were lifelong students of their subject.

7) No Acharya could draw the pupils of another Acharya.

Centers of education

1) Education was centered around a monastery called Vihara.

2) A Vihara was a federation of individual schools.

3) Monasteries were a counterpart of the gurkuls.

4) Private teachers took 10 to 15 students and taught them in their houses.

5) Organized educational institutions are a product of the Buddhist system of education.

6) The monasteries were richly endowed with donations from kings and aristocratic families and thus were wealthy and sprawling in nature.

7) Some monasteries further developed into great centres of learning called Universities. Eg. Nalanda, Jaggadala, Mithila and Nadia, Vikramsila.

8) The University was lead by an eminent Bhikshu who was helped by two councils – academic and administrative.

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