19 A CRITICAL STUDY OF GLOBAL EDUCATION POLICIES CONTAINED IN THE SINGALOVADA SUTTA

Thứ năm - 09/05/2019 12:01
by Ven Dunukeulle Sarananda




 
A CRITICAL STUDY OF GLOBAL EDUCATION POLICIES CONTAINED IN THE SINGALOVADA SUTTA

by Ven Dunukeulle Sarananda*




 
ABSTRACT

It is possible to identify the preconception in which the present world displays in the development of quality education policies. Therefore, it is more prominent to re-educate education policies based on ethical principles. However, it is well advised whether such efforts could be successful. In the sixth century BCE, the Buddha used to act as a teacher in the education system based on Bharatha. It is an indication of a functioning education policy. It incorporated knowledge and skills in contemporary educational policies. Therefore he was considered the best teacher in the world. Through technical techniques, he reached the educational achievement untimely due to modern global education. He constantly nurtured the new knowledge; he perfectly motivated his student communitys motives and preached the Dhamma. It became an extraordinary place for the New World Knowledge. In the deeper observation of Buddhist Sutta literature, such a number can be identified. The significance of these sources is one of Singalovada Sutta founding places. One of the principles of moral quality education that is created between the teacher and the student is one example. It examines the significance of the above-mentioned Singalovada Sutta information using modern digital education.


*. Dr., Lecturer, Department of Buddhist Culture, Faculty of Buddhist Studies , Buddhist and Pali University of Sri Lanka, Homagama, Sri Lanka.
 
 
  1. THE BASIC TEACHING OF THE BUDDHA

The Buddha has passed away, but the sublime teaching, which he expounded during his long and successful ministry and which he unreservedly bequeathed to humanity, still exists in its pristine purity. Although the Master has left no written records of his Teachings, his disciples preserved them, by committing to memory and transmitting them orally from generation to generation.1

Buddhism recognizes no creeds whose uncritical acceptance is expected of its followers. Instead, the Buddha enunciated certain basic laws and truths whose veracity he invited his followers to test for them. One of the traditional epithets of the Dhamma is ehipassiko(meaning literally come and see”) which is an appeal to the empirical verification of the Dhamma.

In his very first discourse the Buddha identified Four Noble Truths as forming the core of the Dhamma. These four Truths have since become a convenient way of stating the fundamentals of the Dhamma. They are often regarded as the most basic teaching of the Buddha. The Buddha also identified three fundamental characteristics (tilakkhana) of the Dhamma. The Buddha these basic tenets presented in several ways. Two such presentations have become well known. These are the Three Signata (tilakkhana), perhaps better rendered as the three basic laws, and the Four Noble Truths. The acceptance of the validity of these laws and truths, if only in the first instance as a working hypothesis is the sine qua non of a Buddhist. In addition, the Buddha proclaimed several other doctrines, the most important being those of karma and re-birth. The validity of such doctrines is more difficult for an ordinary person to verify, but their dogmatic acceptance is not expected as a fundamental requirement of those who go for refuge to the Three Gemsof Buddhism.
    1. The Three Fundamental Laws of the Buddha

The three signata and the four truths form the core of the Dhamma. They are at the same time both alternatives and complements to each other. It may however be appropriate to consider them separately.
 
 

Anicca


The law of impermanence asserts that all phenomena are subject to constant change, to rise and fall, and no permanent states, either physical or animate, exists. The law of anicca establishes impermanence as the basic universal law.

Dukkha


The law of dukkha states that all complexes of phenomena are in the final analysis unsatisfactory. It means that no compounded thing or state could be considered as a universal norm of goodness or beauty. It is in this sense that it constitutes the first of the four Noble Truths.

Anatta


The third law states that there is no permanent essence, self , ego, or soul in phenomena.
    1. The Four Noble Truths

The four noble truths result from the application of the three basic laws to the human condition. The Buddha frequently asserted that he was interested in the problem of the alleviation of human suffering: Only one thing do I teach, suffering, and how to end it. His approach to the problem of suffering was similar to that of the physician to his patient. He first diagnoses the malady, and then seeks the cause of the malady, next finds out whether a cure is possible. Finally he prescribes the medicine. The four truths correspond to the four steps of this diagnostic-curative procedure.2

The Truth of Suffering


This truth affirms that the law of dukkha is applicable to the human condition: “Birth is suffering, decay is suffering, death is suffering; sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and Despair is suffering. To be separated from the pleasant is suffering; to be in contact with the Unpleasant is suffering; in short the five aggregates of existence connected with attachment are all suffering.3

 
  1. Basic Buddhism, Dr.victor A. Ganaskara, 3rd edition, 1997.
 
 

The Truth of the Cause of Suffering


The proximate cause of suffering is craving (tanha), but the root cause is ignorance (avijja). The objects of craving are manifold: sensual pleasure, material possessions, glory, power, fame, ego, craving for re-birth, even craving for nibbana (nirvana). There are various degrees of craving from a mild wish to an acute grasping (upadana). Craving is the proximate cause of suffering and is itself caused by other conditioning factors. The full formula of causation is contained in the Buddhist formula of dependent origination, where the causes for existence and suffering are traced back through a chain of twelve links, back to ignorance.

The Truth of the Cessation of Suffering


This growth constitutes the good news” of Buddhism.  The cause of suffering could be counteracted. This truth affirms that a way out of suffering exists, which if followed will lead the individual to a state of non-suffering called nibbana, perhaps better known by the Sanskrit form of the term, Nirvana. If the first truth could be considered to have a taint of pessimism, this truth has the full flavor of optimism.

The Truth of the Path to Enlightenment


The Buddhist path to enlightenment is that discovered by the Buddha through his own personal effort and practice. It has been called the Middle Path (majjima patipada) because it is a via media between the extremes of self-indulgence and self-mortification. Both extremes of practice were common in the Buddhas day (as indeed they are in our own). The Buddha calls such extremes vain, profitless and ignoble. The path of the Buddha avoids two kinds of activity usually considered essential for salvation by many religious systems. These are:
    1. Prayer to supra human powers and agencies, and
    2. elaborate rites and rituals.4

On the contrary these are considered as being positive impediments on the path to the cessation of suffering and the
 


gaining of insight and wisdom. While the Four Noble Truths and the Three Laws of Existence contain the kernel of the Buddhas teaching, and were proclaimed by the Buddha in his very first discourse, there are many other doctrines that are central to a philosophical system which is as deep as that of Buddhism. A few of these aspects of the teaching will be mentioned here and a few of these will be considered in detail elsewhere.
    1. The Goal of Buddhism and the Meaning of Life

The Buddhist goal is the achievement of human perfection, which should be the real purpose of life. It is in this sense that life has meaning, and which should inform the most salient aspects of human activity. A person who has made good progress along the Buddhist path would have reached a high degree of happiness, contentment and freedom from fear. Sometimes material affluence is seen as the goal of many persons, but these do not necessarily bring about the happiness which the Buddha sought to promote.

The Theory of Causality


One of the central doctrines of Buddhism is that all phenomena owe their origin and existence to pre-conditioning factors. Everything is the result of some cause or other working on the thing concerned. This is a view that is also shared by modern science, for without the operation of systematic causes much of the achievement of modern science may not be possible. But whereas science generally restricts this principle to physical phenomena and events, in Buddhism the theory of causation considers causation as a central characteristic of all phenomena, even non-physical ones which do not form the subject matter of scientific enquiry.

The Buddhist theory of causation should be distinguished from the theory of the “First Causewhich is often used by theists to prove the existence of God. The theory of the first cause asserts that since God is identified as the first cause (all others being createdby God) there is no need to explain the existence of God. Buddhism does not agree with this position and considers it as another instance of sophistry (eel-wriggling”) to which theists resort to sustain their absurd views.
 
 

The Doctrine of Dependent Origination


This is one of the cardinal discoveries of the Buddha during his enlightenment. It is presented as a list of twelve bases which are causally linked to each other. Since the links from a closed circle we can break into the chain at any point. The order in the traditional list is as follows:
  1. Avijjā                        -         Ignorance,
  2. Samkhārā                  -         Activities,
  3. Patisandhi viňňāna      -         Rebirth-  consciousness,
  4. Nāma – rūpa             -         mind and Matter,
  5. Salāyathana               -         Six sense Spheres ,
  6. Phassā                      -         contact,
  7. Vadanā                      -         feeling,
  8. Tanhā                        -         craving,
  9. Upādāna                   -         Attachment,
  10. Bhava                     -         Action or becoming,
  11. Jāti                         -         Birth,
  12. Jarā – Marana          -         Decay and death.5

There are various ways of interpreting this chain, but we shall not deal with them here. The traditional interpretation of this is that it represents three phases often interpreted as lifetimes. The first phase (the past) is comprised of links 1 and 2; the second (the present) of links 3 to 10, and the third (the future) of links 11 and
12. In the ongoing process what if the present becomes and past and what is the future becomes the present. A detailed explication of this famous formula is not attempted here.

Emptiness and non-self


The doctrine of emptinessis more associated with Mahayana than with Theravada. If it represents another term for the anatta doctrine described earlier it presents no new problem. However someMahayanainterpretationstendtowardsphilosophicalidealism
 


and towards the Hindu notion that the world is an illusion but such an interpretation cannot be entertained by Basic Buddhism.

Humanism and Rationalism


Basic Buddhism has some affinity with Western notions of humanism and rationalism. However these terms are used in a variety of contexts, with humanism associated with theistic notions on the one hand and extreme secular-materialist notions on the other. But if humanism means what it should mean, that is the primacy of the human as against the Divine, and then it conforms to the Buddhist approach. With rationalism as the application of reason and the scientific method to investigation there is much in common. One of the basic sutta” of the Buddha, the Kalama sutta given in the “Anguttara Nikayais rightly regarded as the Buddhist charter for free inquiry.
    1. Buddhas Education Theory of the Teacher

Understand yourself first


Before instructing others one has to know the subject thoroughly. It is very important for one to undergo religious practices. Without having experienced for oneself it would be difficult if not impossible for one to instruct others properly.

It cannot be, Cunda, that one who is sunk in mud can pull out another who is sunk in mud.6
Not easy to teach the Dhamma to others

One day the Buddha said Truly, Ananda, it is not easy to teach Dhamma to others. In teaching Dhamma to others, establish well five things and then teach. What five? Teach Dhamma to others teaching.
      • I will speak Dhamma in a gradual way;
      • I will speak with the goal in mind;
      • I will speak with kindness;
      • I will not speak as a means of gain;
 
  1. Majjhima nikaya. I: 45.
 
 
    • I will speak not to harm anybody.

For truly, Ananda, it is not easy to teach Dhamma to others in teaching Dhamma to others, establish well these five things.7

Who will profit from learning

There are these four persons found in the world.
    • One with little teaching who does not profit from his learning.
    • One of little learning who does profit from his learning.
    • One of great learning who does not profit from learning. And,
    • One of great learning who does profit from his learning.8

The way people understand

    • Ugghatianna- one who learns by taking hints.
 
    • Vipatitanna – one who understands after learning the full details?
    • Neyya – one who has to be led on by systematic instructions?
    • Padaparama – one who just learns by rote?9

Learning and presentation

 
    • One who comprehends the meaning but is unable to explain it clearly.
 
    • One who is slow to comprehend the meaning but is able to explain it clearly.
    • One who has both of the above qualities?
    • One who has neither of them?10

How to answer questions


According to the Buddha, there are four ways of treating questions:
    • Some should be answered directly in brief.
 
  1. Anguttara Nikaya. III: 183.
  2. Anguttara Nikaya. II: 5.
  3. Anguttra Nikaya . II: 135.
  4. Anguttra Nikaya. II: 135.
 
 
      • Others should be answered by way of analyzing them.
      • Yet others should be answered by counter – questions.
 
      • And lastly, there are questions which should be put aside because there are answers to certain questioners are not in a position yet to understand the answers.11

Qualities of preacher


The venerable Sariputta said, when one who teaches wishes to teach another, let him establish five good qualities and then teach. Let him think.
      • I will speak at the right time, not at the wrong time.
      • I will speak about what reality is, not about what is not.
      • I will speak with gentleness, not with harshness.
      • I will speak about the goal, not about what is not the goal.
 
      • I will speak with a mind filled with love, not with a mind  filled with ill - will.12
 
    1. Buddhas Education Theory of the Student

Consider the following advice before accepting a religion

Do not accept anything on more reports, traditions or hearsay:
      • Nor upon the authority of religious texts;
      • Nor upon the mere reasons and logic;
      • Nor upon ones own inference;
      • Nor upon anything which appears to be true;
      • Nor upon ones speculative opinions;
      • Nor upon anothers seeming ability;
      • Nor upon the consideration, this is our Teacher.

But, O! Kalamas, when you know for yourselves that certain things are unwholesome (akusala), wrong and bad, then give

 
  1. Anguttra Nikaya. II: 45.
  2. Anguttra Nikaya. II: 195.
 


them up … And when you know for yourselves that certain things are wholesome (kusala) and good, them accept them and follow them.13

Categorizes students into three groups

Lord Buddha too has divided those in society into three:
    • Avakujja panna – Less – intelligent
    • Uchchanga Panna – Least – intelligent
    • Puttu Panna – Intelligent14

Singalovada Sutta


The Sigalovada Sutta takes place when Lord Buddha encountered a youth called Sigala in his morning stroll. The young man, in drenched attire, prostrated and worshipped the four compass direction (East, South, West and North), plus the Earth (Down) and the Sky (Up). When asked by Lord Buddha why he did so, the youth Sigala replied that he had been told by his late father to do so and he thought that it was right to uphold his fathers wishes. Lord Buddha then, based on Sigalas point of view, taught him on how a noble one (Pali: ariya) should worship the Six directions. In five ways, young householder, a pupil should minister to a teacher as the South.15
  1. by rising from the seat in salutation,
  2. by attending on him,
  3. by eagerness to learn,
  4. by personal service,
  5. by respectful attention while receiving instructions.

In five ways, young householder, do teachers thus ministered to as the South by their pupils, show their compassion:
    • they train them in the best discipline,
    • they see that they grasp their lessons well,
 
  1. Anguttra Nikaya. I: 187.
  2. Anguttra Nikaya. I: 240.
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sigalovada_Sutta
 
 
      • they instruct them in the arts and sciences,
      • they introduce them to their friends and associates,
      • they provide for their safety in every quarter.

The teachers thus ministered to as the South by their pupils; show their compassion towards them in these five ways. Thus is the South covered by them and made safe and secure.

2. CONCLUSION

The term Buddhism is now used to denote the teaching of the Buddha, a historical person who flourished some 25 centuries ago in the Indian subcontinent. This teaching has been described variously as a religion, a philosophy, a psychological system, an ethic - moral code, a socio-economic blue-print, and so on. No doubt all these aspects could be discerned in different parts of the Buddhas teaching, but the teaching is itself something more than all these combined. The term which Buddhists use to designate the teaching is Dhamma or Dharma. This term comes from a root term meaning “to uphold, and means the basic law which upholds” the universe. It is therefore sometimes translated simply as Law or Norm. It conveys some idea of the unity that informs the whole body of the Buddhas teaching. We shall use the words dhamma and Buddhism as synonyms.



 

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