Many articles and books on Buddhism have been published in recent years, but publications dealing with Buddhist educational views are rarely available. In this paper, I wish to expound on Zen Buddhist perspectives on modern education. The history of Buddhist education is long and complex. In the early centuries (400 BCE- 800 CE), Buddhist monasteries in India and China functioned as educational centers where vinaya, sutras, and other subjects were taught. Many men and women were refugees from social injustice and the sangha provided them with education, security, and dignity. Spirituality and pedantry were always combined in Buddhist education. But from a Zen perspective, modern education has become an occupational training program to promote financial interest. Capitalism, science, and technology have formed a new worldview; to wit, occupational training has become more essential to one’s way of living than the spiritual quest. Today, most students are concerned with finding financial stability and material gain. Against this trend, Zen education encourages students to seek spiritual stability. Because of Buddha’s nature, this is a natural human inclination, while not everyone is talented to become a computer specialist or an investment banker. Zen education guides students to grasp the “twist and turn” of the samsaric world, teaching them to be compassionate, understanding, patient listeners and well-balanced individuals.
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