Pedagogy: Teachings on How to Teach

General forum on the teachings of all schools of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism. Topics specific to one school are best posted in the appropriate sub-forum.
Post Reply
DGA
Former staff member
Posts: 9416
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:04 pm
Contact:

Pedagogy: Teachings on How to Teach

Post by DGA » Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:01 pm

What does Buddha Dharma have to say about how to teach well? How, specifically, is the Dharma to be taught? I know of some passages in certain sutras (the Lotus Sutra describes how a teacher of that particular sutra should comport him or herself); what I would like to know is if there are any detailed teachings regarding how teaching ought to happen.



Similarly, have there been any systematic studies of how teaching actually happens or has happened across Buddhist communities or within particular traditions? What does the moment of instruction actually look like in Dharma communities?

Crazywisdom
Posts: 1725
Joined: Fri May 23, 2014 5:48 pm

Re: Pedagogy: Teachings on How to Teach

Post by Crazywisdom » Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:37 pm

Buddhism goes by experience, not studies. There are texts and sutras about how to teach or where Buddha complemented a teaching by a disciple. The tantras also tell how to teach.
I got my Chili Chilaya.

Fortyeightvows
Posts: 2032
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2014 2:37 am

Re: Pedagogy: Teachings on How to Teach

Post by Fortyeightvows » Tue Oct 16, 2018 12:19 am

There is the list of I think three or four ways of gaining disciples.

User avatar
Wayfarer
Global Moderator
Posts: 4179
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: Pedagogy: Teachings on How to Teach

Post by Wayfarer » Tue Oct 16, 2018 1:02 am

Excellent topic. I don't have any particular insights, other than the general observation that the Buddha himself was a model and exemplar for teaching, by way of similes, metaphors, reasoned discussion and so on. And also the overall model of civil discourse as it is presented in the Buddhist texts.

Recently, I volunteered to help out with preparing class-room lessons on Buddhism for elementary school. I didn't do well, because I'm not trained as a primary-school teacher, and the material I turned over was pitched a bit too high. I also give introductory talks at a Buddhist library for general audiences. I try to keep them as simple as possible (but no simpler!) and illustrate them with slides and graphics.

But the whole topic of Buddhist pedagogy is a very interesting one and I think ripe for study. The thing about Buddhism in particular, is that there's a lot of information and also conceptual data that needs to be communicated.
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

DGA
Former staff member
Posts: 9416
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:04 pm
Contact:

Re: Pedagogy: Teachings on How to Teach

Post by DGA » Tue Oct 16, 2018 1:12 am

Wayfarer wrote:
Tue Oct 16, 2018 1:02 am
Excellent topic. I don't have any particular insights, other than the general observation that the Buddha himself was a model and exemplar for teaching, by way of similes, metaphors, reasoned discussion and so on. And also the overall model of civil discourse as it is presented in the Buddhist texts.

Recently, I volunteered to help out with preparing class-room lessons on Buddhism for elementary school. I didn't do well, because I'm not trained as a primary-school teacher, and the material I turned over was pitched a bit too high. I also give introductory talks at a Buddhist library for general audiences. I try to keep them as simple as possible (but no simpler!) and illustrate them with slides and graphics.

But the whole topic of Buddhist pedagogy is a very interesting one and I think ripe for study. The thing about Buddhism in particular, is that there's a lot of information and also conceptual data that needs to be communicated.
I got interested in this topic as I was reflecting on some teachings on what it takes to be a good student of Dharma. Well, given the issues that have been well publicized and discussed at length on this board with particular teachers and organizations... wouldn't it be worthwhile to probe what the tradition might have to offer regarding the role of the teacher, and best practices in teaching?


Parentheticaly, teaching primary school is really tough stuff. Tip of the hat to those who give it their best.

User avatar
Wayfarer
Global Moderator
Posts: 4179
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: Pedagogy: Teachings on How to Teach

Post by Wayfarer » Tue Oct 16, 2018 3:54 am

Have a look at this thread which has links to some of the current online training courses. I expect this whole area is only going to continue to grow. Who knows how big it could become over the next few years?
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

User avatar
anjali
Global Moderator
Posts: 1549
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2011 10:33 pm

Re: Pedagogy: Teachings on How to Teach

Post by anjali » Tue Oct 16, 2018 6:04 am

Not sure how useful this is, but in the concluding chapter, Final Instructions, of the Platform Sutra, there are some interesting instructions by Huineng on teaching.
I will now teach you how to explain the Dharma without deviating from the tradition of our school.

“First bring up the three classes of Dharma-doors, and then use the thirty-six pairs of opposites, so that, whether coming or going, you remain in the Bodhimandala. While explaining all the dharmas, do not become separated from your self-nature. Should someone suddenly ask you about a dharma, answer him with its opposite. If you always answer with the opposite, both will be eliminated and nothing will be left, since each depends on the other for existence.”
In Master Hsun Hua's commentary, he comments,
“In speaking the Dharma,” the Master went on, “the most important thing is to base your speech on the self-nature. How does one do this? Suppose someone asks you a question about the Buddhadharma. Whatever his principle may be, it’s bound to have an opposite. You should answer him with the opposite dharma. For example, coming and going are relative concepts. Without a coming there is no going; without a going there is no coming. Coming is the prerequisite of going and going can only result from coming. Since opposites depend upon each other for existence, ultimately they both will be cast out, canceling each other out so that nothing is left behind. There will be no coming and no going, for there will be no place left to go.
Huineng then goes on to elaborate his approach in the next few comments.
Image

Dharma Wheel Terms of Service and Reporting Procedures.
Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness. –-Seneca

User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
Posts: 7063
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Pedagogy: Teachings on How to Teach

Post by Astus » Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:59 am

The basics from the Buddha:

Kesi Sutta (AN 4.111) - like taming a horse
Udayi Sutta (AN 5.159) - how to teach
Summary from BuddhaNet.

Mahayana:

The four siddhantas
Training of Beginner Bodhisattvas from the Bodhisatvacaryānirdeśa

Zen ideas from Linji:

"Whenever someone comes here seeking I immediately go out and look at him. He doesn’t recognize me. Thereupon I don various kinds of robes. The student, assigning some meaning to this, straightway falls into words and phrases. What a pity that the blind shavepate, a man without the eye [to see], grasps at the robe I’m wearing and declares it to be blue or yellow, red or white! When I remove the robe and enter the state of purity, the student takes one look and is immediately filled with delight and longing. Then, when I cast off everything, the student is stunned and, running about in wild confusion, cries, ‘You have no robe!’ If I say, ‘Do you know me, the man who wears these robes?’ he’ll abruptly turn his head around and recognize me through and through."
(tr Sasaki, p 26)
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

User avatar
Meido
Posts: 469
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 2:50 am
Contact:

Re: Pedagogy: Teachings on How to Teach

Post by Meido » Wed Oct 17, 2018 1:13 pm

Astus wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:59 am
Zen ideas from Linji:
Famously also from Huineng, in his instructions in the Platform Sutra's final chapter.
It is relatively easy to accomplish the important matter of insight into one’s true nature, but uncommonly difficult to function freely and clearly [according to this understanding], in motion and in rest, in good and in adverse circumstances. Please make strenuous and vigorous efforts towards this end, otherwise all the teachings of Buddhas and patriarchs become mere empty words. - Torei

The Rinzai Zen Way: A Guide to Practice

Korinji Rinzai Zen Monastery [臨済宗 • 祖的山光林禅寺] - http://www.korinji.org

User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
Posts: 7063
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Pedagogy: Teachings on How to Teach

Post by Astus » Wed Oct 17, 2018 3:11 pm

There's chapter 12 of the Mahayanasutralamkarabhasya discussing teaching.

"The Lord Buddha did not, in fact, teach the (ultimate) Dharma, since it is individually realized within. Still, the compassionate ones, like huge boa-constrictors, (first) attract people toward their own reality with their reasonable teachings, (which work) like the boa's paralyzing saliva, and (then) make them fall into the gaping mouth of their own peace, which is perfectly pure, universal, and inexhaustible."
(v 2, tr Thurman)

"The bodhisattvas' perfect teaching should be recognized as extensive, doubt-dispelling, acceptable, and twofold in its demonstration of reality.
The teaching of these best heroes is gentle, modest, tireless, clear, varied, reasonable, intelligible, non-exploitive, and universal.
The speech of the victor-children is powerful, gentle, eloquent, sensible, appropriate, non-exploitive, measured, and expansive.
(The bodhisattvas' syllables are perfect because they) teach, explain, are adapted to the vehicles, soothe, make sense, are appropriate, liberate, and favor."

(v 5-8)
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

Post Reply

Return to “Mahāyāna Buddhism”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: javier.espinoza.t, narhwal90, nichiren-123 and 62 guests