Need of value based education in the twenty-first century: Perspectives of Buddhism

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This paper is the part of a larger research project that examines the need for values-based education in this era. This presentation discusses this through the core values of Buddhism. Experts state that the school curriculum of the 21st century does not support the teaching of moral values. Many commentators neglect to recognize the impact of wider societal influences outside of school on children, however. These include changing family dynamics and the rapid changes introduced by technology, both positive and negative.

We now live in a globally connected world. We also now live in a material world that values material comforts, commercialization, and success, in education as well as other sectors. Hence, students’ progress and success in school are frequently measured by their examination scores and ‘wins’ rather than demonstrations of moral ethics and values. Promoting and prioritizing competition and success on a daily basis can degrade the values, respect, and morals of individual students and, by extension, of wider society. The evident lack of human values, combined with the misuse of technology, can contribute to undermining the morals and values of society. Thus, abuse and disrespect, carelessness and self-interest become increasingly common phenomena.

In contrast, Buddhism stands on values-based education and Buddha’s teaching advocate peace and harmony in human society. Therefore, incorporating the core human values exemplified in Buddhism into the school curriculum aims to first, promote values-based education and, second better equip future generations to live a moral and ethical life.

Keywords: values-based education, core value of Buddhism, school curriculum


The materialists’ world has made the people absence of value in the life rather material comforts, commercialization, and success. The base of human life is childhood and the education what they gain. Unfortunately, the education present these days lacks the moral values.

The moral values can be taught by developing the school curriculum which contains the morals as in Buddhism and its teachings. Of course, the life skill is necessary to survive in this 21st-century world but the moral values make the human perfect. Hence, the curriculum of the formal school has to be integrated with the curriculum of Buddhist education as in Pariyatti education everywhere in the world and especially in Nepal.

This paper will firstly, analyze the value based education. The education changes the life as well as the society. Secondly, the paper analyzes the core values of Buddhism. Buddhism teaches the morals which are very much important in life. Thirdly, the paper analyses the gaps in modern education which should be addressed through the moral-values education. Fourthly, this paper focuses on approaches to imparting the values in teaching and learning which will help in to develop the morality among the students. Lastly, the paper considers the value based education through the Pariyatti education in present context to achieve the goals of the value education.

Value based education

Humans are considered as the most intellectual living beings of this world. They are intellectual in the sense that they have sympathy and empathy for all living beings so can understand soreness of others. Similarly, they are intellectual because they have ethical codes, human values and able to cope with others in any means. However, people who are the master of any field or any subject area but without moral values s/he can be compared with a wise animal because values differentiate a human from the animal (Awasthi, 2014).

A value is one of the many alternatives that a person chooses and acts upon because it increases human development. According to Lakshimi (2009, p.2), Value originates from the Latin word value meaning “worthwhile.” This is very much important as Indrani (2012) expressed; value shapes our relationships, our behaviors, our actions, and our sense of who we are. This is one of the reasons why value education is being taught or included in all type of education because it plays a greater role towards learner’s personality and helps to become successful in their lifespan and careers as well. Arigatou foundation (2008) differentiates between ethics, morals, and values as; Ethics are beliefs, ideas, and theories that facilitate the setting of standards. Morals relate more closely to behavior. Values constitute that which is accepted by the group, community or society. Hence, all the aspects are important and linked to each other (p.8).

There are several ways of inculcation of values in learners; however, one of a possible way is the curriculum. As Value-based education promotes a thought provoking and interactive environment for the students through the values incorporated in the curriculum, it promotes quality education and holistic development of each child for their bright future (Iyer, 2013). Indrani (2012) defined again, “Value- based education tries to develop three aspects: physique, mentality, and character. Even though physique and mentality are important, they are menaces without the third because the character is the greatest of these. Education plays a huge role in precisely this area (p.2). However; humans are showing unethical behavior due to several reasons day by day. This is the great reason for demanding of value based education in the twenty-first century. Decline in values in human society has been a matter of global concern. Ethics have once again become a point of reference in politics, business, biological and medical fields, journalism, etc (Rassekh, 2001; as cited in Parajuli, 2013).

The impact of ethics can be measured in high technology areas such as in biology and medicine, and the arcane vagaries of computerization which is a phenomenon affecting to all spheres including private life. If we neglect to make a connection between basic ethics and technological progress, then we would be ushering in an era of barbarism with a human face (Sanyal, n.d., p. 3). So, the value based or holistic education based curriculum should be incorporated and that must include cooperation, responsibility, unity, happiness, humility, honesty, freedom, among others. The main purpose of holistic education is to prepare students to meet the challenges of living as well as academics (Iyer, 2013 p. 1).

Jindal (2013) argued, Value education provides motivation and guidance to youngsters. It builds character which is beneficial for the growth of both the individual and society in general. It influences our decision making in life and helps us to build a healthy relationship in society (p.25). For Kumar (2015), value education, as it is generally used, refers to a wide gamut of learning and activities ranging from training in physical health, mental hygiene, etiquette and manners, appropriate social behavior, civic rights and duties to aesthetic and even religious training (p.47). Similarly, Awasthi (2014) emphasized the term “value-based education means part of the Education which imparts certain essential moral, ethical, cultural, social, spiritual values in child necessary for their all round development and prepares them as a complete man.

On the basis of all these opinions of the experts, it can be summarized that the value based education basically stands on purifying the character and the mind. Hence, value based education is essential part and it must be the main part of teaching and learning. It helps to bring positive thought and positive behavior in human. As values form the core of educational goals and objectives, almost every education policy document has emphasized the role of education in fostering values (CBSE, 2012 p.1).

Major themes of value based education

Education can play the pivotal role to change the society; whereas every society set the aim of education as per their social norms, values and need of the society. Indeed common aim could be alike. Wisdavet (2003) observed societies arrange education with three main objectives in mind, even though those objectives may be stressed differently by different societies. Here, the three objectives are: to prepare people to be good members of society, to train people to be well developed human beings, in order to enrich wisdom (p.159). The aim of education is growth or development both intellectual and moral (Dewey, 1950) so the main role of education is moral development.

Values can be described in many ways like social values, religious values and in many other forms. However, its main theme is fostering for being a human or act as a perfect human. In the view of Sanyal (n.d., the basic values of seeking the truth, practicing honesty and appreciating beauty, secular values like tolerance, self-respect, love for human dignity, respect and compassion for others, individual freedom and human rights, rejection of cruelty, the practice of non-violence and the culture of peace. These days, different countries have developed the framework on value based education and incorporated the theme of values in their education systems. For example, the Government of Australia had already developed the national framework which aiming in teaching and learning of students and takes practical action together to become responsible citizens and positive contributors to society (Clark, 2008 cited as Leichsenring,2010,p.12 ).The identified theme of values are; care and compassion, do your best, fair go, freedom, honesty and trustworthiness, respect, integrity, responsibility and understanding tolerance and inclusion (Leichsenring,2010,pp.12-13).

Similarly, Swami Vivekananda suggested some important values which should be included in our curriculum such as unconditional love and kindness, honesty, hard work, respect for others and cooperation, compassion and forgiveness (cited as Aneja, 2014 pp 231-232).

All above themes are the basic elements of the values. These impart social, emotional, ethical, moral, spirituality code of conduct positive behavior and much more. It may not be necessary to teach as a separate subject but it can be integrated into other core subjects like Science, Mathematics, Language etc. or it can be achieved through co–curricular/extra-curricular activities too. According to CBSE, Values cannot be taught like a subject, i.e., like Languages, History, Science or Mathematics. They can only be inculcated through the situations deliberately planned while teaching various school subjects (CBSE, 2012 p.16)

Core values of Buddhism

The main theme of Buddhism is doing no harm to anyone including any other creatures. Thus, ‘the teaching of Buddhism, which tells to all human how to eliminate greed, anger, and foolishness, is good teaching and those who follow it attain the happiness of a good life’ (Kyokai, 1986, p.121).These things only happen when people stands on moral values.

The essence of the Buddha’s teaching can be summed up in two principles: The Four Noble Truths and Noble Eightfold path.The first covers the side of Doctrine and second covers the side of discipline. These two principles called the dhamma-Vinaya, or Tipitaka the doctrine and discipline or in brief Dhamma (Bodhi, 1999 p.v). Hence, Buddhism can be approached by studying the teachings and practicing. Practicing to attain wisdom (prajna) requires stabilizing the mind (samadhi) through understanding the teachings. Study and practice, like prajna and samadhi, are thus intimately connected (Yen, P.1).

In Buddhism, all the Buddha advised that the morality found in all the precepts can be summarized in three simple principles – ‘To avoid evil; to do well, to purify the mind’ (Dhammananda, 2002). This can be justified as the path with the principles of purity which says not to injure or kill others, not to steal or appropriate one anything which belongs to another, not to speak untruth, not to indulge in lust and not to indulge in the intoxication of drinks (Bagde, 2014, p.33). Furthermore, one should abandon to killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying and to abandon taking alcohol and illegal drugs (Faxum, 2011). These are called five moral percepts or Panca Sila in Pali (skt. Pancha Shila) or golden rules. The Five Precepts set forth by the Buddha are not commandments. Rather, they are practical guidelines that can govern our behavior, helping us to live peaceful, wholesome and happy lives (Faxun, 2011 p.12). Moreover, Oates (2008, p.9) expressed its importance in our daily life that it is worth enumerating the possible activities which are the root of all the wrong conducts such as three bodily evils (taking life, theft, and sexual misconduct), the four verbal evils (falsehood, abuse, slander, and idle gossip), and the three mental evils (greed, hatred, and wrong views).

As De Cea (2010) mentioned, the Pāli Nikāyas can be correlated to five percepts with values and virtues. The first percept abstaining from taking life associated with the value of life and virtues such as friendliness or loving-kindness and compassion. Similarly, the second precept – abstaining from taking can be related to the values of property and social justice. These values can be protected by virtues such as non-greed, generosity, and honesty. The third precept – abstaining from sensual misconduct – can be connected to the values of self-control, moderation, and fulfilling role-dependent duties. The fourth precept – abstaining from telling lies expresses what Peter Harvey calls the value of “seeking truth and seeing things as they are,” which can be cultivated through virtues such as wisdom, mindfulness, and investigation of things (dhammavicaya). Lastly, the fifth precept – abstaining from taking intoxicants – reflects the Buddhist concern for mental health, as well as for the value of seeking truth and seeing things as they are (De Cea, 2010 p.214).

Buddhism does not accept greed, hatred, and ignorance as they are poison inherent in life, sometimes also called “three poisons” (Kawada, 1999, p.4). Hence, not to do any evil but cultivate what is wholesome to purify one’s mind is the teaching of Buddha (Dhammapada, verse 183 as stated by Harvey, 2000). According to Dhammapada, the moral life is associated with twofold. First is the preliminary to the proper practice of mental discipline and meditation which is not possible without the stability of morality. Second is that the morality enhanced by meditation (Hallisey, 1970, 1977).

The central value of Buddhism clarifies non-greed, not- hate and not –delusion is regarded as the roots of wholesome action. There are 25 wholesome or beautiful mental qualities found in Abhidhamma. Among them, the first seven are; faith, mindfulness (i.e. careful awareness), self-respect and regard for consequences, non-greed, non-hate and equipoise (a balanced over -seeing of activities and events) (Harvery, 2000 p.60).

According to the Path of Righteousness in Buddhism, there are eight constitutes called Ashtanga Marga. They are; right look, right intention, right speech, right action, right effort, right means of livelihood, right mindfulness and right concentration (Bagde, 2014 p.33). These Noble Eightfold paths can be sum up into three main themes or group: virtue, concentration, and wisdom (Sila, Samadhi, and Panna ) which are also referred as the threefold training ( Tivida sikkha or Tri-shikkha or tisikkha). Importantly, none of them is an end in itself as one cannot function independently of others. For example, a tripod falls to the ground in absence of a leg, so this applies to threefold trainings too (Thera 2010 p.2). However, the major norms of Dhamma in Buddhism comprise three factors- Tisikkh. Sikkha means education (Sikkha in Pali too) came from Sanskrit Siksha which means learning, study, training (Ratnamalai, 2007, p.69).

The Buddhist education system aimed at regaining our intrinsic nature. Thus, Buddha‘s teaching helps us to realize innate, perfect and ultimate wisdom. In Buddhism, wisdom (prajna/panna/khanda) consists of right view and right aspiration. This wisdom can be achieved through three steps or conditions; wisdom based on learning or study (Suta-Maya Paññā), wisdom based on reflection or thinking (Cintā-Maya Paññā ) and wisdom based on meditation or mental development (Bhāvanā-Maya Paññā). Wisdom is related with compassion where compassion without Wisdom is meaningless. So, Wisdom and compassion should go together.

The Buddha is the compassionate Teacher who possessed universal compassion towards all living and non-living beings (Minh Tanh, 2014, pp. II-III). With wisdom, we can solve all our problems and turn suffering into happiness. It also helps to prepare our life as an all round development through imparting wordily and practical knowledge along with religious education so that when the students entered normal life they may be able to earn their livelihood (Meshram, 2013 p.9). The other steps for wisdom i.e.; samadhi or concentration and meditation khanda include right efforts, right mindfulness and right concentration and Sila/virtue or morality khanda incorporates right speech, right conduct or action and right livelihood (Thera, 2010 p.3). Therefore, Wisdom, concentration, and morality are interconnected. Without any one of these, real learning is incomplete or in words learning is not on a holistic basis.

Thus, Eightfold path is the combination of Sila as ethics and conduct, Samadhi as a concentration and mindfulness, and Prajna as wisdom.”Wisdom that has myriad levels but that eventually leads to knowing the way things really are” (Smith, 2002 p 17). These eight factors are interrelated as well as interdependent i.e; they are not to be cultivated one by one in the sequential order as they are not mutually exclusive. Instead, they are mutually supporting factors (Gunaratna, 2008 p.16).

Summarization of holistic Buddhist education: Pariyatti-Patipatti-Pativedha and Tisikkha

Tisikkha in Buddhism is a living education but not just the education as in academic institution these days i.e.; study and examination. It provides the fundamental principle of education along with learning of Buddhism which teaches the life is education and education is the life (Pongnarin, 2005). He illustrated learning the process and learning the level of Tisikkha in tabulated form as given below:

Buddhist Education LevelEducational Component of Tisikkha
BuddhismEducationTisikkhaSila-khandaSamadhikhandaPrajna or panna –khandaFunction
Noble Eight-fold Path
pativedhaReal /Noble /SupremeSupremesamma-vacasammakammantasammaajivasamma-vayamasamma-satisammasamadhisamma-ditthi,samma-sankappaNoble Path & Result
patipattiPracticalProgressiveVirtue of 4-fold Purification /sila-visuddhiTranquil Meditation SamadhiInsight Meditation / Vipassana􀀀􀀀⎞aProcess/Progress
pariyattiTheoreticalPreliminaryVinaya-pitakaSuttanta- pitakaAbhidhamma- pitakaLearning Sources – Guidance

Source: Pongnarin (2005 p.21).

According to Tisikkha, the fundamental purposes of education are the inculcation of values and the transformation of the individual in the Buddhism (Samten, 2009). Thus, the concept of Shiksha (education) is not the development or the training of skills. The idea of Tri-shiksha (the three educational trainings) is the development of ethics, of concentration and of wisdom (Samten, 2009). As Pannamurti (2005, pp 80-81) described, “the training of morality helps one to be self-disciplined by observing the five percepts. The practice of meditation creates love and compassion towards others. In the same way, training in wisdom is intended to develop insight. These are such a marvelous component in the development of human society”.

Similarly, Tisikkha also provides the whole picture of human development, which consists of three aspects of educational life: virtuous behavior (sila), good mental psyche (citta), and wisdom (panna). Developing all aspects of the human to become a Perfect One is the real meaning of education (Pongnarin, 2005, p.23) in Buddhism.

The living together with inner peace and happiness is another part of the core value of Buddhism. As the Sangha is also preferred, where, monks and nuns are living together by accepting and behaving as an equal entity. There is no self, means all are equal in the most profound sense (Bagde, 2014). Hence, this is the true doctrine which promotes living together with inner peace and happiness forever.

Gaps in the modern education

Experts argued, today’s school education system is, somehow, following global trends and trying to cover the entire cross-cutting issues arose globally but the value based education is becoming forgotten. As Samten (2009) stated, modern education is not value-based; rather it works directly against human values. Although, nobody is explicitly taught to be selfish, greedy, arrogant, jealous, dominating and so forth; the overall content of the curriculum sends a message valorizing these characteristics (p. 2). It is observed in Nepalese context that the learning achievement and success are assessed on obtained high scores in examinations, through any means. In contrast, these students with the high score are also exhibiting poor moral characters. These circumstances indicate that the formal education is failing much to provide students with a holistic education.

Likewise, the formal education is running in a great confusion these days. Classroom instructions are becoming so reutilized that children often consider school as a place to exercise competition rather than cooperative learning. The students in our society are inclining towards violence, social evil and lack of respect towards the world. The enforcing reason is the aim of today’s education which encourages only achieving a good mark in the examination to get a good job but loss of morality. These made the students look towards their rights but not duties (Jindal, 2013).

Furthermore, today’s world is operating on the basis of human’s selfishness whether it is at the level of the individual, group, society or nation. Social norms and values are shifting as per the individual interests. Therefore, the self is increasingly being identified with selfishness (Luther, 2001).

A child of the twenty-first century showing unethical behavior and moral degradation seems everywhere; however, children are not to be blamed for this because there are several responsible reasons. One of the major factors is the parent. Incidences of broken homes with children distraught and deserted because the parent of twenty-first centuries is more involved with their worldly pleasures and social obligations rather than their responsibilities towards their children have become common. Similarly, another cause is a negative impact of information and technology. Children read and hear about growing influence of criminalization of politics and politicization of crime through the media every day. The impact of this constant flow of unhealthy information on their sensitive mind is easy to imagine (Luther, 2001). This is happening due to the proliferation of vast amounts of information because of internet and media, and this may cause negative impacts, mainly in the more impressionable young minds, unless and until they have something robust to anchor upon (Singh, 2011, p.2). On the other hand, there is a strong chance of showing unethical behavior and unexpected activities by well-informed persons too. They may not be aware properly on human values, norms and ethics so they may break the code, rules and might fall on criminal actions.

Today, most of the crimes are committed by students coming out of schools and colleges as well. Their emphasis instead is on moneymaking and materialism instead of value or moral making (Shelly & Jain, 2012, p.1). For these distressing conditions of human life and society, the new generation is drifting away from its history and culture while crime and violence have spread to all spheres of life. Doubtless, the scientific discoveries have given rise to genuine optimism materialistic accomplishments, but the problems of inequity, conflicts, poverty, apathy and anxiety are on the rise (Rai, 2014 p.1).

On the basis of above discussion, there is necessary of a balanced curriculum of values and other essential skills in today’s education system. Therefore, the need of value education in today’s context cannot be overemphasized. Therefore, education should aim at making human life better not only through economic upliftment of individual but also through social, moral and spiritual strengthening. This will not improve human life only but also realize the “higher truth” i.e. “Tamaso Ma Jyotirgamaya” from darkness to light (Yadav & Saini, 2016; p.715).

Approaches to imparting the values in teaching and learning process

Human development cannot be conceived in the absence of values. In this regard, an educational institute should not be just confined to teaching and learning but it should be considered as a place where consciousness is cultivated (Kumar, 2015 p.47). Hence, this consciousness can be developed through the education. For this, there are several ways on the inculcation of values in the individual where teaching learning process or curriculum is one of the best ways.

During Hindu, historical period; Ramayan or Mahabharat period; values were taught to the children along with formal education in Gurukuls where Guru or Priest taught the students at their Ashrams through different methods and prepares them to face the life (Awasthi, 2014, p.5). However; at present; Gurukuls are replaced by schools/boarding schools where values become the forgotten issues.

The learning objectives of Dhamma education are the gaining knowledge of Buddhism, developing skills by applying the learning of everyday life in cultivating the attitudes of morals/values. In this concern, Swarna Chandrasekra has developed a complete guideline for Toronto Dhamma teachers with teaching methodologies. The Jataka stories and telling these are strongly prescribed in this guideline as the Buddha played a role of teacher with his teaching techniques and experiences with children (Bhikkhu, 2010 p.100).

These days, different scholars and organization from different countries have been developing varieties of teaching learning designs which can provide the education of morals and values. As such; the Central board of secondary education of India (CBSE) has exposed 10 basic themes of value education for schools. They are: think positive, be compassionate and do no harm, discover inner peace, learning to live together, respect human dignity, be your true self, developing critical thinking, resolve conflict non-violently, build peace in the community and caring for the planet (CBSE,2012 p. 9). According to CBSE, values can be incorporated through various ways. One of the ways is the external factor-related with school’s surroundings, the parental background of students and priorities of each society, and a framework in which the curriculum or the action plan must be fitted. Other factors are hidden curriculum such as; planning of teaching and learning through other social as well as class room activities.

Luther (2001) said that values and ethics cannot be taught like history and geography or science; therefore; it can be taught through all the subjects constituting the school curriculum at all levels. For this, all the teachers have to understand how basics of values and ethics can be applied to their particular subjects and they must be informed about the form of an integral part of their entire style and content of teaching. So, the mobilization of teachers can be one of the easiest ways of imparting values to the student through formal and informal methods. As Luther (2001) exposed an example of India, the education commission of India (1964-66) had referred two major methods of instruction for values and ethics which are the direct method and indirect method. For direct method, it is emphasized whole curriculum and whole teaching-learning process. Similarly, indirect methods are included school assembly, curricular and co-curricular activities, and celebration of religious festivals of all religions, team games at sports, subject clubs, and social service program. All these can help inculcating the values of cooperation and mutual regard, honesty and integrity, discipline and social responsibility. Further, the school authorities need to make special efforts to holistically plan, develop and pursue such methods of teaching and activities to help the promotion of values amongst students. Therefore, it is suggested an integrated approach is needed where all the school subjects have an element of value orientation (Luther, 2001; p.157 &159).

Indrani (2012) recommended values could be taught through different possible ways in contemporary students;

  • By giving a place for moral values in the curriculum.
  • By explaining moral values through stories, poetry, novels and illustrations.
  • By role playing of a good story in the lesson.
  • By educating the students through posters, advertisements and dramatizations.

Most of the countries have developed their national framework or national guidelines for value based education in the schools such as in India, Australia, Japan, and China. Similarly, UNESCO is also contributing in value based education through the different mechanism. In 2004, UNESCO developed a source book ‘Asia-Pacific teaching core values of peace and harmony’ for teachers in Asia-Pacific countries. It also developed four pillars of learning which include learning to know, learning to do, learning to live together and learning to be. These four pillars are the fundamental of value based education and emphasize in education as a major tool for achieving peace and harmony in this globe. Among the four pillars of education, learning to live together has emphasized greatly (UNESCO, 2004).

One of the four pillars ‘Learning to Live Together’ is guided by an overall pledge to safeguard human dignity. Its aims are to strengthen children’s commitment to justice, respect for human rights, and to build harmonious relationships between individuals and within societies. Hence, learning to live together promotes four ethical values of respect, empathy, responsibility and reconciliation (Arigatou foundation, UNESCO & UNICEF, 2004, 2008). Similarly, the dimensions of ‘learning to live together’ could be peace education (conflict resolution), education for mutual understanding (social cohesion), multicultural/intercultural education (tolerance, respect for diversity ), human rights education (respect for human rights and responsibilities), life skills’/ health education, citizenship education, education for sustainable development, humanitarian education and values education (Sinclair, 2004; p.22). Therefore, education can take the leading role to spread the message of ‘learning to live together’ entire the world.

As an example from the globe, the government of Australia also has developed a national framework for values education in Australian schools in 2005 and has been set the National Goals with the strong commitment of all the stakeholders. According to it, each citizen should have necessary knowledge, understanding, skills and values. Therefore, the key elements of the guiding principles for these are; school planning, partnership with the community schools, whole school approach, safe and supportive learning environment, supports to student and quality teaching (Commonwealth Australia, 2005; p.2, 6-7).

Finally, the teaching of Dhamma to general students is not only the theoretical or extra knowledge but knowledge with changing behavior. In other words, it is far from an academic excellence, therefore, after having the practical knowledge of Dhamma everyone should have the qualities called divine abiding (Brahmavihāras) which consist of metta- loving kindness, karuna-compassion, mudita-empathetic joy and upekkha-equanimity (Miller, 2007; Singh, 2013). Miller (2007) elaborated; Metta -loving kindness is the fundamental attitude that underpins all behavior, speech and thought in Buddhist teaching and stands diametrically opposite to anger. Karuna is the appropriate response to suffering is compassion, which means the action of loving kindness. Mudita is about our ability to enjoy the achievements of theirs, their talents, their skills and their qualities, opposite of jealousy. Upekkha-equanimity which describes as; calm minded whether success or failure, rich or poor, do not give up whatever you face/happen (Piya Tan, 2016). Piya Tan (2016) further expressed in a formal interview; Buddhist education is openness, immeasurability which includes Brahma Vihara- metta, karuna, mudita and upekkha (we need the students with these qualities).

Value based education through Pariyatti education in present context

The words of Buddha are collected in three baskets (Pitaka) namely Suttapitaka, Vinayapitaka and Abhidhammapitaka. Further, the teaching of Buddhism also categorized as Pariyatti (theory of learning), Pratipatti (practice) and Prativeda (realization) (Pannamurti, 2005). Therefore, Buddha Sasana (discipline) consists of three steps as Pariyatti, Pratipatti, and Pativedha (Pannamurti, 2005, Manandhar, 2014 p.317). In other words, the teaching and learning are considered as different levels such as the basic level: Pariyatti, middle level: Pratipatti and the higher level: Prativeda. However, Pariyatti is the theoretical foundation of Buddhism and is concerned with the study and teaching, or dissemination of the words of the Buddha collected in Tripitaka ( Thus, this provides appropriate guidance to practice properly and easy to achieve the supreme goal which contributes to becoming a value-based or awaken person (Pannamurti, 2005).

The Pariyatti is the Pali word meaning education which is the study of Buddha’s teaching. Nyanatiloka (1980) defines; in Pali Buddhist Dictionary; Pariyatti is a: ‘Learning the doctrine’ and the wording of the doctrine. In the same way, Pariyatti refers to studying and memorizing passages from the Canon, which qualifies on the physical level as a symbol of the Dhamma taught by Buddha. These provide the characteristic of Buddhism as the whole of education from the beginning to the end (Pongnarin, 2005). In conclusion, pariyatti is the first step of learning and understanding the Buddhism in actual meaning.

Definitely, Pariyatti education is completely based on Buddhism which is entailed of value based. It is directed not merely Buddha’s philosophy only but aims to inculcate values for holistic development of human beings including spirituality. Therefore, Buddhism conveys this meaning by using three words, Sikkha (training), Vinaya (discipline) and Nana (Right understanding) (Kumar, 2014). More than these, there are numerous things in Buddhism which all individuals should know in present context. Among core teachings of Buddhism, the Panchasila: the five percepts and/or oath as well as the four Noble truths, Noble eightfold path are the essential components which are the moral lessons for every individual.The five percepts are:

  • I take an oath to refrain from killing any living being.
  • I take an oath to refrain from any kinds of stealing or grabbing.
  • I take an oath to refrain from sexual misconduct.
  • I take an oath to refrain from lying.
  • I take an oath to refrain intoxicating (Bodhi, 2014, De Cea 2010, Dahlke, 2008).

These five percepts of Panchasila are common and universal which are applicable to all human beings for maintenance of peace and harmony in the society. As these percepts appeal to every individual for abstaining from those activities, they are incompatible and the sign of inhumanity. Likewise, these five percepts are the norms of human society which we should follow to keep peace and harmony because we are interdependent to others as a social animal (Bodhi, 2014).

At present, we are following modern education system in most profound. Due to modern technology and fondness of materialistic life, people become more selfish and the violation of human rights which is very common in every society. Therefore, human society is in turbulence and human life becomes more stressful. Struggles are going on due to mental conflicts of greed, avarice, lust, anger, hatred. As a result, there is no peace in minds. To dispel these social diseases and unrest caused by such an unhealthy situation in today’s society everywhere in the world, the study and practice of Dhamma is extremely important as this develop the humanly social behavior and balance the life.

Dhamma is against the conflict, war, and killing of any living beings. It is very much important as it teaches about the humanity and kindness as well as peace and harmony because the Lord Buddha wanted all human beings to lead ideal lives such as to be kind, compassionate and considerate to another and to exercises patient, tolerance and understanding in all activities and relationships (Dhammananda, n.d.). He gave more emphasis on purity of character, code of conduct and core human values with holly purpose of humankind. So, it is the right time to propagate true Buddhism through Pariyatti Sikkhà in different parts of the country in order to create peace and harmony (Pannamurti, 2005).

One of the major objectives of Pariyatti education is to bring under control the fire of lust, hatred and delusion raging in the present society ( Therefore, Pariyatti education should be understood; basically; as a tool for developing a true human being which gives more attention in spirituality but the art of living for mental peace. Here, the peace means the environment without any kinds of war or tension in the sense of political, economical, environmental, religious as well as mental in this technological and materialistic society. The question has been raising how to establish the peaceful society in this world. In this dispensation, Buddhism can play decisive role in providing and preserving the world peace. The foundation of peace and security can strengthen within the framework of Buddhism which is quintessentially tolerant, cosmopolitan and portable (Singh, n.d.,

Even though every people cannot live in Sangha (community of nuns and monks), but they can follow all the truths and paths of Buddha which can make every individual ethical and moral. Hence, Pariyatti education is in great demand in every society and for the populace of Nepal where this education system can promote the development of moral character, good harmony, discipline and meditation (CERID, 2008) for peaceful life and society. The modernism results into materialism, frustration, and pessimism, whereas Buddhism results into spiritual knowledge which is the source of inner peace, eternity and salvation (Bimali, 2007).

Another reason for the need of Pariyatti education is that, at present, even the top level of specialists and administrators display the lack of humanly and inappropriate social behavior. “Even though people are rich and educated, they are not happy and unable to carry on duties and responsibilities required for human beings (Santwona Memorial, 2012, p.22). Hence, these are the great reasons that Pariyatti education is mandatory for each and every person in present context of Nepal as well.


Science and technology which is a great triumph for human kinds in this new era which makes human’s life better and easier. Due to the gift of technologies, the world is connected and seems as one small city or village. People of this globe more voracious on material comfort which makes people’s life more competitive. Hence, material wealth has become major indicator for measuring the success in every society instead of value based person. However, human’s civilization fundamentally depends upon the cultivation of values, those values which shape human’s lives and craft real human. Indeed, it is observed everywhere the values are degrading constantly which results increasing of inhuman activities. Thus; there is a great need for imparting value based education from early stage of school education. Although education is a change agent and the expected process of inculcating values to equip the learners for their successful life with the cherished values and contribute to ideal and healthy society. And all these can be achieved only through the Pariyatti education.



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