Buddhist Education Forum: Looking for a new opportunity

On Dec 22th – 23th, 2017, at GIS NTU Convention Center in Taipei city, Sheng Yen Education Foundation held the “Third Forum of Buddhist Education”, in accordance with the founder of Dharma Drum Mountain, Master Sheng Yen’s aspiration to propagate quality Buddhism learning, offering a chance for collective insights from fourteen representatives of academic and religious fields of Buddhist Education.

Scholars and speakers included Venerable Guo Hui, professor and Chairman of Buddhist Studies Dept from DILA, Professor Liao, Chao-Heng of Institute of Chinese Literature and Philosophy from Academia SINICA, Professor Wan, Jin-Chuan, Dean of College and Dept of Buddhist Studies from Fo-Guang University. They eloquently responded to one another during discussions, all of them presented a marvelous class of “Buddhist Education” for some 500 audience in the convention hall.

From Komazawa University, Professor Yamaguchi, Hiroe, as a representative of The Nippon Buddhist Education Research Association, gave a through introduction of the origin and afterward development of Buddhist Education in Japan, indicating the historic path of Buddhist Education. Professor Xuan, Fang, from Ren Min University of China, shared a proposal of curriculum reconstructions as well as suggestions of building up a school-specific college, and admission reform in Buddhist Institute to sustain the growth.

From Fu-Dan University in Shanghai, Professor Lau, Lawrence Y. K, who is familiar with Buddhism in South Asia, analyzed Thai Sangha modernity which is distinctive from other traditions of Theravadas was formed based on the three historic reforms between 1840 and1960. Professor Lau also raised in-depth reflection on the issues of Buddhist Nuns’ opportunities for formal education.

Based on rich data of analysis, and observations of four different educational systems, Professor Park Yong-hwan from Dongguk University introduced curriculum systems and confronting difficulties of major Buddhist-built Universities in Korea, including educational systems of Buddhist Sect built Universities, Central Sangha Universities, Forest Monastery, and Won Buddhism.

Professor Hsiao, Li Hua, Chairwoman of Department of Chinese Literature and Application, Fo-Guang University made comparison between Eastern Chan School Gong-an and Western Humanism; Associate Professor of Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts, Deng, Wei-Jen, on the other hand, compared Buddhism doctrine with Western religious studies and seminary traditions. Enthusiastic responses were aroused among participants from the wide-ranging analogies and discussions.

From the challenges and advantages of current religious education, Professor Deng further pondered future opportunities of Buddhist Education, in the hopes that the Academy of Buddhist Studies will not only be a Department of Buddhist studies, but also provide an educational field good for training religious personnel specializing in Buddhism, as well as a place that makes social contribution.

Abbot President of Dharma Drum Mountain, Venerable Guo Dong also arrived right before the closing of the forum; he expressed deep appreciation to all scholars for coming from afar, and the significant endeavors made by all volunteers, aiming for a better future of Buddhist education.

Professor Yang, Pei, CEO of Sheng Yen Education Foundation, invited renowned professors to attend the forum for the past three years, as the representatives for the round table forum, including Professor Venerable Guo Jing, Professor Lin, Chen-Guo, Professor Ji, Zhe, and Professor Gong, Jun. They concluded the commentary of dissertations presentation and hot discussions. In addition, she also invited scholars’ feedback and suggestions on the improvement of forum managements, with sincere hopes that Buddhist education can be a lively resource for Humanity and Social Science, furthermore, making the forum a bridge from classics teachings to modernity.

Texts: Chang, Yao-Chong (張曜鐘)
Translation: Elenda Huang (頤嵐達)
Editors: DDM Australian Editorial Team

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