2002 Indic Colloquium
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Vesna Wallace

Contact Information




University of California
Dep’t of Religious Studies
Santa Barbara, CA 93106

5052 Birchwood Road
Santa Barbara, CA 93111



(805) 681-9591




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Background Information

Vesna A. Wallace is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she teaches classes in South Asian religions and the Sanskrit language. The main area of her specialization is South Asian Buddhism, and her secondary area is Mongolian Buddhism. She has authored and translated several books and articles, of which the most recently published one is The Inner Kalacakratantra: A Buddhist Tantric View of the Individual (Oxford, 2001).


Bridging the Disciplines:
Integrative Buddhist Monastic Education in Classical India

As one looks for the teaching and learning methods in the vast body of Indian Buddhist literature, one finds that the majority of Buddhist works in either a direct or an implicit way reveal that Buddhist education in India was in good part democratic, comprehensive, and integrative. It was characterized by a variety of pedagogical methods, some of which correspond to contemporary teaching methods in the West, while some, despite their effectiveness, have been forgotten in the modern world. Traditional Buddhist pedagogical methods were concerned not only with the transmission of knowledge on a given subject, but also with the edification of a student about the methods of learning, critical analysis, logical thinking, experimental research, and implementation of faith, not as blind belief but as an epistemological tool, and so on. In my presentation, I will discuss Buddhist pedagogical methods and the corresponding methods of learning in light of their epistemological considerations. I will also demonstrate that our representations of traditional education in India have been simplistic and incomplete, focused mainly on the orality and method of memorization, while disregarding its sophisticated pedagogical methods, from which we have much to learn.

Read the entire paper in PDF format (36K, 7 pp.)