Chapter

The General Structure of the Tibetan Curriculum

Georges B. J. Dreyfus

in The Sound of Two Hands Clapping

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2003 | ISBN: 9780520232594
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520928244 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520232594.003.0006
The General Structure of the Tibetan Curriculum

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However great the importance of memorization training in the life of Tibetan monks, it is only a preparation for the central part of the scholastic education, the interpretation of the great texts. The passage from one to the other is often quite difficult; some monks never manage it and never go beyond memorizing texts. But even those who manage it successfully find the transition quite traumatic particularly monks trained in Tibet, where most students began their scholastic careers barely able to read. The Tibetan tradition focuses on two principal intellectual practices: the explanation of texts through commentary and the investigation of their meaning through dialectical debate. This chapter discusses the commentarial logic that animates the Tibetan scholastic curriculum. It then explores the normative curricular model that provides the general standards of learning within the Tibetan scholarly world, a model quite different from the actual curricula implemented in monasteries.

Keywords: Tibet; curriculum; memorization; scholastic education; monks; commentary; dialectical debate; monasteries

Chapter.  5378 words. 

Subjects: Buddhism

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