In Buddhist educational system much stress was laid on the efficiency of the teachers. This has been described as follows:
(a) High Moral Order
The teacher himself must have spent at least ten years as monk. He must have the purity of character, purity of thoughts and generosity, etc.
(b) High Mental Order
Essentially the teachers were expected to be of a high mental order, so that he might teach his disciple the religion and nobleness and he may also successfully combat the wrong religious notions.
Duties of the Teacher
In Buddhist system of education, the teacher was responsible for the proper education and up-keep of the disciple. He had to fulfill the needs of the disciple during the education period. He had to treat them affectionately. He had to supply his disciple with all the necessary materials. He was responsible for their physical and mental development.
At the time of sickness he would attend to the treatment and care of his students. The teacher taught them through question-answer, explanation and such other methods, so that the student might gain full knowledge and realise “Nirvan.”
Daily Routine of the Disciple
Regular service of the ‘Guru’ (teacher) was essential in the Buddhist system. In morning the student would arrange for water, due tonic, etc. for the teacher. He would also look after his meal.
He would cook the food, feed the teacher and clean the utensils. He would go out for alms with the teacher. After bath the students would get ready for the education. The teacher would impart education according to the system of the day.
Thus the disciple had to serve the teacher and keep the place tidy. His daily routine depended on the orders of the teacher. He was not bound to obey anyone else except his teacher.
He could not take any service from any other person, nor could he go anywhere without the permission of the teacher. Thus the disciples used to live under the disciplinary control of their teacher.
In Buddhist period like ‘Vedic’ Period the relation of the teachers and the taught was close, affectionate, pure and good. Their duties were fixed and they used to them well.
The teachers used to lead a very simple life. They had limited needs. Being learned men of high character, knowing themselves and having self-control, they put the same ideals before their taught. Huen tsang wroteliving in ‘Buddha Vihars’ were and eminent scholars. They put inspiring ideals before the students.
They were paid very little for their personal expenditure. Prominent teachers of even a famous University like Nalanda were often receiving for their expenses, money equal to three times being given to an ordinary student.
The duties of the disciple were settled. He was called the ‘Sidh Biharak’. He gained knowledge while serving his teacher. The teacher took every care of his student. He did not let him suffer in any way.
The disciples were also ready to serve teachers. If the disciple was aware of the mental troubles of the ‘Guru’ he used to amuse him by religious conversations and other means. While taking lessons, the disciples gained knowledge meekly.
The teacher enlightened the inner sense of the students through different methods such as explanation, question-answer, lecture, etc. If the disciple had some doubts the teacher would try to remove those doubts. He could take help from other people of the ‘Sangh’ also if required.
In Buddhist period the position of ‘Sangh’ was above everything. If the teacher behaved against the honour of the sangh then they taught was duty bound to bring the defects of the teacher to the notice of the sangh.
He would request for proper action against him. After the due penances, he could again request for his re-establishment. Thus the relation between teacher and the taught was based on high ideals in Buddhist period.