There is a deep connection of the spiritual quest of the Buddha and the overall growth and enlightenment of the students. No one can deny the fact that in most of the parts of the world, including the Indian subcontinent have an educational system framework that is highly influenced by the west. Well, there is nothing wrong in adopting a certain education policy but it is critical to evaluate whether it is comprehensive enough or not.
We are living in the contemporary world where though students are pursuing the materialistic aspects of their academic curriculum, they tend to miss the philosophical, psychological and spiritual quest associated with the learning. These components of the education system were an integral part of the syllabus in the Indian subcontinent, especially during the Buddhist era of teaching. The world famous academic curriculum of then universities like Nalanda, Taxila and Vikramshila were indeed the primary example of the same. These universities and schools of thoughts encouraged the Buddhist way of teaching and learning. They used to focus upon the overall personal, social and intellectual development of the students, which is hard to find in today’s western philosophy of education. That is one of the core reasons why we find students in these countries suffering from stress, anxiety, and depression that even result even the most tragic and unfathomable outcomes like suicide.
The Buddhist way of learning touches all the aspects of a student’s life. Buddhism teaches the students to lead a moral life. It would influence what they think and how they behave. Buddha taught the students how to lead a perfect life by getting enlightened. He taught how to become a kindhearted and warm person by staying away from the delusion of anger and hatred.
During his lifetime after getting enlightened, Buddha always encouraged the concept of vitarka. Which means debating in the social circle and encourage the exchange of information. You can find the symbolic gesture of it in the vitarka mudra of the Buddha. Here, the Buddha formed a complete circle with the thumb and index finger of the right hand to represent an uninterrupted flow of information as well as the union of wisdom and method. You can even find the glimpse of this gesture in Sarnath Buddha statue symbolizing the era when the Buddha used to give sermons to his disciples at the Deer Park in Sarnath. The remaining three extended fingers of the right hand represent the teachings of the Buddha.
Here, the middle finger corresponds to the 'hearers' of his teachings, the index finger corresponds the 'realizers' of his teachings and the little finger corresponds the Mahayana or the 'Great Vehicle'. The three extended fingers of the left hand represent the ‘Three Jewels of Buddhism’, i.e. the Buddha, the Sangha and the Dharma. When you closely look at a vitarka mudra Buddha statue, then you would find that the Buddha has placed his right hand closer to his heart to symbolize the fact that all teachings, information and wisdom are coming straight from his heart.
The presence of a vitarka mudra Buddha sculpture is known to bring positive Vastu changes to the vicinity, especially that of schools, colleges, universities, and research institutions. The placement of a stone Buddha idol in teaching mudra can be done in school auditoriums, debate halls, libraries, open gardens, etc. Always try to convey the students the significance of this mudra of the Buddha and what does it actually portrays. Let them realize the uninterrupted circle of information, knowledge and wisdom. Never discourage them from asking question, even if it is the most basic one; as the Buddha always encouraged a two way communication and he himself said that it is true that a student can learn a lot from his teacher, but vice versa is also equally true.
If you are buying Buddha for home to help students focus better upon their studies, then also vitarka Buddha is a worthy candidate. But if you have a limited space in the study room and wish to keep a Buddha on console table, then we recommend you to go with a Buddha bust. Make some arrangements in your child’s study room to make the Buddha head facing the East direction and should face your child while he or she is busy with the homework lessons. You can even place the Buddha face in the North-East direction to stimulate the positive energy of the corner.
Well, it is the time to bring some rapid and positive transformations in the lives of our students by placing the right kind of the Buddha as per Vastu and the energy corners. Let our children get inspired by the life of Gautama Buddha. Let them steer ahead towards the path of an enlightened and inclusive growth to keep all kinds of negative thoughts and emotions at bay.