The Peripatetic Class: Buddhist Traditions and Myths of Pedagogy
E.H. Rick Jarow, Vassar College
Assumptions that Lie Underneath the Classroom
This paper has its roots in a classroom incident that took place during an Introductory Course on Buddhist Traditions. I had been working through a standard introductory curriculum: the life of the Buddha, the four noble truths, the twelve-fold chain of interdependent origination, etc., when after
class, a student from Thailand came to me in tears. She had a Buddha image around her neck, a talisman that she had been wearing since childhood, and she could not reconcile the God “Buddha” she grew up with, with the “Buddhism” being taught in Religion 152,” in which a focus on the nontheistic polemics of the Theravadin tradition is standard fare.