This paper presents a dialogue that draws on the two major wisdom traditions of India, Hinduism and Buddhism. The dialogue is between an Indian national, also Hindu, who is negotiating a place for herself and her children in the Australian education system, and her mentor, an Australian born teacher educator who is Buddhist. Both authors are considering the need for the development of wisdom in education, how that might be enacted, and what might the ancient wisdom traditions offer in this quest. The paper draws on the Bhagavad Gita and Jataka stories from the Buddhist cannon. Each of these texts speak to contemporary concerns: integrity, skilfull actions, consequences and cultivation of peaceful dispositions. While western constructs prioritise knowledge and rational arbitration, an eastern paradigm offers contemplation and yogas strategies that are integral to the development of wisdom. This experiential and affective dimension is growing through the proliferation of mindfulness exercises, and even hatha yoga, and we conclude that the educators are well-placed to accept, or indeed it is now necessary, that these ways of knowing are intergral to the development of wisdom. The Hindu-Buddhist dialogue finds synergies and differences. Particular divergence stems from seemingly opposing ontological positions of atma and annata. The dialogue becomes an exemplar of how such a divide might be negotiated, and demonstrates how giving priority to ethical imperatives can embrace divergent religious positionings and remain inclusive and relevant to secular voices and priorities.
Sue Smith, Charles Darwin University, Australia
Shalini Sharma, Charles Darwin University, Australia
Stream: Indian and South Asian Studies
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Sue Smith, and Shalini Sharma