The purpose of this study was to examine Buddhist teaching, which was the philosophical foundation of traditional Korean society, in an effort to discuss how to conduct family education and what today's school education and family education should be like.
The explanation of a Buddhist human development theory about the existence of man and the meaning of family was analyzed, and the method of Buddhist family education and parents' right and responsibility for education were discussed.
The fundamental concept of Buddhism is the conditional causation, which is based on the organic relationship among beings. Under this principle of conditional causation, human beings are considered subjective and creative beings who have the nature to attain Buddhahood through education.
In Buddhism, a child is viewed as 'a universal being,' not as 'an imperfect being,' and children's development is considered to be done by being affected and affecting their surrounding environments, which could be called a mutually dependent and supplementary relationship. In Buddhism, the meaning of family also lies in the cyclic relationship based on the concept of conditional causation. Family is not only the most fundamental unit of human relationship but also the starting point of the universe and the center for order in human life. As for the meaning of a family, a family could be defined as a community of truth where bodhisatta seeks after truth. And children are understood as ones who must be protected and educated at home.
In the teachings of Buddhism, the rights and duties of parents and children are suggested as specific virtues. In addition, the Buddhist teachings propose the levels of children’s development and the appropriate methods and principles of education in certain situations. Among Buddhist educational methods, interrogatory, figurative and causal relationship-centered teaching methods focus on children's situations and developmental level. The Buddhist teaching methods are very significant in that modern education places importance on individual development and characteristics and encourages diversity of education.
The first step of practical Buddhist family education is fetal education that is based on the thought of life reverence. In Buddhism, an unborn child is regarded as a living being and is considered to impact on his or her parents, and parents are urged to provide fetal education. Besides, filial piety is viewed as a way to foster morality at home. In Buddhist thought of filial piety, one cannot be without his or her parents, and repayment of kindness to parents is taken for granted.
Family function and the influence of parents get increasingly weaken these days, though a family is the basic unit of society. Under the circumstances, it is very worth doing to shed light on the meaning of children, the roles of parents and the method of family education in Buddhism that was the basis of family education in traditional society.