The Relevence of Buddhist-Story Telling in Education – Gananath Obeyesekere (Video)

Professor Gananath Obeyesekere spoke of the dry presentation of Buddhist teachings in abstract intellectual terms that he remembers from his youth. These were in contrast to the experience of going to pilgrimage places where pilgrims and their teachers told stories based on vernacular texts.

He summarized one such story in which a man married a woman who turned out to be barren. When he married another to have children the barren one poisoned her. As she died the poisoned wife swore vengeance and so began a series of births in which the two were cat and hen, tiger and deer, one preying on the other. Eventually at the time of the Buddha one of them had a child while the other was a ‘demoness’. The Buddha put an end to their conflict by asking the mother to let the angry demoness hold the child. When she did so, the resentful demoness broke down and wept. Prof Obeyesekere suggested that story-telling has a powerful role in teaching. The talk given at International Conference on Science, Ethics and Education (Session 1) at the University of Delhi on 24 March 2015 is below (