The application of Buddhist principles to lifelong learning
The teachings and practices of Buddhism are becoming popular today in Western countries. Its non-theistic nature and scientific method, focusing on the individual's independence in learning practice, appeal to many. Buddhism contains some effective and unique learning techniques that could be applied to lifelong learning. Within a notion of lifelong learning defined in terms of the conscious learning taking place throughout the life span, Buddhist meditation, contemplation and mindfulness practice are ideally suited to conscious life experience awareness. The philosophical framework for lifelong learning discourse, particularly that which is outlined by Richard Bagnall as drawing on the three progressive sentiments, matches the Buddhist ideals for the individual and society. Just as Bagnall calls for a re-evaluation of the direction for lifelong learning discourse away from economic determinism, back towards the framework of the three sentiments, the emphasis of this paper argues that lifelong learning discourse and strategies might also usefully be informed by ancient Buddhist ideas and methods. To do so might require a broader perspective on what constitutes lifelong learning and what its motivations and goals should be.