Education About Asia: Online Archives

What the Situation Demands: Teaching Buddhism Through Life Stories

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An earlier version of this manuscript was presented as part of a symposium entitled “Teaching Asian Thought” held at the Association for Asian Studies 2000 annual meeting in San Diego. We would like to thank Professor Kevin Schilbrack of Wesleyan College who chaired the symposium and provided us with the original papers.

Students at my college come from isolated rural areas, from small towns with an average population of 200. They are often the first of their families to attend college, and their view of the world is usually narrow. While they would never claim to be against any group of people, many of their actions and patterns of thought exclude most of the world’s population. They tend to assume most people are like themselves. Thus they assume that most of the world is Protestant from a small town, and has enjoyed a middle-class upbringing. They assume most people have hot water and telephones and cars.