Tung Lin Kok Yuen International Conference
Buddhist Canons: In Search of a Theoretical Foundation for a Wisdom-oriented Education
27 & 28 November, 2021 (HKT) | Online & On-site at HKU
Ernest C. H. Ng
Adjunct Assistant Professor
Centre of Buddhist Studies
The University of Hong Kong
Dr. Ernest C. H. NG is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the CBS, HKU where he teaches undergraduate and postgraduate courses on Buddhism and Economics. He is an expert and thought leader in applying wisdom tradition and spirituality into sustainable decision making in the market economy. Dr. Ng offers lectures and workshops around the world on topics relating to sustainability, management, and Buddhist teachings.
He is the Chief Executive Officer of Tung Lin Kok Yuen, a Buddhist NGO dedicating to Buddhist teachings, education, and community services for over 80 years in Hong Kong. Prior to that, he was the founder and Chief Investment Officer of an asset management company and Vice President of Morgan Stanley Asia. He is experienced in sustainable transformation, stakeholder communications, and change management strategy at the individual and organization level. He is committed to coaching young generation and future leaders, serving as mentor for various universities and advisor to organizations such as the Sustainable Finance initiative.
Dr. Ng graduated PBK from the UChicago with BA in Economics and MA in International Relations. He received a MBuddhStud and PhD from HKU. He was a Sir Edward Youde Scholar and currently a Fellow at the European SPES Institute. He is the author of Introduction to Buddhist Economics, Leveraging Happiness (幸福槓桿) and Intrinsically Self-sufficient (本⾃具⾜).
From Tradition to Innovation: Wisdom-oriented Education in Buddhist Theory and Practice
The wisdom-orientation of Buddhist pedagogy is declared in the Kalama Sutta and Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta. The Buddha declared that his teachings and practices should be built upon wisdom realizing the truth of the Dhamma. From a Buddhist perspective, there are many different levels of knowledge, but wisdom comprises the principles of dependent arising, impermanence, selflessness, and awakening. The threefold training of wisdom, moral discipline, and mental concentration is taught as a “custom of the noble ones”: teachings leading to the cessation of suffering— which are distinctively different from the mundane customs of legends, traditions, scripture, inference, thought and so forth. This paper first analyzes the Buddhist perspective on tradition and wisdom-oriented education, and then demonstrates its unique contribution in facilitating inspiration and innovation. It further evaluates Buddhist worldview as expounded by the wisdom of dependent arising and the cultivation of human mind. The Buddha teaches with a hopeful assurance that human mind and personality is wieldable and amendable to change. Accordingly, this paper argues that Buddhist pedagogy is supportive of a growth mindset. Through a wisdom- oriented education integrating learning and practice, human flourishing is possible. The implementation of Buddhist wisdom-oriented education in the contemporary society is demonstrated through the education services at Tung Lin Kok Yuen over the last ninety years as an example. Guided by the Buddhist principle of “compassion and fraternity,” as well as the mottos of “new knowledge, traditional practice,” the paper illustrates that a wisdom- oriented education could inspire innovation without losing sight of lineage and value.