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On the Pedagogy of Suffering

Hermeneutic and Buddhist Meditations


Edited By David W. Jardine, Christopher Gilham and Graham McCaffrey

This text articulates how and why suffering can be pedagogical in character and how it is often key to authentic and meaningful acts of teaching and learning. This is an ancient idea from the Greek tragedies of Aeschylus (c. 525 BCE) – pathei mathos or «learning through suffering». In our understandable rush to ameliorate suffering at every turn and to consider every instance of it as an error to be avoided at all costs, we explore how the pedagogy that can come from suffering becomes obscured and something vital to a rich and vibrant pedagogy can be lost. This collection threads through education, nursing, psychiatry, ecology, and medicine, through scholarship and intimate breaths, and blends together affinities between hermeneutic conceptions of the cultivation of character and Buddhist meditations on suffering and its locale in our lives. This book will be useful for graduate courses on hermeneutic research in education, educational psychology, counseling, and nursing/medicine.


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Chapter One: “You’re Very Clever Young Man” (David W. Jardine)


C h a p T e r o n e “You’re Very Clever Young Man” david w. jardine p r e lu d e i : a n i n v o C aT i o n f r o m s T . j e r o m e “I said in my alarm, ‘Every man is a liar!’ ” (Psalm 116:11). The Hebrew text varies a little: “I said in my alarm ‘Every man is a lie!’ ” for the meaning of the word, ZECAM, is lie. I shall please the Lord in the land of the living; but I know that, as far as my body is concerned, I am nothing. There is no truth in our substance, there is only shadow and in a certain sense a lie. As I reflect on human life…I do not find truth in this world. “Lie” is used here in the sense of a shadow, as it were, a phantom. (Saint Jerome, 1964, pp. 293–294, emphasis added) p r e lu d e i i : T w o i n v o C aT i o n s f r o m T s o n g - k h a - pa Ignorance mistakenly superimposes upon things an essence that they do not have. It is constituted so as to block perception of their nature. It is a concealer. (Tsong-kha-pa, 2002, p. 208) Unskilled persons whose eye of intelligence is obscured by the darkness of delusion conceive of...

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