Buddhism as a resource for reconciliation pedagogies

Year: 2004

Author: Hattam, Robert

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

In 'unsettling times', reconciliation processes have the potential to strengthen the fragile network of relationships that holds Australian society together. Reconciliation is understood here to be a psycho-social and pedagogical intervention that aims to heal the effects of traumatic events that produce guilt, anxiety, resentment and injustice that persist and distort individual and national well-being. Unfortunately, neither the pedagogical potential of reconciliation processes has yet to be adequately elaborated, nor have we really begun to draw on 'reconciliation' as a resource for developing pedagogical approaches. Such an examination needs to elucidate habits of mind that foster reconciliation, a vocabulary for reconciliation, an understanding of the dynamics of reconciling practices, and a map of the socio-cultural geography of reconciliation spaces. In this paper I will be proposing that Buddhism offers a range of conceptual resources and practices that might be useful in the development of reconciliation pedagogies. The paper will especially focus on socially-engaged Buddhism, understood as a new social movement evolving out of the translation of Buddhism into the 'West' under the conditions of globalisation.