By the seventh century Nalanda had ten thousand students, receiving instruction not only in Buddhist philosophy and religious practice, but also in a variety of secular subjects, including languages and literatures, astronomy and other sciences, architecture and sculpture, as well as medicine and public health. . . .
Nalanda drew students not only from all over India, but also from China, Japan, Korea, Sumatra, and other Asian lands with Buddhist connections, and a few from elsewhere, including Turkey. It was the only institution of higher learning outside China to which any Chinese in the ancient world ever went for education.
Moreover, the whole establishment is surrounded by a brick wall, which encloses the entire convent from without. One gate opens into the great college, from which are separated eight other halls standing in the middle (of the Sangharama). The richly adorned towers, and the fairy-like turrets, like pointed hill-tops are congregated together. The observatories seem to be lost in the vapours (of the morning), and the upper rooms tower above the clouds.Xuanzang tells us that various emperors had assigned the revenues of 200 villages to support Nalanda.
The school regularly arranged debates between people—teachers, students, and visitors—who held different points of view. The method of teaching included arguments between teachers and students. Indeed, as one of Nalanda’s most distinguished Chinese students, Xuan Zang (602–664 AD) noted, education in Nalanda was not primarily offered through the “bestowing” of knowledge by lecturers, but through extensive debates—between students and teachers and among the students themselves—on all the subjects that were taught.
an ongoing effort to refound it as a pan-Asian university, recreating the ties between Asian countries that characterized the era of Buddhism's spread. From the time of Buddha until the 12th century, India exercised a great influence across Asia. Indian-style Buddhas can be seen everywhere from desert outposts on the Silk Road to Indonesia and Japan. Across the whole, vast region, home to half the world's people, scholars and monks looked to India for guidance, and hundreds of Buddhist scholars and seekers traveled to India to study.