The things we do at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas are different from the ways of the world. For example, our elementary school, high school, and university are all tuition-free. Why do we have such a principle? It's because many schools nowadays no longer value education. They only care about making money; they've turned into “school-shops.” When students are just learning how to be people, they should be taught not to befuddle their minds with desire for profit, nor to put great importance on money.
When the ancients studied, their goal was to understand the truth. Nowadays, people study for the sake of fame and profit; they want to gain a good reputation and reap abundant profits. Why? It's because they were taught incorrectly in school. Consequently, the world is more confused each day. Day by day, the standards fall lower.
Now there are two kinds of monsters in the world. They are devouring all the people, but nobody has realized it yet. Someone is thinking, “I know what the two monsters are! They are the bombs and lasers that you are always talking about.” Wrong. Those aren't bad enough to be considered monsters. The two monsters I'm talking about are the computer and television. The computer (“electronic brain” in Chinese) robs us of our wisdom. The television (“electronic vision” in Chinese) blinds people's eyes. You say,
“I watch T.V. everyday. How does that make my eyes blind?” When I say people are blind, I mean that they don't recognize true principles anymore. The confused become more confused, and the blind lead the blind. Evil people who commit murder and arson and perpetrate crimes learn to do so by watching television. Unaware of this, ordinary people still think that television and other novel inventions indicate how advanced our times are. Actually, the harm of these products is unreckonable; they have fatally harmed people. Now a third kind of monster has appeared in the world: robots. They have taken over people's jobs. What kind of work will people do in the future? If there's not the slightest use for people in the future, they will eventually become obsolete.
At the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, if we know a little bit of something, we want to practice that one bit. We are not opening a “school-shop.” Rather, we truly want to teach the children to be filial to their parents, to serve the country loyally, to be humble and to treat others with courtesy. We want them to understand what humaneness, righteousness, morality, and virtue are. These are stupid ideas, but you won't find any better way to avert the disasters of the world. If we want to avert the disasters in the world, we must rely on loyalty, filiality, humaneness, righteousness, the Way, and virtue. These concepts can revive people's dead hopes; they can subdue monsters and conquer demons. That is why our elementary school, high school, and university are tuition-free. Everyone should be especially clear on this point: We do not want to be like other places, where people do a sloppy, negligent job and only look for profit. There is another reason. When I was young, I did not receive much schooling, and I know I'm not as familiar as others are with the common knowledge of today. However, I am willing to introduce the ideas of humaneness, righteousness, the Way, and virtue to young people, so that they will become productive citizens and pillars of society in the future.
A talk given on August 27, 1982
at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas