What does it mean to develop good
character? If you want to be a person of learning and integrity,
then don't smoke, drink, take drugs, or gamble; be free of all
bad habits. Don't learn from ignorant people who aren't
responsible to their country, who don't fulfill their duties in
society, who are careless and don't observe the rules. They are
the black sheep of the flock and asuras in the human realm. They
know only about fighting, not about peace. Those kinds of
unwholesome people will merely become a great burden for the
Now you are just like young, flourishing trees. Your
crooked branches must constantly be trimmed so that the trunks can grow upright.
Then you can become great trees, providing useful lumber in the future. It is
said, "It takes ten years to grow a tree, but a hundred years to educate a
person." You are now in the learning phase. Don't get defiled by bad habits.
Remember to cultivate an honorable character and maintain honest conduct. Then
you can be leaders in the world.
How do you build virtue? Be filial to
your parents. It is said, "Among the hundred good deeds,
filiality is the foremost." People who aren't filial to their
parents will be useless even if they bow to the Buddha every
day. You should pay close attention to this, young friends! .
Your virtue is increasing day by day, and
your foundation for being a person is getting more solid day by
day. When it's time to talk, you should say proper and decent
things, not improper things. You should always study hard and
become a productive person in the future, not a bad person. That
is my expectation for you.