在一九九二年五月十九日，由Lowell High School蒂囉匝博士帶領一百多位學生來三藩市唐人街金山寺，聆聽宣化上人有關教育的法語。
各位有為的青年，我希望你們每一個人都做一個偉大的人，出類拔萃的人，不同凡響的人，要自己勤學苦幹向這世界來求進步；所以要這世界進步，世界好，先要從我們每一個人做起。青年人是全世界的主人翁，青年人是全世界的領導者，青年人是全世界的一個榜樣。既然這樣子，我們要把基礎打好，要把 foundation 造得穩，我們這個房間才不至於倒蹋損壞。
Washington, D.C. 對教育部的一位先生說： 現在全世界的教育都是面臨破產的邊緣
所以我在 Washington, D.C. 對教育部的一位先生說：「現在全世界的教育都是面臨破產的邊綠，你說多麼可怕，多麼危險，多麼值得我們注意的。」所以中學必須要學習怎樣忠於國家。忠於國家並不是說我帶著兵去侵略其他的國家；你侵略其他人的國家，生命財產就會受到損失，你同人戰爭，怎樣叫忠心呢？忠心就是愛惜自己的國家，而不侵略其他人的國家，把自己的國土保護好它。保護自己國土並不是要有軍隊，武器，有殺人的現代化武器，這些東西都是捨本逐末的。
0n Tuesday, May 19, 1992 over a hundred students led by Dr. Tais DeRosa from Lowell High School in San Francisco came to Gold Mountain Monastery in Chinatown to hear the Ven. Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua's talk on Buddhism and education. The following is the Ven. Abbot's address to the students.
Greetings to all you young people with bright futures. I hope that each one of you will become a great and outstanding person. I hope that each one of you becomes an uncommon person. I hope you will all work hard in your studies. If you do it well, then you can help the world advance. If we want the whole world to advance, then we have to recognize ourselves. Young people are the owners of the world. They are the future leaders, and the models for the whole world. Therefore, the first thing we need to do as students is to build our character well. This is like laying the foundation of a house.
If the foundation of a house has been set in well, then we needn't fear a landslide. We have no need to worry about an earthquake. And if the world becomes a bad world, we can set it right. Let's look at the world as it is. Why has it gone bad? The world is in bad shape right now because people care only about profiting themselves, and about getting personal advantages. We see wealth and benefits as number one without equal. When this is our goal, what do we do? Most of all, we forget reason, we forget truth, we forget principles. We even forget our foundation as people. We only know how to become rich and famous, and we forget how to good people behave. We
should really pay close attention to this matter!
Instead, television teaches us how to kill, how to steal, how to mug people, how to set fires, and how to be promiscuous.
It is really hard to be a young person these days, because television has turned us upside down. Computers have harmed us and tempted us down the wrong road. Through the influence of television and technological conveniences, society dupes into doing things which harm themselves and harm others. Our classmates in elementary school have learned to use drugs, how to smoke dope, and how to sell it too. Our classmates take this as their job, their trade. Before we are mature, we learn how to harm our selves. How can you call this world a proper place? We only learn how to do things that destroy the country. We are not taught how to be humane or righteous. Or how to follow the Path, or how to be virtuous. Instead, television teaches us how to kill, how to steal, how to mug people, how to set fires, and how to be promiscuous. These are the harmful; evil habits that television teaches us. Before we understand how to be a person in a basic way, we are taught these subjects. This is all because we don't learn how to plant the roots of a good personality.
The right things to learn when young are how to be filial children to our parents, how to love our country, how to be citizens in service to the nation, how to love our families, and how to cherish our own bodies. This is much more important than getting rich, don't you think? Now suppose we were rich? If we don't how to how to love our countries or our families or how to cherish our own bodies, what meaning is there in it? At least if we were poor we wouldn't be able to go out and do such harmful things. But as soon as we get rich, society tells us we should enjoy a life of pleasure. Is pleasure what life is all about? Are we truly living for luxuries? Should the next crazy fad that comes down the road sweep us up? Is that what life is really for? I hope you will all really look into this, and make it our study. Although the things I have said are shallow and simple, something that everyone knows well, even so, everyone has taken these shallow and simple truths and forgotten all about them.
Why should elementary school students learn to be filial to their parents, their teachers, and their elders? It's because our parents are our beginning. Our parents give us our beginning. We get our start from them. We are transformed out of their bodies. So we should think to repay them. Our parents undergo a lot of suffering to raise us. Young people take all the sweetness. Parents nurture us for nine months, and they change our diapers. They take care of us so that we can become people. Thus we ought to find a way to repay their kindness.
But in America, as soon as the children reach age eighteen, they grow wings and fly away. They cannot wait to go off on their own, and pay no more attention to our parents. As a result there are many lonely old people who brought children into the world, but who now live alone , with no one to care for or comfort them. This is called forgetting our roots!
The ancients said,
A superior person attends to the root. When the roots are set in well, then the Tao comes forth.
Someone who understands the Tao, the Path, knows what is to be done at all times. He understands how to be of service to the world. That person who understands the Tao is able to benefit the world. So the important thing to do while we are in school is to learn the basics of being a good person. Then when this lesson is done, you could say we have gotten a good education.
The ancients also said,
The lamb kneels down to take milk from its mother.
The crow returns to the nest to feed its parents.
You may have seen that when a baby lamb takes milk from its mother it kneels down to drink. Crows return back to the nest with their beaks full of food to feed their elders. The old crows may be unable to fly out and find their own food, and the younger ones bring them their food. This is a fact of nature, if you have ever watched the behavior of crows.
So even animals know how to be filial and to repay the kindness of their parents for bringing them into the world. Now most of the young people treat our parents with less concern then we do strangers on the street. We don't acknowledge their presence any more. This is called forgetting the roots. This is our basic duty to attend to as people. You might say that we don't even measure up to the standards of animals if we ignore our filial duties.
Filial respect for our parents is our foundation of being a person. Once that foundation is set in, then the Tao appears. The Tao is a road that we should walk. It is a standard that we should observe. It is the rules for being a good person, rules that we should cherish and treasure. Do we know how to walk, how to meet the standards, how to follow the rules? Then we know what being a person in this world is all about.
So the ancients said,
Filial respect and fraternity are the roots of being a person.
This one principle of filial respect is our basis as people, it is our duty. In elementary school we should learn filial respect. But in this country, you won't find anyone teaching how to obey parents, or how to respect elders, or how to serve a country, or how to keep our families alive. or cherish our bodies. Children simply don't get to hear these teachings. So we may have come through the educational process and gone to every class, but we are still all mixed up; and we don't know where being a person begins or where we stand.
So the first thing we want to learn in high school is how to be of service to our country. As we grow older we learn how to repay the kindness of our parents, of our teachers, and how to repay the kindness of the Triple Jewel. This is what education is for. Modern education has forgotten to teach us these basic concepts.
That is why I told David Kearns, the Deputy Secretary of Education in Washington, D.C. recently that education in the entire world is on the brink of bankruptcy. It's because nobody teaches the basics any more. When we see this truth, by rights we should be deeply concerned, or even alarmed, we should pay close attention to this desperate situation. In high school we should learn to serve our country. This means we should cherish our own country and not use military force to attack other countries. We want to avoid war at all costs, because wars cause immeasurable harm to life and to property. We want to protect the soil of our nation, it's true, but we don't do it with armies, weapons, or with big budgets for military technology. This is a branch tip. This is external. If we advocate national defense, we should go to the heart of it, and educate the people. The best national defense is educating the people, not in amassing military power.
Our focus of study in high school should be how to help the world, how to have merit for the world, how to have virtue for the people, and how to benefit all humankind. This is what is important, and what is basic. We shouldn't only know how to run around all day long for ourselves, for the ego. This is truly selfish and small. So in the high school years we should learn to be good citizens for the country.
In college we should deepen our study of human character, and study how to mold a solid character. This does not mean that we should pursue love and romance. If we aren't a grown up yet, but we learn about sex education in school, then where will it lead? If we push our kids out, to find a girlfriend or a boyfriend while they are so young, then what will happen? We are considered freaks, or losers, or wallflowers without a boyfriend or a girlfriend. Since this is the style of the world, we can know that the world is in bad trouble. No one worries about the first lessons of life, but we are concerned instead to be in step with the latest trend. Before we are mature, we ignore building a good character, or improving our studies, instead we concern ourselves with being number one, the king or queen of the school. This is really stupid. This is not the way to become a real person.
Why do I say that the world's education is close to moral bankruptcy? Because harvest our young people before they grow mature. We teach our children how to find meaningful relationships, and talk about sex education. This is like growing crops and trying to harvest them before they have ripened. If the sprout has just come up, and we pick it before it is ripe, then the harvest will be barren, and wasted. If we pick our sprouts before they come to fruition, then there is no harvest at all.
Premature involvement in romantic relationships is the same way. But although it is the most useless and worst customs, people still consider early dating and romance the best thing going, the most stylish thing to do. So we are upside down about love and romance. This is really sad.
When it is time to study in the university, students should learn about humaneness, righteousness, the Path, and Virtue. We should investigate the Eight-fold Virtues of the past. What are they? Filial respect, brotherhood, service, trustworthiness or integrity, propriety, righteousness, incorruptibility, and a sense of shame. If we can practice these eight virtues, then even though the world's education is on the brink of bankruptcy, we can still save it. We do not need to investigate complicated, new-fangled theories of education, we need only attend to the simple places right before our eyes. Then everything will go right.
What's more, if we could learn not to fight, not to be greedy, not to seek, not to be selfish, not to pursue personal gain, and not tell lies, and if everybody could do this, then wars would stop and the world would be at peace. Wars are the worst, because they harm lives and property; our resources are ruined in wars. This is not a good way to live in the world. Our job as educators is to teach Virtue in the Way. Values are the wonder drugs that can save the world. These are the miracle cures for what is wrong with the world right now. There is nothing more useful or important to learn than the virtues and principles that make the foundation for being a person. There is nothing more useful to learn than values. Space exploration and profound scientific research are meaningless until we understand the basics of being a person! Science is merely a branch tip, not the root. Looking to technology to solve our problems is simply a stop-gap solution, not a basic cure. It is useless, and a waste of effort.
Most people feel that my words are really old-fashioned, and not up with the times. That's just fine with me,
We are at the brink of calamity now in education in the world. But if we employ these methods, there is still a chance to save it. at the point of disaster. People at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas try not to fight, not to be greedy not to seek, and not to be selfish, not to want personal benefits, and not to tell lies. If everyone in the world could be this way, then even if you didn't want a peaceful world, the world would still be peaceful. Nobody would be doing the things that create contention and misery. It is said that
"Fighting is the attitude of victory and defeat,
It stands in opposition to the Way.
Further it produces the Four Mark Mind.
How can we approach samadhi?
Even if we students know that fighting is wrong, still our
teachers are fighting for name and benefit. They design a
system that will bring them the highest salary, the greatest
fame and position, and the most benefits. If these are our
goals, then I say that we don't know what it means to be a
teacher. We are not true educators.
So I hope that all of
you bright and wise young people will walk the right road
and not make the pursuit of fame and benefit die goal of
I know a few people liked what I said today, and
most of you really disliked it. Many of you really didn't
like it at all. In fact, the majority disliked what I said.
Even so, I can't simply say the things that you want to
hear. In fact, the things I say tend to turn people off
wherever I go. But I still have to say it all the same. That
is the way my character is made. I have this stupid habit,
which is that I'm not into fame or reputation at all. My
friends are ants and mosquitoes, the smallest of creatures.
I never dare to compare myself with wise people.
same, even though I am so stupid, and have no great wisdom,
still there are a few wise people in the world who don't
hate or reject the things I have to say. Even though most
people don't like this kind of talk, I am not one to hide my
light under a bushel, and remain silent.
Most people feel
that my words are really old-fashioned, and not up with the
times. That's just fine with me, I'm happy to be out of it.
The more out of it and not with it I am, the more I have to
speak my piece.
So I'll stop here today, and if what you
have heard is the Path, then please follow it. And if not,
then retreat from it. Select what is good and follow it, and
select what is not good and change it within yourself.