Chancellor Yang: Dharma Masters who teach in the schools say their own cultivation and their other work and duties are affected by their teaching. Some think that bowing to the Buddhas is more important, and that teaching disturbs their cultivation. Master, could you please talk with your disciples, and encourage those who would like to be involved in education to form groups, so that everyone can take turns teaching. Male Dharma Masters can teach in the boys' school, and female Dharma Masters can teach in the girls' school. These people should be specially trained to teach. Let them go back to school to study. After two or three years, when they complete their training, these people can take over all work of the school faculty. Then we can achieve the ideal free education. But presently, will the Master please give them some encouragement, for they won't listen to what I say.
Ven. Master: They don't listen? I doubt that.
Chancellor Yang: They can divide into groups. After one group teaches for a year, it can return to the temple, and another group will take over. They can rotate every one or two years, and that won't affect their cultivation, right? Could the Venerable Master please say a few words?
Ven. Master: You could say our schools are neither good nor bad. They are just ordinary, run-of-the-mill schools. We should strive to improve, and when we are good, we should try to become even better. We should not gain a little bit and be satisfied with that. We should not limit ourselves, nor do things halfway and feel that it is enough. We should continuously try our best, and try to ascend to a higher level.
EVERYTHING IS CULTIVATION
If left-home people can teach, this is also a form of cultivation. Don't presume that it is cultivation only if we do not teach. Everything is cultivation. Cultivation is not just one thing. At the very least, you should know how to do everything, understand everything, be able to take on anything, and be able to renounce it if necessary. For example, in education, we ourselves have to know how to teach the children, and impart to them the knowledge they ought to have. You have to teach them step by step, and not just do a sloppy job of it, the way most schools do. The result of negligent teaching is that the children become selfish, caring only for themselves and not for others. They show no concern for one another. This kind of education is totally useless. We should be concerned about each and every student. We as teachers should pay particular attention to each student's achievement. If a student goofs off, how can we get him to work hard? As for those who work too hard, we should tell them not to exhaust themselves. So, in this period, we need teachers who give a bright and proper teaching, and who have responsible attitude.
LOVE THE COUNTRY, CHERISH THE FAMILY, AND ESTEEM YOURSELF
Presently, in our circle of left-home people, there are a lot of women. All those who have been educated can come forward and learn how to teach in the schools. Every year, we can choose teams of people and train them so that they can teach in the schools. We should groom the students so that they can become strong pillars of the country, productive talents of the country, and also productive talents of Buddhism. This is our true goal. Our goal is to train and produce more people like this, people who understand how to be a person, and who know to love the country, cherish the family, and esteem themselves. This is good for the country, good for society, good for the family, and beneficial for each individual as well. We must continue our efforts to foster people's talents. In our schools, we can select those who can teach. For example, those in the higher grades can be on a work-study program and teach the students in lower grades.
If we can continuously train people this way, then our schools will improve day by day, year by year. Every year there should be improvement. The students who are studying here will graduate from the elementary school to the secondary school, and from secondary school to the university. We must quickly organize our schools properly.
In my whole life after leaving home, my first vow has been to translate the Sutras. My second vow has been to set up education in Buddhism. And my third vow .... this is still too early to discuss, but it is to build up the foundation of Buddhism in America, so that for thousands of years, after Buddhism has taken root in the West, it can be passed down to future generations. These are my three vows. Those of you who have left the home-life, after you have received the precepts, if you can work in education for a few years, that would be good. You should make that kind of vow.
Chancellor Yang: You should make a resolve for at least three years, but that doesn't mean you have to teach for three years in a row. However, you should save three years for teaching. You can teach for one year and rest for one year. If we can have such a group of people, with everyone taking turns, then there surely wouldn't be any problem.
ESTABLISHING MERIT AND VIRTUE DEVELOPING BLESSINGS AND WISDOM
Ven. Master: This year, Professor Ji-fu Jiang has already recruited four or five people in Taiwan who are interested in teaching. They will probably come in August. We should now each do as much as we can. Don't treat education as secondary and unimportant. It is necessary for us to cultivate. Education is also just as important. It is here that you can establish merit. If you can educate the children to be talented, then your merit and virtue are limitless and inconceivable. So why is it that we have this free school? Voluntary teaching is a way for us to increase our virtue and strengthen our conception of morality. Cultivators, only if you can cultivate blessings and wisdom here, and do some work of merit and virtue, will you be able to cultivate. Otherwise, if you have no merit and virtue, you will meet demonic obstacles in your cultivation. The demon king will come and look for you, and you will not have enough virtue to hold out. This is cultivating without sufficient blessings and virtue. Therefore we must establish merit and virtue. This point is very important. Whether you area teacher or a left-home person, you should all cultivate blessings and wisdom and establish merit and virtue.
Chancellor Yang: In our schools, the teachers and students should be bilingual. On the one hand, this is to respect the traditional Chinese way of education, and on the other hand, we want to learn the American way of education.
Ven. Master: The elementary school, secondary school, and university should all be bilingual, not monolingual.
Chancellor Yang: If they start from elementary school, they will learn very fast. Adults are much slower.
Ven. Master: Has An-an come back?
Chancellor Yang: Yes. In the future she will be a very talented teacher.
Ven. Master: They have all followed me for a long time. Since they were little kids, I have seen them grow up to be so big.