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《敎育專欄》

 

FOCUS ON EDUCATION

慈祥代天宣化 忠孝為國敎民

On behalf of Heaven,proclaim and transform with kindness. For the country,teach the people to be loyal and filial.

提倡義務教育
PROMOTING VOLUNTEER TEACHING

宣公上人一九九三年八月二十八日開示於萬佛聖城
Ven. Master Hua's Dharma Talk on August 28, 1993 at the Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas
鄰虛塵 記錄 by Lin Hsu-cheng

不要入寶山空手而回
萬佛城是一九七四年買下來的,到七六年接收過來。這個地方很大,可是人很少,為什麼叫萬佛城?有的人說:「我知道了,將來萬佛城可能有一萬尊佛在這兒成佛」,不是!人人來到萬佛城啊,都有份成佛,將來必定成佛;不是僅僅一萬尊佛,那麼十萬尊、百萬尊、千萬尊、萬萬尊、千百億萬尊佛都在這兒成佛。

「萬佛城」是一個總的名稱,若分析來講可以說是恆河沙數。為什麼這樣說?因為《華嚴經》上說得明明白白,說「無不從此法界流,無不還歸此法界」,所以人到了萬佛城,就是入聖流的一份子。啊!無論你是善的、惡的、好的、壞的,都有成佛的因。種這個因,將來就會結這個果。

凡是到萬佛城的,勤力的、躲懶的、好的、壞的,我都拿他們當佛來看。佛經上說得很明白,一切眾生都是我們宿世的父母,未來的諸佛。修道人要看每一個人都要這樣想,你若能這樣想,你能尊重其他的人,也就是成就自己的道業。到這兒的人要認識自己,不要入寶山空手而回。

為什麼成立義務學校
我十五歲讀書,讀了半年;十六歲讀了一年;十七歲讀了一年書;讀書的時間只有兩年半。十八歲時,因為我母親有病,不能走路,大小便都要人照顧,所以我就輟學了,就沒有讀書,在家裡侍候我的母親。侍候母親,那麼有多餘的時間,我就成立一個義務學校。為什麼成立義務學校呢?因為我讀書讀得晚,我就想:沒有錢讀書的人,都是家裡很困苦艱難的。所以十八歲就在自己的家裡成立義務學校。「義務學校」就是不收學費,也不收紙、筆、墨的雜費,什麼費都不收。我一個人當然不收費就沒有錢賺啦!紙、筆、墨都還我給預備好。這麼樣在十八歲那一年,也常常打餓七;這打餓七,有時候是七天,有的時候是十八天,有的時候是三十六天,這麼一邊教學,還一邊打餓七。為什麼打餓七呢?希望用至誠懇切的心,感應道交,令我母親的病早一點痊癒。我又想,這世界為什麼壞的呢?世界壞的原因,就因為這一個「錢」字;這個錢哪,把各行各業都支配得顛顛倒倒。

所以那時候,我就教義務學,不要錢。我想,做老師是「為教育而教育」,不是為的錢,不是為的名,也不是為的利來教書,所以就願意提倡這個義務學校。「學生不需要收學費,老師也不要錢」,這樣子才真見得出老師是為教育而教育,不是為錢而教育。

「義務學校」就是這個學生有錢、沒有錢,他都可以來讀書,免得應該讀書的時候,因為沒有錢,就不能到學校去。

所以現在在萬佛城,我想,這個地方這麼大,人這麼少,若要開辦學校是最好的地方,我就試辦,要提倡義務教學。這義務教學的老師,絕對不會罷工的。老師為什麼要罷工呢?他就因為要求加薪,所以就要罷工。本來老師無論賺多少錢,即使你是賺得最少的,也不應該罷工,也不應該爭薪水。你是 「得天下英才而教育」,這是培福培慧的地方。若人人願意做義務老師,我相信他一定盡心竭力,把所懷的抱負和智慧交替給下一代,交替給學生,他無所保留的來傳授「孔孟心法」。

孔夫子也是義務教學
當年孔夫子周遊列國,也是義務教學。三千多個學生都跟著他吃,都跟著他住,跟著他周遊列國,所以他說,自行束脩以上。束脩,就是送一點點的禮物,並不一定多少,沒有價錢的。可以說是有教無類,才能把孔孟學說流佈到全中國,以及全世界。這都是義務教學所得來的。他憑什麼吃、穿、住,因為那時候各國的國王,都知道孔夫子是一個有智慧的人,是一個大學問家,所以到哪個國家都幫助他,誠意送禮給他。因為他也不浪費,就用這個來養三千弟子,到處都是這樣子。乃至於在「陳國絕糧」,沒有東西吃,弟子幾幾乎都餓倒了,他還是那麼樣來支持著,提倡教學,提倡人讀書。這是我們儒教的聖人-孔老夫子,他倡之於前,可是就沒有人行之於後了。

所以現在啊,這私塾也要錢,學校也要錢,他們都知道「天命之谓錢,卒性之谓錢。修道之谓錢,錢也者不可須臾離也」,都念錯書了。這是很可悲的一件事。

孔老夫子在陳絕糧有一個小小的故事。做什麼呢?他叫他門人去向范丹借糧。這個子路就貿貿然地說:「我去!我去借去!」就去了。范丹是個要飯的,但是他要了很多糧米在那兒存著。子路去到那兒向他借,范丹就說了:「我要出個問答,你若能答上,我就借給你;你若答不上,我沒有糧借的。」子路就趕快問:「什麼問題?我沒有答不上的。」范丹說:「世上什麼多?什麼少?什麼歡喜?什麼惱?你若能答出這四種的問答,我就借給你米;不然哪,我要的米很辛苦,我不借給你。」子路他很快就答了,說: 「世上星星多,月亮少;娶媳婦歡喜,死人惱。」范丹說:「不對!不對!」子路就說:「我這麼答,這是再沒有這麼好的,你怎麼說不對呢?你就是不想借米給我嘛!」范丹說:「不是!你的確答得不對。」子路就很不高興地回去見孔夫子說:「這要飯的,我和他借糧,他不借給,他要我答覆他的問題,我答覆的是恰到好處,可是他說不對。」孔夫子問他:「什麼問題啊?你說一說看!」子路就一五一十地照說了。孔夫子一聽 ,說:「你是答得不對。」子路就說:「范丹說我答得不對,怎麼老夫子也說我答得不對,那怎麼樣答覆呢?」孔老夫子說:「你這樣答覆,『世界上小人多,君子少;借的時候歡喜,要的時候就惱。』你再去試試。」子路半信半疑地說:「這個答覆不一定有我那一個好。」孔老夫子說:「你不要管好不好,你回去再試一試,他一定借糧給你。」子路回去就說了:「我對上了你這個問題,我現在有答覆了,會對了!」范丹說:「哦!怎麼樣答覆的?」子路就說:「世界上小人多,君子少;借的時候歡喜,要的時候就惱。」范丹說:「啊!你明白這個啦!那好!我借給你,我要的時候,你不要惱。」子路就把糧借回去了,三千門人才不餓死。

徹底改革教育的方法
那麼我們萬佛城,是要從這兒徹底改革教育的方法,要培植將來治理國家,給人民謀幸福,給國家謀治安,天下不要這麼亂。這亂源就是一個「錢」。亂了,所以才相爭、相奪。戰爭都是因為爭這個錢。好像二次大戰,德國在世界上,得到很多黃金,這黃金不知有多少。德國被人打敗了,這批黃金丟了,不知道跑到什麼地方去了,現在才發現這黃金都被俄國給搶去了。現在德國還和俄國要這黃金,說:「這個黃金是我的,你不能搶去啊!」現在這個爭執還是很大的。

所以我們做老師的,能把金錢看淡了,能來義務教學,這是空前沒有的,可是不能說絕後。因為我們現在提倡義務學校,將來造就人才,也要這麼清廉,這麼廉潔,這麼樣做事不求報酬。所以我說:「這世界壞,教育人士要負一部份責任,其餘的就是這個宗教人士,還有國家政府人員,以及家裡頭也要負一部份責任。因為都不負責任,都是火燒眉毛顧眼前,儘量得有錢就享受。因為這樣子,所以把世界搞得亂上八糟,落花流水,人人在那兒作戰;家與家戰,國與國戰,乃至世界都成了一個大戰場,大火坑,把人類都殺光了,死光了。我鑑於有這種情事,所以提倡義務教育。

On Not Returning From The Jeweled Mountain Empty-Handed
We bought the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas in 1974 and took possession in 1976. The City is big, but holds only a few residents. Why is it called The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas? Someone said, "I know, in the future there will be ten thousand people here who will become Buddhas." Not so! Everybody who comes here will have a chance to become a Buddha. As long as you come here, someday, surely you will be a Buddha. And it is not only ten thousand people, but a hundred thousand, a million, ten million, one hundred million, billions and millions of billions of people here in the City will become Buddhas.

The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas is a generic name. You may say the number of Buddhas here is as many as the grains of sand in the Ganges River. Why? Because as it is said in The Flower Adornment Sutra,

"There is nothing that does not flow forth from the Dharma Realm, and there is nothing that will not return to this Dharma Realm."

Therefore, anyone who arrives at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas will eventually enter the stream of Sage-hood. So! No matter whether you are wholesome or evil, good or bad, you all have planted the seed of Buddhahood. When you plant such seeds, they will surely bear fruit in the future.

I consider as a future Buddha all people who have come to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, be they diligent or lazy, good or bad. As the Sutras clearly say, all living beings have been our parents in the past and will be Buddhas in the future. Cultivators must contemplate everyone in this manner. If you can do so, you will be able to respect others and at the same you will also be making progress in the Way! Everyone who comes here must recognize himself, and not leave the Jeweled Mountain empty-handed.

Why Are We Establishing Free Schools With Volunteer Teachers?
When I was fifteen, I went to school for half a year; then studied for one year at age sixteen; and another year at age seventeen. My total formal education lasted two and half years. When I was eighteen, my mother got sick and could not walk. She needed help whenever she had to relieve herself, and so I quit school and stayed home to attend to her needs. In my spare time, I established a free school. Why? Because I began my education only after I was already grown up. And I saw that most people in my area couldn't afford to go to school simply because their families were too poor. So, at age 18 I set up a free-school at my home.

"Free-school" means that I charged no tuition and no materials fees for stationery and pens. To come to my school required no money at all. Of course, I made no profit, since I received no payments. Furthermore, I supplied all the papers, pens and ink. In that year, I would often practice fasting, sometimes for seven days, sometimes eighteen days and sometimes for thirty-six days. I would teach the students while I was fasting. I was fasting because I wished with utmost sincerity to evoke a response from the Way so that my mother would quickly recover from her illness. I also realized that the only reason the world was in such bad shape was money. Money had turned all occupations and professions in society upside-down.

So at that time, I taught students as a volunteer teacher and asked for no rewards. I believe teachers should educate people for the purpose of education - not for money, fame, or for profit. Therefore, I was willing to promote voluntary schools. "Students should not have to pay to attend school; and teachers should not expect to be paid for teaching." In this way, teachers really work for the purpose of education, and not for money. A free-school admits all students, rich or poor. This prevents students who ought to get an education from being deprived of that chance because of a lack of money.

The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, as I see it, is physically a big place, yet there are few residents. It would be a perfect place to establish a school. So I tried to open a school, and advocate voluntary teaching. Volunteer teachers will never go on strike. Why do teachers strike? They want a raise in pay. Whatever income a teacher makes, even if he is below minimum wage, he/she should never go on strike, and fight for more salary. Teachers are "training the talented youth of the nation"; and teaching school is a chance to create one's blessings and wisdom. If the school's faculty is willing to be volunteer teachers, I am sure he or she will do his utmost, mentally and physically, to pass on his aspiration and wisdom to the younger generation of students. He will transmit the heart-pulse of Confucius and Mencius by sharing his thoughts without reservation, with his students.

Confucius Was Also A Volunteer Teacher
When Confucius traveled among the various countries, he was also teaching as a volunteer. More than three thousand students ate, lived, and traveled with him. That's why he promoted always practicing "the tutor's pay," which referred to a token gift from his students, of unfixed quantity, some worthless item. Confucius provided education without discrimination for people from all walks of life. Thus the doctrines of Confucius and Mencius could be propagated countrywide, and even to the world beyond China. This achievement came about all because of volunteer teaching.

How did they get by? At that time the kings knew that Confucius was an intelligent person, a great educator; and rendered him all kinds of help and sent him presents respectfully when he arrived in their countries. He was frugal and not wasteful at all of his possessions, so he could manage to support the lives of his three thousand disciples anywhere they went. Even when they went to the country of Chen, because of a famine in the country, all of them were starving. He still resolutely advocated studying and reading. This is Confucius the Sage in action. He promoted education in this way in the past. Since then, however, no successor has followed him ever.

Now in every society, tutors and teachers in private and public schools all charge for their education. They twist the intent of the phrase from the Doctrine of the Mean, and substitute the word "money" for the original word "nature." They make the text say,

"What heaven has conferred is called Money.
To accord with this Money is called the Way.
Money, ah, may not be left for even a moment."

They understood the principle wrongly, which is very sad.

There was an incident that happened in the country of Chen during the famine. Confucius asked his disciples to borrow food from Fan-dan. Dz-lu rashly promoted himself for the job, and went to see him. Fan-dan was a beggar who had great amount of food stock-piled with him. When Dz-lu told him he had come to borrow food, he said, "I'll have a riddle for you, if you know the right answer you shall get the food. However, if your answer is not good enough, I won't give you anything."

Dz-lu quickly asked him, "What is it? There is nothing I don't know." The riddle went like this, "What is many? What is few? What makes one happy? What makes one miserable?" Fan-dan continued, "I'll lend you rice if you know the right answers. Otherwise, you shall not have any of it, since I spent a lot of effort on begging for this food." Dz-lu's reflection came hastily: "In this world the stars are many, the moon is few; getting married makes one happy, death causes you misery." Fan-dan said, "No! No!"

Dz-lu questioned him: "You won't get a better answer than mine. How could you say I was wrong! Isn't it that you simply don't want to lend us any food?" Fan-dan said, "No! Your answers really were incorrect."

Dz-lu went back to Confucius all agitated, saying, "That beggar! I asked him to loan us his rice and he had a riddle for me. My answers were so appropriate, yet he said they weren't right." Confucius asked him, "What was the riddle? Let us hear it." Dz-lu told him in detail. Upon hearing the story, Confucius said, "Your answer was absolutely not right." Dz-lu was puzzled, "Fan-dan said my reply was wrong. Master, how could you agree with him?" Confucius told him, "You should tell him this, 'In this world mean persons are many, gentlemen are few; when one borrows something that makes him happy; when someone asks for repayment then he feels miserable.' Go and try again." Not quite convinced, Dz-lu said, "This is not necessarily any better than the first answer I gave." Confucius said, "Don't worry about whether or not its good or bad. Just go back to him and try mine; he will for sure lend us the rice."

Dz-lu returned to Fan-dan and said, "I know the right answer to your riddle this time." Fan-dan said, "Oh, you do? What is it?" Dz­lu told him, "Mean persons are many; gentlemen are few; at the time when one borrows something it makes him happy; at the time when one asks for repayment he feels miserable." "Ah! So you know! " Fan-dan said, "Good, I'll lend you the rice. When I want it back, don't get afflicted." Dz-lu got the food supply, and therefore, the three thousand disciples did not starve to death.

A Method To Thoroughly Reform Education
The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas is starting from this point to completely reform education. We will train talented people and prepare them to govern the country, to create benefits for the People, and to make the country safe and secure, so that the nation won't be in disorder. The root of this current chaos is money. Because of the chaotic situation, people come to scheme and fight with each other for profit. Wars arise over the fight for money. For instance, in World War II, Germany got a huge stockpile of gold. When they were defeated, that fortune in gold was lost and no trace could be found. Later on, the Germans learned that it had been confiscated by Russia. Negotiation is still going on between Germany and Russia. Their conflict over property is quite serious.

If teachers can be indifferent to money and can resolve to educate people as volunteers, it will be unprecedented, and, we hope, not short-lived. By advocating free-schools to train the talented people of the future, our hands stay clean, we remain incorruptible, because we are asking for no monetary rewards. I now make this statement, "The responsibility for this rotten world lies in part with educators; the remainder of the responsibility falls religious leaders, government corruption, and the decay of the family." But no one will come forward to take this responsibility. People are for the most part, short-sighted, caring only for the present moment and willing to spend as much money as they can get their hands on.

This is why the world has became so chaotic and full of misfortunes: fighting on small scale between individuals, families and on a large scale, among countries. Now the whole world is a big battlefield, a huge pit of fire in which all people face the possibility of being killed. Such a situation does exist, therefore, I have am advocating voluntary teaching as a cure for the world's crises.

 

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