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。
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.