(Dateline: Burlingame) On August 10, 1993, a delegation of four teachers from Taiwan arrived in the United States. They are Jyang Ji-fu, Lee Chywan-syi, Tseng Jyun-lung and Chen Je-wen. They have come in response to the Venerable Abbot's call for volunteer teachers, to work at Developing Virtue Junior School and Instilling Goodness Elementary School.
When they arrived at the San Francisco Airport, these honorable guests received a warm welcome from the Four-fold disciples and a group of student representatives from the Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. Later, the delegation attended a reception party at the International Translation Institute. Simultaneously, a call came from the Venerable Abbot Hsuan Hua, who was in Hawaii. Through a conference phone hook-up, the Venerable Abbot extended his greetings and spoke to each of them. He congratulated them for being truly devoted, for their enthusiasm for education, and for not seeking after fame and profits. He arranged to meet them upon his return to the Sagely City. Through this phone call, the concern and kind care of the Venerable Master suddenly penetrated and pervaded in the Reception Room. Everyone in the room felt an incomparable warmth.
A speech by Dharma Master Heng Sure followed. He said, "The Venerable Abbot first began his life-long commitment to education by starting his own free-school at the age of eighteen. After he came to the United States, wherever he opened a Way-place, at the same time he established a school. On the one hand he spoke the Dharma; on the other hand he taught us all how to learn to be proper people. The lessons included how to be filial to parents, loyal to the country and bow to create merit and virtue. Now we see that the roots planted over these several decades have begun to put forth sprouts. I hope that because of the dedication of volunteer teachers, the tradition of Chinese ethical and moral education that has enjoyed such a long history will continue and will flourish at the Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas."
Mr. Jyang first introduced in detail the family, background and work achievements of each of the teachers. He then expressed his concepts of education, stressing three points: to teach Buddhism and principles of Confucianism, to nurture students with the spirit of ethics and morality, and to guide them with life counseling. He anticipated that the schools will train many excellent students in both academics and morality.
Chancellor Ho Bo-chau pointed out the importance of learning to be a person in one's years of study. Otherwise, he stated, if we fail to learn how to be a proper person, how will we become Buddhas? Chancellor Ho was also pleased to know that all the distinguished guests have their specialties in different fields. Based on such a broad foundation, with a great resolve to engage in volunteer teaching, in the future we can look forward to wonderful achievements. He extended his best wishes for their health and that they might be full of the bliss of Dharma.
On August 14, several Dharma Masters joined with Prof. John Tsufor a lunch with the teachers after they arrived at the Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. Dharma Master Heng Sure indicated that the lack of ethics and morality in teaching has brought education in this country to the verge of bankruptcy. Prof. Tsu expressed the idea that the volunteer teachers are beginning a career similar to the members of Peace Corps who spread all over the world and were greatly dedicated to their work. The Peace Corps in years past went everywhere as volunteers with wonderful results. In some cases in America, education is supervised by local governments. Most public elementary and high schools, however, are taught for profits, not for principles. Because of a lack of supervision after school, students join gangs and create problems in society. To avoid this situation, after school Instilling Goodness Elementary and Developing Virtue High School provide supervision and counseling by the Dharma Masters and lay people, and thus the campus remains tranquil and the students are able to preserve their innocence. The teachers' introductory remarks were positive about the work, although each of them acknowledged that their duty was serious and their responsibility weighty.
The Venerable Master Hsuan Hua once said that inviting volunteering teachers should be a long-term project. Thus we welcome more outstanding teachers who are ready to dedicate themselves, who are progressive, earnest and also, indifferent to fame and benefits. These volunteers are sustained by their vocation of training the future generation of citizens with lofty characters and correct view-points. This volunteer spirit of dedicating one's life to education is exactly the attitude that can rescue a world that is daily becoming more and more corrupt.
Truly recognize your own faults,
Don't discuss the faults of others;
Others' faults are just my own,
Being one with everyone is called Great Compassion.
By Venerable Master Hua