he loss of innocence is the beginning of the world’s troubles. We bowed past 1200 young children at Huntington Drive School in East L.A. They all pressed against a tall chain-link fence that kept them on the playground just inches from us on the sidewalk below. We covered the entire 400-foot section of playground, and the kids came in waves to stare at us with open, pure, warm curiosity—no difference between boys and girls yet. “Sir, what are you doing?” Twelve hundred pairs of brightly-colored eight-inch-long children’s shoes, eyes, and open mouths; silence regarding the Avatamsaka Sutra. We bow past, between the fence on one side and the roaring, whizzing cars on the other. Great health, energy, purity, not yet full of thoughts and desire, is focused on us in waves.
Later when the high school let out, cars full of defiled boys and girls shouted and honked past us, yelling obscenities. “Get off the goddamn street!” All off base, looking outside, desperately pushed ahead by lies and by the deceit of movies and music.
What happens at that age when the sap ripens and the channels to receive it do not run straight? Where does the twisting take place? How to change the harm already done? How to remove the evil pressure, break through the brittle growth of habit, and show the way to new health? How to get back to the elementary, wholesome completeness of childhood?
1. No more TV.
2. No more alcohol or dope.
3. More athletics.
4. More religion: young monks and nuns
5. Lay families who cultivate and practice giving.
6. A good teacher.
(Continued on page 44)