During the first weekend of October (October 4-6, 1996) a group of about 80 Humboldt State University students visited the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. This was the largest student group that has visited the City so far. Most of the students were newcomers to Buddhism, but nevertheless they found the weekend of intense cultivation rewarding and insightful.
Previous visits by HSU students have focused mostly on lectures and discussions. In contrast, this weekend was geared more towards actual cultivation. The students both meditated more and had more taiji classes. The participants thoroughly appreciated both of these activities and intended to continue this form of practice later. They also spent more time in the Buddha Hall, attending the Saturday afternoon Great Compassion Mantra session. In spite of the linguistic barrier the power of the mantra came through and for many the session was a healing and spiritual experience.
The whole assembly attended the Saturday night panel discussion on "Wisdom vs. Knowledge." In our fragmented modern world the need for real wisdom as opposed to mere acquisition of knowledge is keenly felt. Both panelists and the audience also emphasized the great need for education that nurtures wisdom.
During their visit the HSU students enjoyed the natural surroundings of the City, its peaceful and safe atmosphere, and the excellent vegetarian food of the dining hall. In their final evaluations the students expressed their gratitude for having had a chance to experience life at the City. "I have great respect for the people living here. They are very genuine and dedicated with utmost sincerity," summed up a student.