Venerable Master, Dharma Masters, Good Advisors, and fellow classmates: Amitabha. My name is Juncheng Qiu, and I am a student at Developing Virtue Boys' Secondary School. I'm very honored to be able to speak to everyone in the Hall of Ten Thousand Buddhas. My classmates have been taking turns yesterday and today, speaking with everyone on such topics as the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas being the Way-place of Guanyin Bodhisattva, the Six Guidelines, the Universal Door Chapter, contemporary stories, and so forth. All of these are related to the Guanyin Session we've been holding these past few days.
During a Guanyin Session, we recite the name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva (Bodhisattva Who Observes the Sounds of the World), hoping the Bodhisattva will bless us with his great spiritual power and free us from ignorance and afflictions. We know that Guanshiyin Bodhisattva has great kindness and great compassion. The Universal Door Chapter tells us that if we single-mindedly recite the Bodhisattva's name, he will help us through all difficulties. Why is Guanshiyin Bodhisattva so kind to us? Personally, I think it's because his mind is extremely broad and so it can encompass us all.
Personally speaking, I find it pretty hard to forget when other people do something wrong or treat me badly. Recently I had an experience that taught me a lot. This experience really influenced everyone in my dorm.
The experience was that of going to the kitchen to prepare dinner. I don't know if you have noticed that after dinner on Saturdays and Sundays recently, students have been walking out of the dining hall with stuffed bellies. Why? Because the Boys School students have been going to the kitchen in groups on weekend afternoons to "learn the trade." Three students and myself were in the first group. We started by learning how to make wheat gluten. It's not an easy task. You take a basin full of water, pour a lot of flour into it, and then knead the flour continuously. Kneading the mass of dough into a ball of gluten is more tiring than a playing a basketball game. When our hands were aching and exhausted from kneading, the kitchen manager Heng Ran Shi was still as serene as ever, teaching us with no intent of stopping. There are many rules to follow in washing and cutting vegetables and steaming rice, and the preparation and clean-up before and after dinner takes quite a bit of know-how.
Before this experience, I would sometimes complain that the dinner didn't taste good or there wasn't enough to eat, and so on. Even if I didn't voice my complaints, I would be grumbling inside. What about now? I've discovered that I'm both ignorant and inconsiderate. I didn't know how hard people worked to prepare the meals; I only knew how to enjoy the fruits of their labor. After this experience, I will never be so self-centered again.
Now, back to the topic. Guanshiyin Bodhisattva is very wise. He does not judge us by our appearance, because our mind is what's important. We should learn to be tolerant of everyone, following the Master's words: "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." This is especially true when others' "faults" are really just a selfish and ignorant presupposition on our part.
All the sentient beings around us, such as our parents, teachers, elders, classmates, friends, and animals; and all the insentient things, such as the plants and trees in our natural environment, are all speaking the Dharma for us through all the big and small things that happen. It's very likely that Guanshiyin Bodhisattva's transformation body is among them, teaching us and testing us.
The Guanyin Session is already underway. Why are we young and unexperienced people giving talks? Even though we know very little, we do know a little about the matters that concern those of our age. It's like the analogy that the Master drew between elementary school, high school and the university and Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism. Confucianism teaches us the basic principles of being a person and living in society. It is like elementary school. Taoism, which begins to investigate the relationship between the individual and the universe, is like high school. And Buddhism, which includes all the truths of the universe, is like a university that covers all subjects.
As for our learning at this university, let's take the memorization of the Universal Door Chapter as an example. Maybe we students don't have that much insight or don't completely understand the Sutra's meaning, but these true principles will be stored unalterably in our eighth consciousness, and they will guide us toward the light, giving us endless benefit in life after life.
Living in this pure Bodhimanda--the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas--we really ought to cherish this opportunity and earnestly participate in the Guanyin Session. We should also have a tolerant mind, be considerate of others, and help others, the way Guanyin Bodhisattva does. I believe one day we can become one of the thousand hands and thousand eyes of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva and be able to help people everywhere!