去年秋天，一位來自當地曼都仙諾郡（Mendocino County）波摩（Pomo ） 部落的印第安老婦人，來到法界佛教大學的辦公室說：「我是來為孫子湯米（Tommy）登記入學。他剛剛參加了這裡暑期活動。我還要去大殿拜佛，體會一下小孫子常常說到的頂禮的滋味。
我雖然不知道你們佛教徒如何辦校，但我知道這種教育有效。小 Tommy 以前是我所見過脾氣最壞的孩子。不管甚麼人，他都喜歡去和他鬥。有時甚麼原因也沒有，只是他好找事罷了。他從來也不打掃房間。剛到十歲，就已經會跟我頂撞了。我根本沒辦法管住他，幾年前，他媽就再不想管教他了。他那時搬來跟我住，因為我以前和他一樣壞。
Net of Brahma Scripture
This identity eradicates distinctions of self and others, and prepares one for Unsurpassed, Right and Equal, Proper Enlightenment—the Buddha’s accomplishment beneath the Bodhi Tree. At that time, he realized “single-substance Great Compassion” and had the inspiration to embark on a teaching career. This sentiment of Ultimate Filial Piety, in its scope and depth, represents the noblest and most inspiring ideal of the Buddha’s message to mankind.
Thus, filial respect provided the Buddha with both his first inspiration to cultivate and also the culmination of his efforts towards enlightenment. The Buddha bequeathed a high-level ethical code, the Bodhisattva Precepts, as his first gift, because precepts “open the road to Bodhi”, and make possible the highest enlightenment. At that point, one’s filial duties are complete, and all debts of kindness have been repaid. As a traditional saying goes,
“When one child attains the Tao,Nine generations of ancestors are reborn in the Heavens.”
In conclusion, educators will find in the Buddha’s teachings, as well as in the Confucian materials for “virtue-education”, excellent models of proper training for young people. They provide a rich source of moral and ethical principles, effectively illustrated by the life stories of worthy and wise men and women. By translating and presenting this material in classrooms, Buddhist disciples can supply the ethical instructions Western educators are requesting. Once Buddhist-sponsored education revives the fundamental values and purpose of study, the benefits for the world and for humankind are limitless.
“In the future, Buddhism and education will merge and become one, so that in every Buddhist Way-place, there will be disciples carrying out the work of teaching. and then education and Buddhism will become one and the same: the success of Buddhism will lie in the advancement of education; education's flourishing will mark the establishment of Buddhism.”27
Appendix I: Filial Respect as a Basis for Education
The Sagely City of 10,000 Buddha's in Talmage, California, USA operates Instilling Goodness Elementary School, Developing Virtue Secondary School, and Dharma Realm Buddhist University. Its educational policies operate on a Buddhist model, stressing filial compliance, service to the nation, and personal integrity as the basis for virtue-education. Its teachers are members of the Buddhist Sangha, and Precept-holding laypeople from the community. The school emphasizes strict adherence to the Five Precepts, and boys and girls study in separate campuses. Students and faculty members are not permitted to smoke, drink, dance, gamble, take drugs, or eat meat on campus. The Six Great Guiding Principles of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas form the creed of the schools: No Fighting, No Greed, No Seeking, No Selfishness, No Personal Gratification, and No Dishonesty.
Does the foundation in virtue-education actually improve the character of students? Can Western children absorb and benefit from the lessons in filial respect?
An elderly Indian woman from the nearby Pomo Indian tribe, native to Mendocino County, entered the office of Dharma Realm Buddhist University early last Autumn. She said, “I’ve come to sign up my grandson Tommy in your regular school program. He just finished the summer program. Then I’m going to walk to the worship hall and try some of that bowing I heard so much about from my grandson.
“I don’t know exactly what you Buddhists are doing in your school, but it surely works. My little Tommy used to be the baddest-tempered boy I ever saw. He would always fight with anybody, sometimes for no reason, just because of a mean streak in his heart. He never cleaned up his room, and at ten years old he was already giving me lip. I simply couldn’t control him, and his own mother quit trying with him years ago. That’s when he came to live with me, ‘cause I used to be as mean as him when I was his age.
“But after six weeks in your school, you wouldn’t recognize him. He’s a changed boy. I don’t have to remind him, he’s already got his homework done. He looks for ways to help out at home, without my asking. He’s stopped giving me back-talk, and he doesn't fight no more, not even with the rough boys from the Valley. He’s told me he wants me to quit smoking, and best of all, he likes to read me the newspaper of an evening. I tell you, it’s like you give me a new grandson.
“So I just wanted to enroll him again, and say thank you for whatever you’re teaching in your school. In fact, I’m a grandmother already, and kind of set in my ways, but if your teaching can transform my grandson, it must have a lot to offer me, too. Do you have any kind of adult education course, for the old folks?”
Appendix II: Sutra of the Parinirvana of the
White Rice King [T.512]
At one time, the World Honored One was at Vulture Peak. With his faculty of the Heavenly Eye, he could see his father at a distance, lying sick on his bed, emaciated, gaunt, and haggard. His life was about to come to an end. Thereupon the Buddha told Nanda, “The White Rice King, our father, is bedridden with a serious illness, we should go visit him.” Nanda agreed, saying, “Yes, it is fitting that we go before him, to show our gratitude for his kindness in raising us.” Then Ananda spoke, “The White Rice King is my uncle. It was he who allowed me to leave the home life to become the Buddha's disciple, so that I could have the Buddha as my teacher. I wish to go with the two of you.”
Rahula also spoke up, saying, “World Honored One, although the Buddha is my father, and has renounced his country in search of the Way, nonetheless, I am indebted to my grandfather, the king, for having raised me, and for eventually allowing me to leave home. I also wish to go to personally attend upon my grandfather. The Buddha said, “Good indeed!”
When the King saw the Buddha approach, all his pain vanished. The Buddha said, “O Great King, pray do not worry.” Thereupon the Buddha reached out his hand and caressed his father’s forehead. At that moment, Impermanence arrived. The King heaved his last sigh and passed away.
Then the King’s coffin was placed upon his lion’s throne. The Buddha and Nanda positioned themselves at the head of the coffin, standing respectfully, while Ananda and Rahula stood at the feet. Then Nanda knelt on the ground and beseeched the Buddha, “The king, my father, reared me. Will you allow me to be his pall-bearer?”
Ananda also put his palms together and asked the Buddha, “May I be allowed to be a pall-bearer for my uncle’s coffin?” Then Rahula also asked the Buddha, “May I be allowed to help carry my grandfather’s coffin?”
At that time, being mindful of how people in the future would be cruel and belligerent, unable to repay their parents’ kindness in raising them, and because he wished to establish a model of the proper rules of conduct for people in times to come, the Thus Come One himself also became one of the pall-bearers of the coffin of his father, the king.
At that time, the large, three-fold, thousand world system shook in six ways. All the huge and lofty mountains became temporarily submerged, like boats in the water.
(from: Filiality: The Human Source, Vol. 2, BTTS, Talmage, CA, 1981)
27. Ven. Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua, Vajra Bodhi Sea, Vol. 20, Series 48,
Number 237, p. 21-22.