Tonight I was called up to lecture because someone else is unable to come up for her turn. Today I happened to be editing the report I made about the Dharma Realm Buddhist Youth (DRBY) Conference for publication in
Vajra Bodhi Sea. The main editor asked me to share some more about that conference.
Personally I felt that the conference was very successful, not because many people attended, but because all these young people were very sincere and enthusiastic. We were glad to see that the young people who were nurtured for years at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas had some deep insights into Buddhism. Their parents were also very supportive and hoped that DRBY would soon be established. All the Dharma brothers also cooperated and contributed their full effort in supporting the conference. Therefore, I feel that the conference was very successful.
I remember reading a report stating that the three major causes of death of young people in the United States are: (1) auto accidents, (2) drug overdose, and (3) suicide. Young Americans in the present age are disoriented. Without values to guide their lives, they are lost and apathetic. DRBY has been founded with the urgent and meaningful mission of leading young people to a bright future.
One of the students who grew up at the CTTB shared her thoughts, which were very moving. She told us that she has learned a great deal from coordinating last year's conference and assisting with the coordination of this year's conference. She has gained a more profound understanding of the Buddhadharma as well. Her family lived at the CTTB for eight or nine years. She was a rebellious student who disagreed with the school's rules and the policy of separating boys and girls. She wanted to leave many times. However, her parents were very sincere Buddhists, so she was forced to stay here. After she graduated, however, she went out into the society and was faced with all its problems. At that time, the Buddhadharma helped her, allowing her to understand many principles.
During the conference, she was the discussion moderator for a panel discussion on "Happiness, Freedom, and the Truth." She asked the young people there, "What is true happiness? Freedom? What is the truth?" She asked them to raise their hands if they wanted happiness. They all raised their hands. She asked, "Is anyone looking for freedom?" And they all raised their hands. Everyone was looking for freedom. Then she asked them if at any time, they had been sad and wanted to commit suicide. Everyone raised his or her hand, except for one thirteen-year-old boy who didn't know enough to be depressed; he wasn't at that stage yet. He has experienced a lot too. I will report that later.
She said that although they all sought happiness, freedom, and truth, none of them could actually find or know them. They didn't like rules before, and they sought only the happiness of the mundane world. She used to rebel against her parents and teachers, but through these two conferences, she has realized that people are constantly responding to the external world. If external states make us happy, then we are happy. When the situation is difficult, then we suffer and get upset. We constantly react to the outside world, instead of being in control of our own emotions. That's because for infinite eons, we have carried the three poisons of greed, anger and delusion. The amount of greed, anger, and delusion we have influences the way we respond to the world. If we are free of these three poisons, then we will always be happy.
Then we asked her if she is still thinking of moving away from her family and living outside. She said that she's not thinking about moving to any other place because she wants to take care of her parents and her younger brothers. She now comprehends that her parents put in a lot of effort in taking care of her. She really wants to pay back their kindness. Her sincerity in that talk was very moving. We were also reassured by her sincere sharing.
Another insight that she had was that although she is very rebellious, she still has some good roots. She really likes Buddhist philosophy. When she was in school or college, she read lots of books on Buddhist philosophy. She felt that although the books told us the principles, but if we don't cultivate the Way and virtue, then it doesn't make sense. She realized that she must still cultivate and be virtuous, that the Buddhadharma is in practice and not in talking. Furthermore, she finally understood that to truly cultivate and be virtuous is very important to being human. It was a great consolation to hear that these students were realizing the Buddhadharma in their daily lives and gaining insight into truth.
To be continued