Young friends! You know that skyscrapers are built little by little from the ground up. Hundred-foot-tall trees grew inch by inch before reaching such a height. People also grow day by day. In our youth, we should set our goals and then advance to fulfill them. Without goals or principles, we are like a blind man riding a blind horse coming upon an abyss at midnight. Wouldn’t you say that is dangerous?
Children are like a piece of pure white cloth that becomes blue if dyed blue and yellow if dyed yellow. Children are transformed according to their educational environment. As it’s said, “If you get near rouge, you’ll turn red. If you touch ink, you’ll turn black.” Likewise children are influenced by their surroundings. The Three Character Classic says: “People at birth are by nature good. Their natures are similar, but their habits set them apart. If not taught properly, their natures will change.” That’s the principle here.
You are now being educated at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. If you can learn not to fight, not to be greedy, not to seek, not to be selfish, not to pursue personal advantage, and not to lie, in the future you will surely make a contribution to your society and country. These Six Guidelines are the motto for the schools at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas: Dharma Realm Buddhist University, Developing Virtue Secondary School, and Instilling Goodness Elementary School.
Teachers at the university and the secondary and elementary schools! Sincerely devote yourself to educating the next generation. It’s a sacred calling. If you can educate students so that they have perfect characters and solid knowledge, they won’t turn into hippies, vagrants, bums, or robbers, but into good citizens. At present, the educational system has failed. Why? Because a utilitarian outlook has taken over. People open schools for the purpose of making money, so their attitude is: The more students the better. But what happens is that the noble purpose of education is lost.
All of you teachers should teach the students as if they were your own children. Children are the resources of the nation, the foundation of the country. If a nation’s resources are inadequate and its foundation is weak, how can the nation become a strong one? Let’s urge one another on!