Venerable Master Hsuan Hua

Building a Solid Foundation

Talk given by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua

The first objective of education at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas is building a good foundation for character, enabling all elementary, secondary, and university students to understand the principles of propriety, righteous­ness, honesty, a sense of shame, loyalty, filiality, humane­ness, and loving-kindness. In other words, we emphasize educating the mind and spirit, so that the students have a solid foundation for being a person. In the future, when they start working, they will base their actions on virtue and serve as models for others. People will look up to and learn from them, and their influence will gradually reverse the unwholesome trends of society. Then there will be no need to lock the doors at night, and lost articles will always be returned.

Why is the world not doing well? No one has laid a good foundation for humanity. Consequently, people are all swayed by the winds of the five desires: wealth, sex, fame, food, and sleep. They become muddled, seeking only to gratify those five desires. They have no idea of what filiality, fraternal respect, loyalty, and trustworthiness are. They know nothing about the principles of humaneness, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and trustworthiness. Therefore the world is chaotic and pervaded with a foul atmosphere.

The education given at the City teaches people to lay a good, solid foundation upon which skyscrapers can be built. I’ve been the big hammer, hammering our young friends’ foundations so that they’ll be solid and useful to the world in the future. That is my goal. Young friends, do not underestimate yourselves. You are the future leaders of this country. In the classroom, aside from quietly listening to the teacher’s lecture, you must also practice public speaking. After you have gained some experience and are no longer afraid, you will be able to propagate the Dharma with boundless eloquence.

Teachers, please work hard to train these young people to become wise, energetic, law-abiding, model citizens who will never hesitate to do what is right. In order to promote world peace, we have to start with education. As long as we lay down a good foundation in education, the nation will surely be strong and prosperous, and the world will be safe and peaceful. Since some countries don’t have a solid educational foundation, they have numerous juvenile delinquents who eat their fill and have nothing better to do than wander in the streets like vagabonds.

I daresay that students at the City–whether they are in the university, secondary school, or elementary school–are all good students who observe the rules and know how to behave as decent human beings who develop their own virtue. I hope that based on these guidelines, you will work hard and become people who are useful to the nation.