孫瑋唯、Lynnette Seak、李寧恩、陳荃荃講於2014年6月10日星期二晚 萬佛城大殿
By Ashley Sun 孫瑋唯
Dharma Masters, Teachers, Students and Good knowing advisers…. Good evening. My name is Ashley Sun, and I am another graduating senior from Developing Virtue Secondary School with another talk.
When I found out that I was going to give a Dharma talk today I didn’t know what I wanted to say. A few days ago I asked my dad what I should talk about. He told me to say anything that my heart wanted to say, whether it be good or bad. So taking his advice I decided that I would talk about my relationship and experience with CTTB and how that has made me into the person I am today.
First, you may wonder how I ended up here in the first place. I moved from Los Angeles to Ukiah when I was five. My parents decided that the move would be beneficial to my health and my brother’s health since the air quality is much better here then in LA, and moving here my mom could take care of her mother, my grandmother, who is a Dharma master here.
Most of the other people who come up here talk about how they have changed from there past self to their present self. However, I can’t say that I have changed if I have been here since I was in kindergarten. My life has been revolved around CTTB. It is been one thing in my life that is constant.
I hope that as I move on from here that I will keep the virtues and values that I have learned through my years here. I remember when I was in second grade when Heng Jen Shr asked us who has never lied before, I rose my hand and said that I hadn’t lie. Though I can’t say that anymore now, from that experience I learned the value of honesty and the importance of staying true to my intentions and actions.
This place is a community, sometimes a dysfunctional community but the importance of respect is greatly implemented here. We are expected to greet our teachers and dharma masters when we see the. Although I don’t always do that because I’m a shy person, I really appreciate that expectation. It teaches me to be mindful and aware of my surroundings.
Many people here have good intentions and are kind, even if they do things wrong. I experienced the kindness of the community when my mother passed away in 2009. After she passed away I felt the support that the community gave me, even until now. I remember the day that I received the news that my mom was in the hospital it was during school meeting and a teacher calls me out of the room. My first thought was that I was in trouble, even though I had not done anything wrong. Without even knowing, CTTB always seems to be in every part of my life, even during the most critical times.
The first few days after her death I received an overwhelming amount of support from CTTB and friends at school. A lot of the support was silent and nonverbal, but I could feel the energy and the stares that people gave. Though some people gave uncomfortably pity-stares I know that it was out of good intentions and that they were trying to show support. I have always felt that I have never said how grateful I am for the support that I have received here, especially after my mom’s death. One instance where I felt that support when during the first month the kitchen would prepare dinner for my father and me. I remember when Mrs. Lau also would occasionally bring food over to my house as well. I wish that support continued till today, then I wouldn’t have to cook dinner for me and my dad. Here today I want to take this opportunity to say how grateful and appreciative to everyone here who showed their kindness during that time of darkness towards me. To all the nuns and friends who went to the hospital to visit and pray for my mom. To CTTB for holding her funeral ceremony here. And everyone who never failed to give me support – I want to say thank you. I wish I could repay the kindness, and I am deeply grateful to what everyone has done for me.
在媽媽去世後的幾天，我的同學給予我很多的支持。也有很多不是出自言語的的關懷，一切的一切, 我都可以從大家的眼神中感受到。即使有些人用很可憐的目光看著我，我都知道她們是好心的，她們也只是想鼓勵我罷了。我一直都覺得，我沒有機會對這些關懷我和支持我的人, 表達我的感恩之心，尤其是在我媽媽去世了以後，有一個月的時間，齋堂會給我和爸爸做晚餐。我還記得Mrs.Lau也時不時會帶一些食物來我家。我希望那時的支持可以繼續，這樣我就不用學煮飯了。今天我有這麼一個難得的機會, 向所有在我生命中, 最困難的時候給予我關懷的人，表達我的感恩之心。謝謝那些去幫我媽媽助念的法師和朋友們，感謝聖城允許媽媽的喪禮在這裡舉行，還有謝謝所有一路支持我的人。我希望自己可以報答你們，謝謝你們所做的一切。
Coming from a unique place like CTTB it is hard to imagine that I will not be coming back here to attend school in the fall. But I plan to visit often since I will be a two and a half hour drive away. CTTB will always hold a special place in my heart. In three days I will be graduating and I am excited to move on with the next chapter in my life but I will never forget the roots and origins that I come from, here. Thank you.
從聖城這麼特別的地方出來，我很難想像下學期開學, 我就不會回來了。但是我計劃經常回來拜訪，因為我的大學離這裡開車只需要兩個半小時的時間。聖城在我的心中永遠都是無可替代的。我還有三天就畢業了，我很期待. 因為我的人生要翻開嶄新的一頁，盡管如此, 我永遠都不會忘記這裡是我的根，我是從聖城出來的。謝謝大家。
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By Lynnette Seak (12th grade)
Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Venerable Master, all Dharma Masters, all good knowing advisors, amituofo. My name is Lynnette Seak, and I am an upcoming graduate of Developing Virtue Secondary School, included in the eleven that belong to the class of 2014.
Uhum. Well, life is unfair.
There are times that things will go our way and then others we have entirely no control over at all. The worst part? When we actually get emotionally affected by it. This was the biggest difficulty I had to overcome, especially since I was young. “Why did this have to happen to me? Why is it me that has to change, instead of her?" Yes, when I was still a little girl, I would get into fights, if not with my friends, then with my parents. I would cry in the back of the car thinking that I was right, not my parents, and they had no say in my life. Yes, a 9 year old girl knew she wanted to control her life, not be controlled by her parents.
有時候, 事情很順我們的意, 但也有不如意的時候, 甚至會到完全失控的狀態。最糟糕的是甚麼呢？我們會被情緒所影響。這就是從我到大，需要克服的最大的難關。我總是問自己，｢為什麼我需要承受這些？為什麼每次都是我得改變，而不是別人？ ｣是的，所以從小我就經常和別人發生口角，吵架的對象不是朋友，就是父母。我總是會在後車座上哭個不停，我堅定的認為自己是對的，別人是錯的，沒人有權利批評我。一個九歲的小女生竟然想要自己主宰自己的人生，不想要受父母的控制。
Oh, how much I wish my parents could regulate my life now. How I wish I didn’t have to make any decisions and live life instead of working hard. Life was so much easier being a kid, I don’t have to worry much; it’s just all risks and ‘trying again’s. But in the adult world, one wrong move and everyone’s eyes are on me. The funny thing is, it’s not their fault for looking at me, it’s mine for getting their attention. That took a while to get used to. As much as I knew the fact, I did not know the act. And it took me four years to realize this, to understand that if I wanted people to change their view on me, I had to change my point of view and my actions first. And with all the loving teachers and friends, and mother around me, this change of perspective was bearable, huge, but definitely rewarding.
但是, 現在的我, 是多麼的希望我的父母可以安排我的生活，我多麼的希望，我當初不需要做任何的決定，只要努力就好了。兒時的生活比現在簡單得多，那時的我並不需要擔憂，一切就是不斷的挑戰和嘗試罷了。但是在大人的世界中，一個小錯誤就可以讓所有人都注意到。最荒謬的是，別人對我的批評並不是錯的，錯的是我一直想要得到別人的注意。這個問題讓我花了很久去調整和適應。雖然我知道我的問題，但卻不知道該如何去改變。我花了四年的時間才學到，如果我想要改變別人對我的看法，我先要改變自己的想法和行為才行。在慈悲的老師、同學和媽媽的引導幫助下，我必須要做的改變就不是很難了，反而覺得很值得。
Last Sunday evening, when one Dharma Master was giving a Dharma talk, he brought up, “We have to wake up in order for the sun to rise". Every change starts from us. That sun is always up the moment we acknowledge it. So yes, life is unfair, life doesn’t always go the way we want, but we can definitely change our thinking about it, and make it through the tough and undesired. Don’t blame anyone; it’s not their responsibility to fix your life. Keep calm and carry on; life’s at its best when even the simplest things can make us happy.
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By Annabel Li 李寧恩
Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Ven. Master, Dharma Masters and all good wise advisors, amitofo! My name is Annabel Li, a senior in DVGS.
It was last summer when I finally uncovered my story of coming to The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. As we all know, we recently celebrated Venerable Master’s Nirvana. Nineteen years ago on that very same day, even before I was born, my mother had a dream of a monk who she has never met before. After many months without putting that dream on her mind, she flipped through a magazine and in it was an article of the very same monk she had dreamt of. The monk was no other than the Venerable Master himself. My mother became interested in the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas and decided to bring my sister and me to visit place. We ended staying here for one month and I took refuge with the three jewels here. However, until this day, I have never seen my refuge certificate but that was how my story with CTTB began.
Ten years after that visit, I enrolled intoDevelopingVirtueSecondary School. I Now here I am graduating in three days from this place. It has been six years which flew by in an blink of an eye. There is so much to say yet so little time but tonight I will like to emphasize how CTTB has shaped me.
People see me as “happy”, jolly all seasons round, not just Christmas. However, I was not always like this. At one point in my life, I was the ultimate crybaby. I used to secretly cry all the time. When I first came to CTTB, I used to cry in the bathroom, in the shower and to sleep
I was also abnormally hyper, with my high-strung moods. I could be nicest person in the world and then turn into mean, bratty girl so people found it hard to be friends with me. Even the dorm mother thought that I was a little off. She told me that I should at least go for an IQ test. Instead of an IQ test, my mother brought me to the doctor’s and I was diagnosed with Graves’ disease—hyperthyroid. I found out that my illness was the cause of my hyperactivity and my “moods”. Yet I have a difficulty of not taking my medication on time that explains the continuous imbalance of my emotions. Just like that, my first two years passed, leaving me only with blurry memories of homesickness. It was so bad that my parents wanted to send me away to another school.
But I stayed and my third year made all the difference. With the guidance of my teachers, I found my pursuit of happiness. I found my self. In CTTB, I realized what type of person I wanted to become—a happy one.
Slowly, I learned to be more mindful of my thoughts, cautious to steer myself away from negative thinking of sadness and anger. I started dancing and allowing me to vent my negativity through the exercise. Even if I am upset, I fake it till I make it. I do this by finding a way release my emotions in a positive way or I distract myself. And so, I became the “Positive” Annabel.
Then I started thinking. In DVGS, we emphasize in the core virtues. All virtues are equally important but the virtue that is most noticeable and frequently applied here every day is kindness—wholesome intention to help others. Venerable Master started this school in hopes that students will take what they learn here and apply to their daily lives. What use will we have if we don’t apply what we learn?
This year, I took psychology in school. There is this term called the Do Good-Feel Good Phenomenon. This term is used to characterize the phenomenon that when people do something nice or participate in a charitable activity, they feel better and happier and that is exactly what I felt. CTTB helped me realized another way to make myself happy is to make others happy.
Students complain about CTTB all the time. We complain about the fact that we have to community service and that we have to go evening ceremony five times a week. We never really knew little things we do every day will actually pay off.
Last summer, I signed up Sea Turtles Studies Program inCosta Ricaand worked hands on with the world’s longest-running Sea Turtle Conservancy.
I went white-water rafting and I was super careful not to fall into the water but in the end I still fell into the river. Surprisingly, the first thought that came into my mind was none other than what we recite everyday during evening ceremony, “Amitabha”. There was not one drop of fear in me because during hardcore Buddhism class, I learned that when a person is at the brink of death, if he recites the name “Amitabha”, he would be able to go to the Pureland. At the moment, I seriously believed that even if I die, Amitabha will take me to theLandofUltimate Blissbecause I recited Amitabha’s name.
My unexpected experience taught that even though we might not appreciate values that have be repeatedly taught to us while we are in CTTB. These values are still unconsciously imprinted in our minds. Who knows, in the future, we will remember the little things we have learned here and use it to we face our difficulties.
After six years, I am finally graduating, leaving this place that have kept me protected and well fed. However, I am not afraid to leave this place because I have lived my fullest here and most importantly, I found my self. I have faith in Venerable Master’s compassion, wherever I go, Venerable Master will continue to watch over me. Once a DVGS’er, forever a DVGS’er. For everything, I am forever grateful.
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By Tancy Chen 陳荃荃
Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Venerable Master, Dharma Masters, All Well-Knowing Advisor, Amitabha. My name is Tracy Chen. I’m a senior this year and tonight I will be sharing my experience here in the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas.
Christopher Columbus once said, “You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.” I never understood that quote until I came to CTTB.
Four years ago, I watched the tide turn in my life. After attending the summer camp here, I decided to enroll at the girls school. However, as I had planned to be part of an elite, unique private school, I was horrified when I discovered that although the monastery was indeed unique, it came nowhere near my expectations.
My first year here went by slowly. I didn’t like it here, and I would spend the half hour I was given to call home every weekend fighting with my parents, begging them to let me go home. The teachers and older students knew I was having a hard time adjusting, and tried to help me, telling me the positive aspects of this place and that if I tried accepting the place, I would eventually see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Yet at that time, I couldn’t see that. I couldn’t see that I was creating a negative atmosphere for others and myself here, I couldn’t see that my parents’ health was deteriorating because of constantly fighting with me and worrying about me, I couldn’t see the efforts teachers and older students made to help me. All I could think about was myself, and my own opinions and feelings. I wanted out so bad. It took over my thoughts so much that all I could think about was what was wrong with this place.
This went on throughout my first year, and even my second year. Although I was gradually getting used to this place and disliking it less and less, I still wanted to leave.
The summer after my second year here, I lived in Berkeley with a classmate and her mother and thus I was away from CTTB and also my family. That summer, I went out a lot, broke quite a few school rules, partied many nights, barely talked to my parents, wasted a lot of money, and befriended people who were negative influences.
Then the end of that summer came, and I found myself extremely depressed and lost. I wasn’t as close to my family anymore, many of the people that I considered my friends weren’t as close as I thought they were, I didn’t have any goals or aspirations left. No matter how much I tried to deny it, I found myself missing CTTB. This place had become a home and its people, a family. I realized that although I had always been viewing the monastery as barbarian gulag holding me captive, it was really a chance for introspection and a peaceful place for mental clarity. Most importantly, I realized that it wasn’t CTTB that was bad or made me unhappy, it was my own rotten attitude and bad habits that made my life here so miserable.
Because of this realization, I came back for my third year here with a completely different mindset. I had let go of my past complaints and dissatisfaction. Cause for the first time in forever, I could see my faults and wanted to change. For the first time in forever, I was willing to open up to and help my classmates and teachers. For the first time in forever, I, out of my own will, wanted to be in CTTB.
After I opened up to this place, I started thinking for others instead of just myself, starting with my family and moving on to my friends and other students. As I spent more time helping out the school and my peers, I looked up to the other student’s positive points and strived to better myself. Instead of fighting with my parents every time I called them, I learned to listen to their advice and our relationship grew stronger out of understanding. Gradually, my attitude improved and I wasn’t interested in the bad things I used to enjoy anymore. Although I still have behaviors that need to be changed, I feel that here, I have finally been able to understand who I truly am as a person and what type of person I want to be.
This is why I am so thankful towards this place. It has changed me in innumerable, positive ways. It’s hard to describe, even now, the magnitude of this impact. Leaving CTTB is such a brutal transition that I don’t know what the world has in store for me, but one thing I know is that I have the lessons and experiences I’ve gained here to guide me on. There’s bound to be rough waters, but I am eager to chance the rapids and dance the tide.