張瑜庭 講於2012年2月10日星期五晚 萬佛城大殿 A talk given by Christine Chang on Feb 10 (Friday), 2012 at Buddha Hall of CTTB
諸佛菩薩、宣公上人、各位法師、各位善知識：阿彌陀佛！我的名字是張瑜庭，今年我是十二年級，而我也將去一所女校大學 Bryn Mawr College 。
By Christine Chang
Buddhas Bodhisattvas, Venerable Master, Dharma Master, all good knowing advisors Amitabha!
My name is Christine Chang. I am a senior and I recently got accepted to a girls college–BrynMawrCollegeat Pennslavania.
Today I will like to share some short excerpts from my college supplement essays and how the Buddha’s teaching and the education I receive from DVGS make me different compared to the other applicants. This year, I decided to apply to a lot of Girls Colleges. You might ask me why? Well, I think my answer is that I will be able to have a more disciplined life when I am in an all girls environment and that I will obtain a more focused mind.
A college that I applied to had this prompt: What miracle have you witnessed?
I tried to think of those non-spiritual miracles in my life but couldn’t really find one until I heard something on the radio about the Christmas truce that happened during World War II.
For me the miracle is human compassion, in large or small measure. I attend school in a Buddhist monastery; this has given me the opportunity to personally witness many acts of compassion, a nun sacrificing years of her life to relentlessly care for hyperactive teenagers, or a loud gaggle of students suddenly stopping to help a suffering animal or bend to remove worms from a trodden sidewalk, or arguing students stop their angry words to dry the tears of a sister student with comforting gestures and chocolate. I have seen a class film on the horrors of genocide and have it move me and three other 15-year-old girls to stretch beyond our comfort zone and talk to strangers to raise money. I have witnessed a stranger’s eyes move from frowning doubt to understanding and compassion and then to donating money. I have witnessed the letters from the children saved by this small amount of money raised. These are personal miracles I have witnessed.
In politics and history, accounts of compassion rarely appear, but I have read of the Christmas Miracle of 1914 and it gives me hope for the tensions between the wars and conflicts that are happening nowadays. The shared culture and miracle of Christmas united the British and German soldiers on that World War I battlefield for one night, to cross the No Man’s Land, to share small gifts and sing carols in the dark. Maybe the shared culture between all humans can also be a way to unite us peacefully in the dark night of distrust and fear. And if a stranger can find compassion for a child inUganda, an unruly teenager compassion for a worm, and British and German soldiers compassion for each other in the Christmas holiday, maybe, just maybe everyone can find the compassion to care for each other and the world. But one thing I do know from what I have witnessed: miracles are possible if and only if human beings are willing to let them happen.
Before I wrote this prompt, I always thought that I deserved others’ “compassion” or it is a right to be loved and cared by others. However, in Buddhism, I learned that nothing is a right; everything is a privilege. I do not deserve this quote quote “miracle” unless I cultivate my own “compassion”. I was not being truly thankful to the compassion that other people are giving to me; I was not mindful of it. As I learned more and experienced more of this miracle in life, I realize that compassion is not only a source of miracle from others, but a source of strength that can keep me going. While writing this prompt, I learned about the Christmas truce that happened between British soldiers and German soldiers during World War 2. When I first got acquainted with this part of history, I was shocked, indeed. In my opinion, war is a symbol of darkness, of hatred, of suffering. How is it possible to see compassion, or “miracle” during a war? Humans. We have the power to turn from darkness into light, from hatred into love, from suffering into liberation.
From attending DVGS for 5 years, I learned that it is a choice, not a destiny for us to decide whether we want to cultivate and manifest our compassion at a critical moment or not. Like what I have mentioned in college supplement essay, British and German people stopped and started to sing Christmas carols at night. No one has to run for life, or fight another soldier but enjoy the peacefulness that is created by everyone’s compassion.
Being a member in this community, and a student inDevelopingVirtueGirlsSchool, I understand the importance of practicing, meditating, and acting out compassion. Buddhism is only learned and internalized when I applied the teachings into life. Once we show others our compassion, I believe that “peace” is possible even during chaotic times (just like what we have witnessed during World War 1). Compassion is a miracle that can be easily achieved when you are willing to achieve it.
This year, I will be graduating from the school and going off to college. I will most likely be studying the Peace, Conflicts, justice Program in the college I am attending to. As you may know, I have been involved in the Uganda project for a period of time, and is still horrified by the conflicts and wars that are now happening in that area. Besides raising money for the children inUganda, I want to search for the roots and causes of war, finding answers that bring peaceful solutions to conflict, and heal the hearts and bodies of victims damaged by war.
Our school has taught me not to just learn something for the sake of living, but to question the purpose behind it—why do I want to study about this? How can my education in college help create a better life for others? This is also one of the concepts of a Great Unity, of how people consider everyone’s benefits and not just one person’s.