If one asks with subtlety, who is the greatest person in the whole world? It is not difficult to answer, he/she is not the most famous historical figure, but she is your own mother. Why? Because high above from the Buddha, to all sages, to the king or president, and down to the common citizen, everyone is brought up by mother from the time of pregnancy to grown up, to adults. We know, the mothers of the sages are revered as holy mothers. Thus Buddha's mother is revered as Holy Mother Queen Maya. Jesus Christ's mother is revered as Holy Mother Saint Mary. Confucius's mother is revered as Holy Mother Madam Yan.
Moreover, the word mother has been connected with many meaningful things. For example, men take our earth as the Mother Earth because it nurtured all human. Men called the country where they were born as their Mother Country. Men called their former schools as their Mother Schools.
What is the virtue of kindness of a mother? It is the infinite giving without thinking of being rewarded. I will take myself as an illustration. I have endless stories to tell. My mom carried me in her womb for 12 months before giving birth to me. I am not wrong, it was not 10 months. She carried me for 12 months and gave birth to a very weak baby that was me. After birth, I could not walk even I was 3 years old. For the purpose of looking after me, she had to painfully give away my younger sister to a friend, a school teacher who had no children. Because my family was poor, to make sure that I do not have to do hard labor work later, I was the only son among 10 siblings being sent to college with a degree. After graduated from college, I was teaching 500 miles away from home. After married when my wife gave birth to my first son, my mother, with accompaniment of my dad, took the difficulty of getting on a series of different buses to come to us to take care of the new born baby who is now Peter. We turned to vegetarianism when I was 36. Every time we went back to hometown, my mom would cook vegetarian food for us even though my other siblings in the family were not vegetarians. I came to CTTB when I was 42. As she got older, we did not have the chance to live with and look after her. She would rather see us doing the dharma protecting work here than expecting us to look after her. She had passed away. You can imagine how much I missed her. The only thing that makes me feel slightly better was that my wife and I were able to take turn to go back during every summer to live with her for couples of weeks, a few years before she passed away. And we were able to recite many times the Earth Store Bodhisattva Sutra for her. My wife was especially sincere in the recitation. I would like to repeat, the virtue of mother is the infinite giving without thinking of being rewarded.
Why mother is greatest? This is because either Eastern or Western cultures and religions, in the past or at present; the definitive role of mother has long been recognized in tradition. It is well admitted that mother is of the foremost importance in a child body and mind development. Mother is first, then the father.
How does a great mother come into being? How to make every mother the greatest mother? This is a topic that requires deep contemplation. While being a young adult, Venerable Master participated as a member of the Moral and Virtue Association founded by the Goodman Wang. Venerable said; Goodman Wang was an enlightened person. He noticed the lack of education opportunity for women in China which was affecting the country and society. At that time, very few women have the opportunity to receive a thorough orthodox education and on family ethic. It affects the following generation in their sense of values, identity and character. To make China strong, orthodox education for women is thus most important. With the help of the Moral and Virtue Association, Goodman Wang founded more than 70 schools for women free education throughout China.
Goodman Wang said women are the source of the world, the foundation of wholesome families, and the resource to replenish a country. Women are the mothers of all citizens. Wonderful sages or evil doers are both born from mothers. A mother conceived pregnancy for 10 months, the in-born education for a child starts in the womb. Once a child is born, any education is considered as after born education. Thus mother became a foremost decisive factor in bearing the kind of children in the family. A child's behavior or showing up problems in the first 12 years has a lot to do with the untold secrets of the mother during pregnancy. From the angle of Buddhism, the in-born character of a child is related to both womb education and karma brought along. Also, the characteristic of a child is a reflection of karmic retribution of the parents. Parents' self education on correction of their own body, speech and mind karma is another aspect of concern. Thus orthodox education for both men and women carries the same weight.
The free education schools founded by Goodman Wang have a great impact in China. According to Professor Wang Yuan Wu, the great grand daughter of Goodman Wang, Wang's descendants were getting stronger generation after generation. The descendants of those women receiving the free education are also getting stronger each generation. In her talks around China, Professor Wang mentioned that a kind mother has 3 principles to follow. Her nature will follow heavenly laws, her heart will follow rationale and her body will follow sensibility. Following heavenly laws one will not go against the proper way, following rationale one understands cause and effect, following sensibility one will be kind, loving and live with harmony. There are 8 virtues for men and there are 8 virtues for women too. The 8 virtues for men are filial respect, humility, royalty, trustworthiness, propriety, righteousness, incorruptibility, and knowing shame. The eight virtues for women are filial respect, in accordance with family members, live with harmony, live in good term, kindness, conscience, chastity, and calmness, roughly explained as follows: be filial to the elderly in the family, live in accord with family members of the same generation, live in harmony with family members, live in good term, kind to husband and love the children, conscience means good attitude, respect and character, love her own purity, calmness means thoughtful in speech, no improper words.
Each year, DVSS Chinese orchestra will put up a recital for the Mother's Day. It will be on the coming Sunday 5-9-2010. On one hand, the students took this opportunity to show their talents to their mothers. It is a practice of filial piety. On the other hand, it is also a self recognition for the students. The students naturally recognize their contribution to the family among all the members, father, mother and the siblings. Contribution of talents on the Mother's Day makes it meaningful for the whole year's effort.
The difference for this year recital is that there are 5 students taking a class called Chinese Orchestra Musicianship. These students will perform solo pieces and conduct the orchestra. Even though this is a traditional Chinese Music course; it was approved by the University of California academic subjects system. The students will have to learn Theory of Music, writing music score, conducting orchestra, and learning the principles of Eastern and Western music cultures. The students have to be in the orchestra for at least 2 years before they are eligible to take this class.
All the mothers, may you be delighted with your children's performance. Your children's achievement is itself your own achievement. The effort and achievement of your children are due to your support. It will be difficult for the teachers to contribute their efforts without the parents support.