Respectable Vice-Chancellor John Hays and professors, I would like to express my appreciation to the university for giving me this opportunity to share and exchange my ideas with you. I have been a Buddhist lecturer for forty-four years. In my understanding, Buddhism is a multi-cultural social education. Today, we would say that Shakyamuni Buddha was the founder of multi-cultural social education, a true social volunteer. His goal was to help sentient beings understand the true reality of life and the universe, to treat everyone equally, to co-exist harmoniously, and to live in mutual cooperation with all others.
In my lectures, I have said that the Buddha taught three principles. The first is to treat everyone equally and to co-exist harmoniously regardless of nationality, race, and religion. The second is to regard nature and all existence with a non-discriminatory mind. The third is to treat all spiritual beings with equal respect and harmony. In Buddhism, peace is the core concept for guiding all sentient beings. Whether or not peace can be achieved depends on “equality.” Only with a non-discriminatory mind, will peace be realized. Shakyamuni Buddha was a humble person who respected, helped, and cared for everyone. He showed us, through his example, the only way to attain peace.
When I read the Chinese translation of your report on the Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution, I was impressed and greatly moved. I thought of a gentleman, Mr. Jia-Cheng Li in Hong Kong. He and others deeply understand the importance of education and are very enthusiastic in their support. After sharing the same report with them, they expressed support for the centre. Mr. Lee, whom I have met only once before, would like to see me again. He and I agreed that the curriculum (to eliminate conflict and promote peace) offered at this centre is of the utmost importance and needs to be taught as soon as possible. We should do our best to accomplish this project. We hope this centre will have a strong positive influence on society.
We must resolve conflict with peace, even if all we did was to prevent one war. We need to realize that we can never really calculate the true loss and damage from war. We hope this centre can lead us to peace by resolving all human-made disasters and warfare. This will bring infinite merit to the centre.
Today, it is very important to help the younger generation set new moral standards and to gain proper understanding of life and the universe. Fame and wealth diminish with time. Only by benefiting society will we receive infinite merits and virtues.
Looking back through history, how many of us remember leaders and prestigious people from the past? Consider the founders and leaders of spiritual traditions: Confucius in the Orient and Jesus in the West, Islam’s Mohammad and Buddhism’s Shakyamuni Buddha. They lived lives of hardship and sacrificed their own interests for the well being of others. After hundreds and thousands of years, they still have the respect of those who learn from their examples. This is the true value of life: Life is only valuable and meaningful when we lay aside our own interests to dedicate ourselves to the interests of others. Only a person who can accomplish this will not have wasted his or her precious life.
Today, the vice-chancellor and professors of the University of Queensland have generated utmost compassion and are working towards the great and proper goal of world peace. This is a ray of bright light for our world. I have told everyone that you are messengers: Bodhisattvas who are here in this world to accomplish this good work to help save this world. We should all work together to support this great mission. I am just following behind you with this small contribution. I sincerely offer my best wishes to the University and hope that the Centre will soon accomplish its goal. I truly believe that all those who endure suffering will be very grateful to the University and to all of you, the Bodhisattva professors. Promoting education is the greatest good deed. It is said in a Chinese classic: “Education is crucial in the establishment of a nation: It trains its leaders and its people.” The education of peace is the best and most virtuous teaching among all the teachings of the ancient sages and saints.
Lastly, I hope that all virtuous and kind-hearted people will work together to support the great task of saving our world and bringing comfort to all people. We cannot afford to lose such a rare opportunity to invest in future world peace.
8th March 2002