Om Mani Padme Hom [Blessings]
What makes this school unique and different from other schools is our Buddhism curriculum. The moment you step in our front gates, you see three big Buddhist statues. Kuan Yin Bodhisattva is the main deity, with Wei-Tuo and Qie-Lan Protectors by her side. To see such big statues, almost two stories all, is a very rare sight, especially in America and near a school.
This gives people a very strong first impression, “This must be a Buddhist establishment.” Yes, this is a Buddhist establishment. A Buddhist establishment is a place for us to learn Buddha’s wisdom, Buddha’s compassion, and the thoughts of the Buddha to benefit all beings. Buddha means an “enlightened one,” Buddhism means to learn Buddha’s teachings, Buddha’s education. This is a place to follow and practice Buddha’s ideals. So when you arrive here at our campus, you will understand the ideas that this school is trying to express.
There is meditation every morning here. There is Buddhism class everyday. We hope that through this process, students will learn to have balance within their heart; to have tranquility; to have peace. Perhaps we don’t have so many activities like other schools, but we value the peace within their hearts. We also hope that through cultivation of Buddhist teachings and the cultivation of Buddhist practices, students can change their destiny. Because no matter what glamorous fame and fortune you have on the outside, those are all external – just appearances. Even with all these material possessions, people are still often unhappy, unsatisfied, and not content.
Because their hearts are empty. Their spirit has never received education; it is hollow. Yet for those who had their spirit nurtured and educated, they can transform, settle, and change their thinking much easier. It is very difficult for people that have never been exposed to this kind of education, so suffering continues to be created within their lives. Students that have been exposed to this kind of Buddhist education will still experience things through their senses like any other person – through sight, sound, smell, taste, touch and thoughts – but they will think about it. They will contemplate the situation because they have learned Buddha’s teaching before and experienced Buddhist education and Buddhist theory. Once they’ve began thinking about it, then their thoughts start to turn and start to improve. Once their thoughts change for the better, they will not simply have actions and reactions like normal people.
This is called spiritual cultivation. This is the spirit that our school wants to express – the direction we want to follow. Not to mention we belong to True Buddha School; we learn True Buddha Tantric Dharma. We educate with Tantric Buddhism.
What is Tantric (Esoteric) Buddhism? Tantric Buddhism is the religion of thought – the religion on the power of thought. Everything originates from our thoughts. The power that originates from our thoughts, that is what our school is teaching. As long as students have wisdom, they will be able to take advantage of these teachings within their lives.
The power of our meditation is extremely strong. During the morning or evening meditations, we don’t just teach our students to simply benefit themselves, we also teach them to benefit their own family, relatives, friends, and all beings they have affinity with. We visualize our whole family, relatives, and friends meditating with us. When we meditate, we receive an empowerment of a universal energy and light, and in turn that energy also empowers all the people that we visualize meditating with us.
There are a lot of examples, more than I am able to share with everyone. For example, the father of one of our students that was studying here. It was the spiritual practice that saved him. Every student here knows how pray for Great Compassion Water. The father drank it, and his disaster was resolved. Who would believe that? It is because of spiritual practice.
At that time, I had just gotten back from a Dharma trip overseas, and this student ran up to me with a bottle of water and said, “Master, master, I have waited for you for many days now! My father had a stroke, could you empower a bottle of Great Compassion Water for my father to get well soon? Our entire family’s living expense relies on my father’s income.”
I asked this student, “How long have you been in this school?” He replied, “For two years.”
I then said, “After two years, you should be able to do it yourself already. Do you know how to chant the Great Compassion Mantra?” He told me, “Yes.”
I said, “Then you can pray for Great Compassion Water for your father, you don’t need to wait for me. What if I didn’t come back around this time? What would you do? Would your father just wait to pass away?”
He cried, “I don’t know how! I don’t have the ability!”
And so I said, “Who said you don’t have the ability? You’ve come here to Purple Lotus School to study, whatever you get to learn here becomes yours, then you have the ability. Any student attending a school learns a lot of knowledge, and when the student leaves the school, that knowledge now belongs to the student. The student takes that knowledge to make a living. Isn’t that so? What the school passes on to you, don’t treat it lightly.”
“Oh,” he said.
I answered, “Blessings to you, get your mother and sister to come do it together. If they don’t know how to recite the mantra, then just put their palms together and visualize Kuan Yin Bodhisattva in the sky shining light on the water. Water flows from the vase in Kuan Yin’s hands into your bottle and the water gives off light. Recite Kuan Yin’s name ten times and drink it. That will do it. Even if they don’t know the mantra, just reciting the name sincerely will produce results. As long as you are sincere, then results will come.”
Then the student followed my instructions without my empowerment and went back. At the hospital, the student told the mother, sister and also his father to come together and start chanting. After she was done with the mantra, they all joined in to chant “Namo Great Compassionate Kuan Yin Bodhisattva” 10 times and visualized this water of light. The more people that join in, the more power there is. Visualize that light as strong as a sun. One sun is very strong already. If your father visualizes a sun, then there are two suns. If the mom visualizes a third sun, then think about how bright that would be. If you yourself visualizes another sun then there would be four suns. Do you know how powerful that is? Everyone prayed like this very sincerely, and the father drank the water. This man’s son, daughter, wife, and he prayed to Kuan Yin for such strong light and energy, and like I said before, he was fine after a week. He originally had his mouth drooping and was lying in bed. How often do you know someone who has a stroke and recovers in a week? It’s a miraculous recovery. The doctors said he had a clot in his head; then, right away, he returned to the restaurant and returned to cooking. He still cooks to this day. Even after 10 years, he is still cooking. He never had a stroke again either. It’s very fast. This is one of the many examples of spiritual response we have at our school, so many that you won’t be able to completely tell them all.
I just want to let everyone know, that coming to our school, there are many spiritual responses. It’s just that everyone neglects them. No one pays attention to them and believes that spiritual cultivation has no use, when it has the greatest of uses. If the child is dedicated in cultivation, then it is guaranteed that they can change their fate, instead of just coping with their situation. It’s not just for themselves, but their entire family. We also hope that the parents and guardians can also support and cooperate with us, because we are educating the children, and since you are able to be at ease and send your child to our school, we hope that you won’t separate what you teach your children and what we teach as different.
If you truly wish for your children to benefit, then the parents must also enter the teachings; be concerned about what your child is learning, know what they have learned, and that you yourself understand the direction of what the children are learning, in order to cooperate with the students and the school.
My mother gave birth to so many children and had to watch over a large family after my father passed away, so she was very busy making a living and didn’t have time to properly educate us. When we asked her problems related to school, she wouldn’t have any aspects regarding the situation to be able to guide us nor help us. So, back when I was still a student, I knew that there was no way that I can learn any scholarly nor intellectual knowledge from my single-parent mother. As a result, I felt full of regret as a child.
I greatly admired my fellow students, whom had the support of their parents; parents who are able to participate in their students’ education, can quickly assist them in achieving of high-standing. Their ideology and viewpoints would also grow at a faster rate than those of us who are unable to receive such benefits. This is why I hope that all the children of our school – our students along with the parents – can participate together, because our school isn’t only focused on academics, but also in changing and improving things that matter the most, such as morality, character, and integrity. If a person’s character isn’t kind-hearted or their heart isn’t virtuous, even if they possess great education, possess intelligence and wit, they would only become a degenerate of society. We don’t want to create more problems in society, as human life is already filled with suffering, much suffering. With a high education, they don’t understand how to communicate or interact properly with others, thus creating immoral affinities everywhere. Their degree becomes useless, and the person themselves enters society in a lonely state, becoming distressed. His or her family would indeed become unfortunate and unhappy.
We want to teach the students how to always preserve peace within their heart and spirit. Whatever circumstance they encounter, they can easily transform their hearts, so not to hold hatred upon the heaven or earth, to constantly have the ability to self-reflect, admit their mistakes when they make one, and then correct their wrongdoings. This is my request. This is the foundation of our school – the school’s essence. Students that are sent and that are able to study at our school, I feel, are the most fortunate. Parents that are able to send their kids to our school to study, also have the most wisdom. I hope those those that are able to send their children here acknowledge this aspect with certainty.
We hope the children can truly change their character and change their intentions. When many disciples and many children come here, they improve. They become better, change, and their families also change. This is why, today, I wanted to briefly share with everyone about the Purple Lotus School operations, it’s founding essence and hopeful request. I hope everyone can acknowledge and treasure them. Thank you, may all be auspicious.
Om Mani Padme Hom.
Venerable Vajra Dharma Master Samantha Chou
Founder of Purple Lotus School