The Spur of Change
by Tracy Chen (DVGS - 10th Grade)
Growing up is never easy. You hold on to things that were; you wonder what is to come. You have to know when it is time to let go of what had been, and look forward to what would be. Looking back at myself from two years ago, I realize how much living in the City of Ten-Thousand Buddhas has invoked growth in me spiritually, academically, and character-wise. Having the opportunity to grow and live high school in CTTB is all due to its founder, Venerable Master Hua. It is because of his promotion of education and selflessness that allows me to grow through experience, develop a chaste mentality, and strive towards impeccability.
When I first started school at Developing Virtue Girls' School two years ago, I had materialistic and shallow mindset. Thinking that the most important aspect of a person was how up-to-date they were or their appearance, I judged many people, even my own classmates, erroneously and superficially. However, over time, I realized that this school was different from the public schools I was used to. Here, what was truly valued in a person were their morals and personality; looked up to were those who possessed good character and ethics. Although, I admit, this rationalization took me a while to comprehend, when I finally understood the importance of personality, I realized a number of my personal flaws and knew that I needed to change.
Changing myself for the better used to be something I was scared of, wishing that I could stay young forever, never grow up, and live everlastingly in my perfect childhood fantasies. Instead of forcing myself to change, this school changed me. The experiences I have undergone and the obstacles I have overcome here taught me to differentiate between right and wrong and to always advance forward in my studies. The lessons I have learned from my previous mistakes are priceless, for they remind me that it is always okay to make errors as long as we acknowledge them and spur ourselves to improve.
Over time, I have also obtained more faith in Buddhism. Although dreading evening ceremony and other practices is still typical, I have become more open to and familiar with the religion through the monastic environment here and Buddhism classes. To be honest, I did not know who Venerable Master Hua was until my first time visiting CTTB. Throughout these two years I have been here, I have heard countless stories and teachings of the Venerable Master, now a person whom I look up to and revere. As a student, I am extremely grateful for his vision of selflessness and his efforts towards promoting education, and he is one of the reasons that I believe so strongly in Buddhism today.
Abraham Lincoln once said, “You have to do your own growing no matter how tall your grandfather was.” I hold this quote to be extremely true, for I feel that one’s personal developments and growth can only depend on one’s own determination and willpower. Living here has shown me that I have the ability find my way through any complicated mazes in life as long as I have fortitude and rationalization. I have become less reliant on others’ support and more independent. Cleaning different areas of the City periodically has also given me the opportunity to learn how to use different cleaning supplies according to circumstance. Due to the representative lifestyle of residential students, I have been able to mature in mentality and ability.
Even though I have grown in so many ways, I am still striving towards self-improvement in many aspects. In regards to the virtues our school is based upon, I still have plenty of space for improvement. Although I comprehend each virtue conceptually, I still cannot apply these virtues all the time in daily life. Academically, I feel that I can still achieve more, and hope that I can overcome upcoming challenges.
At last, I would like to thank Venerable Master Hua, who has given me the opportunity to improve, learn, and especially, grow, so much by starting this school. Because of Venerable Master Hua’s efforts, I am able to pursue education here, and put my best effort into becoming a better person. Although there are many challenges lying ahead and plenty of room for improvement, I know that as long as I follow my own values and those this school instills, I would be able to continue growing through experience, developing a chaste mentality, and striving towards impeccability.