Kytka’s Picks: Education – A Nation’s Best Defense, September 13, 2002
Abridged version of a talk given by the Venerable Master Hua on 9/24/90 at UNESCO in Paris, France. Buddhist education is about saving human nature; it is an education that saves people’s souls and lives.
Any individual with intelligence, good conscience, and common sense should know that the mistakes made by our present-day educational system and by the educators of this age can harm society in ways worse than AIDS, cancer, and nuclear war.
Imperceptibly, through poor education, we are killing our own younger generation. We are causing our children to forsake their own natures, to compromise their souls, and even to forfeit their lives.
Even elementary school students have learned to kill, set fires, and behave promiscuously. What kind of future can we expect for this world? We are, in effect, cutting off the roots of our younger generation. Once those roots are cut through, we face the extinction of humanity. There is no need for nuclear explosions or for poison gas to bring on the end of the world. Our present education system is harmful enough as it is, for it leads students into dark by-paths away from the light.
In high school students learn to take drugs. Drug pushers are everywhere, making their poisonous substances available around the world and teaching innocent children to use them. This problem potentially endangers all of humanity. Yet our governments are not taking care of the problem at its root. They are prepared to build up national defense systems to guard against foreign invasion, but they do not realize that education is the most fundamental form of national defense. If a nation does not educate its people well, then whatever national defense it has is useless. It may have advanced weapons and technology, but no one will know how to use them.