Yesterday's Commencement Address at DRBU

May 28, 2016

Yesterday, I gave a commencement address that felt very special to me. Just during the processional I got teary eyed.  It was special in part because it was an opportunity to (more formally) express my gratitude for people and context that have inspired me for many years -- Rev Heng Sure, Marty Verhoeven and the larger City of Ten Thousand Buddhas community. It was the graduation for DRBU's Masters cohort of 2016.

Here's a bootleg transcript :) ... Let's Make Virtue Viral

The ceremonies were held at Sudana Center (photo below), with a very inspiring story behind it.  The crown prince of Yebo, Sudana, was so full of compassion that he could refuse no boon asked of him, great or small, from beggar or nobleman. The king, his father, possessed a white elephant that was powerful enough to defend the whole kingdom from enemies. So what did his enemies do? They bribed some wandering ascetics to ask Sudana for this majestic elephant. Without a second thought Sudana joyfully handed it over to them. His action compromised state security. The king had no choice but to exile his son -- for what? The crime of radical generosity! Undisturbed, Sudana promptly gave away his estate and rode off on his chariot, with his wife and two sons. On the way, a disabled monk asked for his horse, so he gave that away too and pulled his chariot by hand. Further along, he encountered a family who had lost everything in a fire -- to them, he gave away his chariot. The next day, a naked beggar sought his help. Sudana gave him the very clothes off his back. Such was Sudana’s virtue. His whole life, he perfected the art of selfless giving, and as the legend goes, he would go on to become Shakyamuni Buddha.


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"Service doesn't start when you have something to give; it blossoms naturally when you have nothing left to take."

"Real privilege lies in knowing that you have enough."