Falun Dafa Minghui.org www.minghui.org PRINT

Cultivating Truth-Compassion-Forbearance in the Education Profession

October 15, 2007 |   By a Falun Dafa practitioner in Taiwan

(Clearwisdom.net) September 28th is Confucius' birthday and also Teacher's Day in Taiwan. Education is a great undertaking and the foundation of a strong and prosperous country. For those people who have a heart for education or are already in the profession, the challenge is how to lead every student to discover his/her own mystery of life with love and wisdom and to provide them with a good influence through education. The following are some experiences of Falun Gong practitioners regarding cultivation and teaching and influencing students in different stages of childhood.

Principal Hong Tengxiang practicing Falun Gong exercises. Cultivation helps educators understand the art of teaching.

Studies show that meditation can help adults gain a new outlook on life and help children concentrate better while studying and improve their immune systems.

Mr. Hong Tengxiang majored in history in college, and pursued education in his graduate studies in Taiwan and the United States. He has worked as an educator in middle schools for thirty years. He shares his experiences below.

Being Strict with Students

Following the belief that teaching requires strict rules and that education ought to focus on the whole person, I have served as the principal at three private middle schools. Currently, I still hold the record for supervising the highest number of students in Taiwan. One school still calls me the "No. 1 Principal" even after I was gone for more than ten years. I currently serve as the principal of the Huideng Middle School in Yilan. I have always taught my students to be goal-oriented, and I am known for being strict with them. My students are known for good discipline and grades.

Cultivation Gives Me More Wisdom

After I started practicing Falun Dafa in 2003, my idea of education changed dramatically. Although the problems with our youth still exist and may even become worse, they no longer weigh me down. I follow Mr. Li Hongzhi's Falun Dafa, treating education as a way of saving people, and I apply my wisdom to the school's operations. The results have been very good. In the last two years, our school has scored the highest in middle school standardized tests in our county. There has been general improvement in the morals of both students and teachers.

School is an institution for training and education. Middle school is a place for guiding students through their transition from being regulated by others to self-regulation. Therefore, there is both teaching and discipline involved. Educating students is not only for passing along knowledge, but it also includes skills for life. I ask teachers to discipline and teach at the same time and not to always punish students by marking down incidents of misconduct.

Corporal punishment and scolding certainly are not the best method for education or the only disciplinary method. When answering a question in Zhuan Falun Fajie, Mr. Li Hongzhi said,

"We stress Ren, and you shouldn't hit or curse at children as you please, including your own children. It is proper for you to discipline them; it's not okay if you don't teach your children. You have to teach them. There are different ways of teaching, but you can't let yourself get too angry in disciplining children--how could that be allowed? You can't get mad when disciplining children, don't actually get mad." (Teaching the Fa and Answering Questions in Zhengzhou)

Education is an art. It is not that a government could issue an order and everything would be fine. Some teachers are afraid of breaking regulations and won't discipline students at all. Some teachers got so upset with students that they retired early.

Teacher also said in Zhuan Falun Fajie,

"Children should be disciplined. If you don't discipline them and only indulge them, you will lose virtue. If you don't discipline them you haven't lived up to your responsibilities as parents, so you should discipline them. If your kids don't behave, it's fine if you teach them a good lesson. But you can't treat them like animals--that won't do. This distinction must be clear. When disciplining children, don't lose your temper. It's no good if you really lose your temper, since there is the issue of Ren for you. Ren doesn't mean to forbear after you have lost your temper. Instead it's about not losing your temper in the first place." ("Teaching the Fa and Answering Questions in Yanji")

Education Based on Zhen-Shan-Ren

Since I started cultivating in Falun Dafa, I have been using Zhen-Shan-Ren (Falun Dafa's principles of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance) and Teacher's words as the foundation for operating the school. Whether it is talking to teachers and students or setting up school regulations, I always remember to inject the Fa into it. With Teacher's Fa, I know that the school will be good. Teacher said in "Touring North America to Teach the Fa",

"Although nowadays the education given in schools can't teach children to be good and it indulges children's thinking, the knowledge that's available can still help them in understanding the Fa later on. Of course, it's better to have schools run by Dafa disciples, but until we have them I think it's better to let him acquire some knowledge. And then when he comes home you can read Zhuan Falun to him and teach him how to conduct himself."

My current goals are to be a good person at work, establish a good school, do my job well, and save people while cultivating myself by following the spirit of Falun Dafa wisely. Even though today's education environment is not very good and children of today are hard to teach and discipline, as a Falun Dafa disciple, it is my duty to do my best. The truth is that since I started practicing Falun Dafa, our school really is getting better and better. The enrollment of students continues to increase. We have 800 to 900 middle school students from as far as Shoushan District of Taipei County. That is the mighty virtue of Dafa.

Ms. Lin Cuimei has taught elementary school for almost three years. She is able to continue teaching with a smile through cultivating Falun Dafa.

Before she started cultivation, no matter how hard she worked, the students wouldn't listen to her. The following is her story.

In the past, I thought of myself as a hardworking teacher. When students did not do well with schoolwork, I would do my best to teach them. When they misbehaved, I would lecture them with deep concern. However, my anxiety did not help the students make much progress, and my health started to show signs of deterioration. Almost every semester, I would take a week off to recover from inflammation of my vocal chord. Because I had a habit of losing my voice, the doctor told me that I should slow down because my life was so fast-paced. I was so surprised. Isn't everyone like that, especially people living in Taipei City? But I also noticed that the children did not seem to care about my efforts. After two years, even though I talked and talked with all my strength, my reward seemed disproportionate to the effort I put in.

Cultivating the Heart - Getting Rid of the Attachment to Self; Doing the Exercises to Strength the Physical Body

By chance, someone told me that a person should cultivate. At the time, I thought to myself: I treat others with honesty and never do anything hurtful to others. My tolerance isn't very good, but how hard can cultivation be? I constantly reminded myself that I should be more tolerant in addition to treating others honestly and doing good deeds. I told myself that I should not get angry at will, so I decided to try to cultivate on my own first. However, when I faced a conflict with a school staff member one day, I couldn't control myself and became very angry. In the heat of the moment, I vented my anger, but I regretted it very much afterwards. So I decided that I needed to cultivate my xinxing. I started to read books about elevating one's character and realized how much I fell short. When I thought I was being considerate of others, deep inside I wanted others to follow my will. I always thought of myself as being correct - no wonder I had so many conflicts with family, students, and colleagues. In the process of studying Falun Dafa's books, I keep digging into my heart to get rid of the root of the problem. I continue to correct myself. Through doing the exercises, I have become calmer in temperament.

The strange thing is that whenever I have a problem, the answer comes to me naturally when I study the Fa calmly, as if it is reminding me that I need to continue to correct myself. In the process, I found that my chronic vocal cord inflammation was cured without any treatment. I no longer need a week every semester to recover from physical illness. In my interaction with children, I no longer use harsh punishment or scolding to teach them to do the right things. When a child makes a mistake, I am willing to give him a chance to correct himself. I tell him, "Everyone makes mistakes. The important thing is to see our shortfalls truthfully. Instead of defending yourself, why not calm down and take a look at yourself." At the beginning, many children followed their old habits and constantly defended themselves in fear of punishment. Slowly, they found that making a mistake is not unforgivable. They were able to calmly tell me the area that they could improve on.

Continuing to Educate with a Smile

In the recent election of model students, I asked the children to list various criteria for a model student. Some mentioned the ability to examine oneself, admire others' merits, forgive others' mistakes, honesty, responsibility, and others. When a child can truly see the good in others, I think that our efforts in education have succeeded in that area. Teacher said,

"I often say that if all a person wants is the well-being of others and if this is without the slightest personal motivation or personal understanding, what he says will move the listener to tears." ("Clearheadedness" from Essential for Further Advancement)

In the process of teaching students, I am finally able to understand the true meaning of those words. I am now able to continue teaching with a smile.