Speech by Fo-Ching Lu, President of Sheng-Yen Lu Foundation
Dallas, TX – I am honored to be attending the grand opening of the Triple Dharma Wheel Temple today and to be a part of the special ceremony conducted by Living Buddha Lian Sheng. The temple is very grand yet welcoming and I believe that under Master Lian Jen’s leadership, Buddha dharma will be widespread among all people.
The Sheng-Yen Lu Foundation’s core mission encompasses two areas: Health and education. Today, I would like to talk to everyone about education. Living Buddha Lian Sheng says, “Education is the light that guides one’s civilization.” Indeed, the importance of a quality education cannot be emphasized enough. Education is the key to success in life, creating opportunity and giving people the tools to achieve their dreams. Moreover, research shows that education has a tremendous impact on how long and how well we live. Statistically, those who graduated from high school, but did not attend college are almost twice as likely to be less healthy than college graduates. Sadly, in the U.S., high school graduation rates for minorities and low-income students are only about 50%.
Globally, an alarming 75 million children are not in school, but for every 5 years a child goes to school, her childhood survival rate goes up 40%. A child who goes to school is 50% less likely to die of HIV/AIDS. Education not only provides opportunity, in fact, it saves lives.
One of the Foundation’s current roles is to fund programs that tackle the inadequacies of our education system. For example, we now know that the real key to better education lies with effective instructors rather than school or class size. By the way, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation spent billions of dollars to arrive at this outcome. So as grant applications come in, we will look at whether improving teacher effectiveness is a goal.
In sum, everyone agrees that education is important, but what I want to assert is a sense of urgency. We need to act now, not tomorrow, not when we have more time or more money, but today. Master Lian Hsiang says, “The more people give to the Foundation, the greater the impact and the greater the number of people we help.” Otherwise, no matter how much compassion we have in our hearts, it would be difficult to help when our pockets are empty. But with five million disciples around the world, it is not difficult to imagine the combined power within True Buddha School to accomplish any charitable goal. If everyone gives $1 or donates 1 hour of his/her time, just think of all the good we can do.
Thank you and let us come together to support the Foundation!