Humanity, Humility, Honesty

Visited St. Patrick’s School again, a couple of days ago, to give a presentation on the Buddhist perspective of life and death. Instead of using the usual lecture theatre, the school hall was used instead – as there were 130 Catholic boys this time. Above is a picture of a powerpoint slide used, featuring a short video clip from ‘Little Buddha’ for introducing who the Buddha is.

I almost didn’t recognise the place. This was where I played table tennis and sat for my ‘O’ Levels many years ago. Under the shamrock logo on a corner of the wall were the core values of the school – ‘Humanity, Humility, Honesty’. Interesting. These are some of the qualities the Buddha advocated too. Yes, the Buddha exemplifies perfect humanity (in terms of perfect compassion) and honesty (in terms of sharing the whole truth realised with his perfect wisdom). Did he exemplify humility? He presented himself in a humble manner, yet in a sense, he didn’t need to – because he realised non-self, and had no ego that needed conscientious subduing! Thus, when the Buddha announced that he is fully enlightened, it was not an egoistic statement, but a statement of truth made out of pure compassion and truth to inspire confidence.

The boys sat on two sides of the hall, with me standing on the centre aisle. For some reason, the guys on my right weren’t very attentive, while those on my left were very attentive. Somehow, it spontaneously reminded me of a Bible quote (Matthew 25:31) about Jesus separating the sheep from the goats into two sides one day – with the first representing the faithful and the latter the rebellious. Of course, I’m no Jesus and this is definitely no ‘final judgment’ in any sense. Yes, nothing’s really final till full enlightenment is realised. I didn’t do any segregating either, and tried to be equally appealing to both sides. It’s just a matter of different karmic affinity and choice – that some are interested in the Dharma and some are less so. It was just a little amazing that both sides were so distinct. After a Q&A session, my parting joke was a slide that said, ‘Don’t believe in rebirth? Maybe next life!’ With that, I thanked everyone. There was laughter and a boy yelled, ‘Woohoo!’ I’ll take that as a compliment… I think!

Related Article:
Are You a Buddha?

1 thought on “Humanity, Humility, Honesty

  1. As a follow-up, a reply from the teacher in charge :-]

    Dear Shi’an

    On behalf of the teachers and students, I would like to thank you so much for setting aside time from your busy schedule to come down to St Patrick’s School on 29 March 2010 to give a talk to our Sec 4 Catholic students on Buddhism. Your talk and question and answer session was informative and insightful. The inclusion of the movie The Little Buddha was a nice touch and provided boys with a visual understanding of his life.

    Such inter-religious interactions are good experiences for our students and I do hope that in future we can have more of such activities to deepen our awareness of other faiths.

    Ms Pereira
    Sec 4 RME Coordinator

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.