The School’s 30th Anniversary and My 10th Year
Gopika Misri , 12th grade, Developing Virtue Secondary School, Girls Division
This 30th year anniversary marks my tenth year attending the Instilling Goodness and Developing Virtue Schools. In the fall of 1995, I took my first steps into the Girls’ School elementary building, unaware that it would become a major part of my life and would help me gain virtues and etiquette that I would otherwise lack. Now, ten years later, as a junior, I realize that attending this school has truly been a blessing. Through the good times and hardships, I have always known that the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas is an extraordinary place that has helped me and will continue to help me make choices in life. The peaceful environment, vegetarian lunches, Buddhist ceremonies and practices, meditation classes, Buddhist and Virtue Studies, Chinese classes, and a school within a monastic community are all factors of this unique place and school.
People often say that the Buddhist school is so different and sheltering that it is a tough change to go to the “ outside world.” I used to feel that I had two separate lives, one where I was a student at a Buddhist school, and another when I was outside and doing other things. A few years ago, however, I realized that I only have one life, and though my “ separate lives” may have a gap, they are actually interconnected and the same. I find, from my own experience, that I have been able to see the world in a different way with more understanding, rather than uncomfortably or ineptly.
From the beginning of my education until now, I have seen many teachers and students come and go, some of them close friends and prized teachers. By being in the school so long, it helps me be less attached and reminds me that the world is forever changing always open for innovation. I am not Buddhist, but I have attended this school for all of my elementary and secondary education soaking in information, lessons, and values that I know I will use in the future. I owe ultimate thanks and gratitude to Master Hsuan Hua and all his disciples, followers, and inspired ones that have played a major role into forming the person I am today.