Given by Justin Hu during the IGDVS Boys' Graduation on June 5, 2015
Thank you Dharma Masters! Principal Gracia! and to the members of the faculty! to the proud parents and above all, to you the graduating class of 2015! Thank you for inviting me here to celebrate with you today! It’s really an honor!
Well...After years of hard work, endless tests and sleepless nights, you’ve finally made it to this day…Congratulations! I’m, of course, talking to all the parents and teachers! Let’s give them a big hand.
In all seriousness, class of 2015, congratulations to you.
Today you graduate from the #1 high school in the country! Maybe I’m a little biased, but I really mean this. As you reflect on your time here, I hope you see just how lucky you are. Unfortunately, when I was a student here I didn’t realize how great this school is. In fact and if you had been at the boys school while I was here and found out that I would be a commencement speaker 20 years later, you would be somewhat surprised……. and probably somewhat angry.
You see, as a student I wasn’t exactly the most impressive,
● I spent most of my days running around playing soccer or basketball and then barely making it to the Buddha hall WITHOUT taking a shower.
● Those days it was easy to pick me out from a crowd, you just had to look for the face covered with pimples…I mean it wasn’t really a face, more like a map of volcanoes.
● But what I lacked in looks I made up for with an obnoxious personality... I wasn’t good to my parents or teachers, I complained about everything, even the peacocks.
● You could say that my one saving grace was academics where I excelled, but I did not. I was terrible at math. I remember sitting in Mr Kellerman’s math class thinking there could be no practical application to what he was teaching...turns out learning abstraction and algorithms really helps to build great software!
On the day of my graduation, I sat in the same hall where you sit now. I had come to this City when I was 8 and at 18, I was ready to go.
And yet, I’ve had some luck and success in life. In college I was elected president of the largest student group on campus where I made some of my best friends. I helped build a company that went public and then was subsequently purchased for almost $1 Billion dollars.
But over the years,...and this, took years,...I realized that the success I had, all the business ideas, all the rewards, was actually due to what I learned here from my teachers and parents. And when I failed, it was because I didn’t stay true to what I learned here. I had been given the keys to the kingdom but I was blind. The rules I hated when I was young, turned out to be amazing principles that would help me. So I’d like to remind you, graduates, that you have been given a massive advantage over everyone else...You have been given time to nurture ideas that will make you the most successful.
Here are just six of them for you to think about:
Compassion. You fundamentally care about making other people successful. This makes you a nice guy. Now you might have heard a saying that “nice guys finish last” but they don’t. Research shows that by helping others...you’re far more likely to finish first,...and best...and never alone.
Vigor. You have all passed Dharma Master Heng Tsung’s PE class. So you have a strong sense of discipline that will allow you to work harder than others. While others might complain, you will endure and push yourself to greater heights.
Karma. You understand karmic laws which means that you know there is a reason behind everything that happens to you and that reason is something you are entirely responsible for. While others might believe they are a victim, you know that you have the power to choose your future because what you put out is what you get back.
Prayer. You have all recited the Buddha’s name and read sutras…by now you know this is not just for monks. Prayer makes you wiser and smarter, it transforms you. It makes a C student an A student, and last but not least:
Mindfulness. You understand that you are not your thoughts. Most people graduating today get lost in their thoughts, they identify with this voice in their head that is predominately unhappy. But you know, that who you truly are, is deeper than thought. Through meditation, you have trained yourself to align yourself every time your thoughts want to drag you away. And this gives you tremendous power, to be fully present, enjoying every moment.
I believe this is the best high school because of the rare ideas taught by monks and nuns. The rest of the world is just catching on. I know of CEOs who pay thousands of dollars to go on retreats to learn Buddhism. Companies like Proctor and Gamble and Apple have all built meditation rooms for employees. And since you started high school, the number of searches for the word “karma” has increased by 5x. We are in the midst of substantial change happening in society right now. People in the silicon valley are making a lot of money to do one thing: reduce the time and cost between your thoughts and your reality. It’s becoming ever so much easier to act on a single thought the moment it arises. The moment you want something, it will appear.
So, Class of 2015, what do you want? What are you thinking? I believe you are better equipped than every other class across the nation for the journey ahead. Others may graduate as sheep...subject to the expectations and values of MTV, but today, you graduate as DRAGONS! wearing a crown of leadership on your head armed with a sword of wisdom. You will give people an ideal to strive towards, They will race behind you, they will stumble, they will fall...but in time, they will join you in the sun...in time you will help them accomplish wonders. THANK YOU! I’M EXCITED FOR YOU! I HONOR YOU! CONGRATULATIONS!