Tuesday, October 2, 2012

1. The Worries and Hopes of Youth

... It is especially important not to leave behind regrets about your teens, the time to establish the all-important foundation for the rest of your lives.

...I would like all of you to experience the satisfaction of having accomplished something -- it doesn't matter what -- in your own way and capacity, even if it's something as simple as cleaning, participating in club activities, doing volunteer work or whatever.  The main thing is to be satisfied knowing that you've contributed something, that you've done your best.  Please become individuals of whom others can say with admiration: "There is something different about him that sets him apart" or "She is someone I can really respect."

Press forward in the midst of problems

... Please do not allow yourselves to succumb to negativity and cynicism.  Suffering is to be found in any era.  Youth is a time of problems, pain and confusion.
  And grades are probably not the only source of worry or anguish you face.  You may have problems at home, with your health, with how you feel about your looks, with  members of the opposite sex or with friends.  Feelings of pain, insecurity, frustration and sadness may assail you.  Youth means grappling with all kinds of problems.  It means resolving them, in spite of all difficulties, pushing aside the dark clouds of despair and advancing toward the sun, toward hope.  This strength is the hallmark of youth.
  Having problems, making mistakes or feeling regrets is only natural.  What's important is to be undefeated by them.  In the midst of worries and struggles, always look forward and advance.
  Suppose you are lost in the jungle.  You want to find your way out and reach the ocean but don't know which way to go.  What do you do?  The answer is to keep moving ahead, taking a course that leads to a river.  If you follow the river downstream, you will eventually reach the ocean.

A great leader is a friend to the suffering

... A famous person once told his son, "Your grades can be mediocre, but please become a person of outstanding character."  Greatness as a human being is not determined by educational background or social position.  Even people who graduate from top universities may engage in criminal activities.  And there are some among the so-called elite who are overbearing and arrogant.  I want  I want to foster leaders, not elitists.
   A truly great person is a friend to those in suffering, pain and misery.  Such a person can be called a leader of the new century.

   More often than not in today's society, the suffering and disadvantaged are ostracized, despised and pushed to the margins.  Many of our current leaders are guilty of doing this.  This is deplorable mistake.

  Study should be for the purpose of finding a way to help those who are suffering.  Many leaders today, however, look down on them and only add to their misery.  There is no society as cruel, arrogant, cold or cowardly as ours.

(Not getting into a school of first choice)

Not attending the school of your choice may certainly be disappointing.  But viewed in the long term and from the essential point of study, it doesn't really matter that you graduate from a well-known school.

... Mr Toda: "Become an inspiration for those who cannot attend good schools."  Those who start out under difficult circumstances and go on to become first-rate individuals can be sources of hope and inspiration for many.  Pelase remember always that academic background isn't everything.

    At any rate, since you have been accepted to a school -- even if it is not your first choice and regardless of how society judges it -- it's important to decide that the place where you are is the very best, that it is the perfect place for you to learn all you want.  This way of thinking is far more constructive and beneficial in the long t=run.
  It's foolish to allow your confidence to be undermined by the opinions of others.  You are all in your teens; limitless possibilities are open to all of you.

(The obove is excerpted from Discussions on Youth by Daisaku Ikeda, pg 6)