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This year, GWBI’s Chinese Collective Topics class will be holding its debate exam for the very first time. Nuns who usually shoulder the monastery’s general affairs strive to come up with open up various thoughts on the debate field. Yet truth to be told, we found the news of the exam quite nerve-wracking when it was first announced half a year ago.

With his personal experience as an encouragement, our instructor venerable wanted us to examine the source of our stress. Are we afraid we’d forget our train of thought once we’re up there? Or that we’d perform poorly under the watchful eyes of everyone? If we could look at it from another perspective and see the significance this exam has on our own practice, the establishment of the Five Great Treatises, our next lives, and even our goals of attaining Buddhahood, we’d realize that the real obstacle is not the exam itself, but rather how we perceive it.

Teacher Zhen-Ru once said one would need great courage in order to stand onto the debate field. If you could work up such courage and take it with you onto the debate field, there is nothing to fear. And once you’ve conquered your own fear, you’d have the ability to take on bigger challenges and difficulties.

The establishment of the Five Great Treatises relies on the combined efforts of everyone here at the monastery. Through this collective karma, we hope to make our teacher happy, let the teachings remain, and benefit all who’ve encountered such teachings generations after generations.