Dear my juniors,
I hope you are doing well in school, hopefully not so stressed. I remember that I was quite stressed sometimes in school. But luckily, I have really good friends and teachers to support me.
There are many problems in life. Being a human is difficult. Being a restive teenage human is even more difficult. Sometimes it seems that you have to handle many things at once: from school, family, friends, relationship (in general!), to money, politics, climate change and world peace. But remember! In time of troubles, do not waver. Be tall, be strong, be firm. Be confident.
Many people in this world, including some leaders, have mistaken rage and anger as confidence. Whenever there is a slight criticism, they respond with scolds, threats, abuses, and violence. I don’t think that is true confidence; they are more likely fears and insecurities. True confidence must come from a calmness within.
It is difficult to understand how true confidence might be, but to me, I often picture it as a mountain. So being confident is like being a mountain to yourself.
As a mountain stands strong and firm against winds and storms, you also should stand strong and firm against praises and criticisms. As the mountain is tall to itself, you stand tall to your inner qualities. Neither praises nor blames affect the mountain. When you come to praise the mountain, will it get taller? When you come to taunt the mountain, will it get lower? Thus, your virtues are not changed by what other people have to say. Listen silently to all advices, but always be steadfast to yourself.
As passing clouds obscure the mountain only temporarily, so do many problems only obscure your mind temporarily. Thus, do not hold on to them much longer than the moment they pass by.
Standing from afar, even the greatest mountain looks small. Thus, the people standing from afar, who have not examined your qualities very carefully, will miss your true potential. But it does not matter, because you, like the mountain, know your true height and need no other comparator.
As mountains standing tall together can hold off a raging storm, you too standing tall together can stand against big challenges in life. Thus, make yourself into the mighty Himalaya range!
Finally, as the greatest mountains are the constant sources of rivers and streams that nourish the underlying lands, you are also a source of supports and joys for those around you. Thus, make yourself a great mountain.
Always be tall, be strong, be firm, be confident. Be like a mountain to yourself.
Vo Thanh Minh Tue
Vo Thanh Minh Tue is a Vietnamese student who completed highschool in Singapore and is pursuing a CS bachelor degree at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has just returned from a summer internship at Google in India, as evident from the red, bright turban. He enjoys a quiet life with reading, daily meditation and yoga. He is an active participant in MIT Buddhist Community and is working on a project to implement a Buddhist community library at MIT.