Both at the beginning of Creation and when human civilization is corrupted, there are enlightened beings or saints born. These enlightened beings or saints are precisely a group of people known as “teachers.” For example, Socrates, the founder of the ancient Greek civilization, was an educator. In the Gospels, Jesus also called himself a teacher. Sakyamuni Buddha has ten names, one of which is “the teacher of heaven and man.” Confucius was an educator, and Lao Zi was the teacher of Confucius. They tell people how to be human, how to respect God, how to get along with others, and how morality may be improved.
These enlightened beings and saints are the greatest educators of mankind. Their words shaped the major civilizations and became fundamental classics of all civilizations. The values they teach and the ways they go about improving morality allow each individual to achieve spiritual transcendence and health. Individuals with healthy minds are essential to social health. It is no wonder that these greatest educators have come to a similar conclusion: The purpose of education is the cultivation of good character.
Eastern and Western classical education, which has been practiced for thousands of years, inherits the culture that God has given to people and retains such precious experiences and resources. According to the spirit of classical education, both talent and integrity are important criteria for judging the success of education. In the process of reviving the tradition of human education, the treasure of classical education is worthy of preservation, exploration, and learning.
People with high moral values are capable of self-governing. This is the social norm that the American Founding Fathers hoped for. Those who are morally noble will receive God’s blessings, and through diligence and wisdom, will obtain material abundance and spiritual satisfaction. More importantly, people with high morality allow society to proliferate and last for generations. This is the revelation of enlightened beings and saints, the greatest educators of mankind, for how today’s people may return to tradition.
From Chapter Twelve: Sabotaging Education