Breaking Through Notions and Attachment to Oneself
Experience sharing from the 2009 Canada Fa Conference
Greetings Master and fellow practitioners!
I am from Calgary, Canada. It has been more than a year since I immigrated to Canada from Mainland China. In Mainland China, I rarely had the opportunity to come in contact and work with other practitioners. So, I looked forward to joining the group cultivation environment. I was very fortunate to participate in selling tickets for the Divine Performing Arts (DPA) shows for two years and deeply cherish the group cultivation environment. Working with fellow practitioners deepens my understanding of Dafa’s boundless wisdom. Today, I mainly want to share about looking within and breaking through notions and letting go of attachments when selling tickets for the DPA shows. Please let me know if there is anything inappropriate.
Puzzled at Practitioners’ Actions after Joining the Group
Before I came to Canada, I taught at a university in Mainland China. This gave me the opportunity to read Dafa books and at the same time clarify the truth to my students, colleagues and friends. Before being around Dafa practitioners more often, given my understanding from Dafa books, I thought that practitioners had very high inner character, were gentle and nice, very calm, were of very sharp mind and peaceful at heart. I had a lot of expectations and respect for practitioners.
The second week after I arrived in Calgary, I couldn't wait to go to the practice site and join the group practice. However, the behavior, actions and words of practitioners upset me deeply. For example, there are those who don’t cultivate their speech, or their tone lacks compassion. There are those who publicize themselves and stare at others. When encountering different opinions, everyone quotes the lectures quickly and says how Master says this and that. Yet, this doesn’t resolve the problems.
At times, practitioners’ speech, behavior and communication are very confusing. I was confused about these problems: They are all practitioners, so how come this situation appeared? Why was I exposed to this? Why? These problems weren't that problematic. As long as everyone adhered to a higher standard and took a step back, they could be resolved. Why can these people who cultivate Zhen-Shan-Ren not do this?
Given these problems, I tried to reconcile the opposing parties and make some suggestions at times. However, none of this had a positive effect and the situation continued. Many times, my intervention led to even more complex problems.
Looking Within During Fa Study
I was quite frustrated after experiencing the aforementioned problems. I was upset for a long time. But, after recalling Master's words about the Fa principle of when two people are in conflict and a third person sees it, then all should look within and think why they saw it, I tried my best to look within.
Wasn't it my confusion that was part of the problem?
When I saw other practitioners not being on time and not keeping their word, I judged them, as I thought that I was doing well in these areas. When I saw that other practitioners did not keep their word, I thought that this was not right. When some practitioner did not cultivate their speech, were publicizing themselves and were gossiping, I felt that this person's cultivation state was not good and that they had strong human attachments.
I judged others and was confused for a long time. Therefore, I spent a great deal of time reading Master’s Fa. I read about how cultivators should deal with conflicts among practitioners. I found that Master mentioned quite frequently about how practitioners should treat conflicts, including in the 2007 Australia lectures. To summarize, Master said very clearly in the beginning, “look inside when encountering conflicts,” “assimilating to Zhen-Shan-Ren,” “think of others first,” “…be better than role models in everyday society,” and “when a person reaches the Arhat level he’s not fazed by anything he comes across. He’s not the least bit concerned about any human things and he’s always upbeat. It doesn’t matter how much he loses out, he’s upbeat and doesn’t mind.” That actually tells me that whatever I face in everyday society, I should treat it happily and not take it seriously. Then why did I feel so upset when seeing fellow practitioners not acting well? Why was this?
I discussed this with a fellow practitioner. I said, “Why should a cultivator be like this? Wouldn't Master feel sad when he sees this?” The practitioner asked me, “Why?” I said, “It is like you being a teacher. When the student begins his studies at the university, you told him some fundamental principles. These fundamental principles are the foundation for other studies. However, when it’s close to graduation, you found that this student did not understand that principle. How sad the teacher feels.” I added, “If I had students like that, I would really feel sad.”
That practitioner said, “Master is around us every day. He can see everything. He will not feel sad.”
This answer shocked and inspired me. It helped me see my unhappiness with fellow practitioners from another angle. I found that I used human thoughts and emotions to guess what God’s thoughts are. People will feel upset, but not Gods. They are compassionate.
In everyday society, I try to be a good teacher and hope that students can meet my expectation and reach my standard. If the students’ performance is not what I expect, I will feel really upset. Coming to think of it, Master picked up hundreds of thousands of people from hell and takes on and suffers for his disciple's karma. He also has to arrange in detail their cultivation path until ultimate consummation so they can become highly respected divine beings. During the process, of course he will see disciples’ numerous attachments, including what I thought to be bad behaviour for a practitioner. We know that Master, given his great wisdom and compassion, will not be moved by what he observes. Given this thought, if I am sad for students, it is because my ability didn’t reach my goal. But Master will not feel sad. It is because Master uses the highest principle and standard of the universe to do things. If the level and realm are different, it and can create different results.
Thinking about this higher level, I enlightened that I need to reach a broader mindset and see things from different angles to understand what happens between cultivators. My heart and wisdom need to be widened and changed. This process of looking inside led me to make much progress in my cultivation.
Searching Within is a Process of Letting Go of One’s Attachments and “Self” Formed as an Ordinary Person
Searching within made me see my attachments. Actually, being upset is an attachment to oneself.
In the process of searching within, I discovered the reason why fellow practitioners upset me. It came from the “self” formed as an ordinary person, especially those numerous notions that are connected with that “self” and developed over decades among ordinary society. Those notions formed after birth enveloped my true self at birth. They often made me think that they were from my true self. I’ve become used to that and I’ve even become unaccustomed to what differs from my notions. I unconsciously use my notions to distinguish right from wrong, correct from mistaken, virtue from vice, good from bad, and even to judge things that happen in cultivation. Those notions include: what a cultivator should look like, how a person with a good mind should handle things, what attitude and tone a person should have, what should be the best relationships among people, what is considered as proper, what is just not reasonable, what is considered polite, what is considered rude, what is an appropriate way to handle things, what is simply not an appropriate way to handle things, and so on.
Those mentalities formed among ordinary people govern how I judge things and how I judge things that happen when cultivating among them. But this is my measuring criteria. When things conformed to my way of thinking, I was happy. When things did not conform to my way of thinking, I felt unhappy. Consequently, I unconsciously became either happy or upset about things that happened in cultivation. But those criteria are not necessarily Master’s criteria and are not necessarily in line with Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance, the highest criteria in this universe.
From another perspective, one’s criterion of judging and measuring was formed among ordinary people. It is indeed what needs to be constantly corrected and improved upon during one’s cultivation. In the process of being corrected and improved, that self from the old universe will not voluntarily accept the change. When this is manifested among everyday life, one upholds and argues for the way of thinking that one is familiar with. It is the attachment to that “self” formed in the old universe. This is probably the reason that causes the unpleasant communication among fellow practitioners. It is also the root that made me upset when being faced with these problems.
So, in the process of cultivation, one’s self will be constantly rectified, reshaped, and purified from one’s root. This happens when one is going through a xinxing test, assimilates to the characteristics of the universe, Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance, among a complex group of people, and forges oneself among conflicts and frictions between people. This is a process of constantly letting go of the previous self and at the same time, a process of genuinely returning to one’s original self.
Thus, for practitioners, whose cultivation happens in ordinary society, the conflicts between each other manifested during cultivation and the experience to overcome one’s self might well be the soul-stirring process of reorganizing universes in other dimensions.
All of these are inferences and guesses. In fact, as a cultivator during the cultivation process, I do not know what cultivation really looks like, what a cultivator should really look like and what status manifested during the cultivation process originally looks like. So those unpleasant feelings caused by seeing things among some practitioners are merely the result of one’s mentalities formed after birth.
Have faith in Master and the Fa. Isn’t it true that these phenomena shown among cultivators are things in Dafa that we need to understand and respect with a positive attitude? Perhaps it is by itself a normal phenomenon that Dafa manifests in a special time and space, and I need to understand it actively and positively. It is not Dafa that has any problem, and it is neither necessarily that a cultivator really does not meet the criteria. It is my perspective and self formed after birth that needs to be reshaped and uplifted. This process is the reason that during cultivation one needs to search within.
When I thought about this, I felt that my view expanded. Searching within is indeed to constantly change one’s point of view, to understand some things with broader vision and wisdom of higher levels, to untie the knots in one’s heart, and consequently to settle with benevolent solutions those love-hate relationships formed through reincarnations in history. So, searching within can generate broader understanding and tolerance toward others.
Master said that everything encountered in one’s cultivation is a good thing. The conflicts encountered in our cultivation, especially things among fellow practitioners that might shock our hearts, are all precious chances for us to improve, and valuable sources to expand our hearts. When we pass that test, Dafa will manifest its infinite beauty and broader space at a higher level. Yet those fellow practitioners who upset you are actually people we should thank during our cultivation processes. So, no matter how other practitioners do things, they are helping us from a certain angle to understand higher principles. When we understand those principles, we improve and the space at this level does not constrain us any longer.
When I thought about this, I felt the heavens were clear, my body was transparent, the sunshine was especially clear, the air had a wonderful smell and passers-by on the road kept smiling at me kindly. And after that moment, when I looked at fellow practitioners again, I found that every one of them actually looked very kind in my eyes. My heart was full of gratefulness to Master.
Searching Within is the Most Effective Method to Actively Settle Conflicts
According to the principles for ordinary people, to solve a problem, one usually needs to find out the underlying cause and then can prescribe medicine according to the disease. When the wrong causes are found, the method to solve the problem can only have the opposite effect.
Master tells cultivators to search within when encountering conflicts instead of searching for other’s weaknesses, and not to pursue outwards. This is a method to very actively search for a solution to a problem.
When I searched within, I found out that my way of thinking is the reason why I saw the conflicts among other practitioners and I needed to expand the capacity of my heart. I started to consciously watch myself and examine my way of thinking when I saw those things that upset me and I actively suppressed those thoughts. At the same time, I tried to put myself in fellow practitioner’s shoes, to understand why he said so or did so from his angle, to understand the “state of immense tolerance, of mercy toward all beings, and of being able to understand everything with kindness” (“Teaching the Fa at the 2002 Fa Conference in Boston”), as taught by Master.
Although a lot of times, the part of myself that has not been cultivated well does not always listen to me and I cannot completely stop finding fault in situations, I often experienced the power of Fa and an immediate effect when I do things according to Dafa’s requirements.
Once, when I talked with a fellow practitioner, she suddenly became excited and spoke with furious words. My first reaction was not to think about what she did wrong. Instead, I thought that she was old and with such a big anger, her feelings would be affected for the rest of the day. I must have done something wrong and I should examine myself as well. I sincerely apologized to her at once and hoped she would stop being angry. At that moment, she actually immediately recovered from the excitement and also sincerely apologized to me at once. I was happy that both of us passed the test quickly.
Searching within for a different angle to consider problems lets me face problems encountered during my cultivation with a more peaceful mind. I understand in more depth why Master emphasizes searching within. It is a supernatural treasure that actively solves the problem and a Fa implement with extremely rich meaning that Master gave us. Its enormous power will manifest in the most effective method to settle right and wrong, kindness and hatred.
The book, A Journey to the West, tells through vivid stories about an effort of passing eighty-one tribulations to get the true scriptures. It revealed that as a cultivator, one has to be ready at any time for suffering and passing tests. Master told us that a cultivator must be able to “bear hardships upon hardships” (Falun Gong) and remain unmoved when seeing self-interests clearly damaged. The process of searching within is a process of daring to take on hardships and a process of abandoning the familiar self that was formed among ordinary people. The Fa tells us “No loss, no gain” (Zhuan Falun). Only by abandoning the self that was formed as an ordinary person, can one get a nobler self and a completely new self that is in-line with the criteria of the new universe. If we can search within first in any circumstance, abandon the self formed after birth and abandon the attachment to one’s self, Master will show us the infinite wisdom and beauty in the Fa.
The above are some of my recent understanding about searching within. Please kindly point out anything inappropriate.
Thank you, great Master!
Thank you, my cultivation group that gives me precious cultivation opportunities!
Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2009/5/21/59619.html