Transcending Above The Boundary of Self-Cultivation
For the past two years I have been deeply involved with activities to clarify the truth and expose the evil. I was very anxious after observing some practitioners who still could not transcend above the boundary of self-cultivation. After further study of Teacher's new articles, I realized that I myself still had many limitations, which constrained me from both rectifying myself and others and eradicating the evil. I realized that doing Dafa work does not automatically translate into transcending self-cultivation. The following are some examples of this:
1. "Taking care of major issues but ignoring minor ones" is a manifestation of the limitations of self-cultivation
Fa-rectification has progressed rapidly during the past two years. Facing a multitude of obstacles, I did my best, but I unknowingly lowered my standard of conduct on many trivial matters such as my personal appearance, the orderliness of my working environment, my attitude towards others, and my treatment of family and friends. I unwittingly became less demanding of myself, viewing my own faults as merely personal issues. I thought that Falun Dafa was the first priority and everything else could be pushed off.
Later in my understanding of Fa-rectification I came to recognize that all Dafa practitioners are a single, unified entity. Every individual practitioner's behavior should reflect this unity. We should demonstrate to people the mighty virtue of Dafa. We can carry out Dafa-related work well only after we give up the concept of "individual" and "self." Even the seemingly trivial conduct mentioned earlier is not acceptable behavior in human society. Many people will judge Dafa based on the overall behavior of practitioners, or even of individual practitioners. If we demonstrate compassionate and altruistic conduct at all times, people will have more respect for Dafa and Dafa practitioners as well. On the other hand, if we fail to do so, our behavior will reflect badly on Dafa. Worse yet, people may consider that Dafa is to blame for our own negligence.
I believe that "taking care of major issues but ignoring minor ones" is a common characteristic of decent, ordinary people. However, this attitude confines a practitioner's vision within the individual at a rather low xinxing level, preventing self-rectification, rectification of others, and validation of Dafa. In fact, practitioners who can "Hold lofty aspirations yet attend to fine details" in difficult and trying situations demonstrate the mighty virtue of the sacred Dafa. Let us embody more compassion, wisdom, and true freedom of worldly concerns while carrying out Dafa-related tasks.
2. Eliminate the thought of complacence when we clarify the truth
For practitioners who ask, "Do we clarify the truth in order to offer salvation to people, or do we clarify the truth because we are doing Dafa work?" There can only be one answer, to offer salvation. But I have noticed that during the past two years while clarifying truth to friends and family members, I often desired others to acknowledge my efforts on behalf of Dafa. I did not have the genuine desire to cherish and care for each sentient being, or to help them gain a better understanding of Dafa. This was not because I was ignorant of the Fa, but rather because of my complacence with the belief that I was undertaking more important tasks. This belief is similar to ordinary people's attitude of "being selfless for the good of people" whereby one could sacrifice the prospects and interest of the family to fulfill one's own ambitions. This is not the attitude of practitioners who are offering salvation to sentient beings. Genuine cultivators should include their family as part of all sentient beings. Because of my own limitations, when conflicts arose I had no choice but to strive for my family's understanding in order to accomplish what I needed to do on behalf of Dafa.
For example, I was reluctant to tell my family that I was undertaking very important Dafa work since the persecution started in 1999. I worked silently to minimize potential difficulties. Now I realize that I did not have the conviction that ordinary people could understand the truth. Rather, I believed it would be very difficult for ordinary people to believe the truth amidst overwhelming slander and lies promoted about Dafa and hence I avoided potential conflict and responsibility by keeping quiet.
Cultivation is very serious. There can not be any self-deceit when passing a test. Under the influence of the XX [party name omitted] party's propaganda, my family had a emotional reaction after finding out what I was doing. Yet after that I still did not quiet my mind in order to better comprehend the Fa. I sought to reassure my family so that I could carry on with my work. I emphasized to my family that I worked on behalf of everday people's sense of righteousness and for the benefit of everyday people. Even though my family tolerated my efforts and extended a lot of support, I still felt that my family and I were not "a group taking the same journey." I finally realized that this was not the right outcome. Dafa-related work has far reaching implications to all sentient beings, how could it end up requiring "tolerance" from them? But at that time I had a one-track mind, believing that "it will be good so long as I could continue my Dafa work." I did not treat the issue from the perspective of cultivation and Fa rectification. Although I continued my Dafa work, there was a significant estrangement from my family on major critical issues, creating a breeding ground for evil, slandering and deception.
After a round of disturbances, I felt my family was so deeply lost amid illusions of ordinary human society that I complained about their lack of support for my Dafa work. Later I realized that clearing perplexity is exactly our responsibility since we are the ones who have obtained the Fa. One day I finally put away sentimentality and the notion of "willingly asking for trouble." I proactively approached my family and friends. I had open and wholehearted discussions with them about the importance of "Truthfulness, Benevolence and Forbearance" to all sentient beings in this world. I clarified many defamations set forth by persecutors, and I talked about why I devoted my whole body and mind to voluntarily carrying out Dafa activities. Because my perspective was based on the principle of the Fa, and my compassionate intention was for their benefit instead of creating a better environment for my own activities, the outcome was outstanding. People did not just support, bless, and respect my efforts to promote Dafa, they were also very expressive of their admiration of the mighty virtue of Dafa. Although there were interferences by old evil forces in other dimensions, such interference collapsed and disintegrated in front of the righteous thoughts of a practitioner. In turn, it further solidified my righteous resolve and broadened my understanding of the more profound connotations of Fa rectification.
It was a good lesson to me when I observed the transformation of my own family, starting from intolerance, then to limited tolerance, and finally to earnest and overwhelmingly support. This lesson allowed me to shed many ordinary people's perceptions, to identify my contentment amid my hard work, as well as the constant issue of breaking out from the limitations of self-cultivation. I have observed that some practitioners are only concerned about seeking support against persecution, or for the human rights of Falun Gong practitioners. They are reluctant to clarify the truth at a broader and deeper level, treating the effort of helping others to truly understand that "Falun Dafa is righteous and good" as extra effort. This was, in fact, my own former mental attitude.
Then what is our real objective in clarifying the truth? Teacher said in his Lecture on the Fa at the Washington, D.C. International Conference, "Clarifying the truth isn't a simple matter--it's not only a matter of exposing the evil. When we clarify the truth we are saving sentient beings, and at the same time it involves the matter of your own improvement and your elimination of attachments during your cultivation, and the matter of Dafa disciples being responsible to the Fa in their cultivation, as well as issues like how you fill and enrich that paradise of yours in your final Consummation." My feeling is that we could never fathom from the confinement of self-cultivation the extent a sentient being must understand the truth before they can be saved. Genuinely helping people to establish righteous understanding of Dafa is the best approach. Selflessness and compassion could unlock their hearts.
The restrictive boundary of self-cultivation could manifest in many other areas during Fa rectification. Above were just two examples of my personal experience.
I came to the understanding that self-cultivation has been the standard approach taken by all cultivators throughout history; therefore it was deeply ingrained in many Dafa practitioners. During the Fa rectification, the more we can transcend the boundary of self-cultivation, the more we can emanate the power and influence as a Dafa particle. A Dafa particle must be able to validate Dafa at all times and in all places, rectify from inside out all that is abnormal. Constantly doing Dafa work does not equate to naturally keeping up with the progress of the Fa rectification. Moreover we must never have any reservations on issues related to our xinxing; otherwise, in addition to our own failure to advance, we may hold up many sentient beings with a predestined relationship around us.