My Understanding of "Selfishness"
At times, I have been able to sense my selfishness and have felt that it was an attachment of mine and I wanted to eliminate it, yet I didn't seem to be able to achieve a noticeable effect. Whenever I saw other people's selfishness, I would sigh and think, "So people are indeed selfish," feeling good about myself for having been able to recognize this shortcoming of mine.
Upon reading Zhuan Falun again, I was struck by Teacher's words in Lecture One:
"Yet as the number of lives increases, a collective form of social relations develops in which some people may develop selfishness and gradually their level will be lowered. If they cannot stay at this level, they must drop down further. At that level, however, they may again become not so good and not be able to stay there, either. They will continue to descend further until, in the end, they reach this level of human beings... From the perspective of supernormal abilities or of the great enlightened beings, these lives should have been destroyed upon falling to this level."
I was deeply touched when I read this section a long time ago. However, I didn't really realize how serious "selfishness" was. I didn't have a strong urge to eliminate my selfishness from the bottom of my heart.
One day, I suddenly understood how serious "selfishness" is.
I enlightened to the following understanding: in the process of old forces' deviation from the Fa, the cosmos has become permeated with selfishness from top to bottom. It has become worse and worse, yet living beings have been less and less able to detect it. This is why the old cosmos is heading toward its eventual disintegration. From a high level perspective, that's the way the old forces are acting the way they are. Teacher said,
"When they're helping me, at the same time they hide their selfish intention of protecting themselves. They all want to change others but not themselves--no one wants to change himself--and they even try to preserve as much as possible the things they're attached to and won't let go of. They've done a lot of things very poorly throughout the process; they did some of the things intentionally, while with some other things, they couldn't even realize that those were bad things." (from Touring North America to Teach the Fa)
Selfishness is reflected in our day-to-day cultivation, we constantly search outward and we only see other's shortcomings. We wait for others to change, instead of searching within and instead of taking the initiative to change ourselves. We don't practice the exercises diligently enough, instead we rely on "the Fa cultivating practitioners" or "the gong cultivating practitioners" to achieve the same effect of practicing the exercises. In this way, we become lazy and neglect practicing the exercises.
In Lecture Nine "A Clear and Clean Mind" of Zhuan Falun, Teacher says,
"If you want to achieve tranquility through some techniques or methods, I would call this searching for external help. In qigong practice, however, going awry and following an evil way simply refer to people searching for external help. With Buddhism in particular, if you search for external help, you are said to have taken a demonic way."
Selfishness is reflected in today's human beings who only pursue self-interest and who are full of strong material desire, betraying their conscience for the interest of a single individual or a small group of people. It is my understanding that human beings' desires all originate from selfishness. In the Dharma-ending period, people are obsessed with desires. As a result, there are demons in all the various trades and occupations, the manifestation of which in this dimension is non-stop demon-nature and man-made disasters.
I enlightened to this understanding: selfishness actually deviates from the characteristic of the universe. Are we unable to clean out substances whose only goal is "being selfish"? If the highest level of the cosmos developed selfishness without even realizing it, what is to become of this cosmos? Upon realizing this, I immediately developed righteous thoughts from the bottom of my heart, desiring to hold myself to a strict requirement.
"When someone is doing a wrong deed, he will not believe it if you point out to him that he is doing a wrong deed. That person indeed will not believe that he is doing something wrong." (from Lecture One, Zhuan Falun ).
Doesn't my being numb to selfishness in the past precisely originate from my not realizing how bad my own selfishness was? Deep in my mind, I had a hard-to-detect mentality that I wanted to take my chances and still preserve my selfishness, feeling that by preserving it I could live a good life among everyday people. In fact, this is precisely the reflection of the old forces' existence in me, this is also why the evil has been able to survive in my dimensional field.
What Teacher teaches us is "Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance," which is the Dafa of the cosmos; it is the principles and heavenly secret of the boundless cosmos and of living beings' creation. Who am I to keep my selfishness--even a tiny bit of it? Only by eliminating selfishness can we break away from the old forces' arrangements, and remove the old forces who damage the Fa-rectification.
The above is my shallow understanding. Please correct me if there is anything improper.