Advancing in Cultivation by Letting Go
(Clearwisdom.net) Before cultivation, I always thought one could get what he wanted through making efforts, so when I could not get what I wanted, I thought I didn't work hard enough. When I tried harder and still could not get what I wanted, I would complain. Because of this way of thinking I was living an exhausting life. Sometimes I felt a human being was so insignificant that he could not even change his own life. Four years ago I read the book Zhuan Falun, and I knew this was what I had been looking for throughout my life. Master said, "But true improvements come from letting go, not from gaining" ("Teaching the Fa at the Philadelphia 2002 Experience Sharing Conference"). I felt that in cultivation, you wouldn't necessarily get what you worked hard for, because you will gain only when you let go. Dafa cultivation is the direct cultivation of one's heart. Along the path of Fa-rectification cultivation arranged by Master, we change our fate as we cultivate. We can truly become so gigantic that we can elevate to higher realms.
Hereby, remembering Master's words "a complete sacrifice is a higher principle of non-omission." ("Perfect Harmony", Essentials for Further Advancement) I would like to examine myself regarding what I have let go of or what I realize that I should let go of during cultivation, in the hope that I will be able to walk more righteously and more diligently on the path of cultivation through this process of self-examination. Below are some of my shallow understandings:
1. Let Go of the pursuit of comfort -- be truly responsible for Dafa
The pursuit of comfort is a barrier on our path of cultivation. It makes us loosen up and not be truly responsible for Dafa. I think the pursuit of comfort interferes with practitioners in several ways: first, if we feel we have made sacrifices for Dafa and gained reputation among fellow practitioners, we would think we have done well in cultivation, and such complacency will lead to erosion of diligence. Secondly, it makes us think that it's no use, no matter how diligent we are, and we therefore develop a pessimistic mentality toward and doubt about cultivation and Consummation. This mentality affects our righteous belief, making our conduct deviate further and further away from that of a practitioner, and we would even think we are not worthy of being a Dafa practitioner.
The root of this problem is our lack of understanding Fa-rectification cultivation. In order to get rid of the interference originating from pursuit of comfort, we must clearly understand it and repel it. I have realized that there is no fame involved in Dafa cultivation, and there are only sentient beings waiting to be saved. We should treat ourselves as new practitioners every day. Every time we study the Fa, we should study it as if it's the first time. We should place ourselves among other practitioners and should not develop the mentality of ourselves being superior to others. Moreover, our strict requirements of ourselves should not degenerate into a competition with others. If we try to compete with others who have done lots of Dafa work, we are likely to develop the attachment of doing work for the sake of the work itself. When we fail to reach the high standard we set for ourselves, pessimistic moods will easily encourage the development of pursuit of comfort, and this will affect our diligence. Only when practitioners give up the pursuit of comfort can they truly be responsible for Dafa.
2. Let go of our own attachments -- look inward
Once I clarified the truth to Chinese people at a tourist attraction site abroad. I brought a picture that we thought was appropriate for truth clarification. With permission from the host of the tourist site, we used the picture and the effect was good. Two days later, the host told us other practitioners didn't think this picture should be used, and he asked us if we would agree to take it down to avoid conflict among practitioners. But he said if we insisted, he had no problem with us continuing to use it.
I tried to look inward. If I continued to use the picture because of my attachment to my "right" opinion and ignore fellow practitioners' thoughts, would that be righteous? With this in mind, I decided to take down the picture. After I held up the Self-immolation Exhibit Board for about ten minutes, the host walked toward me and said, "You should use the picture. I have been watching for a while and I think it's really more effective to use the picture while you clarify the truth about the self-immolation. This picture would attract the attention of Chinese tourists, and they will read what is written on the exhibit board about the truth." This incident helped me realize the importance of yielding. I let go of my own opinion on the matter and gained fellow practitioners' understanding on this truth clarification method.
When I looked deeper, I felt that the reason we didn't do well was because although I knew this method was good for promoting the Fa and clarifying the truth, I didn't share this experience with fellow practitioners. I only told them briefly what I wanted to do and assumed that fellow practitioners would certainly agree with my opinion. There was complacency on my part in that I didn't communicate with fellow practitioners and didn't truly think from the perspective of fellow practitioners. I realized when exchanging experiences with fellow practitioners, we should talk about our understandings from the perspective of the Fa instead of presumptuously assuming that others will accept our opinion as is. Practitioners have different understandings due to their environments and levels in cultivation.
I also realized that all practitioners might have their ways of doing things. For example, practitioners in different areas may adopt different truth clarification methods, but are there other good methods we can use? The important point is whether practitioners are able to calm down and listen to others' voices, and if they are able to understand why others have such and such opinions and behavior. When we come across different opinions, we shouldn't allow ourselves to be trapped in superficial arguments. An article published on Minghui. Net talked about when the author had disagreement with a fellow practitioner. He was upset, but he suddenly saw many shining points in the other person's thinking. This tells me when practitioners have a conflict, apart from strictly looking inward based on the Fa, we should also see the good points of fellow practitioners' opinions, because by doing so we will be able to let go of our own notions we are attached to.
3. Let go for the validation of Dafa -- stepping out of the human mentality
Regarding stepping out of the human mentality, my understanding is that we should truly understand the purpose of stepping forward and validating the Fa, and it's not important how much Dafa work we do. There is an inspiring story, which shows one kind of letting go: a fellow practitioner tried to learn how to clarify the truth via the computer, but no matter how hard she tried she was getting nowhere. She thought if other practitioners were so busy with clarifying the truth on the computer, they wouldn't have time to clean their houses, and thought she should help them clean their houses. I felt that this practitioner placed herself in Dafa and did what she understood from the Fa without paying any attention to the type of work she did, much less did she pick Dafa work according to her interest.
If we step out, we are divine beings; if we don't step out, we are human beings. When we step out, we are doing things with a divine being's way of thinking instead of a human being's. I realized the key point of doing things from the perspective of a divine being is to act according to one's understanding of the Fa principles obtained from the perspective of the Fa. For example, we are all anxious when we see that some fellow practitioners still have not stepped out and we think, "It would be so great if they could step forward." If we use a human method of pushing and encouraging and are placing emphasis on the importance of stepping forward, it may only have some partial effect. Even if they step forward and make telephone calls to China, the results will be limited if their xinxing does not reach the standard. If we can truly touch their hearts to save people, that would be the most fundamental importance. For instance, at a study and sharing meeting, if we share our experience in making telephone calls and how our xinxing improved from doing this, it would more likely touch others' hearts. I myself was moved and inspired this way. When we step forward to validate the Fa, the emphasis should be on truly treating ourselves as Dafa particles, step out of human mentality with our xinxing up to the standard, and letting go for validating Dafa.
4. Let go for the benefit of family members and friends -- treating these non-practitioners with benevolence and kindness
Normally, we would think we cultivate well among fellow practitioners, but why would we fall short of standards for practitioners in front of non-practicing family members and friends? When we go out to promote the Fa, we often remind ourselves to treat all with benevolence and kindness, yet we would loosen up upon returning home. My personal understanding is that the way we treat our family members and friends can most effectively show whether our cultivation is solid or not.
Our parents know us best, for they watched us grow up from childhood. They also know something about Dafa. Sometimes they would even point out our shortcomings from the perspective of Fa principles. So if we fail to demonstrate practitioners' benevolence and kindness in daily interactions, they will take a negative attitude towards Dafa since they cannot feel the beauty of Dafa cultivation. What makes things worse is, if we forget the cultivation of speech by unconsciously saying something from too high a level and cause misunderstandings or confusion for family members and friends, it will intensify the conflict. I realized that if we cause their misunderstandings by not paying attention to our words and behavior, we might obstruct them from obtaining a bright future. With this understanding, I thought we really ought to treat them with benevolence and kindness, do better in everything we say and we do, and give up attachments we have nurtured for the sake of our family members and friends.
5. Let go for the benefit of fellow practitioners -- Dafa practitioners are one whole body
Once, after I had a conflict with a fellow practitioner, the story about Sue Dongpo and Fuo Yin flashed through my mind. Once, Sue Dongpo and Fuo Yin were meditating together, and Sue Dongpo laughed at Fuo Yin and said he looked like a pile of feces. Fuo Yin was not a bit angry and said to Sue Dongpo, "You look like a Buddha sitting there." Pleased with himself, Sue Dongpo told his sister about how he made fun of Fuo Yin, but his sister said, "My brother, your level is too far from that of Fuo Yin. He has Buddha in his heart, so he thinks you look like a Buddha, while you have no Buddha in your heart, so you think he looks like feces." When I understood this principle, I finally realized during the times I had conflicts with fellow practitioners, that most of the time I was in the wrong. I judged fellow practitioners with Fa principles while forgetting to judge my own behavior with Fa principles. By doing so, not only did I fail to be tolerant, I also caused the conflicts between practitioners to persist.
We should cultivate our speech, and we should encourage fellow practitioners who fail to overcome a tribulation instead of criticizing them. If we see a fellow practitioner fail to pass a test, maybe it's more than just his own attachments; we should also take into account interference from demons that might have increased the difficulty of the test. Master said, "The next person's things are your things, and your things are his things" ("Teaching the Fa at the Washington, D.C. Fa Conference"). Think about it, if one practitioner does well, how many cosmic levels and how many beings will he affect! From the perspective of the Fa, we should not only help fellow practitioners overcome tribulations, but we should also place ourselves in his/her situation to enlighten ourselves. One practitioner's omission is an omission in our whole body. We should stop criticizing fellow practitioners' shortcomings with the Fa, for that is not how we should help fellow practitioners to improve; instead, we should take the standpoint of regarding the Fa as top priority and treat fellow practitioners with kindness, and let go of our attachment of criticizing others for the benefit of our fellow practitioners. Even when there is a lack of understanding on the part of fellow practitioners, we should communicate with them with kindness, and reflect whether it is our own attachment that has caused the problem, instead of allowing the gap to continue to exist.
6. Let go for the sake of future of sentient beings in the cosmos C breaking away from the old forces' arrangements.
The old forces used the evil people in the human world to arrange this severe test of Dafa practitioners. Lies have poisoned the minds of countless people. We absolutely cannot sit and do nothing; we must break away from their arrangements.
Once I clarified the truth on the Internet. At first, I posted truth clarification materials about the self-immolation incident, followed by some other truth clarification materials. Then I posted facts about the brutal persecution and the wide spreading of Dafa around the world. The recipient never stopped cursing and it became worse as time went by. In my mind I thought this person couldn't be saved, so I posted examples of temporal retribution. This person didn't change his attitude at all and I developed the fighting mentality as I typed, "Don't create bad karma with your mouth. Don't seek your way to hell." He answered, "Go ahead and give me retribution! I don't believe in this kind of stuff!" I thought I'm here to save him, and I should not let him hurt himself by creating karma. I let go of my attachment to rectifying him, at the same time I sent forth righteous thoughts and typed with kindness, "I really hope you can understand. For your own good, don't cling to errors." Then I typed, "I clarify the truth to you with sincerity and I don't want to make you create karma. Please believe me." As I sent forth this kind thought, his attitude changed considerably and his answers showed thoughts of kindness. Later, he even asked me for Zhuan Falun to learn the truth.
As a Fa-rectification period Dafa disciple, my whole life is for cultivation and for safeguarding the truth of the cosmos. Studying the Fa well, clarifying the truth and sending forth righteous thoughts are truly important and we must do them well. If we don't cultivate well and fail to let go of our attachments, we will affect not only ourselves, but also the lives and deaths of beings in our cosmic systems. Once more I would like to the share the following with fellow practitioners as an encouragement: "a complete sacrifice is a higher principle of non-omission", ("Perfect Harmony", Essentials for Further Advancement). Please kindly point out anything inappropriate.