Treat Fellow Practitioners With Kindness and Immense Tolerance
In his recent Fa lectures, Teacher talked several times about the relationships among Falun Dafa practitioners. Here I would like to share my personal understandings on this subject.
At the beginning of the persecution, the biggest test facing the practitioners in China was whether they could sacrifice everything and step forward to validate the Fa. Similarly, the biggest test facing the practitioners living abroad was whether we could get rid of the attachment to ourselves, break through our notions, and step forward to validate the Fa. Teacher has clearly told us that currently we need to do well in three things: studying the Fa, clarifying the truth, and sending forth righteous thoughts. How can we cultivate ourselves in order to better fulfill our roles in the Fa-rectification process?
Compared to China, there are much fewer practitioners living abroad. Meanwhile, there are so many countries, governments, and everyday people that we need to clarify the truth to. Thus, every practitioner that can join the Fa-rectification is extremely precious. It is very important for us to cooperate with each other because we have so much work to do yet not that many practitioners to do it. Living outside China, we don't face the danger of losing our freedom or even lives because of clarifying the truth about the persecution. Thus, the evil forces have been trying to stop practitioners abroad from stepping forward by interfering with the cooperation among practitioners. This interference, which creates internal turmoil within our coordination efforts, can not only waste our precious time that could be used to save the sentient beings, but also stops our energy field as a whole from becoming pure and from reaching the standards of the Fa. Our improvement as one body and our Fa-rectification process will then be negatively affected. I think it is now time for us to pay close attention to this problem.
I think the reason that the evil forces can interfere with us is because we have the following shortcomings.
1. Not having enough compassion, especially towards fellow practitioners.
Sometimes, we keep a close watch on fellow practitioners' attachments. Actually, we are searching outwardly when we judge or make conjectures about others with the standards of how we think they should act. Such thoughts, together with grievances and complaints against fellow practitioners, are very uncompassionate elements, which absolutely cannot have a harmonious effect on practitioners, let alone reflect the state of "... being able to understand everything with kindness" (Teaching the Fa at the 2002 Fa Conference in Boston). Every practitioner has attachments to some degree. Sometimes the attachments even appear to be very strong. However, we should first look at the well-cultivated side of fellow practitioners. If we do see their shortcomings, we need to point it out with a compassionate heart. Even if the fellow practitioners really did something wrong, we need to learn to forgive them first and then try to come up with ideas for how to make up for it instead of grumbling about it or blaming the fellow practitioners for it.
When there are disagreements on some issues among practitioners, we should not try to compromise with each other based on everyday people's notions of friendship. Neither should we point fingers at each other. What we are breaking through and rejecting is the old evil forces' arrangements of the Fa-rectification. A major task for us now is to break through the barriers in our hearts that stop us from cooperating with each other as one body. Cultivation is to cultivate oneself, not to figure out others' shortcomings. The problems with the relationships among practitioners can only be resolved when we can improve our own xinxing (mind or heart nature; moral character), study the Fa more, and share with each other our experiences and understandings of the Fa principles.
2. Not striving forward vigorously. Not being strict enough with ourselves.
Teacher told us that we need to strive forward vigorously in Buddha Fa cultivation. However, very often we haven't done a good job with this. When I first started to practice Falun Dafa, I was very diligent because the most fundamental part of my being was waking up. However, just as Teacher said, "But usually when it comes to the human part -- the body that's formed with substances within the Three Realms -- the process slows down immediately, as if brakes were applied. It's really difficult even to just take one step forward. This is because it's really extremely difficult for human beings to let go of their attachments" (Falun Buddha Fa -- Lecture at the Conference in Singapore). Over a long period of time, I truly felt that it was extremely difficult for me to take another step forward. When Teacher said, "... Consummation is only a matter of the time of return..." (What Are Supernormal Abilities), I didn't take what Teacher said to be motivation for becoming more diligent. Instead, I unintentionally cut myself some slack. Sometimes I saw my attachments or impurity, however, I thought they were trivial matters. I didn't firmly and completely deny them or reject them. Now I have realized that the old evil forces have sometimes taken advantage of me because of my lack of control.
Teacher also said, "So having said all that I have, it in fact all boils down to cultivation issues" (Teaching the Fa at the 2002 Fa Conference in Boston). Sometimes I keep myself so busy doing Dafa work that I forget that no matter how much we have done to clarify the truth during the Fa-rectification period, essentially, cultivation is not doing things but a process of assimilating to the Fa and removing all the things that do not accord with the Fa so that we can melt into the Fa. "... matter and mind are one thing." (Zhuan Falun). If we don't improve ourselves, we will not be able to achieve our goals no matter how much work we have done.
From another point of view, many practitioners living abroad have a high education level and are very capable in doing things. However, we should remember that capability is not the same as xinxing since " ... one's gong level is as high as one's xinxing level" (Zhuan Falun). Thus, only through improving our cultivation levels, can we fully utilize our everyday people's abilities and skills to validate the Fa to the fullest.
3. Having the attachment of protecting our own notions or ourselves.
Many fellow practitioners have published articles on Clearwisdom.net that talk about the fact that Falun Dafa practitioners also used to be the beings from the old cosmos. This means that we have various degenerated notions or material elements residing in us. I totally agree with this understanding. Teacher said, "Precisely because of the way humans are, because you humans all want to protect yourselves in this way, human society has been pushed to this stage and is sliding downward. So everyone has his share of the blame. Even if you haven't done anything wrong in this lifetime, you did in your previous lives" (Falun Buddha Fa -- Lecture at the Assistants' Fa Conference in Changchun). The above Fa principle had a great impact on me when I first read it. Even now, I still think about it a lot because I feel that this is a common problem among our practitioners.
It's been a long time since the old cosmos started deviating from the Fa. Those beings have very high levels and great abilities, and they have lived a long history. They are all subject to a degeneration that is stubborn, difficult to detect, and difficult to correct. Those old forces that made the arrangements for the current Fa-rectification don't have everyday people's notions or attachments. Neither do they have the attachment to material interests. Their major attachment is that they don't want to change themselves. They want to keep their own stuff and their own standards intact.
I think we should pay special attention to this issue. Our main consciousnesses are willing to assimilate to the Fa, to require us to meet the pure standards of the new cosmos, and to give up and get rid of all the degenerated things. However, we will not be able to truly assimilate to the Fa if we are attached to our own notions or trying to protect ourselves.
Manifested in this everyday people's dimension, this kind of deep-down degeneration might show up as our feelings that our own ideas are the best. We are trying our best to do Dafa work and we are working very hard. However, if we cannot reach the standards that the Fa has set for us, we will restrict ourselves and exhaust ourselves at our original levels and realms without realizing it. We will not be able to broaden our thoughts and minds, and we will not be able to see the whole picture of the Fa-rectification.
Teacher told us before that when we are not sure what to do, just think about what a Buddha or a Bodhisattva would do when faced with the same situation. The Fa is creating the magnificent enlightened beings in the future. They should have full control, great compassion, and immense dignity. Their boundless wisdom is from the Fa, so they are also harmonious and indestructible. They are at such a high level and have such abilities that they can encompass everything and give their sentient beings benevolent resolutions. If we can set requirements for ourselves with the standards of such a realm, how could we not be able to tolerate fellow practitioners' shortcomings? How could there be conflicts among the practitioners when we work together?
The above is my personal understanding. Please correct me if I said anything inappropriate.