Put Down the Mentality of Being "Above Others," Treat Fellow Practitioners Benevolently
(Clearwisdom.net) Greetings to Master and everyone!
In Touring North America to Teach the Fa, Master told Fa rectification disciples to do three things. The very first one is to study Fa well and cultivate oneself well. I often found that my own and some other fellow practitioners' not cultivating well has given the evil forces chances to interfere. As the result, some things that could have been done better were not done well. Only by truly purifying ourselves and assimilating ourselves with Dafa can we save the countless sentient beings in the cosmic body that corresponds to us. And only by doing so can we fundamentally break the old forces' interference and do better in assisting Master's Fa rectification. I'll share some of my experiences and understanding below.
1. Put down the mentality of being "above others", solidly cultivate myself
I've heard that some assistants or coordinators' having conflicts with other practitioners has adversely affected Fa rectification activities. Regarding this aspect, I myself have not done well, either.
During the period of personal cultivation before July 20, 1999, it was relatively quiet. There were tests, but I could be relatively strict with myself. But after July 20, 1999, I participated in Fa rectification activities and later I started doing some coordination work. Then I started feeling like I have accumulated some type of "credit", gradually and unknowingly developed some mentality of being "above others". I was clearly aware that my Fa study was not that good, yet I tended to think I was more correct than others. Sometimes I was not reasoning with others using Fa's principles, but rather trying to run people over by using my position as an assistant or project coordinator. During a period of time, I even had such a thought, "Fa rectification period is different from personal cultivation period. What's important is to get the Fa rectification things done and it's OK to have bad temper." Exactly due to such guiding thoughts, I slacked off at looking inward and became less strict with myself.
During one period, many fellow practitioners in local area had many complaints about me and said I had put on a superior air of being some bureaucrat when talking or doing things. I thought what I said during local group discussion was quite correct, but others said I was just spouting lofty ideals and tossing around empty words. One person said so, two people said so, and eventually I found many people all said so. At first my heart was not calm, "Am I like that? Which words or actions of mine showed I was putting on airs? Wasn't I doing this totally for his good and for our local group's good?" My mind was really seething for a while. But after calming down, I looked back at my mentality, way of doing things, and attitude when I talked and did things, I was indeed like that and to a serious degree. The thought of "being a veteran practitioner and being above others" was hidden very deeply. Exactly due to this, I gradually and unknowingly developed quite the attitude and mannerisms of a petty bureaucrat, to the extent that I couldn't even sense it even after others have pointed it out to me. Just like my wife said, "How can you sense it? It has already developed into your cells."
Master said, "Every one of our persons in charge needs to put special emphasis on studying the Fa. No matter how great or how extraordinary the tasks are that a person in charge shoulders, he cannot forget to cultivate himself. No matter how much work you do, you should be a Dafa disciple doing the Dafa work and not an everyday person doing the Dafa work. So you must study the Fa. A person in charge is actually an ordinary disciple as well. Each person, no matter what he does, should see himself as one of the disciples--you have to see yourself as one of the disciples." (Fa-Lecture at the Conference in Florida, U.S.A.) In Zhuan Falun Master said, "All practitioners are disciples, no matter when they began the practice." "If you do not practice cultivation, what's the use of carrying that designation? It does not matter whether you are from the first session of classes or the second session."
The mentality of "above others" is closely related to my attachment of seeking fame. During these 3 years' Fa rectification, fellow practitioners have been fully utilizing their talents and professional skills to clarify the truth. But it also exposed my attachment of seeking fame that I thought I had gotten rid of: Who has certain special skills? Which university did so and so graduate from? What titles did someone carry in everyday people's society? On one hand, I felt very happy about the fact that many are talented among Dafa practitioners, but on the other hand, it reflects my hidden attachment to seeking fame. Once an opportunity arises, after I got something that others don't, it can easily develop some pride and the mentality of "being above others."
When I was with those practitioners who have certain prestige, I can control my emotion, talk gently, and even humbly consult them. But when with some other practitioners, I tended to lose my temper and blame others. And even when what they said was quite correct from Fa's perspective, I may listen with some reservations. In fact, every disciple is equal in front of the Lord of Buddhas. Each of us represents Master's boundless expectations, we've all been given the most magnificent missions, and we're all under the Lord Buddha's boundless mercy and compassion. There's no difference there whatsoever, no one is higher or lower than anyone else. Digging to the bottom, I found the notion of hierarchy and the snobbishness in everyday people's society.
Exactly because of these impure thoughts, at some critical moments, I couldn't stand completely from Fa's perspective and discuss with fellow practitioners equally and objectively. Sometimes I had a mentality that my words should carry more weight and I was not modest. On the other hand, I took advice from those practitioners I respected without enough thinking. As the result of all these, some things that could have been done better were not done well. It was shown especially during October events.
In fact, more and more I see that compared with a lot of fellow practitioners, I have fallen far behind in terms of Fa study, truth clarification, and sending forth righteous thoughts as well as being diligent and giving. Many practitioners are simply doing a lot of work very quietly. I can only try to catch up and have nothing to be proud of whatsoever. I indeed must get rid of the impure mentality and notions of everyday people and solidly cultivate myself.
2. Look within and elevate as a whole
Some while ago, I went to another state to participate in preparing some Fa rectification activities. Before going, I heard that there were conflicts among some practitioners. On one hand, I wanted to help with the activities' preparation; on the other hand, I had a subtle show-off mentality and wanted to help solve their problems. After arriving, I realized the problems there were indeed serious and felt pained in my heart. But I didn't have a calm mind and exchange with fellow practitioners, what I had more of in my mind was complaints.
What a practitioner did when clarifying truth in a sensitive area was a bit irrational. Another practitioner harshly criticized him when talking to me, believing he has damaged Dafa's image and has caused great negative effect to the important Fa rectification activities later on. She didn't even want to communicate with that practitioner. I tried to mediate. I told the latter practitioner that Master told us to be have immense tolerance and understanding with kindness towards fellow practitioners and that we should talk compassionately and kindly. Words like these were repeated several times during those days. But at the last time, I realized that I was throwing them to the other side of the telephone with anger, placing blame, and impatience. Upon hanging up, I suddenly realized that the words I told her were like a mirror: Was I compassionate towards to this practitioner? Did I have any understanding with kindness? Did I talk compassionately and kindly? Master said in "Lecture at the US East Coast Conference", "When two people have conflicts and a third person sees it, even this third person must think about what he has done wrong and why he is given a chance to see this scene." At this moment, I looked back at the problems that I had observed on fellow practitioners in the past a few days, I realized every of them existed on myself or in my local area, with only different degrees.
Failing to look within, I couldn't be modest and kind towards fellow practitioners. Therefore, no matter how high principles one talks about, the effect is bound not to be good. Thus, only by fostering an environment in which everyone tends to look within and the group improves xinxing as a whole can the problems be solved fundamentally.
In the past, I often observed this person in charge had these problems and that person in charge had those problems; and it seemed that I myself was a pretty good cultivator. But later on when I started to be in charge of something, the same problems were manifested on myself and even worse. From this I deeply realized that when seeing other people's shortcomings, I must look within and see that as a warning to myself and can never feel complacent since that could very well be because my attachment hasn't had a chance to be shown.
3. Put the Fa first, Be Tolerant, Understanding, and Kind Towards Fellow Practitioners
Reflecting on the arguments with fellow practitioners, on the surface, I was arguing for Dafa's good, but digging deeper, I can always find my impure thoughts. Only by fundamentally putting the Fa first, getting rid of ego can one truly be tolerant, understanding, and kind towards fellow practitioners, and thus truly be for Dafa's good.
What I usually can't tolerate is the chaotic scene during group activities. I like to jump out to help organize things. The motivation is for Dafa's good, but if any impure thoughts are mixed, the result is bound not to be good. During APEC meeting in Mexico, practitioners held banners and sent forth righteous thoughts. Under the baking sun, some practitioners tried to sit under the few trees. The scene didn't look good at the time. After thinking for a while, I felt I must step out to help organize in order to be responsible for Dafa and we must display the demeanor of Dafa disciples. With a loud voice, I asked several practitioners under a tree to get organized. One practitioner replied, "It's so hot out there and we'll have to do this for the whole afternoon. We should preserve some energy." I said, "We came here for Fa rectification. Disciples in China walked thousands of miles to Beijing. How does this suffering compare?" Immediately two Western practitioners said, "You must talk using your heart." One of them said, "I don't like you. You're like a dictator." I was shocked and awakened by this splash of cold water on my face. Immediately feeling ashamed, and I turned around to apologize to them. Yes, Master has told us long ago about tone, compassionate heart and rationality. I thought I my motivation was for Dafa's good. But at this critical moment of sending forth righteous thoughts in close proximity and demonstrating Falun Gong to all countries' delegations, my rude attitude has caused conflicts and disturbed practitioners' minds. Who are the happiest now? The evil. Is this being responsible to the Fa? Also, it never occurred to me that practitioners should do these out of their own will and that they have been sending forth righteous thoughts day and night continuously for 3 or 4 days. If I had been a bit considerate, I wouldn't have been so rude.
In another aspect, tolerance, understanding and putting Fa first can also be tested when fellow practitioners point out one's problems, but with a poor attitude. One time, a practitioner harshly criticized me and some other practitioners, who were planning some important events. He pointed out our lack of planning, not being thoughtful, lack of prioritization, and etc. I clearly realized all he said was correct, yet I simply couldn't accept his attitude, and thus developed some resistance and arguments. Consequently, we couldn't discuss things with calm and peaceful minds to achieve better results. Looking back, it was because he touched my attachment of "saving face." What I thought and said were all out of the strong mentality of trying to protect myself from being hurt, rather than treating with tolerance and understanding the aspects that the fellow practitioner hadn't cultivated well just yet. I didn't put down ego and truly put Fa first and didn't see whether what he said was truly for the good of Dafa or not.
The evil forces use the discord among practitioners to interfere. When not careful, we can easily fall into their traps. But when strict with ourselves, we can break that without much difficulty. Recently, after having realized this, there were several times when fellow practitioners had a bad attitude. If I hadn't watched my xinxing, arguments would have occurred and the interference would have been naturally inevitable. But these times, when I immediately tried to think from the other party's perspective and thought more of other party's strong points, the negative thoughts disappeared instantly, the possible arguments were avoided, and the interference arranged by the evil were naturally broken.
In " Teaching the Fa at the 2002 Fa Conference in Philadelphia, U.S.A.", Master Li said, "they look at what the end result of the other God's proposed approach will be... if the result of a God's idea can achieve the goal, if it can truly achieve it, then all of them will go along with it." I once thought to myself, "What if the other party's suggestion cannot reach the result that we want to achieve?" Now my understanding is that when arguing due to different opinions, each often grasps the other party's incorrect points and stresses his own correct points, and thinks the other party is blinded by his attachments and even developed one's own speculation and imagination. But in fact everyone has both correct and incorrect points. If we can do the opposite and try hard to see the other party's correct points and find our own incorrect points, and look more at his sincerity towards Dafa, then the two parties can discuss with calm and peaceful minds, compliment each other to work out the best solution. When getting stuck, try to think, "Who would be happy about this? The Buddhas and Master, or the evil?" When not being able to overcome some small obstacles, try to think about the great Fa rectification mission on our shoulders, think about a piece of sawdust versus a furnace of molten steel, think about a speck of dust versus the entire colossal firmament.
4. Be strict with oneself and cultivate from small matters
From the preparation of some Fa rectification activities, I learned that the bigger an activity, the more interference and the bigger tribulations. And the evil forces all targeted at practitioners' omissions and attachments. When one or many practitioners have certain aspects that haven't been cultivated well, get into conflicts, and cannot have righteous thoughts, other people can see it very clearly, yet sometimes feel quite helpless. In the meantime, things happen very quickly one after another, all of which have to be addressed immediately. Before you know it, another tribulation has come before the previous one gets addressed. It's truly that without a solid foundation of cultivation, one simply could never chant the Buddha's name at critical moment. Yet a solid foundation is built up little by little in daily life. One must catch every single small chance to cultivate. If one doesn't pay attention to quizzes and can't do well, how can he pass the big exams?
I truly feel that in the recent two or three years, I have not been as strict with myself as I was 5 or 6 years ago when I first obtained the Fa. For example, back then I rarely made negative comments on others and paid good attention to the cultivation of speech. But in recent years, other than the times when I did need to talk about other practitioners' situations, I indeed sometimes gossiped about others, especially when there were conflicts. I didn't take it seriously. Most of the times, it was not a calm and objective talk that was truly for others' good, but one that was mixed a lot of complaints and grievance out of negative thoughts. When reading section "Cultivation of Speech" in Zhuan Falun, I often thought, "Sigh, it's bad. I failed again to do well in most of the cases Master mentioned here." Yet next time I still lacked of strong determination to tighten my mouth. Clearwisdom had an article "A Female University Student's Fa Rectification Journey", which had something that really struck me hard, "One of our obligations for every practitioner is to 'bond,' which means eliminating crevices among particles so we can form an indestructible particle group." What we say carries energy and even our thoughts are material. If we often think or talk negatively, isn't that the opposite of a bond?
I slacked off in some other aspects also. These seem to be small matters about personal cultivation and are not spectacular like many big Fa rectification activities. But just like Master Li said in "Teaching the Fa at the 2002 Fa Conference in Boston", "...as long as you still have everyday people's attachments, those are what demons can use, and when you're not paying attention they can be used at any moment." If we don't cultivate on small matters, as the problems grow bigger gradually, they will directly and severely affect the big things in Fa rectification at critical moments. In order to fundamentally break the evil forces' interference, besides determinedly sending forth righteous thoughts, one must be strict to himself and cultivate from small matters.
The above is only my shallow understanding. I have a lot of room for improvement. Even the same problems will recur sometimes. If anything is inappropriate or you see problems in my future cultivation, I'd appreciate fellow practitioners' pointing them out.
Thank you, Master! Thank you, everyone!