Making Up For Past Transgressions
An experience sharing article on Clearwisdom mentioned that we must approach everything from the right starting point. Everything we do has to come from the basis of protecting Dafa, validating Dafa, clarifying the truth, and saving sentient beings. For those practitioners who had gone astray in the past, it is necessary to make up for the losses they have caused to Dafa, rather than simply thinking about what they have lost. I have some experience on this topic that I would like to share with my fellow practitioners.
I have gone astray in my practice in the past, and even now there are still some things that I have not handled well. Before, when I made mistakes, I would get caught up in regret and self-condemnation and could not get out of it. Through studying the Fa and sharing with practitioners, I realized this was an abnormal state which was arranged by the old forces.
Looking deeper, I realized that I only worried about what I had lost because of the mistake, instead of thinking about the negative impact I had brought to the everyday people around me, to the sentient beings who depend on me, and to Dafa. I also found that behind the regrets and self-condemnation was buried sentimentality and selfishness. For example, a small child cries in front of his parents when he makes a mistake, hoping the parents will forgive him when they see how regretful he is. Essentially, I was trying to use the same approach to 'soften' Teacher with sentimentality hoping that he can forgive all my wrong deeds!? How could I measure Teacher's mind by everyday people's sentimentality?
Regrets and self-condemnation cannot make up for the mistakes. They can only be viewed as the starting point for wanting to return to a righteous path. Dwelling in a state of regret for a long period of time is in itself being irresponsible to oneself and to all sentient beings. It is also continuing to acknowledge the old forces. What needs to be done is to establish the correct standpoint and basis for our thoughts; thinking constantly of protecting Dafa and saving sentient beings. Thinking about all the responsibilities of Dafa disciples, I will not have time to lay there and not get up. I have to stand up immediately for the sake of sentient beings!
In the process of clarifying the truth, I often found myself wanting to enhance myself and build my own mighty virtue. Because I did not have the capability to send out mass emails, I gave the email addresses I'd collected in the past to Minghui. Afterwards, I could not help but feel uneasy because I did not send the emails myself. Wasn't this reaction caused by my fear of losing the chance to build my mighty virtue? I was thinking about myself, about how to build my mighty virtue, and not really thinking about offering salvation to sentient beings. Just thinking about this, I truly feel ashamed.
Teacher says in the article "Further Elimination of Attachments" in Essentials for Further Advancement:
"Our students, including our staff, are jealous of each other even in their work for Dafa. Can you become a Buddha this way? I want to have a loose administration simply because you cannot let go of ordinary human things and so will feel uneasy in your work. Dafa belongs to the entire universe, and not to any one, insignificant individual. Whoever does the work is spreading Dafa. It is not important whether it should be done by you or by others. Are you going to bring to a paradise this attachment that you cannot let go of, and contend with Buddhas? Nobody should treat Dafa as his own exclusive thing. Get rid of that thought that you've been treated unfairly! When your mind cannot get over something, isn't it caused by your attachment? Our students shouldn't think that this has nothing to do with them!" ("Further Elimination of Attachments")
Everything comes back to issue of not having the right standpoint, failing to put validating Dafa and saving the sentient beings as the highest priorities, and not jumping out of the frame of personal cultivation. Whenever I read the truth clarification materials on Minghui, I really feel the enormous power contained within. Every single letter has the power of eliminating the evil and saving sentient beings.
As a matter of fact, in the past I didn't place too much emphasis on clarifying the truth over the internet. Now that I think back, I realize that this was because of my feeling that the internet is an easy and inexpensive way of clarifying the truth. I really wanted to do something difficult so I could build a lot of might virtue. This is a problem of not approaching things from the right standpoint.
A practitioner used to say: Many practitioners now have financial difficulties; the old forces thinks Dafa disciples can build up more mighty virtue validating the Fa under this tough circumstance. They place personal cultivation as the priority and stress personal enhancement and building up a person's own mighty virtue. But isn't this preventing Dafa Disciples from offering salvation to more sentient beings? If we had a better income, we could do more in to save sentient beings. When we look inside, isn't the reason that the old forces are able to cause this interference because we have some thoughts that conform to the old forces? Have we failed to completely jump out of the frame of personal cultivation and approach things from the basis of Fa rectification?
In the end, let us review Master's lecture on the Fa from the Philadelphia Fa Conference:
"Dafa disciples, in your cultivation in the ordinary human world you all have understood something clearly that's based on the Fa's principles, namely, not to be attached to the "gain and loss" of ordinary people. So when things related to validating the Fa are involved, there too you shouldn't insist on voicing "my ideas" or on having things done "my way." It's not like only then can you establish mighty virtue in the cosmos. If you've got a good idea, well, you came up with it, you're being responsible to the Fa, and it's not important whether your idea is adopted or whether your approach is used. If another person's idea can achieve the same effect and you aren't attached to your own idea and instead you go along with his, then whether you've shared your approach or not, Gods will all see this and think, "Look, he isn't attached, and he's able to be so tolerant and broadminded." What do Gods look at? Isn't this what they look at? When you're attached to emphasizing your things you are too caught up in it and the Gods watching above can't stand it. Even though you keep claiming it's for the good of Dafa, and that "my approach is good" and can reach such and such goal--and maybe that really is the case--still, we shouldn't have attachments that are too much like ordinary people. If you can really do that, all the Gods will say, "This person is truly remarkable." It's not like Gods see that your idea worked and then they raise your level. Instead, they only raise your level when they see that your understanding of it has improved. This is a truth in the Righteous Fa. If you're thinking, "I'll have XYZ happen to me if I've gained such and such amount of merit," well, yes, that's how it works for an ordinary person, and it might be what's looked at as far as certain facets of the cosmos's Fa-truths go or in a particular situation. But true improvements come from letting go, not from gaining."
("Teaching the Fa at the 2002 Fa Conference in Philadelphia, U.S.A.")