(Clearwisdom.net) Master taught us in Zhuan Falun,
"The space of the universe is benevolent to begin with and embodies the characteristic of Zhen-Shan-Ren. At birth, one is assimilated to the characteristic of the universe. 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."
Looking at this from my own cultivation standpoint, I now have a better understanding of selfishness.
Everything that is not magnificent originates from selfishness. Because of selfishness, we have descended from the wonderful realms where we were born. And because of selfishness, we have become attached to fame, profit, and emotions. From that, we further develop various kinds of attachments. We have been drenched in human society and were unable to return to our original magnificence.
My understanding is that the elements that cause beings to fall also resemble a pyramid in form. The lower the level, the more abundant and complex these elements are, and the worse they become. Everything originates from selfishness. In the Three Realms, this then turns into fame, profit, and emotions. As we move further down, selfishness then manifests itself in various kinds of complex attachments.
Our cultivation today is completely different from the types of cultivations in the old cosmos. It is my understanding that the true meaning of our cultivation is the cleansing of the fundamentals of life. The beings in the old cosmos deviated from the standards of their realms due to selfishness. Because of their selfishness, they are unable to detect and are unwilling to change their degenerate notions. They think that they are truly pure and magnificent, and this also includes us. So in past cultivation systems, they emphasized relinquishing various attachments, even fame, profit and emotions, but were unable to let go of the most fundamental attachment - selfishness. Therefore, none of them were able to go beyond the Three Realms; none of them met with the requirements of the Fa of the cosmos at their respective realms. Thus numerous Gods were unable to return after they had fallen down because they had degenerated and deviated from the standards, no matter how high their realms were. This is why the beings of the old cosmos dare to impose their own arrangements on Master during the Fa-rectification period.
Our cultivation is divided into two parts. Before July 20, 1999, we were cultivating to reach Consummation. That was our personal cultivation, from letting go of various attachments to relinquishing fame, profit and emotions. Whereas after July 20, 1999, Master told us it is, "your elevation to your own original and highest position." (From "Teaching the Fa at the 2001 Canada Fa Conference") This is cultivation in the Fa-rectification period. I understand that in the process of eliminating the evil and saving sentient beings, we are also fundamentally relinquishing selfishness to reach a state of selflessness. These are the different standards of the Fa at different realms of the cosmos. Although we have gone through many hardships in the past to finally gain this understanding today, this is our Master's immense compassion in saving the beings of the cosmos, and the fundamental assurance of our own and of the sentient beings' entrance into the new cosmos. This is also the fundamental assurance of the eternal existence of life and the cosmos.
I understand that cultivating ourselves according to Dafa is for us to return to what our revered Master wishes, an even purer state than the beginning of the old cosmos. Once we eliminate selfishness, we can let go of any other attachment. We will be able to reach the standard that Master wants us to achieve, which is also the standard of Fa-rectification, if we can truly relinquish selfishness.
Above is my personal understanding. Please point out anything that is not appropriate.