Surface Form and the Heart (I)
(Clearwisdom.net) Sometimes we cannot balance well the relation between surface form and heart, and have created obstacles in our own cultivation, or even caused damage to Dafa.
I remember that not too long after July 20, 1999, we enlightened that we should safeguard Dafa so we traveled to Beijing to make appeals and spoke out fair words about Dafa. We came to this conclusion and took the action well. After returning from Beijing, we enlightened that safeguarding Dafa is the responsibility of each Dafa practitioner and not that of a few people, and the collective power is enormous. Thus we exchanged ideas with fellow practitioners.
During the discussion, we did not balance well the surface form and the heart. We emphasized physically stepping forward, but ignored stepping forward from the heart. Many practitioners had the intention to safeguard Dafa, however, they had many attachments that they could not give up at the same time, or they were still puzzled with many questions. With an attachment to the conclusion of the Fa-rectification, they felt pressure and feared that they would not be able to reach consummation if they did not act. Some practitioners studied little and relied on their enthusiasm. Some just followed what others did. ......
As a result, many people in our area made their trips. Some people just wanted to safeguard Dafa. Nothing happened to them in the end and they returned safely; or they got out of the detention center with righteous thoughts. Some went there just for the purpose of reaching consummation before the cultivation ended. After they returned and found that the cultivation had still not ended, they were disappointed. Their doubts came out and they no longer wanted to step forward. Those who followed others to Beijing became nervous as they got closer to the city. They took taxis and circled around Tiananmen time and time again. They discovered many xinxing problems and thought they should not push themselves too hard. Some practitioners relied on enthusiasm. However, when their enthusiasm ended and pressures came, they moved in the opposite direction. In summary, some people made the opposite moves or even brought damage to Dafa. I felt confused thinking how wonderful it was to safeguard the Fa in Beijing and not understanding how the result not the one expected. The reason was that many practitioners during this time did not balance well between the surface form and the heart.
If our discussions had focused on the intent to safeguard the Fa, rather than the action of going to Beijing, then if the practitioners came to the understanding of letting go of the attachment to life and death to safeguard Dafa, going to Beijing to speak a fair word for Dafa would be the natural result. Even if some practitioners could not go to Beijing for some reasons, they would still use other means to safeguard Dafa. After letting go the thought of life and death, safeguarding Dafa would truly work.
"Whether you can step forward to validate the Fa is a test that can't be passed just by following the crowd and its momentum. Some people have thought that they'd wait on Tiananmen Square, and figured that 'if everyone steps out of the crowd, then I'll step out.' When they don't see many practitioners stepping out, they stroll around and then head back. This is because when everyone steps out, it's that momentum that brings you out--you aren't stepping forward as a result of letting go of life and death deep down within. Cultivation is an individual matter, and following the crowd won't do it. Each person's improvement must be well-grounded."
("Teaching the Fa at the Washington, D.C. International Fa Conference")
Even practitioners who could not let go life and death, but still had the heart to safeguard Dafa, could still act in accordance with their heart's understanding at their level to safeguard Dafa.
Later when we were making truth-clarification materials, we picked contents according to our own preferences and notions. We even felt satisfied with our contents. We worked overtime to make the materials and made a lot of them. We felt we contributed a lot and even did not have enough time to study the Fa. Although we did not study the Fa enough, we felt that at least we made a lot of materials. More and more people started to know of our material site. A practitioner warned us to take certain security measures that were necessary. We said that we should not be afraid and should get rid of the mentality of fear. He said that taking the action does not mean having fear. We did not put much thought into this matter. ......
One day, a fellow practitioner told us that when she went to see relatives in areas where we had given out truth-clarification materials, she noticed that the local people there still did not know the truth about Dafa. The local people said that the words on the material were too close to each other, too many, and too small to read clearly. Some said that they were not interested in the lengthy articles that appeared on the truth-clarification materials. Some said that they did not understand what the numbers "6.10" and "4.25" meant. Some said that they did not know why, but they just did not want to read the materials. Our hearts felt very heavy after hearing this feedback, and we realized that the success on the surface form does not mean true success. Master told us,
"We're doing these things with our hearts."
("Teaching the Fa at the 2002 Fa Conference in Boston")
While we emphasized the success on the surface form, we failed to do things with our hearts and elevate our xinxing during the process of doing Dafa work. So in the end, we wasted much time, energy and resources.
"...I can see their message in every word and every line." ("Explaining the Fa During the 2003 Lantern Festival at the U.S. West Fa Conference")
From this, I understood that our own messages that we carried at the time of doing Dafa work were left into the work that we did. When we prepared those truth-clarification materials, we failed to give enough consideration to the readers' situations, and instead we just chose the contents based on our own interests. This kind of irresponsible mentality was left into the truth-clarification materials.
When we were preparing the materials, we sometimes let our thoughts roam wildly or we were worried about other matters, so we did the work without wholeheartedly devoting ourselves. All these bad messages were left in the materials we prepared, so it was not a surprise that the readers did not want to read the materials. I now understand that before we prepare truth-clarification materials, we should read the Fa well, and bring into the materials Dafa's power and our hearts of being responsible to sentient beings, as well as our compassion and pure sincerity. We should prepare the materials wholeheartedly, and they will move readers' hearts. People all have their knowing side, and they would, from every word and line, be able to feel our unconditional compassion toward them, the goodness of Dafa's power, the truth and the righteousness, our sincerity and our unselfish dedication.
"I hope that every Dafa disciple won't overemphasize the surface form of things. Your own cultivation, your own improvement, your validating the Fa amidst the evil, saving sentient beings, and steadfastly walking the path that you should take, doing all these well, that's what counts most." ("Lecturing on and Explaining the Fa at the Metropolitan New York Fa Conference," draft translation)
However, when we overemphasized our superficial success and overlooked our own cultivation and elevation, we would get half the results with twice the effort.
Later, our truth-clarification material site was discovered by the police. Only then did we remember that a fellow practitioner had said, "taking safety precautions does not mean having an attachment of fear." When we calmed down and thought it over, that fellow practitioner had actively done a lot of truth-clarification work for saving people, and he did not look like a person who has strong fear. When he did Dafa work, he chose to use those ways that are both safe and effective in clarifying the truth. He said that we come to assist Master in Fa-rectification and save people, and not come to accept and acknowledge the old forces' arrangements, tests, and evil persecution.
It appeared that we had again been confused over the two concepts of surface form and heart. We used to believe that taking safety precautions meant an attachment of fear. To save sentient beings, we should let go of our attachment to life and death. To save sentient beings, we should also take safety precautions. Letting go of fear in order to save people is the mindset that we should have, and it is a righteous thought. Taking safety precautions is just the surface form. In fact, the surface form is just the superficial appearance, while our heart contains the essence. We should look through the surface form or superficial appearance of taking safety precautions to see the essence behind this. Taking precautions due to fear is not righteous thought or action. On the other hand, taking safety precautions in order to save people, to be responsible to Dafa, and to avoid the loopholes that the evil can take advantage of, and to comply with the state of humans - these certainly are righteous actions and righteous thoughts. A difference of one thought can bring about totally different outcomes.
This is just for your reference. Please point out anything improper.