Eliminating the Concept of Rank
(Clearwisdom.net) Last week during the Fa conference in D.C., I asked a practitioner how a small activity was coming along. She replied, "The important practitioners have all gone to Congress to clarify the facts. We, the second rate practitioners, are the only ones left. Nevertheless, this activity is going rather smoothly." Although it was just a joke, the problems reflected here deserve our attention. Everyone is cultivating in Dafa; since when have we had ranks? Yet the notion of rank has become very common among practitioners, with some regions being worse than others in this respect.
Occasionally I hear practitioners complaining that an area assistant or project coordinator could not accept others' suggestions or criticisms. I think this is not only the problem of that certain assistant, but is also related to the notion of rank established among practitioners.
This kind of notion creates a human barrier within our one body. The most obvious manifestation is giving special treatment to area assistants or project coordinators, or to practitioners who have the ability to actively participate in numerous projects. Two extreme attitudes can be observed when we view certain practitioners as leaders or authorities.
First of all is the dependence, attachment, or blind adherence towards certain practitioners. Instead of taking initiative to accomplish a task, some practitioners wait passively for others whom they deem more capable of organizing the matter. The fear of challenging authority causes them to blindly follow others' opinions and decisions. When they find omissions in other practitioners, they are unable to kindly point them out. Some believe that those practitioners had contributed so much that they just couldn't criticize them; some are obstructed by the mentality of saving face and are embarrassed to tell them; others are worried about offending people, etc.
Once, an area planned to hold a large-scale activity. There was a big issue regarding the handling of money and many practitioners had different opinions. However, very few people shared their ideas with the coordinators. The most common mentality was, "I am only an ordinary practitioner and have no right to question the decisions made by the coordinators." Yet coordinators are also ordinary cultivators and can make mistakes as well. They may not be able to think about every detail thoroughly. If other practitioners don't inform them of the problems they observed, how could the coordinators better organize this event?
Besides, these mentalities have greatly suppressed some practitioners' initiative and their sense of responsibility in the Fa-rectification. They put too much responsibility on the assistants' shoulders, causing them to inevitably take up heavier workloads. This will decrease their time spent on studying the Fa and doing the exercises, and, in the long run, create problems in their personal cultivation.
Some practitioners humanly create an unrighteous atmosphere by overly praising or pushing assistants to do things. Under such an environment, some practitioners who I had known to be very careful and strict with themselves in the past inevitably developed an attachment of self-importance. Also, some assistants already display self-importance to start out with, and this environment that we have created makes it even more difficult for them to progress. As a result, they could be taken advantage of by the evil and bring about tribulations that could possibly have been avoided.
When we accuse assistants of putting on bureaucratic airs, have we looked inward to see if we encouraged such an atmosphere ourselves? Have we treated all practitioners as equals? When we have the heart of being responsible to fellow practitioners and do not treat assistants as bureaucrats, they will no longer put on airs.
Another kind of attitude that originates from the notion of rank is practitioners being overly picky of our assistants. I often hear practitioners complaining about the shortcomings of assistants. However, if the same problem were to happen with another practitioner, the dispute might not be as big. Why is that? It is because we are still treating assistants differently.
Teacher has told us,
"Actually, when I select people to be Assistants I don't go by whose level is highest. In my eyes the beings are the same. I don't see beings as you being better than him or him being better than her. I only look at whether the person has the experience and enthusiasm of working for a group. That's the only thought I have. I don't have thoughts like, "This person is able to cultivate himself well and is better than others, so I'll make him the Assistant." From the start of an ordinary person's cultivation until he reaches Consummation, how he cultivates himself in the process and whether he can achieve Consummation, everything depends on whether this cultivator himself can do it."
("Teaching the Fa at the 2003 Atlanta Fa Conference")
Teacher also said,
"The coordinators among Dafa disciples are in fact just coordinators, points of contact, and people who relay information. Don't think of them as Master, and don't have such high expectations that you rely on them as you cultivate and expect them to handle everything just right."
("Teaching the Fa at the Meeting with Asia-Pacific Students")
My understanding is that coordinators and assistants are there to enhance the efficiency and efficacy of our Fa-rectification work and our saving sentient beings. It is a division of labor. The issue of "who is more important" or "who accomplishes the work better" does not exist. When we eliminate our notion of rank, we will no longer take the omissions of the coordinators or assistants so much to heart.
The notion of rank also manifests in many other aspects. For instance, how long practitioners have cultivated, their capabilities, their age, or their status in ordinary human society, etc, have all become standards to rank them into different categories. I believe these notions and attachments reflect that we are still unclear about the Fa-principles. We are all Teacher's disciples and we all cultivate in Dafa. Cultivation directly targets one's mind and does not look at the manifestations in the human world. With the same pure and righteous heart, it doesn't matter whether what we do is high-tech, on a large scale or as simple as distributing flyers. When we reach Consummation, Teacher will give us the same magnificence.