The Attachment to Time
(Clearwisdom.net) The Minghui website once published a cultivation story about a couple cultivating Buddhahood in ancient times. Each day they burned incense to worship the Buddha statue very devotedly. However, when half of their lifetime had passed by, they still had not succeeded in cultivation. They decided to find the Buddha and discover why they were not successful in their practice. Thus, they started off bringing with them a full cart of incense ashes that they burnt before. On their way, they encountered two robbers. Since this couple did not have any money, they talked about being kind and cultivating Buddhahood. After listening to them, the two robbers decided to give up doing evil deeds and wanted to be kind people. They went with the couple to find the Buddha.
The four of them found the Buddha and told him their purpose for seeking him. The Buddha gave each of them an iron eggplant and told them to bake the iron eggplants for 49 days. When the iron eggplants were cooked, they would eat them and then they would be successful with their cultivation.
After leaving the Buddha, the four divided the job: the two robbers would go to the mountain each day to get the firewood. The couple would stay at home and bake the iron eggplants. By following the Buddha's words, after 49 days, the two robbers' eggplants were ready to eat. After eating the eggplants, the two robbers finished their cultivation and left. However, the couple's eggplants were not cooked yet.
To bake the eggplants each day, the couple always put their two eggplants in the place that would get the most fire.
There have been several articles posted on the Minghui/Clearwisdom website that deal with the attachment to time. I suddenly understand a truth from this story: It is fine to feel the urgency of time, but the key is to ensure that we really cultivate our hearts. Teacher said that time is pressing and that in a certain year human society would undergo a dramatic change. My understanding of this is that Teacher has told us that the Fa will rectify the cosmos. It also has some relationship with our cultivation and validating the Fa. It also relates to our rapid improvement in cultivation. How to cultivate well is what we need to think about.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with putting all our energy into validating the Fa. But we still need to think about the role we are playing in ordinary society. To accord with ordinary society to the maximum extent is to ensure that we are able to cultivate and validate the Fa in ordinary society. For the sake of sentient beings, we must think about human feelings and cannot go to extremes. As soon as we think that time is close to the end, we may be afraid of things like whether or not we can be successful in cultivation. We may go to extremes or say things without taking responsibility for them. We may act out of fear in ordinary society or make it hard for family members to understand them. We may even try to make plans for family members or personal future arrangements. We may think about how to disentangle ourselves from the persecution, etc. All these are attachments. Whether we are thinking about others or ourselves is the fundamental test for a practitioner. Like those people baking the eggplants, the Buddha told them to bake the eggplants for 49 days, which was actually testing their hearts in cultivation.
Teacher often talked about the issue of time in his lectures. My personal understanding is that there is no problem to hurry up in cultivation. The key point is what we are going to do when we hurry up and how we use the Fa that Teacher taught about time to guide our cultivation and validating the Fa. This is what we need to cultivate at this critical moment.