Give Up Attachments to Selfishness and Harmonize the One Body to Save Sentient Beings (Part 2)
Seeking Understanding from Others is an Omission in my Cultivation
For a long time I had searched for the reason that prevented me from diligent Fa-cultivation. I discovered it is this: I am always looking for other people's understanding and forgiveness when conflicts and frustrations arise. When did I come to this realization? I had begun initial coordinating work when the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) secret concentration camps were exposed and the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG) had just been established.
I gathered with fellow practitioners, and we shared our understandings. At the conclusion of our discussion several veteran practitioners said, "Are you attached to the work itself?" I was quite nervous, because I had never considered such an attachment. One practitioner said, "You are relatively young, but if your words and actions are based on the Fa, we will all cooperate with you, and we will harmonize each other and fill in the gaps. You need encouragement and gentle protection at the beginning, and you wouldn't be able to take it if our criticism was too sharp."
Her words made me feel that I should do better. Fellow practitioners' compassion and tolerance motivated me to keep going forward, and I didn't feel like I was working alone. Once we agreed to meet at 4:00 a.m., one practitioner said it's too early, and I said we couldn't be late for Dafa work. I didn't expect, however, that I would oversleep the next day and arrive at past 5:00 a.m., when other practitioners had almost finished the work. They said nothing when they saw me and acted as if I wasn't late at all. I was deeply moved. Would I be able to do the same for other practitioners if the roles were reversed? My heart found solace in other practitioners' encouragement and tolerance during the most difficult times, but I always felt I was seeking other people's understanding from an ordinary person's perspective and I didn't abandon the customary human mindset.
As I came into contact with more practitioners, they sometimes shared their problems with me, such as conflicts among practitioners and issues that arose during coordination work with practitioners in another area. I didn't say anything but thought, "You're coming to me for everything. Who am I going to dump all my pressure, pain and attachments on?"
My human notions surfaced, and I remembered my mother. I thought, "I'm more 'miserable' than any one of you, and I'm not complaining at all!" I knew then right away, though, that my mind reflected ordinary people's mentalities. Precisely because of this notion I often rejected other practitioners' "vehement" comments and criticism of me. I thought the practitioner was not tolerant or compassionate, but I didn't calm down and think about whether his comment was right. When I was criticized I keenly looked inward, but if I was suddenly forgiven, then I immediately stopped looking inward. I was hiding my human notions behind other people's kindness and understanding. How could I improve this way?
We should not be afraid of our human notions being pointed out, because what is really being touched is the attachment behind it. Isn't it a human notion to seek understanding from others? I found an omission in my cultivation. I realized eventually that by coming to me with their problems other practitioners were trusting me. I should face those so-called conflicts with them and improve together. Why would we care about other practitioners' attitudes or tones of voice? We should think about whether it's our own problem that's causing the conflict and correct it if the answer is yes, because other practitioners have good intentions. Why can't we accept criticism? Stubborn notions are obstructions for us, but by looking inward we can slowly remove them.
Giving Up the Self, Joining Hands and Rescuing Sentient Beings
Rescuing sentient beings is currently an urgent task, but when Teacher puts predestined people before us, how can we rescue them? When we constantly give up the self, based on the Fa, give up notions that interfere with Dafa-validation and with the rescue of sentient beings, we can rescue many more sentient beings! This can also be accomplished by making it possible for more practitioners to participate in experience sharing so all practitioners can walk their own paths in their own environment. Doing so we can form an environment in which we compare ourselves with each other in cultivation and Fa study, where we look inward and practice cultivation solidly, where we work with each other and are forbearing toward each other.
When we work together to validate the Fa we often think of our own tasks, that the task at hand is more important, and we overlook things that truly matter. It's a reflection of our attachment to self. When this happens, we are not thinking from the perspective of the whole body. I remember an incident where a few practitioners in our area were surrounded by National Security (NS) agents. My first thought when I heard the news was, "I must let more practitioners know about it now! I must send forth righteous thoughts to negate the evildoers' conspiracy to arrest Dafa practitioners!" After I had notified other practitioners, several practitioners and I sent forth righteous thoughts near the house where the practitioners were trapped. After a while I remembered that I still had to format a truth clarification flyer to rescue other practitioners, so I said to the assembled group, "You can send forth righteous thoughts here. I have to go home and do something. It's the same to send forth righteous thoughts from home."
The practitioners looked at me and didn't say anything. I felt something was wrong. I stood up several times and sat back down again, and suddenly it occurred to me, "I'm too attached to myself." National Security Agents have just arrested those practitioners. Sending forth righteous thoughts as soon as possible and rescuing fellow practitioners is the responsibility of our whole body. Why was I still attached to the work that needed to be done? I am not saying we shouldn't do our own work, but it was the wrong time to do it, as we need to sort out our priorities. My fixation on the work divided our whole body, and yet the evil always targets our whole body when imposing so-called "tests."
After some practitioners had left our city I continued to do the same Dafa things as before. One practitioner from another city said to me half-jokingly, "Do you know if there will be anyone to hand out the flyers that you make?" I was surprised to hear this and didn't understand him. He said, "You guys [practitioners in this city] are acting quite chaotic. You work individually and you don't communicate very well. You, for example, only make truth clarification materials but you don't know what's happening outside."
It was the first time I had ever heard anything like this. He told me the importance of coordination. It is not that the coordinator is a great practitioner, but the coordinator links together scattered Fa particles, so the Fa power of our whole body can manifest. The coordination effect is invisible, but it reminded me of the times when we had all done well. They were the times we had coordinated well as a whole body. Inspired by the fellow practitioner, I realized that I should have other practitioners shoulder the truth-clarification production work, allowing more practitioners to participate so I could have more time to contact other practitioners. I quickly found a practitioner to take over part of my workload. In fact, if our thoughts are based on the Fa, Teacher will help us as long as we have the will to do it, since cultivation is up to oneself and gong is up to Teacher.
It's probably a little harder to teach someone than to do it myself. It is part of cultivation and not learning an ordinary person's skills. First, I share my understandings with the practitioner from the perspective of the Fa, and then I teach her, little by little, based on her abilities. I also constantly encourage her and help her with righteous thoughts, otherwise she will feel it's too hard and would want to "bail out." One thing I feel deeply about is that we must think about [some] issues from the other person's perspective and we cannot judge other practitioners with our own frame of mind. Once, when I saw that she was under pressure when making truth clarification materials, I said to her, "Don't worry! I'll share this responsibility with you until you can completely handle it on your own!" She was visibly relieved.
Later, Minghui website editors sent us sample stickers. All we had to do was print them out and no longer had to send our own materials to the Minghui website. One practitioner used the samples to make stickers to rescue the arrested fellow practitioners, but the words were very crowded. I kindly reminded her of this problem. Although the editors provided us with samples, we still have to put our hearts and minds into it! Would ordinary people want to read such small words? I was really touched by her later work however, as what she had produced was much improved. I feel that Dafa practitioners are awakening sentient beings with their compassion. The practitioners who make truth clarification materials have continuously matured by cooperating with each other.
I taught other practitioners the projects I had handled for more than two years, and I began to coordinate Dafa work. The effect of making truth clarification materials is visible while the effect of coordination work is invisible. I'm busy all day but I don't see any "fruit of my labor." Instead I hear lots of comments, suggestions and criticism. Coordinating requires that the coordinator constantly break through the "self" and increase his endurance. I had previously spent most of my time in front of the computer. The computer was not only my Fa implement but also my friend. I rarely communicated with other practitioners, and many times I didn't know how to cultivate myself. Practitioners who worked closely with me endured a great deal. One practitioner said to me, "I was initially afraid to bring up an issue with you, because your eyes would get big even before I had said anything." I said, "It was that serious?" I knew that I had hurt other practitioners because I had not practiced cultivation solidly. I could not breeze through it with a simple apology. Righteous thoughts are not produced from the mouth, and mistakes must be corrected in time.
I dreaded working with others. When one practitioner left, she told other practitioners not to work with me. I cried so hard when I heard it. Xinxing tests and pressure from all sides helped me gain a better understanding of Teacher's words:
"Abundant troubles rain down together." ("Tempering the Will" in Hong Yin, English Translation Version A)
I wondered whether I could continue to practice cultivation. I never complained about other practitioners and I only felt that I was doing very poorly. But I also understand that the relationship between Dafa and an individual practitioner resembles a furnace of molten steel melting a tiny speck of sawdust. Dafa can certainly correct my shortcomings, like the melting of the sawdust, as long as I do my best to overcome them.
Some time later I met a practitioner from another city who exclaimed, "Hey, this little girl is different from before!" I thought, "I wouldn't be able to practice cultivation if I'm still the way I was before!" My own experience tells me that I cannot judge other practitioners with my notions. Our notions are tricking us and yet it's easy for us to consider them a part of ourselves. As soon as the notions form and experiences reinforce them, it is ever more difficult for us to recognize and judge matters with our true, original thoughts. The change in my notion allowed me to gain a brand new perspective on fellow practitioners' shortcomings. We are humans practicing cultivation, and as long as we cultivate in Dafa, everything will change.
Understandings based on the Fa led more practitioners to work with me. I didn't pay attention to a practitioner's past and only looked at whether our current state is based on the Fa. If we were both in the state a cultivator ought to be in and our minds were set in the Fa, we could then cooperate with each other. Places where our methods were not mature were places where we needed to work quietly for harmonization.
I had never worked with one specific practitioner before, but I heard many things about her from other practitioners. Gradually I formed notions about her and thought, "So that's how she is." When I worked with her over the course of nearly one year, I had forgotten the things others had said about her. One day I suddenly remembered them and thought, "Wait a minute, she is not like what others say!" This reminded me not to give too much credence to others' comments about a certain practitioner. We should instead judge all practitioners with the Fa, as our acquired notions could impair cooperation among practitioners.
When we point out fellow practitioners' shortcomings and they deny it, should we just forget it? I learned a painful lesson on this issue.
One practitioner who used to work with me didn't study the Fa or do the exercises very much. When I reminded him, he made several excuses. I couldn't refute him, so I grew numb and indifferent. This practitioner eventually died as a result of the persecution. It makes me feel as if I bear the greatest responsibility for his death because he was right next to me.
I learned that we should not wait to rescue practitioners when they have been persecuted, and we should instead kindly point out and help correct their problems beforehand whenever we see them. If the practitioner refuses to accept our comments, we must consider whether we are speaking with our own notions and are not looking at the issue from the other practitioner's perspective. Others can definitely feel it when we are truly thinking for their benefit. Why is it then that sometimes our words cannot enter other practitioners' minds? Because we are not thinking of what they need the most right now. They don't need "high talk" or negative criticisms that tear them down, but instead they need tolerance, encouragement and righteous thoughts from fellow practitioners. We must also have the determination to tackle the tribulations with them.
Conflicts with other practitioners made me gradually realize these things. When we truly think of others first and unconditionally look inward, conflicts dissipate of their own accord.
The practitioner who had started working with me earlier this year didn't take Fa study or sending forth righteous thoughts seriously, but he seemed to be very clear on Teacher's Fa principles. I wasn't sure what to do, but thought I should have faith in fellow practitioners. Besides, my own actions and cultivation status determine my safety. I must give up my ego. I quietly sent forth righteous thoughts for this practitioner, to eliminate the evil elements interfering with his Fa study. We asked him to join our Fa study group. Nevertheless, we shouldn't let him feel that we were helping him. When I look back, we weren't helping him, we were actually cultivating ourselves!
One practitioner wanted to buy a large machine to print the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party, but I felt we should have widespread home-based printing sites in our region. So I shared my opinions and I also commented on issues in his Fa study and cultivation. He denied any problem on his side. I was a little upset, "I'm saying it for your own good. How can you treat me this way?" When I returned home, however, I realized that it was my problem. Regardless of his attitude, he is well intentioned. He wasn't thinking of himself, he was anxious that the Nine Commentaries were not widely distributed in our local area! When I truly saw things from his perspective he quickly accepted my comments, and I no longer cared about the tribulation he created for me.
I said to him sincerely later on, "If you ever need anything, I absolutely will cooperate with you." He didn't buy any large machines. I want to say it's not that other practitioners won't change or won't accept criticism. The key is whether or not we have persistent compassion, whether we are cultivating ourselves in the process, and whether we have the sincere determination to face difficulties along with other practitioners. If we do, then everything will change.
Sometimes I do better because I have a clear understanding [of Fa principles], but when my understanding is obscure, conflicts or unrighteous states will last longer, which is when I'm required to make constant, diligent progress in the Fa.
My human notions were exposed through their reflection on other practitioners who have worked with me over a long period of time. I treat every practitioner with true compassion, especially those practitioners who live with me. Because of this, I feel really hurt when someone doesn't trust me. When we first started working together, another practitioner wrote a draft article, and I asked the practitioner who worked with me to print it and send it out. The other practitioner was quite skilled in terms of her grasp of technology and writing. After I returned in the evening, however, she suddenly asked me, "Did you write this article?" I didn't know what to say, because I didn't even know the content of the article. She insisted that I had written it, because the article mentioned a former coordinator and things that had happened in our area. At first I thought she was joking, but I soon realized she was serious and refused to listen to my explanations. I didn't realize that she was helping me to improve my xinxing. I covered my head with a quilt that night and cried. Similar conflicts had taken place in the past, when people would insist on something that never happened, but I laugh when thinking back on it. When that happened I was attached to the thought, "You should not treat me this way!" Wasn't it strong jealousy? I deeply feel that jealousy directly interferes with our cooperation and makes us cast aside sentient beings. I looked at the other practitioner and thought about myself. We had joined each other only to validate the Fa. I let bygones be bygones. I still knew that I only gave it up on the surface, but I didn't yet see through the problem based on Fa principles.
Because my xinxing didn't truly improve, the same conflict returned with full force. The local government was holding a brainwashing class. We were busy searching out information and sharing understandings. I taught other practitioners to sort information, and didn't go back to the materials site for two days. When I went back, the other practitioner erupted and vented all of her frustrations on me. I had reached my limit and felt I couldn't take it any longer. It was particularly painful when she called me a "hypocrite." I burst into tears. It was the first time in my life that anyone called me a hypocrite. She also brought up our past grudges, and I felt deeply wounded. I thought I had already given up things in the past, but my heart still ached when she mentioned them. What I remember most clearly was her saying, "Don't try to block everything out by crying."
I left the living place in the middle of the night and I didn't know where to go in the darkness. I returned two hours later because I didn't want her to worry about me. I quietly listened to her the next day and said I had not done well, but I didn't mean it. I knew something was wrong with me. Although I felt wronged, this was also cultivation.
Master tells us that the essence of cultivation is to remove human notions, but I didn't truly understand it. This tribulation knocked me out and I didn't do anything for two days. Teacher said,
"I see everything you have done. It's truly extraordinary. But that said, this is something that attests on a fundamental level to whether someone is in essence a cultivator; so that which leads you to not take criticism, that thing has to be removed. Even if you have done well in all other areas and are lousy only in this one regard, you are still not a cultivator. In the past, cultivators would work on this issue first, and it was a qualification for being chosen as a disciple. I did the same before the persecution of Dafa disciples began on July 20, 1999. After July 20, 1999, I didn't emphasize it. Today I am raising the issue again, and with this, I am eliminating for you the physical substance that has formed. (Applause) But you need to correct the tendency you have formed--you must. Be sure to pay heed! From this point on, whoever can't take criticism is not being diligent, whoever can't take criticism is not displaying the state of a cultivator, or at least on this issue. (Applause) If someone still can't pass this test, I'll tell you, he is in a very dangerous situation, because for a cultivator this is the most fundamental thing, it's at the top of the list of things to eliminate, and it has to be eliminated. If you don't get rid of it, you won't achieve Consummation. Don't let it become that it's ordinary people doing the work of Dafa disciples. You want to achieve Consummation, not good fortune." ("Teaching the Fa in the City of Los Angeles" in 2006)
I understood from Fa principles that I had to suppress my shortcomings. I know where I fall short but I wouldn't let other people speak of it. After I identified this issue I truly thanked the other practitioner from the bottom of my heart. She had pointed out my attachment, and I discovered the fundamental problem amidst the conflict.
Later I realized why Teacher had arranged for us to work together. He wanted us to improve and make diligent progress together through validating the Fa. A while ago, we again came to loggerheads. I sensed she was always thinking of me in a negative way, while my true thoughts are quite different from her imagination. I was afraid of her misunderstandings of me so I constantly tried to explain myself. I even used Teacher's Fa to prove my "innocence." After some time I decided to minimize our interactions so both of us could avoid "injuries." But doing so, wouldn't we have fallen into the evil's trap then? After calmly studying the Fa I saw a very serious problem in myself--I was validating myself, not the Fa. Teacher said,
"Recently, I have often stressed the issue of cooperating and coordinating well with each other. Whether or not those bad attachments of yours have been removed, you have to cooperate well with each other just the same. Why is it that at times you see arguments coming up a lot, and sometimes the arguments go on and on? Why is it that in validating the Fa, disciples' opinions are time and again not unified? This is something that's been quite prominent recently in Mainland China. What's the real problem? It's very simple--it is a question of whether you are validating the Fa or validating yourself. If you are validating the Fa, no matter what another person says about you, you won't be affected inside. If someone counters your opinion and you get riled up and don't like it, if when other people raise an opinion opposite yours based on some problem you have or disagree with your opinion and you don't like it, and you stand up to oppose it and argue on your own behalf, and when this leads to your going off topic and not listening to others, [in all such cases] you are--even if you are defending and explaining yourself with the best of intentions--still just validating yourself. (Applause) That is because you didn't put Dafa first, and at that time the thing that you couldn't let go of most was self." ("Teaching the Fa at the 2004 International Fa Conference in New York")
When I realized I was validating myself, I again thanked the practitioner. We should not consider the matter in and of itself. We should try to get rid of impure matters during cultivation. I think of myself as a person who takes reputation and personal interests lightly, so why had my ego become so large during Fa-validation? I gradually came to the understanding that I had not positioned Teacher, Dafa and myself correctly. Where would I be if it weren't for Teacher and Dafa's salvation? Teacher gave us wisdom to validate the Fa and rescue sentient beings. How can I use it to validate myself? Teacher said,
"No matter how much work a person in charge has done among everyday people, he is working for Dafa out of his own will. The success of his work is only a manifestation among ordinary humans. It is the mighty power of Dafa itself and the specific arrangements made by my Law Bodies that enable people to obtain the Fa and spread the Fa widely. Without my Law Bodies doing these things, even protecting the people in charge could hardly be ensured, let alone spreading the Fa widely. So don't always think of yourselves too highly. There is no fame, self-interest, or official titles in Dafa, but only cultivation practice." ("A Heavy Blow" from Essentials for Further Advancement)
When I truly understood this Fa principle, I felt that my enlightenment quality was poor. I had the same problem earlier on when working with other practitioners, but I had not realized it until more than a year later. When the other practitioner brought it up again, I quietly listened to her and continuously looked inward.
I have lately been busy with other things and heard other practitioners say that the practitioner who had worked with me changed a great deal after she saw that I stopped trying to explain myself. I gained another level of understanding regarding coordination.
When we can constantly give up our own emotions, attachments and human notions and assimilate to the Fa, when we can face the problem with tolerant hearts, all conflicts before us will dissolve, and then coordination work becomes smooth and easy.
I had a dream several days ago in which I saw many practitioners in a large hall. I was standing in the middle. One practitioner said to me, "Whether you guys cooperate well as a whole body depends on what's in your heart." I answered, "I can look inward. Teacher said that a cultivator is not really practicing cultivation if he stubbornly clings to his most fundamental self-interests. I practice true cultivation." After I said these words, other practitioners asked me to do the Dafa exercises. This dream inspired me. In fact, when I use my mind to disperse the isolation and share my understandings with more practitioners from the standpoint of the Fa, how can the evil then take advantage of our gaps and persecute us?
I also realized that when problems with other practitioners arise, we must make sure to bear righteous thoughts toward fellow practitioners and not judge others with our own notions, or we will fall into the evil's trap. I found that many conflicts and misunderstandings came about this way. Teacher wants us to truly improve ourselves in this environment, because, as he reminds us, our own improvement is the top priority, and our work is more sacred when our minds are pure. When other practitioners' attitudes toward me take a turn for the worse, it's actually time for my xinxing improvement. We shouldn't always focus on other people's shortcomings through magnifying glasses. We have to cultivate ourselves.
A few days ago, patrol officers arrested one practitioner but he returned safely using the power of righteous thoughts. I felt terrible when I heard about the arrest, as I thought I wasn't paying enough attention to other practitioners. This practitioner was usually quite isolated and didn't communicate much with other practitioners. His wife is also a practitioner, but he doesn't really listen to her. I think the situation would have been different if he had attended group Fa studies. I clearly realized what type of work a coordinator should do--we should provide a solid cultivation environment in which fellow practitioners are free from interference. In this environment we can study the Fa as a group, find our shortcomings through discussions and truly improve through doing the three things. After I came to this realization, we immediately started to continuously establish and attend Fa study groups and we discussed with other practitioners how to calmly study the Fa well, how to constantly remove attachments, why our hands would fall down when sending forth righteous thoughts, how to clarify the truth and rescue people with a proper mindset instead of doing something that is superficially boisterous.
I shall conclude this article. I had written articles for two previous conferences but they were not as specific as this one. I only wanted to praise Teacher and Dafa with my heart, because I cannot imagine how a fragile person like me could possibly become a Dafa disciple without Teacher's help, how I could shoulder the sacred responsibilities of a Fa rectification period Dafa disciple, or how I could understand the Fa. I also want to say to fellow practitioners who have and are now working with me--let us bathe in the grace of Dafa, join hands, and rescue sentient beings. I want to share some more of Teacher's words with all of you,
"There's something I said before. I said: although you're together now, when you reach Consummation none of you will be able to find each other."
"So, cooperate well when you do things. Each Dafa disciple's thing is everybody else's. Don't create distance and disharmony between each other over some little, trivial thing. You can't do that, and you should treasure all this. And also, you need to cooperate in Dafa things, and you should do a good job of cooperating." ("Teaching and Explaining the Fa at the Metropolitan New York Fa Conference")