Finding the Attachments Hidden Behind My "Good Qualities"
(Clearwisdom.net) For a long time, I have been benefiting from the sharing of fellow practitioners, but never giving back. Actually, I have had tons of understandings to share within the last few years, but I often don't know where to start. Now, let me talk about some understandings I had recently. If you find anything improper, please kindly point it out.
There has never been smooth sailing in my personal cultivation, and my cultivation in the Fa-rectification period has also been rough. In 2003 I resumed my cultivation around the time that Minghui/Clearwisdom was calling for papers for the 2nd Internet Experience Sharing Conference of China. At that time, I wrote an article, in which I claimed: "I never feel cultivation is too hard..." Now, recalling what I said, I feel deeply ashamed of myself. That was the old me.
I grew up in a very poor family. The hardship nurtured me and helped me to establish some good habits, like frugality, self-reliance, hardworking, cleanliness, honesty, etc. Along with my good qualities, I also had many defects. Under the influence of my mother, I never treated others with leniency. I liked to argue with others to find excuses for myself even when I was wrong. My temper was very bad. Oftentimes when I swore at others, spit flew out of my mouth. My behavior was just like what Teacher described in Zhuan Falun:
"You have hit me once, so I should hit you twice. Otherwise, I won't feel avenged." (Zhuan Falun, Lecture One)
Back then, my motto was: "If people don't assault me, then I will not do harm to others; if people assault me, then for sure I will fight back." I indulged in self-admiration, thought I was always right, and always thought of myself as some big shot. I had such a strong attachment, probably because I always came out on top in school and was frequently admired by my teachers, classmates, and even my principals.
Since I attained the Fa in March 1999 and read Zhuan Falun the first time, I stopped swearing at others. Once I knew so many heavenly secrets and principles on how to be a good person, I never fought with others again. Whenever I came across conflicts, I always looked inward to find my attachment and what I did wrong. In this way, I have given up many attachments. I will not go into detail here. I believe that every practitioner who has come this far should understand this deeply. Among our practitioners this kind of sublimation of spirit and morality is quite prevalent.
What I want to share today is how clinging to my good qualities caused trouble to myself and to my practitioner roommate. Because I'm a few years older than her, I'm the one in charge of everything, large or small, in our daily life, like finding a rental room, rental negotiation, when to move, finding people to help us to move, even what kind of bag to use and how to pack our stuff, cleaning our room, etc. She doesn't care too much about cleanliness and is not disciplined; while I'm very clean and disciplined. I don't like the fact that she throws her clothes everywhere. When I felt our apartment very messy, she still thought the room was quite neat and thought I was too strict. In that situation I had to clean the apartment and do the laundry by myself. For the details in daily life, I can endure her attitude. But she was not any better when she worked on Fa-clarification projects. Often she missed something here or there, printing wrong pamphlets, printing wrong pages, forgetting to check the ink, etc. Because of her carelessness, she wasted a lot of materials. It bothered me a lot. She had all these problems from 2004 when we started to be roommates to the time I wrote this paper. Many times I discussed these issues with her. Whenever I point out these problems, she became very unhappy and even angry. For a long time, it was hard for me to exchange opinions with her. It was very hard for other practitioners to share experiences and understandings with her too.
After we were roommates for a while, all my attachments, like feeling things were not fair, feeling hurt, complaining, etc, were exposed. I thought she was too selfish. She only cared about herself, always let me cook, and depended on me to take care of everything. Her ideas was that a capable person should do more work and claimed she was incapable, etc. I was full of grievances and kept complaining about this to other practitioners. But other practitioners asked me to look inward and told me there must be some attachment for me to cultivate. Although I agreed in front of them, I didn't feel comfortable in my heart. I thought, "I have done so much; what attachment should I look for?" But other practitioners told me repeatedly that I should look inward, I gradually calmed down and started digging in for my own attachments. I asked myself: "Is it really my problem?" Although I knew feeling indignant, having grievances and complaining are not my true self and I always tried my best to get rid of them, I felt I didn't find the real reason. I must have missed something.
A while ago, a practitioner who broke away from the evil persecution with strong righteous thoughts stayed with us temporarily. In order to create a good environment for her to study the Fa and recover quickly, I tried my best to take care of the living details for her. However, I didn't realize that I made this practitioner rather uncomfortable. One day, she asked me: "Why do you have to stay busy in the kitchen when we study the Fa? Are you showing off?" At that moment, I was stunned. I always believed I was very responsible to my fellow practitioners. I sacrificed my own precious time to ensure that they have time to study the Fa and do the exercises. Indeed, I treasured my time very much, but I also believed doing this was following a practitioner's standard, that is, "being selfless" and "considering others first." I also felt proud of myself for not being selfish. After hearing what she said, I didn't feel comfortable. I answered: "No, I'm not showing off. I would really like to study the Fa together, but I feel I shouldn't be so selfish to overlook the needs of my fellow practitioners. I want to make you feel at home so you can rest and recover quickly. So I forced myself to do so." Then she told me: "Please don't be like that. If you insist on it, I can't stay here anymore."
What she said shocked me. I calmed myself down a little bit. Aha! Suddenly, I found the root of my feeling unbalanced and harboring grievances. Teacher tells us to be truly kind to others, that is, we should think for others from their point of view, not from our own. In other words, if I were that practitioner and came to a new environment, I must not like to bother others. If I came to visit and the host let me have the whole room, prepared an extra set of cooking instruments, and got up very early every day to prepare food for me, I would feel rather uncomfortable and might have left a long time ago. Was I acting like the old forces? When I felt I was not doing things for my own sake, I was, indeed, doing these things for my own self image.
After digging deeper, I found out what caused me to be so selfish. It was those human principles I had formed deep in my mind and body. Teacher asked us give up our human attachments, which include all our human attachments, not just one or the other. Although we are able to give up all our bad habits, we often cling to these "good qualities." Of course, I'm not saying cleanliness and frugality are bad things; what I'm saying is that we shouldn't enforce our own standards on our fellow practitioners. For example, I hope my roommate can be cleaner and shared my thoughts with her many times. But I had my own strong attachments that I believed she was wrong and tried to convince her and hoped she would behave like I wished should would. What I did was not really sincere. I was not wishing her well or being responsible to the Fa. My real purpose was to get what I wanted. I believe that if I could share my understandings with my roommate without any selfish purpose, she would have realized her problems and eliminated many of them already.
We must give up all of our human attachments. We shouldn't contend with our fellow practitioners because of our own attachments and cause unnecessary damage to Fa-validation. Let's keep up with the Fa-rectification process. We should form a good environment where we always look inward and cooperate well. Only then, will we be able to do well the three things Teacher requires of us and save sentient beings.
I hope all my fellow practitioners who are experiencing similar situations will break though the barriers and catch up with the Fa-rectification.