The Importance of Sincerely Correcting Ones Mistakes
(Clearwisdom.net) Confucius said: "I (Qiu) am very lucky. If I make a mistake, others must point it out to me." Only saints and virtuous people feel happy when they hear complaints about their mistakes. They feel that they are very lucky when people criticize them. They sincerely thank those who tell them of the mistakes. The reason they are grateful is that only when mistakes are identified and immediately corrected, can one improve oneself and raise ones virtue and cultivation level.
It says in "Di Zi Gui" (Standards for being a good student): "An error made due to an accident is called a mistake. A wrong thing committed on purpose is called evil. A mistake can be corrected and then it disappears. If an evil action is covered up, it adds another crime." My personal understanding is that we need to analyze whether the error was made by a careless or an intentional action when something is wrong. In addition, one should not cover it up or find an excuse. What one should do is sincerely correct the error. One definitely should not appease or excuse oneself.
There was a gentleman, Xu, in the Song Dynasty. When Mr. Xu first met Mr. Anding, his head was slightly tilted. Mr. Anding seriously said: "Your head needs to be straight. You cant tilt it." Mr. Xu immediately enlightened and corrected it. He said: "One's head should be straight; so it cant be tilted. Then how can one have his/her heart (mind) wrong?" Ever since then, Mr. Xus mind has never had even a little bit of wrong thinking. When someone asked him: "What is your essential principle when dealing with others?" He would write the two characters "right" and "straight" to the person who asked him.
The famous literary giant, Zeng Gong, had a deep relationship with Wang Anshi in the Song Dynasty. Emperor Shen Zong asked Zeng Gong: "What do you think of Anshis personality?" Zeng Gong answered: "Anshis article is as good as that of Yang Xiong in the Han Dynasty. However, because he is stingy, he is not as good as Yang Xiong!" The emperor said: "Anshi doesnt care too much about fame and money; so why do you say that he is stingy?"
Zeng Gong replied: "What I mean by stingy is that Anshi isnt willing to correct his mistakes even though he is aggressive and has achievements." Shen Zong heard his words and nodded his head to show agreement. Wang Anshi was famous because of his talents and knowledge. However, due to his covering up his mistakes and stubbornness regarding enforcement of new legislation, he eventually harmed people and was left with a bad name in history.
Some cultivators dont actively look inward to identify their attachments. When others point it out, they purposefully try to mask it. Even when they do acknowledge it, they don't correct it. When they are willing to change it, they do so very slowly, and the same situation repeats again and again. It is not done from their own realization will, and it is not from self-reflection nor self-criticism. They do not strictly control themselves and completely make corrections. Is this kind of attitude being responsible for oneself? Is it considered as being diligent? Master requires us to be able to listen to criticism. Here I just want to remind everyone that this sentence has deep connotations. One should not stay just at the surface.
We cant stop at: "I hear it and I tolerate it. My heart isnt touched by it." We should work harder on our hearts/minds and find a cure that matches the symptoms. If we are not clear about Fa principles, we need to study the Fa more, actively share with fellow practitioners and improve based on the Fa. If it is caused because the heart is not placed right, one needs to correct this and get rid of selfish notions. If we cant tightly control ourselves, we need to rectify ourselves in every thought, idea, word and action. From ancient times to now, saints were not people who didnt make mistakes. Rather, they made mistakes, but they corrected them quickly. They often examined themselves and appropriately criticized themselves. They corrected their mistakes without any reservation and followed kindness like one follows a stream. They never made the same mistake twice. Just like in the two old sayings: "Everyday people are not saints and sages, how can one avoid making mistakes?" and "Being able to correct (one's) mistakes is the greatest thing that nothing else can compare with."