Cultivating One's Ego Away - A Requirement of the Fa Rectification
(Clearwisdom.net) Several days ago, the screens of both my home computer and office computer showed the message, "Memory is low and needs to be increased." The computers should not have this problem since I had not saved anything to take up all the memory space, so I thought that it must be a problem with my xinxing, and that I needed to expand my mind's capacity.
Subsequently I had a dream in which I saw myself carrying a bag. The bag appeared quite clean on the outside, but inside it was full of things that seemed to be made of lead. No matter how I held it, in my hand or on my back, it was heavy. I felt it had become heavier with time. I wanted to throw it away, but failed. I had been doing the three things, and had also tried to make best use of my time, but I felt that recently what I did was not too effective. Measuring myself with the Fa I found the answer. Fa rectification requires us to always put Dafa and the sentient beings as priority. However, what was my mindset while doing Dafa work? When doing things, I first thought of myself and had a strong ego. Because I failed to conquer it in a timely fashion, my selfishness had become stronger and stronger. Were the lead-like items inside the bag that had appeared in my dream various attachments, such as complacency and showing off, which my ego had trapped? Did the bag's clean outward appearance mean that my ego was using so-called human benefits to deceive me?
The end of the Fa rectification is near, as Master tells us. It is the time for me to completely eliminate my ego. Our egos use various false manifestations to make us safeguard our personal interests. Our egos directly limit the effectiveness of our doing the three things. They even find various "glorious" excuses to prevent us from doing the three things. What our egos actually protect is nothing more than the nature of the old cosmos, the most fundamental thing [the ego], which we should always be aware of and want to cultivate away.
We all know the importance of Fa study, and we also all know that our Fa study is most effective when we hold no attachments. But are our thoughts actually pure during concentrated Fa study?
I have found my incorrect attitudes. For example, sometimes when I was very busy and had not studied the Fa much I thought that I should study the Fa and remedy the situation or else the evils would take advantage of my loopholes and I would encounter troubles. Then I thought if the troubles had really happened to me, how could I pass them, as my righteous thoughts were also not strong? It seemed that my studying the Fa and strengthening my righteous thoughts were for me to pass tribulations. After I finished my Fa study, I often thought that it was a good Fa study during the day and everything should go smoothly. I thus felt safe, had "protection," and was afraid of nothing. My ego also made me develop complacency. When I saw the others having a good Fa study, I did not think, "...Compare in studying, compare in cultivating..." ("Solid Cultivation" from Hong Yin English Translation Version B) Instead, I thought that their realms would ascend again and I should study the Fa to raise my level, otherwise I would lag behind. So my starting point was for raising my own level. Sometimes when I did not physically feel well I thought that I should make up for lost time and study the Fa, and that I would be fine after I finished Fa study. When the condition did not show signs of improvement I would stop studying the Fa. Was this an attachment of pursuit? Owing to my strong ego, I always wanted to use Fa study to satisfy one or the other of my needs. On the surface I was studying the Fa, while in reality I was using Dafa to solve my personal problems.
Sometimes I followed my plan and finished reading two lectures of Zhuan Falun. I would then think that my Fa study was done for the day. I would not want to study the Fa anymore, even when I still had time. Instead, I thought that I should do other things, such as watch TV or read a fiction book, so my attachment to leisure had also surfaced.
Seeing the Fa rectification momentum push ahead, I had not made the best use of my time to do the three things. What I thought about first was what level I had cultivated to and if I could reach consummation. How could I reach a high level without reaching consummation? So, I still needed to reach consummation. Otherwise, I would feel much regret. I also thought that I had already accomplished a lot in doing the three things and had kept clarifying the truth, but as clarifying the truth was a little riskier, I should step back in my clarifying the truth.
Through Fa study I realized that I had not taken the initiative to inhibit being self-centered. It was my ego that had stopped me from cultivating myself diligently.
The first thing I came to understand is that Dafa disciples' cultivation during the Fa rectification time is not only for their personal salvation and consummation, as Dafa disciples have the very important mission of validating the Fa and rescuing sentient beings. I also came to understand that we need to break away from the old cosmos. The old cosmos and everything inside is selfish in nature, while the new cosmos is altruistic. Studying the Fa is what Master requires of Dafa disciples, it is the requirement of the Fa rectification, it is the requirement for Dafa disciples to save the sentient beings, it is the most solemn thing, and it is what we must do and what we must do well. We should not get attached to any of our habits or pursuits, not to mention any impure motives for exploiting the Fa. Dafa principles are what the beings of any realm have to follow, so unconditionally assimilating ourselves into the Fa is what we should do. Practitioners can naturally achieve strong righteous minds and various correct states through Fa study. Fa study should not be exploited for any personal purposes.
I came to understand that Fa rectification requires us to study the Fa more, and also more thoroughly, to utilize all the time we can to study the Fa, have increasingly purer minds in Fa study, and strictly follow the Fa in our actions, rather than simply follow our own needs and just spend our set amounts of time in studying the Fa.
My selfishness also existed in my sending forth righteous thoughts. When I thought that I had sent forth righteous thoughts well, I thought that I would no longer experience the evils' interference. If I missed the time for sending forth righteous thoughts I would first think that it was bad, as my dimensions had not been cleaned. What I should have done had not been done, bad things from others could come to me, and I realized that I should hurry up and add one time of sending forth righteous thoughts. I even wished that my having failed to send forth righteous thoughts would not cause me to encounter troubles, so my fear had also emerged.
Why hadn't I thought of arising interference from the perspective of Dafa disciples' responsibilities? That was because my ego was involved. My first concern was for self-protection--not having losses and getting hurt. What I thought about all day long was about myself. My mind was churning, and all thoughts centered on me. I knew I should be clearheaded, know who I am and understand that I am a Dafa disciple who has shouldered a historic mission. I should know that eliminating the evils with righteous thoughts and completely disintegrating the evils are our responsibilities. I should not let these bad things damage the Fa and hurt the sentient beings. When I correctly positioned my thoughts I felt that I had strong energy when I sent forth righteous thoughts and the effect was very good. In the past I often fell asleep and missed the time for sending forth righteous thoughts at 12:00 a.m. Now I try my best to study the Fa until 12:00 a.m. and then send forth righteous thoughts. But occasionally I still fall asleep. Several times I have heard in my dreams the clear sound of a bell. When I opened my eyes and looked at the clock, it was exactly five minutes before 12:00 a.m. I knew that it was compassionate Master who was encouraging me to cultivate myself diligently.
Compassion will stay hidden when one's ego is not eliminated. So I sometimes wondered why I just did not have compassion. When I saw Master's sufferings and Dafa disciples' righteous actions I was moved to tears many times. I thought that I should certainly treat the others with compassion. However, once when I got into the environment that I was in, my ego came to the fore. When fellow practitioners, colleagues, or family members criticized me I endured it on the surface, while in my mind I felt wronged. I thought that the others always gave me troubles, that I was better than others, and I looked down on the others. Even when what the others said about me was right, I wanted to point out the others' mistakes. I also felt bad for my present existence.
Master clearly pointed out:
"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." ("Teaching the Fa in the City of Los Angeles" on February 25, 2006)
Was I still Master's disciple if I did not follow Master's words? Wasn't it that I had "dug into a bull's horn" (reached a dead end) and was not in harmony with the surroundings? My mindset of not letting others criticize me was preventing me from searching within myself. Even less so had I treated the others tolerantly.
I often used my own criteria to judge the problems that I encountered during my truth clarification. I treated persons differently. For those who were good to me I always tried to clarify the truth to them again and again and using all available methods. For those I did not know, in most cases I just handed them the truth-clarification materials. Those who did not treat me well made me think that they had low xinxing and would not believe what I had to say, even if I did clarify the truth to them. They, on the other hand, might affect me negatively, so I would wait and see [before I approached them again] if they improved in the future. Was it that I had mixed emotions into my rescuing sentient beings?
People's relationships are all predestined, as Master tells us. When I saw that the computer's internal memory was low, it was a hint for me that my mind was too low in capacity, as Dafa disciples' compassion should be able to encompass everything.
One time I dreamed that I went to a place where many people held banners and welcomed my return. Some of them wore colorful clothes and the landscape was beautiful. The other part of the scene showed people in shabby clothes and bleak and barren surroundings. They all hoped that I could do well. I understood that my failing to do well would bring many losses to sentient beings, while they are longing to be rescued and have placed their hopes on Dafa disciples. We should be responsible for all sentient beings rather than merely for our own emotions.
During the process of truth-clarification I encountered problems once my ego emerged. I argued with the others about how correct the path I had chosen was, as if I was smarter than the listeners. I did not consider the listeners' level of acceptance. I not only talked too high, but also developed competitive and showing-off mentalities that I used to make the others think highly of me. So one can only imagine the ineffectiveness of my truth clarification. At those times, people asked if our practicing Falun Gong was because we had something in our minds that we could not solve and thus wanted to find some kind of mental crutch. They also asked how we could improve society by our efforts. They sometimes even said things not respectful of Master and Dafa. It went so far that their previous attitudes of sympathy toward Dafa changed because of my attachments. So, my ego really hurt people. When I told them about Dafa being disseminated around the world, and about Dafa practitioners being persecuted just for being good, they all wanted to continue to listen to me, and they agreed that practitioners are persecuted.
So we really need to think of others and put ourselves into their shoes. Only when we truly let go of our ego will we no longer become attached to everything in ordinary society. Only with pure minds and compassion can we let others benefit from Dafa and earn their sympathy and support.
"I also want to tell you that your nature in the past was actually based on egotism and selfishness. From now on, whatever you do, you should consider others first, so as to attain the righteous Enlightenment of selflessness and altruism. So from now on, whatever you do or whatever you say, you must consider others--or even future generations--along with Dafa's eternal stability." ("Non-Omission in Buddha-Nature" from Essentials for Further Advancement)
When I am able to let go of my selfishness I feel my mind to be boundlessly
broad. Then I do not feel either happiness or sorrow when I have gains or
losses, nor the endless emotional instability. My mind is at peace and in
harmony, and I just want to use the time to study the Fa and do well everything
that a Dafa disciple should do and be truly responsible for the Fa, sentient
beings, and myself, as well for the future!
Please point out anything that I have not understood correctly.
January 6, 2007