Eliminating Fundamental Attachments; Keeping up with the Advancement of Fa-rectification
(Clearwisdom.net) Greetings beloved Master! Greetings fellow practitioners!
Many articles on the Clearwisdom website address fundamental attachments. I have often wondered, "Do I have any? What are they?"
Since the day I became a practitioner in March 1997, I knew I would have to relinquish desires for recognition and notoriety, personal gain and emotions. During the course of my Fa study and cultivation, I gradually raised my xinxing level, but my comprehension of the Fa remained at a superficial level. Prior to beginning cultivation, I competed with colleagues in projects and fought for self-interest and reputation. The experience was very unpleasant. After I became a practitioner, I laughed at myself for such stupid behavior. I was largely able to ignore self-interest. I also willingly gave up some "acquired profit" and stopped paying attention to many bad influences in society, such as pornography and gambling, as well as many forms of entertainment. I thought that I had little problem regarding recognition, personal gain and emotions.
But, as Master said, "Different levels have different Laws." (The First Talk, Zhuan Falun)
I did encounter many xinxing tests during my cultivation, especially during the Fa-rectification period and in the process of doing the three things. Gradually, different attachments surfaced, one after another. They simply cannot be covered up or remain hidden.
Between 2004 and 2006, my company sent me to work in Thailand. Because my family remained in the U.S., I got to spend much of my spare time with practitioners in Thailand, especially the Chinese practitioners who escaped from the persecution in China and were under United Nations' refugee protection. Because of my "special" status (having U.S. citizenship, an advanced university degree and being English speaking), many practitioners liked to study the Fa and share experiences with me. Some also sought help from me with their personal problems. Gradually, I heard many praises. Initially it did not move me. I thought that since Master had given me these attributes and capabilities, I might as well utilize them to their full extent.
But I did not enjoy the negative comments people made to me. When someone tried to correct my movements at the practice site, although I did not say anything, I felt quite embarrassed. Certain practitioners once had a conflict. When I intervened, I told everyone that we should measure everything with the Fa, but in reality, I was judging everyone's right and wrong actions according to my own preferences. Some practitioners were very angry with me and accused me of "working in a small circle" and being "bossy." Although I chose not to argue openly, I was not at all happy about these comments. On the surface I "tolerated" them, but in reality I did not.
In March 2006, we heard of the announcement of the upcoming New York Fa Conference. Thailand's main coordinator was not planning to attend, nor were other practitioners. I also did not plan to go, because I planned to attend my son's college graduation in the U.S. in May, and my work in Thailand would end in June. But I also knew that many incidents had occurred in Thailand around that time and we should have someone attending the Fa conference to report these incidents to Master.
I also realized that our coordinator was relatively old and didn't speak English; therefore, he would have a hard time traveling to the U.S. alone. So I told him that I would accompany him during the entire trip if he wanted to go. He was very glad. We quickly booked the round trip tickets from Bangkok to New York. I did not consult with my wife and was not planning to see my family in Michigan. I even told others that in ancient China, when Emperor Da Yu was fighting the big flood, he passed by his home three times during 13 years but never returned once. I was moving back to the U.S. in three months, so I thought this was no big deal. When I made the decision, it never occurred to me that my family might have some issues with it. When I told my wife about my decision, she was very angry. I told her, "Da Yu passed his home three times, I am only passing once." She said, "Don't you give me this big story! Da Yu was not 100% right either!" I was shocked at her "over-reaction" and thought she made a big deal out of such a "trivial matter." I thought, "You are a practitioner and you are doing work for validating the Fa. Why can't you tolerate such a small thing?" I became quite upset with her. I completely forgot about cultivating myself and looking inside.
Coincidently, the coordinator's wife also was opposed to his plan to attend the Fa conference. She said that an important guest would arrive during that week to discuss big business opportunities. To make things worse, the coordinator began to suffer from severe illness karma, which made his trip more unlikely. Now, neither of us was going. I was disappointed. I thought: I offered to accompany him; now he was not going; why should I go? But many fellow practitioners felt strongly that someone from Thailand should attend this Fa conference. Every day while sending righteous thoughts, they added in a thought to overcome the evil interference, that someone from Thailand could go to New York.
During a Fa study and experience sharing meeting, a fellow practitioner pointed out my xinxing issues on this matter. She said that I did not care about my family members' opinion, which was selfish. She also quoted Master's words:
"Actually, you don't yet know that this selfishness reaches all the way up to very high levels. As a matter of fact, for cultivators in the past to say, 'I'm doing such and such,' 'I want to do such and such,' 'I want to obtain such and such,' 'I'm cultivating,' 'I want to become a Buddha,' or 'I wish to attain such and such,' none of that was outside of selfishness. But what I want you to do is to truly, purely, and unselfishly Consummate with the real righteous Fa and righteous Enlightenment--only then can you achieve eternal non-extinction. So I'm telling you that you have to consider others first in everything you do." ("Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Switzerland")
Although my intention was good and I did not seek personal gain, and I even felt I made a sacrifice to make this trip, when compared to Master's requirements, I was indeed selfish. I did not consider my wife's feelings. This practitioner said, "Passing your home without stopping does not mean you have good xinxing and a high-level understanding of the Fa. Quite the opposite--this exposed your omission in cultivation."
I realized that I still should attend this Fa conference, even if only by myself. I quickly booked a new flight ticket and scheduled to stay home for a couple of days after the Fa conference. Right after that, some interesting changes happened. The coordinator's health recovered quickly, the important guest changed his schedule, and the coordinator's daughter was able to take a week off from work so she could accompany her father to New York. They bought the tickets at the last minute and barely made it for the New York conference on time. Although I did not accompany him as planned, with his daughter by his side, the coordinator attended the Fa conference, and also reported the Thailand situation to Master. I felt deeply that as long as all of us focus on the Fa, Master will give us the best result.
This experience made me begin to examine the fundamental attachments deeply rooted in my heart. I found many problems. During my entire cultivation, I never had any karma elimination experiences. I also look young, and was quite proud of myself. Every time someone commented on how young I looked, I would think of my own cultivation accomplishments, pondering "perhaps I should never have sickness karma any more." When I thought that way, I was quite attached to my "achievement."
While in Thailand, when I joined fellow practitioners to clarify the facts to Chinese tourists, when we sent righteous thoughts in front of the Chinese embassy, when we faced the CCP spies and dealt with the Thai police, whose minds were poisoned by the CCP, and when we rescued follow practitioners from China, we indeed accomplished things that we were supposed to. But I took this the wrong way. When practitioners praised me I was glad, but I pretended it was nothing. However, when more and more kind words came my way I became complacent. When facing criticism, especially that which I regarded as "inaccurate," although I learned not to argue, in my mind I still found it hard to swallow. The ancient people said, "Feel happy when being told one's errors." I am a cultivator, a Dafa disciple during the Fa-rectification period, but I could not even measure up to this ancient moral principle. My ego was indeed too large.
Perhaps I heard too many nice words in Thailand. When I returned to the U.S., I immediately met with some "setbacks." I was laid off from my job and I could not find another job suitable for me. It took me a month to find a new job and it paid less. In February 2007, I took a special early retirement package and left my company.
After I retired, I felt relief. I thought, it's good; I am finally able to spend all my time working on Fa validation. But it did not take long for me to realize that this was wishful thinking. My wife did not think this was a good idea. She felt that I was too young to retire and encouraged me to find a new job. On the one hand I could continue to help the family's financial situation, on the other hand, I could do more work to validate the Fa. I knew that I should maintain family harmony and should not be attached to my own wishes. I agreed to begin looking for a new job, but was mentally unwilling. As a result, my job search was not very successful. At the same time my cultivation was slacking off. When looking inside carefully, I saw this was because of my ego. I did not care about others' feelings when making a decision. I am often single-minded. Thus, I often encounter big resistance.
At the beginning of July, I found a new job after a fellow practitioner introduced me to a businessman. My job consisted of helping a foreign company to start a U.S. operation. The job required interaction with many people, and it enabled me to tell them about Dafa. But the new job also brought problems and challenges. For certain reasons, two and a half months later, I turned in my resignation. Now I am back in the market place, looking for another job. I realize that Master arranges our cultivation path. Everything that happens is good for our cultivation, for Consummation, and for offering sentient beings salvation. As long as we always position Dafa as the highest priority and know that what we are doing is based on the Fa, then all the troubles in society and at home are good things for our cultivation.
Although I found my fundamental attachments, I still cannot completely eliminate them. When in conflict, my human mentality still emerges, and I still feel the pain. But I can also quickly recall Master's words, so I can get over it and move on quickly. I have no illusions. As long as I am still cultivating, the tests and tribulations will not end. I do not want to speculate too much about my future cultivation. I only want to make every step right.