Cultivation Is Precisely about Rectifying Every Single Thought
(Clearwisdom.net) A local fellow practitioner was stuck in a poor cultivation state for quite some time, and at the beginning he did not have time to practice the exercises. Later, he stopped going to group Fa study. In the end, he didn't even have time to study the Fa on his own. He was also very worried about his cultivation state, however he was unable to make a breakthrough. I made an effort to write this experience sharing article in order to help him. I listed all the problems I noticed in his cultivation one by one. On the surface, I was helping him, but as a matter of fact, I noticed that I improved as well while writing this article.
1. Letting Go of Human Attachments - Sharing Understandings with Fellow Practitioners with a Righteous Mind
I spent several days writing this article, which I shared with the person I was writing it for. Nonetheless, I found that my thoughts were not very clear. I wrote a lot about things I didn't really care to share, but didn't touch the topic I wanted to speak about. I then calmed down and looked inside in order to find out where my own problem was. What indeed do I want to say? I should have pointed out whatever problems I saw in his cultivation!
I realized that I thought highly of this fellow practitioner and we had been friends. He also had a good impression about me. Whenever I had any problems in cultivating, he would point it out in a gentle and tactful way, so as not to make me lose face or hurt my feelings. If I were to point out his problems, which were deeply hidden, in such a straight-forward and outspoken way, would it be very difficult for him to accept it? Maybe he will no longer have a good impression of me? I thereby found my attachment, the attachment of maintaining a good relationship with fellow practitioners, which was obstructing me from pointing out where the root problem was. As a result, I was simply speaking in a roundabout way.
I realized my problems and I also realized that we should not give energy to the evil or create an environment of which they can take advantage. I may not have seen the real problem in his cultivation, yet I did see my own problem. I felt embarrassed to talk to him about it, and this was an obstacle in my own cultivation--attachments to sentiment and reputation.
As Master taught us in "Teaching the Fa at the Fa Conference at the U.S. Capital,"
"There are many religious groups today who say: "Oh, look at how good things are with us here. Everyone is very caring and loving towards one another." What are they loving, though? (Audience laughs) They love attachments, love happiness in the mortal world, and love maintaining that human pleasantness among people. Is that cultivation? It's not! Absolutely not. That's only a shield used to protect human attachments."
Didn't I have the same problem? Moreover, every practitioner's time is so precious. He will have to spend a lot of time reading my sharing. If I do not point out the problem in a straightforward way, I am wasting this practitioners' time which could be used to study the Fa and work on Dafa projects. It is actually a form of interference, and a lack of responsibility for Dafa.
I remembered an overseas practitioner whom I met over the Internet. He shared with me that the relationship between practitioners should be purely a relationship between enlightened beings. It should be that pure. All elements between us that are not within this scope must be eliminated.
As I came to understand this, I started to correct my sharing. After I finished writing about one of his attachments, I could not continue, although I had not touched upon many other issues I wanted to address. I thought to myself, "Let me print it out first." However, the printer simply refused to work, no matter how hard I tried to repair it. I thought it must be interference from evil beings in an attempt to prevent me from helping that fellow practitioner with his problems. I sent forth righteous thoughts for most of the afternoon, but it still didn't work.
2. Checking My Own Attachment when Seeing the Problems of My Fellow Practitioner
It was not until then that I started to think whether the incident with the printer could be the result of my own problem. I then read my own sharing from beginning to end. The article was written in a tone which blamed others, "I have seen your problem and that problem of yours needs improvement. It was Master who made me see these problems in you and point them out to you."
I had completely forgotten that Master taught us to think about our own cultivation when seeing other people's problems. Why was I able to see these problems? There was a reason for that. I previously thought that the problems I saw in him were meant for him to cultivate, and that my responsibility was to point them out to him. With such a "searching outward" mindset, I failed to look inside using the Fa's standard to find out where I fell short in these problems. I still had attachments and had hidden my own attachments using noble excuses. I failed to see the role I had played in his attachments. For example, my thoughts that were not upright may have strengthened his attachments.
I noticed his attachment to fame. I failed to examine myself to see whether I strengthened his attachment to fame. In our Fa study group, I always felt that he studied the Fa well and I would have liked to share with him. His attitude towards some specific issues had a certain influence on me. We all knew it was wrong to look for an "exemplary" person in cultivation. In the past, I would not admit that I looked for "exemplary" practitioners, because Master emphasized again and again that we should "take the Fa as the Teacher." Now I have to admit that kind of influence was certainly a manifestation of taking someone as an exemplary model in cultivation.
Furthermore, when he did not attend group Fa study, I felt that I missed a good opportunity to share with him and thereby improve myself. I didn't even realize this mindset of mine before I wrote this sharing article for him. My mindset probably had generated some substance in other dimensions that enhanced his attachment. I felt it was a great pity that he was not in a position to help me improve and understand his own current not-so-good cultivation status. Wasn't it a strong pursuit? Pursuit is a very bad attachment that needs to be eliminated in cultivation.
I then tried to examine myself. When interacting with other practitioners, didn't my incorrect or impure thoughts cause or enhance their attachments?
For example, a fellow practitioner told me, "She does not consider others, and she's very selfish." That statement then became a notion in my mind. When problems arise, this notion will surface and she did appear to be "selfish."
" In fact, let me tell everyone that matter and mind are one thing." ("Lecture One" from Zhuan Falun, 2000 English translation version)
Master also addressed the issue of one's thoughts in "Lecture Five," "Consecration." I realized that the impure thoughts we generate in everyday life created a not-so-upright field in another dimension, which in turn will affect our thoughts. I then further understood Master's teaching:
"Nobody should blame others for it, as everyone has added fuel to the flame. Consequently, everyone will come across tribulations in cultivation practice." ("Lecture Seven" from Zhuan Falun, 2000 English translation version 2000)
If I generate an impure thought towards a fellow practitioner and unconsciously keep strengthening this thought, it will turn into a stubborn notion. The notion is a huge and powerful living being in other dimensions, existing between that practitioner and me. It not only affects the two of us, but also other practitioners. Therefore, when we notice other practitioners' problems, we indeed need to check ourselves first!
3. Rectifying Ourselves Before Helping Fellow Practitioners
Sometimes I found other practitioners amidst tribulations or xinxing tests. For example, a fellow practitioner (a young man, whose mother is also a practitioner) was arrested, and my first thought was, "That's a test for the mother and son. They must improve themselves this time, otherwise the result will be terrible." The result will probably indeed turn out to be terrible. When we noticed that one practitioner couple always had disharmony between themselves and complained about each other, we thought that maybe it was a tribulation for them to endure. As a result, they were stuck in this state for a long time, which negatively affected their cultivation. When we heard that a fellow practitioner was suffering from sickness karma because she could not let go of an attachment, the first thought we generated was, "She failed to fundamentally understand her problem. This is her last chance." When one of us thought this way, two of us thought this way, then many of us thought this way, what were we doing? We were doing harm to fellow practitioners in their cultivation!
When a fellow practitioner experienced problems or tribulations in his cultivation, we indeed helped with sending forth righteous thoughts, helping to find the root of the problem. However, did we first check inside to find our own attachments and eliminate them? Have we rectified our own thoughts? On the surface, I called everyone together to help that jailed young practitioner by sending forth righteous thoughts in turn for 24 hours and we helped the practitioner find his/her attachments. Nonetheless, I failed to find my own attachments to fear and lack of a firm faith in Dafa. When a fellow practitioner's mother was suffering serious sickness karma, I made phone calls and visited them. I also wrote articles to share with local practitioners. It seemed that I tried my best to help them. Other practitioners may think that I was altruistic and unselfish. However, I had the following thought in my mind when I was helping her. I thought, "It is her own test and it's up to her to make a break-through. My responsibility is to help her improve her understanding." I never placed myself amidst the test to cultivate myself and to treat it as my own test which presented an opportunity for me to look inside.
4. Rectifying Every Single Thought
It has become a solid understanding that cultivation is precisely about rectifying every single thought and thoroughly purifying ourselves during every single moment. When we see others' problems or tribulations, and observe how they conduct themselves amidst the tribulation, it is also a test for us. If we are able to handle well every single thought and not place additional difficulties upon fellow practitioners by maintaining righteous minds, then we are helping fellow practitioners in a true sense.
No matter how huge the "karma mountain" behind us, no matter how severe the tribulation is, as long as we are able to cultivate every single thought, we will be able to overcome all difficulties.
A woman once suffered severe sickness karma. Her daughter, also a practitioner, dragged her from her bed and asked her to cook meals. When they were walking outdoors, her daughter always walked at a fast pace in front of her, while she struggled to keep up. Others all blamed the daughter, "How come you don't help your mom when she has difficulty walking?" All people, including other practitioners, all thought the daughter was not considerate and didn't know how to behave.
The woman later recovered from the sickness karma. Others said to the daughter, "We never thought your mother could make it through." The daughter was shocked upon hearing this and she said, "Why did you think that way? How can she not break through as a cultivator of Dafa?" She didn't have the notion that we did. She told us she never thought that her mother's health would deteriorate when suffering the sickness karma. She never thought her mother would run into any critical situation. She didn't even think it was a sickness when her mother was lying in bed. She just felt her mother should not stay in bed all day, as she needed to do the three things.
Of course the woman's daughter may also need to improve herself in certain aspects. Nonetheless, she didn't have any notion and therefore didn't add any additional tribulation to her mother. In that sense, she was actually helping her mother with a righteous mind.
When we encounter problems, we need to check our every thought. We should not allow a single attachment to drift into our minds without trying our best to suppress it. Keeping righteous thoughts helps indeed. We will be able to overcome all difficulties as long as we start from the very basics, that is, cultivating every single thought.