Letting Go of My Fundamental Attachment to Self-interest, Cultivating Compassion and Righteous Thoughts
Greetings, Master and Fellow practitioners.
Today, I am very pleased to have the opportunity to share my cultivation experience at the Australian Experience Sharing Conference. In the past, I was not willing to write my experience of cultivation. Even though I understood the attachment can be eliminated by writing it out, I still used all sorts of excuses to delay writing my sharing. The truth is I did not want to write it because there was a deeper attachment hidden inside, and I did not want it to be exposed. However, writing out the experience really cleansed me, and through it, I was able to find my fundamental attachment, look within myself and truly cultivate. My topic for today is: Letting go of fundamental self-interests and cultivating compassion and righteous thoughts.
1. Putting the starting point for cultivation in the right place, and discarding the fundamental attachment to self-interest
In the last few years, I have been doing media work. At the beginning I worked as an editor and reporter, and everything went smoothly. However, since I became a co-ordinator in 2003, my cultivation environment has been changing continuously, and I have encountered lots of problems, with some conflicts being very intense. Although I was prepared for the conflicts that could happen, when the conflicts actually came they really moved my heart. For a period of time, some practitioners complained about me, they thought I was too strict with others, and it was pointed out that I was protecting my personal reputation and interest. In my defense, I just thought I should point out the behavior which does not conform to the Fa, because I could see other practitioners' attachments, such as jealousy, show-off, etc...
Once, after a group Fa study, a practitioner pointed at me and shouted: "You just go against me, you just don't want me to do it..." I felt very angry although I did not argue with him. Later, another practitioner said to me, "You did not argue back with him so now don't take it to your heart." However, Master told us there is no coincidence when conflicts happen between practitioners, and everyone should look within themselves. I went back home, and standing in front of the bookshelf, I picked up a book of Master's teachings and opened it up, and read a question a practitioner was asking Master: "As a practitioner, how do we let go of our fundamental self-interests?" I read it many times, but still could not find what my fundamental attachment was. My only thought was that anger is something I should not have. I knew that the reason I could not find my attachment was because I did not study the Fa well. As a result I could always see other people's shortcomings when conflicts happened, and although I did not have the intention to be against this practitioner, I could not make my real thoughts understood by him either, so I just simply did not argue at all. I believed that after all, every one of us works towards the same goal --and that is to do the media work well. If I had argued, it would only cause more harm to the whole body.
I truly realized through this tribulation that I had not let go of my self-interest and as a practitioner, this would mean I did not even meet the standard of a practitioner. I was shocked when I realized that I still had not found my fundamental attachment after so many years of cultivation. Then how could I call myself a Falun Dafa practitioner? Whenever conflicts happened, my heart was moved and all I saw was other people's shortcomings, not mine. I did not study the Fa well. Why did I not study Fa well?
Master said in the article "Towards Consummation":
" Studying the Fa with attachments is not true cultivation. Yet during the course of cultivation a person may gradually become aware of his fundamental attachments, rid himself of them, and thus meet the standard for a cultivator. What's a fundamental attachment, then? Human beings acquire many notions in this world and are, as a consequence, driven by these notions to pursue what they yearn for. But when a person comes to this world, it is karmic arrangements that determine his course of life and what will be gained and lost in it. How could a person's notions determine each stage of his life? So those so-called "beautiful dreams and wishes" become pursuits that can never be realized, despite painful attachments."
I shared with another practitioner, and his words touched me and made me realize my problem. He said to me: "You are too idealistic. This is cultivation, so of course the problem will be exposed, and that is what we need to cultivate." When I heard his words and thought about Master's articile "Towards Consummation," I remembered that when I first started cultivation, it was the thought that Falun Dafa is good, Master is great and cultivators are kind, that brought me to Dafa.
I started practicing in China in 1998. I still remember clearly the wonderful experience and feeling at the time. In Zhuan Falun, Master taught us profound principles with simple words, which is exactly what I had been looking for. The environment and states that practitioners in China reached by truly cultivating made me feel that is what I had been looking for. However, many years have passed and I still have these same thoughts in my mind. I did not truly cultivate myself and did not melt into the Fa. If could not let go of this fundamental attachment and could not understand the Fa based on the Fa, how could I cultivate? I always complained about others whenever tribulations came; I always looked at other's shortcomings, using the Fa to measure other practitioners' cultivation and that is why I could not find my own fundamental attachment.
Since I found my fundamental attachment, I have been able to return to the right starting point in cultivation. I gradually searched inside according to the Fa. I was able to cultivate myself and examine my own thoughts. I learned how to look inside, instead of judging others all the time.
2. Looking within to rid myself of attachments to fame, self interest ,and sentiment while cultivating compassion and harmony
As I always yearned for nicety, I felt annoyed when I saw that some practitioners behaved with ordinary people's thoughts. I thought "How can Dafa practitioners behave like this?" Being lofty and arrogant made me not want to meet some more practitioners. Especially after I worked as coordinator for the media, these thoughts became stronger, and resulted in more conflict. I did not wish to be close to others, and always thought I was right. Isn't this the attachment to reputation, self interest and sentiment? I mistakenly thought that I was measuring with the Fa who cultivates better and who did not, that I did not follow anybody and I was following the Fa, etc...
Master asked us to study Fa well, gave us the path for cultivation, but I always thought I was right. Even if I was right I should have still looked within myself, and I would have discovered the attachment of validating myself, and would have been able to get rid of the attachment to safeguarding self-interest. To not be affected by what other people say, whether good or bad, is easy to say but difficult to achieve, because it needs a process to be able to do that. I know that I need to cultivate tolerance and benevolence, to my fellow practitioners, to my family, and to all people in my environment
Master said in "Dafa Is All-Encompassing":
"In high-level cosmic bodies, Great Enlightened Beings' paradises and lives are born of righteous Fa-principles or are consummated through cultivating with righteous Fa-principles. Everything of theirs conforms to the righteous Fa-principles. An Enlightened Being is also the King of his paradise, but he doesn't rule in the way humans think of ruling--he benevolently takes care of all sentient beings in his paradise with the Zhen-Shan-Ren righteous Fa-principles; whereas humans' conquering the world with military force and the strong being heroes are the principles that the cosmos's Dafa has for this human level."
Some practitioners pointed out to me that when I have something negative in my mind, then all I could see were the bad things. Now I understand that by following the higher standard of the Fa, we do not accept the bad negative things, we just do what Master asked us to do.
After learning to study the Fa calmly now, I realized in the past I always read the Fa with ideas in mind, I always used what I learned from the Fa to aim at others instead of myself. When I could not study the Fa calmly it was because I was scared that my attachment would be exposed. I did not realize that it is the ordinary people's attachment to not be tolerant to others and to not look inside myself. It is also the attachment of jealousy that made me judge others as not good being enough. I often had ordinary people's thoughts, but I still insisted my understanding of the Fa was correct. This is not cultivating myself at all, it is the effect of the negative notion of being selfish. The old forces just want us to look at each other's shortcomings, so that there will be segregation between practitioners. However what Master told us is to look inside ourselves, and treat others with great benevolence and tolerance.
When I understood the Fa clearly, my attachment to striving went away, and I became able to understand others and look at the strong points of others more. Every practitioner is in the process of cultivating, we are studying the same Fa, we all work for one target --- clarify the truth and save people, what Master looks at is our diligence to cultivate ourselves. My narrow beginning in cultivation was not only negative, but one-sided, and did not conform to the Fa. When I found my attachment and let it go then tolerance emerged and I grew able to consider others with a tolerant heart and look within myself during conflicts. As cultivators, we should not harmonize what we want, but should accord with the Fa as one body
Master said In " Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Singapore":
" So what does it mean to "fulfill the Fa"? Many of our cultivators might not know. Since this Fa is so great--it can save us, it can allow us to reach different levels and realms through cultivating, and can lead us to Consummation--why does it need people to fulfill it? As a matter of fact, you might have thought about something: Ordinary human society, too, is a manifestation of the boundless Dafa of the cosmos at this lowest level, that of ordinary humans. Every form manifest in ordinary human society, too, is given and created by this Fa. So we are, as cultivators, using this environment to do cultivation. Although ordinary human society is bad when viewed from different levels, it too is a level and realm created by the Fa. Then, if in your cultivation you're clear on how to break out of this level and how to free yourself from the various behaviors and notions of ordinary human society, you can break through those barriers and rise to a higher level. That's what you have to achieve in cultivation."
Yes, both the notion of ordinary human society which appeared among practitioners and the form of working and living environment in ordinary human society are given and created by the Fa. As cultivators, we need to truly cultivate ourselves in this environment. Only by getting rid of the notion of selfishness, will tolerance and compassion emerge, and righteous thoughts reach our hearts. When I changed my mindset, I noticed that the practitioner who complained about me before also started to change his attitude. Especially in recent truth clarification projects, all of us co-operated with each other and forgot about the past experience. Every practitioner is cultivating, and everyone has certain strengths. All of us are harmonizing the entirety, fulfilling Master's requirement for the disciples of the Fa-rectification Period. More important, every practitioner is participating in the Fa rectification, and all Dafa disciples are returning to their origins. Recently some practitioners said to me: "Your team is making concerted efforts, and cooperating so well with each other." As a matter of fact, this is the power of compassion. This is the embodiment of tolerance and mercy after we let go of selfishness. Dafa disciples' goal is the embodiment of being one body, so we can do the Fa-rectification better.
3. Letting go of notions and attachments, and clarifying the truth with righteous thoughts
After the publication of the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party, helping people withdraw from the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) and its affiliated organizations became a very important aspect in Fa Rectification. However, at the time of doing it, there were lots of notions which blocked me, so I could not even open my mouth to talk. I was afraid the listener would not agree with me. Many practitioners also felt that it was very difficult to clarify the truth to family or relatives and to help them withdraw from CCP. Through studying the Fa, I realized it was my existing notions and sentimental attachments that blocked me. I could not have strong righteous thoughts with all these sorts of notions in mind, therefore the effect was not good. One time I failed to persuade someone to quit the CCP, but my son did it with only a few words. Afterwards I asked him: "How did you make him withdraw from CCP only with a few words?" He said, "You think too much. Actually it is very simple, you just tell him withdrawing from the CCP is good for him!" The child did not have notions and has a pure heart. Whereas I had always thought about my family's attitude and what they would say even before I talked to them. This meant that I was accepting the old forces' arrangements. And also I had sentimental attachments to my family and even though I worried about them, I did not have righteous thoughts and compassion, so how could they withdraw from the CCP?
When I let go of these notions and got rid of the sentiment, the effect of clarifying the truth to my family changed accordingly. In the past, my husband did not want to listen to me. Later I tried to treat him as one of the sentient beings and did not care about his attitude. I only had one thought, "Human beings can only have a future if they withdraw from the CCP." With my change, my husband was also changing.
At that time, the Service Center for Withdrawing from the CCP was just set up. One weekend, I went to the Service Center. Not long after, my husband called me, saying, "Our son told me you went to tService Center for Withdrawing from the CCP today. You joined the Service Center? You are really capable. Alright, all our family will withdraw from the CCP, including me." This time, my husband who always clashed with me in the past, voluntarily withdrew from the CCP. As a matter of fact, everyone in human society has their clear side. The Fa made me change and rise to a higher level in cultivation, and my family benefits as well. Not long ago, my husband's sister and brother-in-law who are Christians also withdrew from the CCP. My husband even helped me clarify the truth to help them withdraw. At the same time, he introduced some other people to me for my truth clarification.
Because my working environment changes all the time, I have chances to meet more people. I used all the opportunities in my living and working environment to do truth clarification. From CEOs and managers of big companies to clerks, whenever I have a chance, I clarify the truth. I think, since I meet new people often, this is the chance that was given to me to save more people, to let them know Dafa, to know the truth. A colleague, not long after I joined the company, talked to me about the disharmony between her husband and her, and she was planning to leave home. I told her the Fa of "Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance" at a level she could understand. Gradually her dejected heart changed, and a smile came back to her face. One day I gave her a truth clarification video and told her to watch it at home. The next day, she told me happily that her husband did not argue with her, and the whole family sat quietly and watched the video to the end. She said her child had never been so quiet and her husband had never been so serious. She couldn't believe it; it was so miraculous.
In fact, every time I clarify the truth to other people, it is a test of true cultivation. When I first joined the company, a certain colleague did not have a good attitude and never smiled. I was very calm inside. I cared for her, helped her, and gradually she developed trust in me. I know this is the power of compassion of the Fa which influenced her. Wishing that she would have a good future, I send out compassionate thoughts no matter when, to let her have the chance to know Dafa. Master said in "Teaching the Fa at the conference in Singapore":
"To fulfill the Fa, you must first of all be a good person. When you're being a good person, that is an act of fulfilling the Fa. But since you're cultivating among everyday people, after all, you need to go still higher than all of these things. So when you can truly understand the Fa, cultivate in the Fa, and be an upright and true cultivator, you are fulfilling the Fa. Which means, you are safeguarding the Fa as well. That's because the conduct of each student in everyday people's society represents Falun Dafa [in people's minds]. Isn't that right? If we don't conduct ourselves well, we'll undoubtedly tarnish Dafa's image, and it couldn't be said that we're fulfilling the Fa."
There was another Chinese lady who works at management level. When I gave a Nine Commentaries CD to her, she said immediately: "I have seen this, and I think it is too extreme. Don't give me that. There are good sides and also bad sides to every country." I talked about the evil nature of the CCP, saying, "What you said is reasonable, however, there isn't any country in the world that has murdered 80 million people in half a century. Today, in the 21st century, the CCP persecutes hundreds of millions of people, and commits the crime of live organ harvesting. This is not only bad, it is evil. Why do you still want to stay in this kind of Party?" She replied: "I have never joined the Party." I talked to her while sending righteous thoughts at the same time: "You have joined the Youth League and Young Pioneer's League, right? You should withdraw from them too." I also told her that when people swear upon joining the CCP and its affiliated organizations, they are marked with the beast's imprint. If they do not quit it now, they are still a member of it. I urged her, "How about I help you quit today?" She nodded and said: "Alright, I quit it."
I understand that every time I clarify the truth, it is a test for me, and it is also the process of getting rid of attachments. The reason for not being able to speak out is that the self-interest is at play. I always worried about whether the listener can understand me, whether my work will be affected, how other people think of me, etc... These are all notions caused by self-interest. Every time I cannot speak out, the first thought that comes to my mind is a kind of notion. Realizing that, I send righteous thoughts before I do the truth clarification or at the time notion comes to my mind.
On the way back to our origin, we have to study the Fa continuously, do the three things, and regard the Fa as our teacher. Only then are we able to look inside ourselves, and cultivate benevolence and righteous thoughts. If we can rid ourselves of the attachment to fame, self interest and sentiment, then we can let go the notion of selfishness, harmonize the one body of Dafa and reach the level that the Fa requires.
Above is my sharing, which is limited by my cultivation level. Pleases point it out if anything is not right.
Thank you Master. Thank you fellow practitioners.