The Purpose of Maintaining Regular Lives Is for Cultivation
(Clearwisdom.net) Recently, through Fa study and experience sharing with other practitioners, I have a deeper understanding of Master's statement: "You should cultivate while conforming to the way of everyday people to the greatest extent." ("Teaching the Fa at the Fa Conference in Australia")
In the past, when I could not give up certain attachments, I often looked for excuses and focused on "complying with the state of everyday people" but ignored the meaning of both "cultivation and practice." Why should we cultivate while conforming to the way of everyday people to the greatest extent? We live in ordinary society because we need to cultivate ourselves under these conditions. However, our conduct should be based on "cultivation." This is the state Master gave us to cultivate, and it is the only way for us to cultivate correctly.
After being illegally arrested and sent to a labor camp, I could say to others that I had lost everything in ordinary human society and did not have a very strong attachment to wealth and official rank. In fact, I felt that I had already given up all those attachments. But after I was released and went back to the ordinary working environment, I was surprised to find that I still had strong attachments to wealth and official rank. I was even worse than others when encountering certain situations. Master said in Zhuan Falun:
"Young people have an even harder time behaving themselves. You see them behaving like nice people in day-to-day life and out in the ordinary world, and they take their reputation and their own gain lightly. But once they stand out a little among their peers, they tend to be affected by reputation and gain."("The Third Talk")
I had only sealed up my attachments and isolated them temporarily. Those attachments were still like granite that hadn't been fundamentally cleared away.
In the Fa lecture about "Loss and Gain" in Zhuan Falun, Master said:
"The cultivation in monasteries and deep in the mountains or woods is meant to completely cut you off from the ordinary world, and it's to force you to lose the attachments of ordinary people, it denies you material things so that you have to lose. But people who cultivate in the setting of ordinary people don't take that approach. We have to become indifferent to those things while sticking to an ordinary person's way of life. That's really hard, of course. And that is what's most crucial in our discipline." ("The Fourth Talk")
When reading this recently, the words "most crucial" powerfully struck my mind. Cultivating in this human society is the only way we can truly rise above it. In the past, cultivators seperated themselves from society, living in mountains or isolated temples. Only Dafa's teachings are powerful enough to enablr students to live normally in human society while still practicing cultivation. Although it is the hardest, it is the righteous path we should and must follow.
Recently, many practitioners discussed on the Internet about the Clearwisdom article, "On the Relationship between Members of the Opposite Sex and the Issue of Marriage." The discussion also involved the article, "Cultivate your heart, eliminate desire" from the Minghui collection. I was deeply moved. I decided I would no longer look for excuses in the Fa for my attachments. Master asks us to comply with the state of ordinary people to the greatest extent, yet at the same time Master also asks us to be strict with ourselves and live by a higher standard. I think, whatever the situation we meet, it should be treated as an opportunity to cultivate, not a chance to satisfy our attachments. Cultivation is for cultivating one's heart. You know yourself best. Once you calm down, you can recognize what it is that caused your heart to be moved. Issues of right or wrong cannot be determined by any rules like "should or should not do." The situation is really complicated in one's heart/mind. Isn't using Fa principles to look for excuses for attachments actually misusing the Fa?
"Yet if a cultivator or an everyday person who cannot even make fundamental sacrifices also discusses this principle, he is actually undermining the Fa by making excuses for the attachments he cannot let go of." ("Non-Omission," Essentials for Further Advancement)
When I calmed myself down and looked back at my thoughts from the beginning of my cultivation, I was surprised to notice that my "cultivation" thoughts were all just using the Fa and cultivation to achieve a purpose within ordinary human society. For example, I had the goal of achieving peace and harmony at home, or thought practitioners need to share. I tended to think that practitioners are usually thoughtful and considerate of others, so they could help me out of difficulties in ordinary society. I sometimes even thought that to marry a practitioner would be good since there should be less conflicts. I had many thoughts like these. Now I realize that such thoughts are impure. Those tainted thoughts lead to unrighteous relationships among practitioners. They also allow the old forces to interfere with practitioners, alienating us and eventually stopping us from cooperating with each other in Dafa projects.
Master told us, "What's not a right mind? It refers to a person's inability to always treat himself as a practitioner." ("The Sixth Talk," Zhuan Falun) So, what's the difference between a practitioner and an ordinary person? Ordinary people eat and we need to eat too; they work and so do we; they get married and so do we. But all the things ordinary people try hard to accomplish are only for happiness in their immediate lives, aren't they? Isn't it the goal of practitioners to rise above ordinary society and return to one's true self? We should live just as if eating to fill the stomach. We keep our lives in compliance with the state of normal life. We are not here to enjoy the delicious food. We need to strictly cultivate ourselves in this environment and validate the Fa until we are out of this most worldly and complicated environment.
This is my current understanding; please correct me if I have made any mistakes.