Becoming a Dafa Disciple to Fulfill My Pledge; Thanking Teacher for His Compassion Revealed During My Cultivation (Part 2)
(Continued from Part 1: http://www.clearwisdom.net/emh/articles/2007/6/26/87102.html)
2.5. Treat Insufficiencies with Righteous Thoughts
Teacher denies everything about the old forces, including the old forces themselves. This is in fact immense compassion Teacher has for practitioners and sentient beings. When I first studied the Fa, I subconsciously tried to find the answers to my problems in the practice. Now all I see in the Fa is Teacher's compassion.
Whatever we do, whatever conflicts or problems we encounter, if we treat them based on the Fa, our behavior will not deviate from the standards for practitioners and our knowing sides will have an effect. This is "Righteous Thoughts and Righteous Actions" (title of one of Master Li's poems in Hong Yin II). Of course it's easier said than done. On the cultivation path there is always a human notion that comes out and causes regret, loss, and misbehavior. When this happens, some practitioners want to compensate for the lost time and repay the losses they caused Dafa, and to become more diligent. On the other hand, some practitioners just can't stop regretting their mistakes and create a blockage for themselves.
In the past few years, we often ask why righteous thoughts aren't effective every time we face the persecutors.
"In the past it wasn't called 'sending forth righteous thoughts,' it was 'divine powers'--using divine powers, Buddha Fa's divine powers. Everyday people have referred to it as 'supernormal abilities.' " (Fa-Lecture at the Conference in Florida, U.S.A)
If we have lots of human notions and can't give anything up, then we are doing Dafa work as human beings. But as long as we are still in the process of cultivating, how can we not have any human notions? Hence, Teacher considers the the things we didn't do well to be part of our cultivation, and continues to help us get rid of human notions and to give us opportunities to improve.
Being a practitioner, we must clearly recognize human notions anytime and anywhere they occur so that we can walk every step righteously. Otherwise, behaving like a human being will block a practitioner's progress and drag a practitioner down.
The Fa-rectification is rapidly moving forward, and we still lack righteous thoughts in many aspects. For example, some practitioners don't send righteous thoughts at the prescribed times, and some even interfere with others during those times. Some practitioners say they don't have time to send righteous thoughts but they have time to play games and watch TV. Human notions are everywhere. Some notions may seem trivial, but are true tests for practitioners' enlightenment qualities and practitioners' diligence. Some practitioners are often tied up by sentiment as well.
Teacher said in "Teaching the Fa at the 2004 Chicago Conference,"
"When a cultivator doesn't want to get rid of his attachments, quite often his excuse is, 'When other people criticize me, I don't want to hear it, but if Master says something to me I'll want to hear it.' But if Master said something to you, would that big mountain of yours just be gone by itself? Would that hard rock just dissolve without cultivation? If I did that for you then it wouldn't count as you cultivating, so I can't do that, and you yourself have to cultivate it away. There are many things that you can't do but that Master can. And so how does Master do them? It's not like as soon as we come into contact I'll remove them. When your righteous thoughts are firm and when you can repel those things, I remove them for you bit by bit; however much you can do, that's how much I remove for you and diminish for you. (Applause) But since you're a cultivator, you have to truly hold yourself to the requirements for a cultivator. Even though sometimes you still can't quite get there yet, you've got to at least have those righteous thoughts, and you've got to cultivate yourselves."
Practicing Dafa is divine and magnificent. Hence the mighty virtue practitioners gain during practice is a reward for sentient beings. Compassion is a natural response - that is, being considerate of others from the bottom of one's heart. If one's mind is full of "fame, gain, or sentiment (qing)," then one is an everyday person and will not have compassion. If we can treat everything with compassion in our practice, we can resolve everything and can do better.
3.1. Remove "Sentiment"
From a practitioner's point of view, being an everyday person is exhausting. An everyday person is mired in sentiment and centered around "self." His life goal is to profit in some way. This selfishness causes society to be full of conflicts. Hence, the success and failure of pursuing "fame, gain, or sentiment" have become the themes of the theater of human society. In cultivation practice, how we handle the conflicts around us mirrors whether we are improving ourselves.
In the beginning of my practice I wasn't familiar with the word "compassion." I felt it was far from me and I couldn't realize the Fa principle in it. Gradually, as I continued to study the Fa and get rid of attachments, I learned a little about compassion. I could "...take a step back..." and "...see things in a whole new light" when faced with conflicts (quotes from the "The Ninth Talk" in Zhuan Falun). I told myself, that an Arhat is always cheerful even when he has been taken advantage of. I am a practitioner and Dafa started me at a high level, what can't I endure?" I often remind myself that if I became angry, there must be something not right about me and I need to look inward. No matter how right I may seem on the surface, there is something wrong if I get upset.
One time my mother wasn't getting along with my wife; they had complaints about each other and cried in front of me. I didn't know what to do. I told myself I had to guard my xinxing and stay calm. I talked to them many times and found that my heart became bigger. I saw that they were suffering because of their attachments. I couldn't be angry with either of them. I realized that this is compassion.
"But if you do break out of emotion, nobody can affect you, and ordinary attachments won't be able to sway you. What replaces it is compassion, which is more noble." ("Improving Character" from "The Fourth Talk" in Zhuan Falun)
3.2. Eliminate Attachment to "Self"
Teacher has established the path practitioners must walk for the Fa-rectification. Teacher has us assist in the Fa-rectification, save sentient beings, and build our mighty virtue. To achieve all these, it is very important to eliminate the attachment to self.
a. The Attachment of "Doing Work"
Doing the three things Teacher asks us to do righteously is a practitioner's responsibility. Each of the three things has the same importance.
When the persecution started, some people didn't immediately clarify the truth because they were afraid of getting into trouble and suffering persecution. As we gradually went out and did Dafa work, there was another notion, "How much did 'I' do today?" When the workload became heavy, some practitioners couldn't maintain their time to study the Fa calmly. This is in fact not being willing to eliminate self because it is easier to work than to cultivate one's mind. Eventually one chooses not to cultivate oneself. However, one would do better in Dafa work with less self involved. On the contrary, one will spend a lot of time doing little work and then trying to rush through things. "Rushing through things" is a human notion we need to eliminate. Those who do Dafa work well don't rush things, they progress diligently. No matter how busy they are, they always do their work rationally and efficiently, because being in the state of a god is far superior to being in the state of an everyday person.
b. Attachment of Showing Off
Lives that deviate from the Fa are centered around self and do not know that this is something a practitioner needs to get rid of fundamentally.
We sometimes get excited because we know a little more than others and automatically think other practitioners should do things a certain way. Some practitioners like to make simple conclusions like "You have this or that attachment" instead of helping other practitioners to understand the attachment based on the Fa. This puts pressure on practitioners who haven't studied the Fa long enough and distances practitioners from each other, and results in practitioners not being able to improve as a whole.
On the other hand, when other practitioners point out our attachments, we need to ask ourselves why we feel offended. Right or wrong, when I am offended by others, isn't it time to eliminate the "I"?
All practitioners have different xinxing levels and understandings of the Fa. Everyone has a different opinion on one thing based on the angle he/she looks at it, the environment he/she is in, the attachments and the level of the attachments he/she has. How can one's understanding represent the understanding held by all other practitioners? Perhaps other practitioners have a better way of doing one thing and we simply can't understand it.
Many practitioners quietly do a lot of things to make up for other practitioners' mistakes. When we focus on ourselves, we can't see the good side of other practitioners - we see only the bad side.
"When you're attached to emphasizing your things you are too caught up in it and the Gods watching above can't stand it. Even though you keep claiming it's for the good of Dafa, and that 'my approach is good' and can reach such and such goal--and maybe that really is the case--still, we shouldn't have attachments that are too much like ordinary people. If you can really do that, all the Gods will say, 'This person is truly remarkable.' It's not like Gods see that your idea worked and then they raise your level. Instead, they only raise your level when they see that your understanding of it has improved. This is a truth in the Righteous Fa. If you're thinking, 'I'll have XYZ happen to me if I've gained such and such amount of merit,' well, yes, that's how it works for an ordinary person, and it might be what's looked at as far as certain facets of the cosmos's Fa-truths go or in a particular situation. But true improvements come from letting go, not from gaining. " (Teaching the Fa at the 2002 Fa Conference in Philadelphia, U.S.A.)