Break Through the Interference of Sentimentality
(Clearwisdom.net) Of all the xinxing tests for me, the hardest one to let go of is the attachment to sentimentality. I have strong feelings for everything.
I started practicing Falun Gong in 1994 when I was in the third grade. I attended Teacher's lectures in Jinan City. Although Falun Dafa is rooted in my heart after 12 years of cultivating, my practice state has varied, especially after the persecution started. At times I did not act like a practitioner and displayed the behavior of an everyday person. Still, I have managed to continue the practice up until now. As long as I study the Fa, I can improve.
During the time when I was not cultivating diligently, I met my former boyfriend, who was an Arab. When our relationship got serious, he told me that if we wanted to get married in the future, I would have to practice his religion. I didn't think much about it at the time. However, the situation got tougher for me. I seldom mentioned anything about Dafa to him because of his religion. He only knew I read books about self improvement. However, whenever he had a chance, he would tell me about his religion, look for materials about his religion in Chinese for me, and take me to a mosque so that I could pray with him. He tried to persuade me to practice his religion all the time. I never thought I'd be confronted with the issue of "committing to one discipline."
Although he was persistent about trying to get me to practice his religion, he was also very considerate. Because of this, all of my friends and classmates would tell me that I wouldn't be able to find anyone better. My feelings and gratitude for him started to change my mind.
Teacher said in "Dafa Cannot Be Used" from Essentials for Further Advancement:
"Human beings! Think about it! What should you believe? What shouldn't you believe? Why do you practice cultivation? For whom do you practice cultivation? For whom does your life exist? I trust that you will weigh such questions properly. Otherwise, you will never be able to make up for what you will lose. When Dafa reveals itself to mankind, these are not the only things that you will lose."
After reading this, I suddenly woke up. I should hold on to Dafa. How could I give up the Fa that I had been looking for over countless lifetimes all because of my attachment to sentimentality? I told him I would not practice his religion and that our relationship could continue only if he could accept that. He got anxious. He told me he could accept anything as long as I practiced his religion, since that was the most and only important issue. His parents tried to encourage me to pray with him. Even my father told me it was not a big deal to practice his religion. A friend of mine told me to just go along--don't eat pork, pray on time, and wrap a piece of cloth over my head--as long as I didn't actually believe in it in my heart. I told myself God would know. A practitioner then told me to just ignore the issue of marriage and see what happened. I felt awkward because if we weren't getting married, why were we dating? Were we just pursuing everyday people's pleasures?
After I thought it through, I felt the right thing to do was to break up with him. In the beginning it was hard. I had spent so much time with him and wasn't used to being alone. Teachers and classmates would always ask me what had happened between us. Every word sounded harsh. I wanted to study the Fa but a thought--"If I am studying the Fa to forget him, am I not using Dafa?"--kept emerging and would interrupt my Fa-study. This thought was absolutely wrong! We study the Fa to solidify our righteous thoughts. It is absolutely right for us to study the Fa any time we want to. Any thought that emerges to prevent us from studying is interference.
Initially I missed our time together. Later, I read an article on Minghui.net (the Chinese version of Clearwisdom) where a practitioner wrote, "If you miss the past, aren't you missing the old universe?" I agree with that practitioner. If we want to become a being in the new universe, why are we clinging to the attachments from the old universe? Not only are we acknowledging the old forces, but we even miss them! To give up every bit of our human notions is a heartbreaking process. I realized that for some practitioners the fundamental attachment may not necessary be the attachment to life and death but to other things.
When I was eliminating the attachment to sentimentality, I thought about it constantly, even though I knew it was wrong to do so. Teacher's words in "Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Switzerland" helped me break through this:
"Human beings are precisely amidst this emotion. The more you are attached to it, the greater its power and thus the more effect it has on you. In particular, when people lose their loved ones or when young people have their hearts broken, the more it's thought about, the greater the power emotion has. Emotion is inside the Three Realms, so you, a cultivator, must shake free of it. You should shed this emotion and go beyond it."
I then realized that it wasn't me who was constantly thinking about it, it was my attachment.
Through frequently studying the Fa, purifying my thoughts, clarifying the truth, and sending forth righteous thoughts hourly, it didn't take me long to give up most of my strong attachments. My ex-boyfriend was surprised and asked me whether I had ever liked him and how I could act like nothing had happened. He would cry every night thinking about me. He thought my heart had turned into stone because I sounded indifferent on the phone.
I then realized that I had made a mistake. I could give up my sentimentality, but I didn't have to be unfriendly. Teacher said in "Teaching the Fa at the Eastern U.S. Fa Conference:" "As love is diminished in your cultivation, it will be replaced by the compassion that emerges." My love didn't become compassion but indifference. I became an everyday person.
I then became more considerate and kind to him, like I was with my other friends. As a result, we became good friends. He now understands and supports Dafa and often reminds me to be careful after I told him the truth of Dafa. I emailed him the English version of the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party and asked him to pass it along to his friends and family back home so they can understand the evil nature of the Chinese Communist regime. He also helps me in cultivation by reminding me to not get angry when I become upset. Sometimes I got jealous when he talked to other girls and he would say, "You are jealous when your book tells you to eliminate the attachment of jealousy." Occasionally he would tell me, "If I didn't have a religion and you didn't practice Falun Dafa, we would probably get married." When these word made me wonder, I would remember what Teacher said in "Teaching the Fa at the Western U.S. International Fa Conference:"
"A lot of the thoughts that ordinary people have result from their notions taking effect, and they say things without really thinking it over first. They often say things they don't really mean and say things that may mean something else."
Here I want to remind young practitioners to be careful in their interactions with the opposite gender. Teacher told us in "Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Singapore", "But as disciples, you must exercise self-control and act properly." When I was still with my ex-boyfriend, his religion forbid him from having premarital sex and I also kept a distance. Occasionally we had intimate contact, but his stomach would hurt soon after, and sometimes it got so bad that he would vomit. He was fine if he didn't touch me; if he did, he felt nauseous. Numerous hints like this happened. My understanding is, if we don't behave ourselves, we are not being responsible to the sentient beings. When we behave ourselves and don't follow along with everyday society, we are being compassionate and responsible to sentient beings.