Let Us All Be Receptive to Criticism and Always Look Inside
(Clearwisdom.net) Our Revered Master has taught us in "Teaching the Fa in the City of Los Angeles" on February 25, 2006:
"Cultivate yourselves. I don't want the environment Dafa disciples have to become one in which people point fingers at each other. I want the environment to be one in which everyone can accept criticism and at the same time look inside themselves."
Dafa disciples as a whole should endeavor to follow Master's words and meet the standard the Fa sets for us. We should all be able to face our own problems, cooperate well when doing things together, and look inside for improvement. We should know where we fall short and constantly work on it. We shouldn't feel too good about ourselves all the time and turn a blind eye to our shortcomings.
Some practitioners have been aware of the loopholes in the whole body, but didn't try to improve. Instead, they hid their own problems under the cover of the whole body not doing well, as if it's reasonable and normal not to do well because nobody else is doing well. When mentioning problems, they always say that the whole body does not do it well, so it is normal that they don't do it well. Isn't this due to the long-term, bad habit of "regarding others as guide" and "following others"?
During the process of cultivation, some practitioners always judge another's level using their human notions. They cultivate the method others used amid tests. Does this not demonstrate "regarding others as a guide"? Many practitioners paid attention to the extraordinary "skill" certain fellow practitioners possess to overcome tribulations, but overlooked how they looked inside themselves and truly raised their level based on the Fa. They failed to realize that this is the manifestation of the "Fa's power to repress evil, eliminate disorder, harmonize everything, and remain invincible." ("Definitive Conclusion," in Essentials for Further Advancement) in different dimensions.
A practitioner's improvement during a tribulation is actually a manifestation of increased comprehension of Fa principles, so that he or she is able to reach the realm of unshakable faith in the omnipotent power of our Master and Dafa.
Some new practitioners do very well; how could we veteran practitioners lag behind? An everyday person could survive many difficult times by reciting "Falun Dafa is Good" silently. What should a practitioner do amidst tribulations? Shouldn't we remember, "In order to cultivate one's heart, one must purify his intention first"? Shouldn't we treat our cultivation with a most sincere mind? Many practitioners have read the article "Golden Buddha," which tells a story of a butcher. He learned that two people cultivating Buddhahood were on their way to worship the Buddha. He thus removed his heart and asked them to present it to the Buddha. From another perspective, this story also shows that the butcher had no reservations or doubts about his respect and longing for the Buddha. Did the butcher know that cultivation could uplift his life and he could become a golden Buddha himself? He didn't even understand what cultivation is. He only had the mindset that his heart truly wanted to be good, and he sincerely presented his heart to the Buddha. He wanted to piously follow Buddha's teaching to do things. In the end he became a golden Buddha himself.
Isn't it true that Master cares only about our hearts? The reason the old forces were able to carry out the evil tests they had arranged is in large part due to the fact that our fellow practitioners couldn't cultivate whole-heartedly, couldn't be steadfast enough in cultivation and couldn't cherish Dafa! When Dafa books were burned and damaged, wasn't it because some practitioners were too casual about them? Some practitioners died of illness; wasn't it because they were not diligent enough in cultivation, and did not cultivate with a sincere heart, and the old forces enlarged their loopholes? As long as we practitioners treat our cultivation with the most sincere mind, truly cherish Dafa by placing Dafa as priority at all times and strive to the do the three things well, nothing could stand in the way of our making a breakthrough.
Some practitioners dare not face their own problems when looking inside themselves. Once others point something out, they are unwilling to listen and cannot accept any criticism. Some were afraid of alienation once others would know his shortcomings. Of course, certain practitioners did become estranged from other practitioners because of their lack of cultivation of speech. However, if we cannot face our attachments and make an effort to get rid of the problems, are we cultivating? One's attachments are actually quite obvious to others, so it's impossible to hide them. Some coordinators worried that if they admit their mistakes, no one would listen to them in the future. Such an understanding of a coordinator's role is a human notion. No one would not treat you as a coordinator if you admit your own problems. We cannot coordinate well our things to validate the Fa and rescue sentient beings by personal authority. On the contrary, we could easily go astray from taking such a path.
A portion of practitioners misunderstood the meaning of completely negating the old forces' arrangements as turning a blind eye to all their own problems. They regard criticism as adding negative messages to them. The undesirable substances one carries don't originate from one's own nature. However, if we cannot distinguish them and consciously remove them, how could we get rid of those bad substances that have lingered in our dimensions for so long? Isn't being unable to face up to our own problems the same as hiding one's attachments? Only by making a distinction between our attachments and old, leftover notions and our true nature-- that wants to assimilate into Dafa -- can we completely and thoroughly disintegrate the old forces' arrangements.
Inability to point out other practitioners' problems compassionately is a typical phenomenon. Bringing up the issues of others doesn't mean that you didn't look inside yourself. A cultivator, seeing another's shortcoming, ought to first check to see whether or not he has the same problem, or if the problem is self-caused. Is this an opportunity to correct ourselves? After having looked inside ourselves, we should then kindly point out the problem, so that everyone can clearly see the problem. Only this way can we say we are responsible for Dafa, for our fellow practitioners and for ourselves. Some practitioners keep silent upon seeing someone's problems, because they are afraid to offend others and create tensions in their relationships. This is a human notion regarding cultivation, that reveals the intention to protect everyday people's feeling. Some even slyly urged other people to comment, so that he himself would not personally offend someone. In order to achieve one's goal, many practitioners turned to detrimental methods of everyday people. That is degrading oneself and missing a true cultivation opportunity.
Many times we realized that there existed loopholes in the whole body only after a big loss became apparent. But where was our loophole? When we noticed the conflict between a coordinator and a few practitioners, did we realize that this sort of problem could have an effect on all of us. Some practitioners even found it amusing, as if other people's problems could reflect his way of doing thing right, but he never thought about how he could contribute to the one body. It appears to be the problem of the two parties involved, but isn't it possible that the practitioners around them had similar problems? If they had no similar problems, why couldn't the others help the parties in conflict see their problems and correct what needed correcting, thus minimizing many unnecessary losses? If each practitioner can look inside and put Dafa first, what self-aggrandizing attachments could not be quickly discarded? We should not always realize our problems only after suffering big losses!
After the persecution of Falun Gong started in 1999, practitioners' cultivation has changed from personal to that of Fa-rectification. However, some were still not clear about the difference in the two, which thus brought about some issues, which should not happen. My understanding of Fa-rectification cultivation is as follows: On the basis of regarding the Fa as Teacher and unconditional assimilation to Dafa, practitioners place the responsibility of validating Dafa and saving sentient beings as priority, give their best, sincere effort to harmonize what our Master wants, do the required three things well and correct all unrighteous factors by fully displaying the state of melting into the Fa. I think that personal cultivation emphasizes self-improvement. The key point is to maintain good xinxing in the face of tests, endure hardships and always focus on bearing suffering. Practitioners stuck in the personal cultivation phase like to discuss who cultivates better on a personal level. Some casually brag about many things they know, to show off a good cultivation state and fail to pay attention to the cultivation of speech. Fa-rectification cultivation mainly focuses on how to validate the Fa and save more sentient beings. Some practitioners always see the problem from a personal angle and only care about their own safety. They simply brush aside the safety of others and the needs of the whole body. When the time comes to expose the evils they remain silent; yet, when there is no need to reveal information about others they spread it. Those are all incorrect cultivation states.
Regardless of where a being comes from--old universe or new universe--its level and capability are all given by Dafa and manifest in different dimensions and realms during the process of validating Dafa. So, whoever can assimilate unconditionally into Dafa and completely melt into the Fa, his level of existence can be truly displayed. Is it not a strong obstacle if we cannot let go of self at any time and cannot melt into the Fa? How can we ascend in our realm without assimilation into Dafa? There are no places in the new universe for anything at odds with Fa, let alone its level.
With regard to the cultivation of speech: whether or not we should talk about something depends on whether or not it conforms to the Fa. If the words will bring trouble to our Fa validation work or the safety of our fellow practitioners, we should not talk about it. We must not let the evil know the whereabouts of our material production sites, nor should we give the person controlled by the evils chances to commit crimes. As for persecution incidents, we must expose the evildoers, using appropriate ways to expose the details. As for cooperation in one body, some issues should be mentioned, otherwise, how we can cooperate? Some practitioners knew some information about certain police who were involved in the persecution, but didn't speak up. This is fear, not the cultivation of speech.
Some practitioners have the wrong idea about safety issues. When reminded about safety, they regarded it as the attachment to fear, as if not mentioning things to prevent the evildoers from doing damage to Dafa is having the attachment of fear. Or, as if having some concerns about safety is fear, yet doing something in front of the evildoers is the absence of fear. We don't need to show whether we have fear or not by doing things in the presence of police or our fellow practitioners. The starting point of our work is to validate the Fa and rescue sentient beings, not to cultivate away our fear attachment in front of the evildoers.
Some practitioners always treat Dafa cultivation from the angel of obtaining something in the human world. Master has told us to conform to ordinary society during our cultivation process, yet some practitioners use this as an excuse to indulge their human mindsets and live an everyday person's life. Although the two appear to be the same, it's quite different to do a thing with a cultivator's outlook on life than with an everyday person's mindset. In my opinion, to conform best to the ordinary people's state during our cultivation is to validate the Fa, and to walk the path of cultivating a human being's main spirit into a divine being, only borrowing the outer appearance of a human being, to offer the people in the world salvation. It's not like we do things as everyday people who overly emphasize worldly things, nor do we hold dearly human notions in the name of making other people understand. That is to regard oneself as an ordinary person. Whenever such a person encounters interference while doing Dafa work, his instant response is to take it as a hint to discontinue, his first thought is to protect himself. Whenever reminded of safety issues, hi reaction is to hide as if that might be a hint from Master, rather than to consider the issue based on validating the Fa and rescuing sentient beings.
We must change our cultivation comprehension based on human notions. Many practitioners regarded this persecution as people against people; thus were not able to step forward. They haven't studied the Fa well, thus couldn't understand issues based on the Fa. Amid tests and tribulations, they could not handle things well, thus they developed incorrect perceptions. Why couldn't we ask ourselves whether we had acted based on the Fa, whether we had treated ourselves as Dafa disciples and truly cultivated ourselves? Amid tribulations, having doubts about our own abilities and doubts about Dafa, how could we possibly do well? With the human mindset, some practitioners always think that others would not understand them, thus placing other people or things in opposition to Dafa. Dafa has created all substances and materials existing in the universe. Whichever level they are at, they exist because they are up to the standard of Dafa at that level, not because Dafa has conformed to their warped notions. Only with a correct understanding of Dafa will all beings have a wonderful future.