The Danger of Allowing Attachments to Grow
(Clearwisdom.net) As I get involved with more and more projects to validate Dafa, as the Divine Performing Arts Mid-Autumn Spectacular ticket selling gets more and more rigorous and as the Fa-rectification progresses closer and closer to the conclusion, I feel that cultivation presents me with higher and higher requirements and my various attachments are also being exposed more and more obviously. How do I walk correctly on the serious path of cultivation? My sudden awareness of the danger of my growing attachments gave me a very deep feeling. In cultivation, if one does not advance he will then move backward. I do not want to keep falling. Therefore, I put my experience in writing to share with fellow practitioners and hope fellow practitioners can learn from my lesson.
It was a kindly reminder from a fellow practitioner that resulted in my writing this article. This reminder allowed me to find out many of my attachments that had been hiding deeply, some of which were getting worse and worse. For a cultivator, the continuation of one's attachments and especially the attachments that are getting larger are very dangerous. Therefore, I appreciate very much that this practitioner reminded me.
Recently, when I was talking with a fellow practitioner about some other practitioners' undesirable cultivation situation and some tribulations they were experiencing recently, this practitioner suddenly pointed out to me, "When you are talking about others' tribulations, you seem to have a feeling of pleasure." (Actually the practitioner meant that I was taking pleasure in others' misfortunes, but out of politeness this fellow practitioner did not use these heavy words.) I was stunned at the moment. Why did I give out such an impression? Wasn't that scary? These words really alarmed me greatly. I thought a lot that night and dug out some of my deeply hidden attachments. I am sure that I have not dug out all my attachments yet and some of them are still hidden. I am asking fellow practitioners to give me more hints. Thanks!
Mentality of Showing Off
The mentality of showing off is my biggest attachment; it is also the one that I have been trying to discard but I have not been able to discard completely. I remember when I first started practicing cultivation, Master gave me a very clear hint about this issue in a dream. It was a very clear dream. In the dream, everyone was sitting around Master and Master was lecturing on the Fa. There was a trophy next to Master (my impression was that it had been an award to Master from an ordinary people's organization). After the Fa lecturing, Master picked up the trophy and asked, "Who wants this trophy?" At that moment, only me and another fellow on my right stood up anxiously and wanted it. Since I sat closer to Master, Master gave the trophy to me.
At that moment in the dream, I felt lucky and thought that Master was rewarding me. I asked Master in a low voice, "Why don't you want it?" Master said to everyone, "Why do our cultivators want these ordinary people's fame and fortune?" In the dream I stood there holding the trophy and did not know what to do. I really wanted to give the trophy to the practitioner who stood up with me a moment earlier. Master then said to me, "It is OK for you to have it since you have already got it. It will be good if you can let go of the attachment."
After I woke up, I was not quite clear about what attachment Master wanted me to discard. My husband said after hearing about my dream, "Think about it. If you really had a trophy awarded to you by Master, it would be strange if you didn't show it off to the whole world. Master wants you to discard your strong mentality of showing off."
Since that time, I decided to discard my strong show-off mentality. But after many years, it seems to have become stronger, instead of being discarded. Master said in Zhuan Falun, "This mentality of showing off can manifest in any situation; it can also surface when doing a good deed." (Zhuan Falun, March 2000 translation version)
When I wrote reports, articles and sharing, I wrote them with a strong mentality to showing off. When I heard fellow practitioners saying, "I like to read your sharing. I like to read your reports. Why didn't you write for a long time? Your sharing is really touching. How about writing an article about this issue to encourage everybody. How about coordinating this matter because you can motivate fellow practitioners." Amidst these praising voices, my show-off mentality was obviously inflated, instead of being discarded. Therefore, when I heard about others' undesirable cultivation situation, I had the mentality of looking down on them, thinking that I was better.
"The issue of jealousy is very serious as it directly involves the matter of whether you can complete cultivation practice. If jealousy is not abolished, everything that you have cultivated will become fragile. There is this rule: If in the course of cultivation practice jealousy is not given up, one will not attain Right Fruit--absolutely not." (Zhuan Falun)
Each time I read this paragraph of the Fa, it seemed that I decided to discard my mentality of jealousy. However, I thought that in this aspect my attachment was not as strong; I thought that I was better than others and there was not much chance for me to be jealous of them; it was possible that others had more chances to be jealous of me.
However, the facts were not what I had thought. When I heard about others saying good words about a fellow practitioner, I would talk to others about some insufficiencies of that fellow practitioner. When I saw a fellow practitioner doing something good, I would also say some good words to that practitioner but in the back of my mind I was somewhat jealous; I would think that if I had done it I would do better. When I saw some young and pretty practitioners, a thought would unknowingly pop up, "I was not worse than you are when I was young." When I saw some practitioners manifesting feminine gentleness (because I am lacking that), a thought would pop up, "Don't do this to me," and so on.
All these attachments existed in my cultivation. I should discard them as soon as I came to realize them. Otherwise, they will accumulate and inflate and be very dangerous at the end.
Mentality of Covering Up
As I wrote more and more sharing articles, some practitioners became more willing to share with me. I then thought that my understanding of the principles of the Fa was pretty good. When some practitioners came to share with me, I would use the Fa-principles to convince them. Actually, when I later looked inside deeper, I found that on one hand, I was using Master's words to make requirements of others; on the other hand, I was covering up my attachments and insufficiencies. I was afraid that others would think that my understanding was unclear and I was afraid of others knowing that my cultivation was far behind my words.
Therefore, when I commented on others, I sounded as if it was based on the Fa. However, I would avoid the topic when the discussion touched my essentials. I had a feeling of relief when I talked about other practitioners going through tribulations, because I was actually covering up my own insufficiencies, feeling that my mind was somewhat balanced because some other fellow practitioners were not as good as I was.
Not Cultivating My Speech
One time, a fellow practitioner shared with me for a while. At last he said with regret, "I am done. I have told you everything and the whole world will know about it." At that time, I started to realize that my uncultivated speech was very bad. When he said that, I still did not want to accept it and I still found excuses. I said, "Maybe the more you worry about me telling your stories to others, I will probably have more tendency to do so. Let go of your attachment and I will probably not tell anybody." I looked outward with those plausible words.
"The cultivation of speech that we teach refers to: that which involves one's reputation and personal gain that cannot be given up among everyday people, that which has nothing to do with the actual work of practitioners in society, the senseless gossiping among practitioners in the same school of practice, attachments that cause one to show off, hearsay or circulating rumors, or those discussions on some social issues that one is excited about. I hold that these are all attachments of everyday people. I think that in these areas we should watch what we say--that is the cultivation of speech we refer to." (Zhuan Falun)
I remember one time when our marching Band went to Ottawa to participate in a parade. Several practitioners asked me, "Why didn't you go?" (Before I always went with the band to write news reports) When I heard many practitioners asking why I did not go, I replied, "I am not good at playing any instruments, what can I do if I go?" A fellow practitioner joked, "Your boast is alright." Everybody smiled. If that had happened before, I would probably treat this as a regular joke and then let it go after a laugh; I might even have taken it as praise.
However, as practitioners, whatever we run into is not accidental. I asked myself at that moment, "Should I be serious about the cultivation of speech from now on?" My character is that I say whatever I think, no matter whether it is good, bad, funny or not funny; I simply say it without considering whether others can take it or whether it will hurt others. I simply get everything off my chest by all means.
I remember one time we went to New York City. My seven-seat vehicle was crammed full while another five-seat vehicle only had three people. I asked one from my vehicle to go to another vehicle but nobody wanted to go. The reason was that by staying in my vehicle they could laugh all the way. At night, they would rather sleep on the floor than go to other rooms because they wanted to listen to my "boasting." The more the fellow practitioners complimented me, the more my attachment grew. Finally, I made them laugh bending forward and backward and I enjoyed self-satisfaction at the same time.
Actually, this kind of casual talk exposed many of my attachments: selfishness, showing off, zealotry and not thinking of others. This kind of casual talk also brought out very big barriers and tribulations to my cultivation at the same time. But I still felt satisfied when others complimented me that I was capable of telling stories and writing articles. It was already a very dangerous situation for me. Therefore, I understood that Master was giving me a hint through the fellow practitioner's words, "I must cultivate my speech."
When others were going through tribulations, my uncultivated speech did not give them any support; it instead created bigger tribulations for them. Therefore, cultivation of speech is very advantageous with no shortcomings for either others and myself. I must truly pay great effort to cultivating my speech well.
"So, when you meet with ordeals, it is the perfect opportunity for you to improve. If you are able to look inside, that trying situation will become instead an opportunity, something to overcome and a chance to enter a new state. Why haven't you looked at things that way? As soon as you meet with an ordeal, you push it away. As I said, even if you quarreled over validating the Fa and saving sentient beings, or you heard some unpleasant comments, those were all for your improvement, because your improvement comes first. Without your improvement, nothing can be achieved, and that includes saving sentient beings. If you fail to improve and achieve Consummation, where will the sentient beings that you save go? Who will take them? Why not look at things that way? Of course, while you're among ordinary people, it is hard to do everything perfectly and to really be that way at each and every moment. But at least on crucial issues, such as saving sentient beings, or cultivation, you should look at things that way, right?" ("Fa Teaching at the 2008 New York Conference")
Master has explained this so explicitly to us. If we still do not look inside to cultivate ourselves, can we validate Dafa well? Can we be worthy of Master's efforts to save us? Have we done enough for ourselves? I want to thank the fellow practitioner that I mentioned at the beginning of this article for waking me up and for giving me the opportunity to look deep into myself for shortcomings. I hope this is also an opportunity for me to improve.
Please point out any mistakes. Thanks everybody!