Large Apples and Small Apples
(Clearwisdom.net) During recent Fa study and cultivation, I have developed even more appreciation for the examples that Master has given in his lectures, as they are straight-forward, very easy to understand and wonderful. In order to help disciples better understand the Fa and improve themselves, Master has poured boundless compassion into his books. What is left for us is to remember Master's Fa and cultivate ourselves as practitioners amidst conflicts.
As an example, I want to cite the incident in Zhuan Falun where a little boy played the lottery. If the boy's prize had not been a luxury junior bike, something that he had wanted for a long time, he might neither have insisted on taking it home nor cried and screamed when his father tried to dissuade him from accepting it. The child's crying and screaming was a tough obstacle for the Dafa practitioner father to overcome and constituted a sudden xinxing [mind or heart nature] test for him. Master said, "Look inward when a conflict arises -- this is the fundamental difference between a Dafa disciple and an everyday person." ("To the Shandong Dafa Assistance Center") [Translator's note: unofficial translation.] Looking at the conflict superficially, we can clearly see that the child was wrong to cry and scream at his parent to get the bicycle. At the same time, his crying and screaming were essential for the conflict to occur, which in turn would help the practitioner make improvements. If the father had only recognized the child's mistake and simply tried to change the child's mind while forgetting to look inward to find out why he himself had encountered this test, he would then have used the mentality of an everyday person to handle the situation, which would have been tantamount to rejecting this opportunity to improve himself. This kind of tribulation or conflict is very typical and it is common for every Dafa practitioner. What is difficult to realize is that many do not want to upgrade themselves through every conflict they encounter. I am a person who cultivated several years before I was able to whole-heartedly, amidst conflicts, appreciate Master's compassion and mercy for setting up a cultivation environment for me that is full of conflicts. I also thank those people involved in these tribulations for their direct help in my own improvement.
Everyday people also encounter various conflicts on a daily basis; however, they are merely caused by their own karma. Everyday people can only transform their own karma by passively bearing the pain that the conflicts bring. In the past, people understood that suffering is good, so they were willing to bear it. Nowadays, people have warped notions and are unable to acknowledge their own huge karma, and only seek ease and comfort. They even treat Gods and Buddhas as beings from whom they can receive personal ease and enjoyment; thus they create more karma. On the one hand, they hate suffering and try to escape from conflicts. On the other, they commit wrongdoings and bring suffering to others. Bringing suffering to others invites suffering onto oneself. Practitioners hold a completely different view regarding hardship and happiness. We do not pursue the things that everyday people take delight in talking about and try hard to pursue. We Dafa practitioners today are particularly fortunate in our own cultivation because of Master's bearing karma for us out of his compassion. As long as we can strictly guide ourselves with the principle of "Truth-Compassion-Forbearance" during conflicts, look inward and find the aspects that we need to improve, let go of attachments, and then suffer a little, the conflicts will automatically disappear. The conflicts that occur to practitioners are superficially similar to those encountered by everyday people, but their connotations and evolving mechanisms are totally different. As for suffering, everyone in the human world who wants to climb to the top of Mount Everest will have to sacrifice and endure physically and mentally, let alone in cultivation. Transforming oneself from an everyday person full of karma into a great enlightened being is not easier than the undertakings of everyday people. In order to save us, Buddha once begged for food in the human world. In order to rectify the Fa and save people, Master has endured countless hardships in his many lifetimes in this human world. How can the disciples succeed in cultivation without bearing any hardships?
Besides commenting on bearing hardships, I also want to mention a story about apples. A very good person, one who always had a good relationship with others, suddenly found that her long-time, good female friends all started to complain about her. Then her work unit, when distributing apples for winter consumption, also slighted her, and only left her a basket of small apples. So it was obvious that a good person was being taken advantage of. At the moment when she was barely able to hold down her anger, someone came to to tell her that the few large apples in her basket had been replaced with small ones and given to someone else. It would not count for her cultivation if this xinxing test failed to upset her. The superficial rightness or wrongness of her situation was not important. What was important was that the test provoked the practitioner's attachments to help her make improvements. In order to help us to improve, the tribulations will become greater, according to our xinxing levels, until the point is reached that some effort is put forth to overcome them. I enlightened that this story of distributing apples is also a typical example of how the cultivation environment plays a role in helping practitioners improve themselves. Who would be happy if every practitioner had no conflicts with others? The demons would be happy, but Master would not, since in that environment practitioners would not be able to complete cultivation and reach Consummation. Moreover, when a conflict arises, if it does not irritate the practitioner psychologically, it will not be helpful. Tempering one's heart is what is most difficult.
During the Fa-rectification period, many degenerate, high-level beings in the cosmos have insisted on arranging the so-called tribulations for Dafa disciples, which are not acknowledged by Master. Master said that he in turn utilizes these arrangements to help us make improvements while at the same time positioning those degenerate beings. Master makes these arrangements work for the purpose of Fa-rectification. Fa-rectification cultivation practice is unique in many aspects. However unique it is, we have to improve our xinxing during conflicts. Only these agonizing conflicts can enable us to make progress. On the road of cultivation, from beginning to end, there the factor of studying the Fa and searching inside of oneself must always exist.
Recently, I have been able to treat myself as a practitioner before I do Fa-rectification work. I clearly understand that I am cultivating while doing Dafa activities, rather than working for the sake of getting a lot done. In such a correct mental state, I notice that I still occasionally have the mentality of avoiding conflicts or resolving conflicts superficially. Sometimes I even want the other party in the conflict to change his or her mind first. Judging according to Dafa, I understand that these mentalities formed over thousands of years are everyday people's notions of seeking outwardly. These mentalities also reflect everyday people's pursuit of comfort--something that practitioners must relinquish. I also understand that these mentalities result from my own karma, so I firmly reject them and even directly send forth righteous thoughts to eliminate them. This way I can stay clear-headed and rational and not be misled by these mentalities. When we truly and unconditionally do everything according to Master's Fa, we can with certainty validate Dafa's great power, as reflected in the lines, "After passing the shady willow trees there will be bright flowers and another village ahead" (Zhuan Falun). The boundless Dafa is the most genuine objective existence in the universe.