Eliminating the Notion of Self to Better Cooperate with Other Practitioners and to Cultivate Greater Compassion
Recently, I didn't do a good job cooperating with fellow practitioners in Fa-rectification work. Although things have been going very well with validating the Fa, we couldn't work smoothly with each other to reach a common understanding. Sometimes, we even found it hard to communicate with each other. It seems that we all held grudges against each other. Whenever someone proposed a way to do something, others would object to it. Whenever someone did something, others would say it was wrong to do it that way. Because we didn't cooperate with each other, we couldn't exert more power as one body. The evil then took advantage of us. The problem was even more pronounced among veteran practitioners. Every veteran practitioner had his or her own understandings of the Fa. Therefore, it was even more difficult for veteran practitioners to cooperate with each other. Some of them have even stopped communicating with each other.
In his recent Fa lectures, my understanding is that Teacher has repeatedly expounded on the importance of the issue of cooperation among practitioners. Teacher stated in "Explaining the Fa During the 2003 Lantern Festival at the U.S. West Fa Conference"
"... how are we to do a good job cooperating and coordinating with each other--that's what Fa-rectification needs the most from Dafa disciples."
As Teacher's disciples, how can we better cooperate with each other as a whole? I was very worried about this issue and I felt very guilty about not doing a good job of working with other practitioners. Meanwhile, I felt anxious and lonely because I didn't know how to handle this problem. I tried very hard to look inside in order to dig out my attachments so that I could find out the root causes to this problem. We have been cultivating for a long time, how come we still act like that? What was the root cause?
Through Fa-study and help from Teacher's hints, I came to realize that we need to cultivate "a compassion that can melt steel" (From Explaining the Fa During the 2003 Lantern Festival at the U.S. West Fa Conference). We need to assimilate to the all-encompassing and indestructible Fa principles of the cosmos.
I became more relaxed, more comfortable, more tolerant, and more peaceful after I enlightened to the above Fa principle. I started to actively communicate with other practitioners. One day, a veteran practitioner and I sat down and had a very nice talk. First, I apologized to her about the things that I didn't do well with, especially my problems in coordinating with fellow practitioners. I also shared my understandings of my problems. She also talked about her shortcomings. It was a very open sharing. We feel we both learned a lot from each other and we feel we were sharing from the bottom of our hearts. We reached a common understanding that we need to think about how to better cooperate with each other and how to walk the final steps well in our cultivation paths.
Actually, when we didn't do a good job cooperating and coordinating with each other, it posed a loss to us and a loss to the Fa. It is something that made the evil happy and something that Teacher doesn't want.
1. It is the requirement of the Fa-rectification that we cooperate and coordinate with each other. In order to achieve this, we need to first get rid of the notion of self.
Before, when we shared experiences or worked with each other, we overemphasized our personal understandings, which created a barrier for cooperation and coordination. This is because even when those personal understandings are correct, there are too many individual elements within them when seen from the overall situation. When we overemphasized personal understandings, we didn't assimilate to the Fa at different levels. We didn't truly understand the Fa's requirements on our fellow practitioners at different levels. We weren't tolerant towards fellow practitioners. Sometimes, we were jealous of those practitioners who did well. Sometimes, we would inappropriately criticize those practitioners who didn't do very well. When we talked about our personal achievements during our own cultivation, we might be aggressive, competitive, and showing off. Under the complex situation in China, there was also the attachment of "self-protection" involved when some practitioners didn't get enlightened to some Fa principles while being unwilling to listen to others at the same time. So they stopped communicating with other practitioners. Besides, the disparities among practitioners have increased towards the end. Therefore, practitioners have even further distant understandings of the Fa. These are the reasons why we were unable to cooperate and coordinate with each other.
Generally speaking, omissions would occur in our working together when we didn't get rid of the notion of self. The evil would then take advantage of us and cause losses. The evil also tries to stir up conflicts among practitioners to separate us. For example, when two practitioners can't reach a common understanding, they thought of communicating with each other to resolve the problem. However, they didn't do this whole-heartedly based on the Fa. So their calls to each other couldn't get through. Or they couldn't find each other. Then they might think the other practitioner was not willing to pick up the phone and was holding grudges against them. Or they might think it was a hint from the Teacher that they shouldn't talk at that time. All these would make the conflicts worse until eventually they would go different ways and be unwilling to cooperate with each other any more.
We need to directly look at this problem from the Fa because it is a requirement of the Fa and of Teacher and so we can be truly responsible for the Fa, for fellow practitioners and for ourselves. It is what we need to do during our cultivation. It is a higher requirement on practitioners. It is very important for us to cooperate and coordinate with each other in order to cultivate ourselves well.
I came to realize that in order to better coordinate with each other, we need to first get rid of the notion of self. This is because it directly relates to the basis of our standpoint when viewing things. In order to better coordinate with each other, we need to consider things from the perspective of the overall situation, the group, and other people instead of from the perspective of our personal understandings, even when our personal understanding is correct. Each one of us should willingly make up for the shortcomings of other practitioners' and of the whole situation. Meanwhile, when we get rid of the notion of self, we won't try to make others accept our personal opinions, which is a manifestation of our compassion and which will make it easier for others to listen to us. Then we will be able to feel that we are sincerely helping each other. So we need to base things on the Fa to dig out our shortcomings. We should get rid of the notion of self and start to think about what we should do to better cooperate with fellow practitioners and with the overall situation. We need to find out the things that we didn't do well regarding the issue of cooperation and coordination among us instead of intentionally or unintentionally trying to make others respect us and listen to us so they can cooperate with us. We should not view things from the standpoint of self. We should not take ourselves as the center to try to change others instead of ourselves. That is because being unwilling to change ourselves is an element that doesn't accord with the Fa. It is a notion that comes from the old degenerated cosmos.
2. We should recognize that we have common understandings and we should be tolerant towards fellow practitioners so we can assimilate to the Fa at different levels.
"Everyone's realm is different. I'm telling you now, Master has seen that some of the disparities among students have increased. It wasn't apparent before, but now they've increased, and the more it's toward the end the bigger the disparities. So there are bound to be differences in people's understandings. The key is how to cooperate better and coordinate better with one other." (From Lecturing on and Explaining the Fa at the Metropolitan New York Fa Conference)
What should we do when the disparities are increasing? My personal understanding is that we need to recognize that we have a common understanding of the Fa. If we deviate from the Fa or don't look at things from the Fa, we are wrong. However, if we are all understanding the Fa from the Fa, then we need to be tolerant towards each other since the differences in our understandings are simply because we are at different levels. We need to assimilate to the Fa at different levels. When we have different understandings, we should not criticize each other and we should not draw a conclusion about whether others' understandings are right or wrong. We can ask questions to find out why they have such an understanding, why they do such things, and whether it is an understanding from the Fa. We need to make judgments based on the Fa. When we don't have a strong personal opinion, we will have an open mind, which will create a positive field for mutual understanding. Of course, if we can't immediately understand others, we don't need to get stuck in trying to understand others' positions. The main purpose of communication is to free ourselves, to get rid of the notion of self, and to keep an open heart for different understandings. We should be compassionate towards each other during this process.
Some of the practitioners pursued so-called high levels. They thought the higher the level is, the better it is. This understanding of "levels" would sometimes cause problems in our cooperation and coordination. The Fa created different levels within the cosmos. It created different living environments for different living beings. There is the issue of being at different levels. However, for Falun Dafa practitioners, although we are at different levels, we are all living beings directly created by the Fa for the purpose of rectifying the Fa. We will be the manifestations of the Fa at different levels and realms. For practitioners, we are "returning to our homes." We are returning to wherever Teacher arranged us to be. No matter where we go, that is the best place for each one of us.
Finally, let's remember what Teacher has told us in Explaining the Fa During the 2003 Lantern Festival at the U.S. West Fa Conference. Teacher said,
"For Dafa disciples as one entity, in the process of validating the Fa, when you work together in concert, the Fa power is great. Whether you're doing things as a group or doing things individually, what you're doing is the same kind of thing, and that's what we mean by one entity. You're all clarifying the truth, sending righteous thoughts, and studying the Fa, so the specifics of the things you're doing are different but the division of roles is orderly, together there's a form, and separated there are particles."
The above is my personal understandings. Please correct me if I said anything inappropriate.