Recognizing and Eliminating My Fundamental Attachments
(Clearwisdom.net) The first time I read Zhuan Falun, I enjoyed reading it very much. I learned that there are other dimensions and gods, and man can cultivate. My first thought was that I wanted to cultivate, too. I wanted to cultivate to become the most beautiful Bodhisattva!
The next Saturday I found the practice site at a nearby park and started my cultivation. I did not recognize that the wish to become the most beautiful Bodhisattva at the very beginning would turn out to be my fundamental attachment for a long time.
I have been practicing for almost ten years and have read the article "Toward Consummation" over and over in the hope of discovering my fundamental attachment. I had always thought that society would become very good if everyone cultivated "Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance" and thought that this might be my fundamental attachment. After I discovered that attachment, I thought that Dafa was only for predestined people to cultivate, and not to change ordinary people's society for the better. I told myself that I would study the Fa more and get rid of this attachment. I didn't give a second thought to having any further fundamental attachments.
A practitioner once came to my home to send the originals of the truth-clarification materials to each production site. She said to me in front of other practitioners, "I wonder if I have hidden attachments? Today, when your mother-in-law said that you did not take care of the house well, I agreed with her, especially when she said that her son should have married me instead of you." I was shocked when I heard this, because I thought that I was younger and prettier than she. I have a good job. When my work unit drew lots for houses, I got a villa. Why was my mother-in-law not satisfied with me? I felt so sad! I tried my best to remain calm and said, "You should have said something nice about me when my mother-in-law badmouthed me and not agreed with her. I have to print so many truth clarification materials and much more. How can I find the time to take care of the house?"
As I could not calm down, I went for a walk and thought about this and other issues. The next day, I still could not calm down. When I burned incense in front of Teacher's picture, Teacher's words in "True Cultivation" from Essentials for Further Advancement came to my mind,
"Cultivation itself is not painful--the key lies in your inability to let go of ordinary human attachments. Only when you are about to let go of your reputation, interests, and feelings will you feel pain."
I sat down and read Essentials for Further Advancement immediately and decided that, however hard, I would eliminate this attachment. But it was really very difficult because I did not recognize my fundamental attachment and therefore did not know how to get rid of it. When I sent forth righteous thoughts, I saw and felt that there was a "machine" that operated very accurately. It protected me at all times. The more difficult things became, the faster the machine operated. I did not even need to think, because when a thought came into being, it was always about how to protect myself from being hurt! My third eye did not open before that.
I was stunned when I first saw it. It turned out that "I myself" was so selfish! I realized at once that I must have hurt many beings in my previous lives. The karma I owed surrounded me and stopped me from thinking of others first! I wondered why Teacher would accept a person as filthy as me as his student. I also saw the old force and knew how to deny the old force at certain levels.
"So for the beings of the old cosmos, and this includes all the elements of beings, when it comes to the Fa-rectification and what I choose, all beings' harmonizing and completing things according to my choices and contributing their best ideas and approaches--not to change what I want, but to harmonize and complete things according to what I've said--is the best thought a being in the cosmos could have. (Applause) But the old forces haven't been doing it that way. They've considered their choices the most essential, and have thought that everything I do should harmonize everything they want--they've completely reversed it." ("Fa-Lecture During the 2003 Lantern Festival at the U.S. West Fa Conference")
I thought that I must do well in what Teacher requires of us. But I still did not seriously try to discover my fundamental attachment. I didn't know how my fundamental attachment would affect my behavior. Therefore, there were serious lessons.
Once I went to another area to share with practitioners. They discussed how to send forth righteous thoughts and eliminate demons facing clay sculptures. I knew it was wrong, but when I faced these practitioners who thought I practiced very well, what came into my mind was, "It is safe to remain quiet. Maybe I was not enlightened to it. Since they value me, would they change their opinion of how I practiced if I said that what they said was wrong?"
I felt something was wrong when I stepped out of the door. I wanted to go back to my area and no longer participate in this sharing. But I still let them take the lead. Within two weeks after I returned home, I received a phone call from one practitioner saying that all of them had been arrested. This practitioner asked me to move the production equipment. After I moved it, I had to inform every other material production site to move their equipment, too. It caused great loss to the material production sites in our area.
I burst into tears after returning home! No one could be more sorrowful than I. I now understood why Teacher had arranged for me to attend that sharing. I should have shared my understanding of the Fa with them. But I covered up my fundamental attachments and didn't do what I was supposed to do. I was not worthy of Teacher's expectations for me. I knew that Teacher was beside me at all times and that cultivation was serious! It was dangerous to do Dafa practitioners' things with any attachments. It was so true that we should enlighten by ourselves because Teacher Li's Fashen would not directly tell one how to eliminate certain attachments. The lessons were tremendous and Fa study was so important!
I began to recite the Fa. I recited Teacher's new article "Teaching the Fa at the 2004 Chicago Conference" and then Zhuan Falun. I told myself that I should look within and understand the Fa from the Fa. But I still did not find my fundamental attachment.
One evening around 8 o'clock, I was delivering material to a production site. As I pushed my bicycle to cross a road, a car from behind hit and pushed me quite some distance. I sat on the ground and my head was numb. I heard three or four young men rushing toward me, so they could move my bicycle and me to the side of the road. One of them said, "Send her to the hospital right away!" and asked me repeatedly, "Are you okay? Are you okay?" I felt into my bag and found the materials were still there. My glasses were still on my nose, and I wasn't bleeding. The only problem was that my left foot hurt. I stood up slowly and said, "I am okay." My voice was low and he could not believe it. He asked again, "Are you sure you are okay?" I said more loudly, "I am okay. I am a Falun Gong practitioner." He said repeatedly, " I met a good person today!"
I got on my bicycle and left immediately. After I had gone a little more than 10 meters, I thought I should have clarified the truth. Why was I so attached to myself, and why did I just want to show off? I turned around and tried to call to them, but they pretended not to hear me and I gave up.
I felt so sad when I arrived back home! Why did I only think of myself? Hadn't I discovered the root of selfishness? But why did I forget to clarify the truth at the critical moment? How could I be counted as a Dafa practitioner? I remembered that Teacher said in Zhuan Falun,
"'Let me get his illness so that he can be healed.' That's not out of compassion. He hasn't gotten rid of his attachments to reputation and personal gain one bit, and no compassion is about to come out. He's afraid of losing his reputation, and he'd even rather get the illness himself than lose face. He's that attached to his reputation!"
The next morning when I did the exercises, I thought, "There are no accidents for practitioners. They didn't hit me intentionally, so they must have had a predestined relationship with me. They wanted to hear the truth through this accident." I burst into tears. I thought that I just wanted Teacher to help me out of the accident and didn't clarify the truth and save sentient beings, just as Teacher asked us to do at critical moments. I failed a test and I felt awful when thinking of Teacher. I felt suddenly that I was so far away from Teacher and dared not look at Teacher's pictures. I really practiced so poorly and did not deserve the title of "Fa-Rectification Dafa Disciple." I became even sadder, threw myself onto my bed, and began to cry.
My husband asked me what was the matter. I said, "I did not pass the test. I cared too much about myself, and I am afraid I did not recognize my fundamental attachment. And I was in an accident with a car, which should only happen to new practitioners." Just then it began to rain very hard, and my husband asked me loudly, "Do you want to stay in bed and give up practicing?" I said, "No, I will cultivate even if I have to cultivate from the very beginning." I finally realized that personal cultivation was different from cultivation during the Fa-Rectification period and why all the conflicts I met with related to sentimental attachments. I had only gained a perceptual understanding of Fa.
It finally dawned on me that my fundamental attachment was actually my wish at the beginning of my cultivation path, "to cultivate to the most beautiful Bodhisattva." There were so many manifestations of the various attachments that were intertwined with the fundamental sentimental attachments, such as showing off, zealotry and jealousy. If the fundamental attachment remained unchecked, it would not be easy to get rid of.
I now tried my best to watch my every thought once I discovered this attachment. I would send forth righteous thoughts to eliminate all attachments that were based on this fundamental attachment. The attachment of "being beautiful" faded away and disappeared. I finally could think of others more and more. Especially when I clarified the truth to people, I only wanted people to be saved and had no other thoughts. Dafa practitioners cannot deny the old forces if they don't do the three things well.
"Clarifying the facts is something you must do, and you must do it to the end. It's not something we do according to the old forces' arrangements; we completely negate everything of the old forces." ("Teaching the Fa at the 2004 Chicago Conference")
After the accident, I studied the Fa continuously. I finally understood why cultivation in the past was not pure. Although they sacrificed everything for other beings and they were great, their position made them unable to save their true being.
Sometimes I wondered, "I have identified the 'selfish machine,' and I have dug it out by its roots and I know how to deny the old force. So why do I still have bad thoughts?" I realized through studying the Fa that it was just as Teacher had told us. Although the old force has been destroyed, the elements that interfere and the evil the old force left behind take advantage of our omissions. I realized that, although I had eliminated the root of the "selfish machine," the many notions it had produced still existed. They were alive in other dimensions. They could grow larger, take advantage of my omissions, and even lead me. They could prevent me from doing the three things well. Therefore, we Dafa practitioners must discover our fundamental attachments. It does not matter how well you think you have practiced. One has to discover the fundamental attachments and eliminate them.
It is has been difficult to share my understandings at my level. I did not know how to express my understandings when I first enlightened to them. I only know that every one of my improvements was achieved with Teacher's help.
This is my understanding at my present level; please point out anything improper.