We Can Forge Ahead Only by Being Humble and Respectful
(Clearwisdom.net) In this world, a person with genuine wisdom is always respectful and humble. Teacher said:
"Once you have the intention of building yourself up, the students will think that you have a xinxing problem. Therefore, only by being modest can you do things well. Your reputation is established based on a good understanding of the Fa. How could a cultivator be free of mistakes?" ("How to Provide Assistance,"Essentials for Further Advancement)
As cultivators, we should recognize our ignorance, remove the thought of self-importance and being opinionated, and assimilate to Dafa. All beings on earth have their own capabilities. For instance, fish can swim, birds can fly, insects can crawl, and even grass can grow again after a fire when the spring rains fall and breezes blow. But I can only walk with effort, and that is precisely my incompetence. Water does not refuse small streams and it benefits many different things, yet it does not struggle. I cannot see the whole galaxy, nor can I see gods above my
head. I do not know much about our history and reality, and this is my ignorance. Being so clumsy, superficial, ignorant, incompetent and ineffective, how can I feel proud and arrogant?
Only by acknowledging our ignorance and being modest can we follow Teacher and achieve the Tao, sincerely and truly cultivating ourselves. A cultivator should accept whatever Teacher has bestowed respectfully and reverently. Even if we fall into a difficult position and are at a loss, we cannot blame or question Teacher. We should give up our preconceived notions, acknowledge our ignorance, and forge ahead according to the Fa. We cannot evaluate this great Fa and our divine Teacher with our narrow-mindedness, stubbornness, and prejudice. Only by being humble can we let go of attachments bit by bit and improve ourselves.
Only by being humble can we listen to others. A complacent person is just like a filled jar that cannot hold any more. Zhou Gong was a renowned statesman in history. To show respect for wisdom, when guests visited during mealtime, he put down his chopsticks, spat out the food from his mouth, and received his guests cordially. Confucius was a sage, but he still took great pains to ask for advice. Even if the advice was from a child, as long as it was correct, Confucius listened earnestly. His students said, "Some people laugh at you because, even though you have so much knowledge, you still ask for advice now and then." Confucius took objection to this opinion. He responded, "I ask when I do not understand. Should I not do that?" As long as you are willing to bow your head to learn from others, you can obtain wisdom anywhere. Just as Confucius put it, "Among three people who pass by, there must be one person who can be my teacher. "
The following is a story about Socrates that discusses humbleness.
One day, Socrates and his students gathered together to talk. One student, who had a very rich father, flaunted to all his classmates that his family owned a vast fertile land near Athens. As he boasted, Socrates, who maintained his composure nearby, took out a map and said, "Please point out where Asia is on the map." The student answered complacently, "This big piece is all Asia." "Well, then, where is Greece?" The student found it with great difficulty on the map. Compared to Asia, Greece is quite small. "Then where is Athens?" Socrates asked again. "Oh, that is much smaller. It seems to be here." The student pointed at a small dot on the map. At last, staring at him, Socrates said, "Now, please show me, where is your vast fertile land?" The student was so nervous that he was sweating profusely, but there was no trace of his land on the map. At last understanding, the student replied awkwardly, "I am sorry. I cannot find it."
Whatever a person can possess is only a drop in the sea and not worthy of mentioning when compared with the world and the universe. From the perspective of cultivation, no matter what we understand, enlighten to or do, it is actually tiny and unworthy of mentioning. When being praised, one must remain modest. Then another virtue will be gained. Self-aggrandizement and self-deprecation are both harmful. We should always maintain a humble heart.