Looking for Fundamental Attachments
(Clearwisdom.net) I became a Falun Gong practitioner before the persecution in 1999. After the persecution started I stopped practicing. Master's compassion brought me back to Dafa in the beginning of 2005. Now a year has passed, and I have fallen into a depression that is difficult to come out of. Although I continued to memorize the Dafa books as a way to study the Fa, the results have not been that effective. I cannot stay calm when sending forth righteous thoughts and my legs hurt badly during the sitting meditation, so I become reckless. I also don't seem to have the desire to clarify the truth. This depression has stayed with me for a long time. I felt bad, but I didn't know how to break out of it. It felt like something was blocking me, so I couldn't become more active. One day I read an article on Clearwisdom.net about finding our fundamental attachments. I found some similarity between this article and my situation. This article made me think hard about it. I read and memorized Master's lecture, "Towards Consummation." I also read many articles by fellow practitioners. Finally, I realized what my problem was. I believed that the Dafa principles were consistent with my deeply hidden attachment, which was to live a better life through cultivation. However, this is my selfish motivation. Because I could not find this problem, I could not get rid of it; consequently, I could not be a diligent and genuine cultivator.
For a long time, I didn't believe that I came to cultivation for any specific purpose. When I first became a practitioner, I was in middle school. Mom had just begun to practice, and one day she brought some Dafa books home. I had a habit of reading storybooks. When I saw Zhuan Falun, I picked it up and glanced through some pages. I read some of the stories in the book. After I finished reading the stories, I felt a sense of amazement. I had no idea about such miracles as those in the book. However, my heart was not touched because I believed that the examples in the books were just stories, like those in a novel. Later, I had a chance to read the book again, and this time I felt better and began to practice Falun Gong. Because I came into Dafa accidentally, I was confident that my heart was pure in the beginning. I did not have any expectation or pursuit.
I remembered clearly one comment made by an elder woman when we practiced Falun Gong in the park. She told me, "Your skin will become better and you will look pretty after some time." My skin was not that good; I often had pimples on my face. So I didn't appreciate what she said. I thought that her suggestion could even encourage some of my attachments. From then on I always paid special attention to my skin. Whenever I looked into a mirror, I asked myself if I looked better today? Although I knew that this was not right, I put the blame on others instead of looking within. It's all their fault. Now, when I think about this issue and look deeply inside myself, things look different. If I had no such attachment, why was I upset when they mentioned this? It took me a while to fool myself (to hide this attachment so deep that even I couldn't see it), and no one could tell. But the elder woman brought it up and exposed it to the sunlight.
I was a shy person since childhood. I liked to think freely in my own world. I did not get along with other kids; my self esteem was quite low. Because of my shyness, I had difficulty revealing my inner thinking to anyone, even to my parents. I kept everything to myself, and I felt that no one cared about me. I was miserable. I was longing for true love, caring and protection from others. Also, because of my low self-esteem, I felt that I was not good at anything. Others were always better. I had no hope. Since I was a young child, my thinking was extreme and biased. I often dreamed of fairy tale miracles, hoping somehow I could change this hopeless life. I dreamed of having a comfortable life. But I could not fulfill my dreams in reality. Then in Dafa, all these became possible. Dafa's principles included reward and retribution according to people's own merit; therefore I thought, if I am a good person, then I should have fortune in my life.
People like me who feel incapable, introverted and awkward with strangers at once found a doorway to an ideal world where people can become deities. That's the kind of life I longed for. Although it did not appear that way, in reality I felt that Dafa fit with my deepest desire to live a better life - which was a selfish motivation. Because I did not realize this, I could not get rid of it. Therefore I could not become more diligent. During cultivation I did not want to endure any hardship; when my legs were in pain during meditation, I hoped for the time to pass quickly so I could relax. Sometimes I thought, "If every day my legs are painful like this, I can not endure it." Subconsciously, I was hoping for a quick end to the pain so I could have a comfortable life.
I loved to watch Kung Fu movies about ancient China. One summer a new Kung Fu movie was released. The lead actress was my favorite. I was totally attracted by the movie and my mind was fully occupied by the stories. Even when I read Dafa books, my mind was still thinking about the movie. I knew full well that I had to abandon this in cultivation, but I could not (or did not want to) let go of them. Like Master said in "Teaching and Explaining the Fa at the Metropolitan New York Fa Conference:"
"...hold on to humanness with one hand and won't let go, and you hold on to Buddhahood with the other hand and won't let go,"
After some painful struggles between a righteous mind and my attachments, the attachments prevailed. I told Master with regret: "Master, cultivation is too hard, I can't continue." After I gave up cultivation, I became an everyday person. I did things according to my desires and attachments. Every time I thought about this experience, I felt intense shame. I gave up cultivation not because of the old forces' pressure (although the persecution had started); rather, I was defeated by my own attachments.
I wasted five years of my life before I came back to Dafa. Influenced by the polluted society, I had doubts about the existence of God and Buddha; the evil lies of the Chinese Communist Party even fooled me. I thought some practitioners really did set themselves on fire in Tiananmen. I thought practitioners were against the government when they visited the appeals office in Beijing. Despite this, I managed to keep a bottom line; I never said anything bad about Dafa and Master.
With the advancement of Fa-rectification, Dafa practitioners began to tell people to recite "Falun Dafa is good" and "Zhen-Shan-Ren is good." My mother asked me to do the same and she gave me a "lucky card" that carries a Falun Gong message. Mother encouraged me to say these words first thing every morning when I wake up; she said Dafa will protect me. I thought, "I have stopped practicing, how could I ask Master for protection? Master said that he only helps practitioners. If I say the words for my own safety and fortune, then not only was my heart dirty, I was also insulting Dafa!"
Maybe Master saw some righteousness left in me; he gave me another chance to come back to Dafa. During the winter break of 2005 my mother and my sister were watching recordings of Master's lecture. They invited me to join them. I couldn't find an excuse to refuse, so I reluctantly sat down and watched. In the beginning I was not serious; I watched the lectures while eating, which caused distraction to mother and sister. Slowly, Master's words touched my heart. One night after we watched the lecture mother read the Fa; I listened to her reading very carefully. Suddenly, I found myself crying; my tears were rushing out like a stream. I didn't feel anything in particular. I just knew that I wanted to go back to Dafa.
After I returned to Dafa I did not search hard enough to find the root cause of why I stopped practicing Dafa; nor did I try to find my most fundamental attachments. I left town to go back to college where I was among everyday people; so I did not have a good environment for Fa study and practice. Gradually, I was motivated and polluted by everyday people. I sank deeper and deeper. At first, I was alarmed; then I soon got used to the status quo. I even thought that I should live according to everyday people's lifestyle; otherwise, people would think that I was strange. In order to show my college buddies that I was one of them, I stayed up late to watch movies with them. I did this a few times even during the designated global sending forth righteous thought time. I paid so much attention to everyday people's opinions. The real reason was my attachment to reputation. As a practitioner, I did not follow Dafa's principles and Master's requirement. Nor did I follow the universal standard of "Truth, Compassion, Tolerance" in my everyday life; instead, I used everyday people's opinions and deteriorating standards to measure my thoughts and actions. How could I still call myself a practitioner?
Master said in Zhuan Falun ("Lecture Four"):
"As a practitioner, isn't what you get something of high levels? Accordingly, you must follow the high-level principles. If you do what that person did, aren't you the same as he?"
This was such a serious problem; yet I didn't notice for a long time.
In today's society, whenever I am busy I tend to go easy on my Fa study and practice, thinking that I will catch up during the weekend. In the beginning some intensive study on the weekends seemed to have some effect, and I was able to bring my condition back to normal. But as time went on, especially recently, this strategy didn't work any longer. One reason was that this was not a solid way to cultivate; the other reason was that I studied the Fa with the following purpose: "To improve my situation first so that I can then do some truth-clarification." This was not true cultivation.
Master told us:
"For a long time now some students just haven't gotten rid of their fundamental attachments! And as things have piled up, at the end they aren't able to overcome them and their tribulations get big. When problems occur, instead of searching for problems in their xinxing, fundamentally improving themselves, or truly letting go of the matter and coming through in an open and dignified manner by another route, they focus on the thing at hand--"Goodness... why is it that I still can't overcome this thing? I've done better today, so it should have improved a little. Tomorrow I'll do even better and it should improve some more." He can never let go of that thing. On the surface it appears that he's letting it go--"Look, I'm doing well now." You're doing well now but you are doing well now for its sake. You aren't doing that for the purpose of doing what a true Dafa disciple should do!" ("Teaching and Explaining the Fa at the Metropolitan New York Fa Conference")
Because my cultivation state has not been satisfactory, I have not been doing any truth-clarification work. I always told myself: "When I finally bring my situation to a satisfactory level, I will go out and distribute flyers. On the one hand, I can pass out flyers and gain some virtue; on the other hand, I am afraid of being persecuted by the evil. So I have to adjust myself well, make sure I have righteous thoughts, leave no loopholes for the evil to exploit and protect my safety." How clever! How selfish! My foundation to validate the Fa was not saving sentient beings, but for self-interest and consummation. Because my foundation for clarifying the truth was wrong, all the ideas and actions that followed were wrong. My using "passing out flyers safely" was an excuse to hide my fundamental attachment; so the results from memorizing the Fa were superficial. Yes, I could recite some paragraphs, but I could not become enlightened to the Fa principles behind the words, and I still could not walk out of my depression.
Having recognized my fundamental attachments and realized that I wasted much valuable time, I understand now that my poor performance and effort did not even qualify me as a "Dafa disciple," which is a sacred title. Master's boundless compassion allowed me to have a chance to do better. He did not abandon me. In the last precious moment that can't be bought with any mount of money, if I still don't do well and recover the damage that I caused, then I would be a big let down to Master and all the people who had high hope in me.
I wrote this article to expose my indecent thoughts to the public, and to get rid of them. On the other hand, I also wanted to remind fellow practitioners with a similar situation. Don't go easy on your fundamental attachment. Maybe it is the root cause that will prevent you from improving in your cultivation and becoming more diligent.