Letting Go of Bad Habits and Purifying Oneself
(Clearwisdom.net) Two days ago, a fellow practitioner found fault with me and criticized me over a minor disagreement. I was not going to give in and wanted to hold stubbornly to my position. But, after studying Teacher's new lecture on how to deal with criticism, I forced myself to listen. He got going and told me all the things that he had kept to himself for a long time. Then, I explained how I saw everything. After I explained, he had even more to say, and brought out all his past grievances that he had held in.
Even though I knew I was wrong, I was not willing to listen. I thought only of what I saw wrong in him. I was getting more and more angry, and had a hard time controlling myself. This went on for almost two days. I wanted to let go, but just couldn't. I wanted to find the good in him, but nothing came to mind, I just drew a blank.
I finally realized that I was at a standstill in my cultivation.
"Today is the right time, so I singled it out. In passing, I will tell you that this thing has become quite pronounced for us overall. With some people it has gotten so bad that nobody can say a word about them. It looks like I can't go any longer without addressing it. Some people have become like matches--one stroke and they ignite. They're like land mines--one step and they detonate. [They are acting like,] "You can't criticize me. I can't take any criticism." They no longer listen to any expression of disapproval or disagreement, whether it was meant out of good or ill will, was intentional or unintentional; they reject everything flat out, and even less do they examine themselves. It has gotten quite severe. I'm not blaming you, but from now on you all must pay attention to this. You must get to the point where you are able to take criticism, regardless of who it's from. If there is truth to it you correct yourself, and if not, you are mindful of it. If you can stay unruffled while being criticized or chided, you are improving." ("Teaching the Fa in the City of Los Angeles")
Isn't this my problem? I don't like others to criticize me, and become unhappy and aggravated when faced with criticism. A defensive attitude has become my habit. It didn't occur to me that my behavior affected my fellow practitioners' coordination during Fa-validation activities, and was a major stumbling block in my own cultivation. I understood from deep within that it was because of his criticism that I wanted nothing to do with him. My mind was no longer peaceful.
Understanding this, I tried to change, but found that it was not easy. I could not figure out how to deal with it. I was not willing to look within. I only looked outward and saw only others' problems. I decided to overcome what was hindering and blocking my advancement in my cultivation. I tried to judge myself with the Fa. I asked myself: "Why don't you want to accept other's criticism? Is the notion formed by your main consciousness trying to protect yourself?" The answer was quite clear -- it was not my own nature. Then why did this kind of notion always prevail? The answer was -- I took it as my own.
Teacher gave an example in Zhuan Falun that appeared in my head. I was a crystal clear bottle, a bottle filled with "I'm not willing to accept criticism." This notion was stuck at the bottle opening, which stopped the dirty things from coming out of the bottle. It also stops Dafa's "Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance" from entering the bottle. It stopped me from being purified and thus I could not advance in cultivation levels. How terrible was this attachment!
I began to truly realize the difference between true self and false self. Also, I awakened to what is truth and what is false, as well as what is compassion and what is evil in this human world. This understanding enabled me to become very peaceful and serene. Fame and profit is now nothing more than the passing of a shooting star. The real value lies in people's moral character. Fame, profit, and sentiment are nothing but selfish notions and attachments.
From now on, I know how to deal with similar situations. I now admit my shortcomings and ask for forgiveness. I will always learn my lesson and think of others before doing something.