Eliminate the Heart to Reject Criticism
(Clearwisdom.net) After having published several articles in a row, Teacher published "Fa Teaching Given in Manhattan." In this lecture, Teacher was very serious and thoughtful. He especially pointed out a common problem shared by Falun Gong practitioners who cannot take criticism. Teacher said,
"I can completely remove the material substance for you, but the habits that were formed are something you definitely have to remove--definitely, absolutely." ("Fa Teaching Given in Manhattan")
This lecture revealed Teacher's high expectations for us. I can feel that Teacher is feeling anxious for us. The Fa now has a higher level of requirements for practitioners. The Fa-rectification progresses rapidly and does not allow room for any delay.
I searched within myself, but found myself falling behind Teacher's requirements. I have always had the problem of rejecting criticism. I had always basked in praise and compliments since childhood. Praise promoted the growth of vanity and the attachment to fame. I have become egocentric. For a long time in my cultivation practice, I had neglected to eliminate this problem or search inward. Over time the problem has eluded me. Yet Teacher has been watching over me out of compassion and arranged many opportunities for me to eliminate it and to upgrade my cultivation.
"Accordingly, in your future cultivation practice you will run into all kinds of tribulations. How can you practice cultivation without these hardships? If everyone is good to one another without conflicts of interests or interference from the human mind, how can your xinxing make progress by your only sitting there? That is impossible. One must truly temper and upgrade oneself through actual practice." ("Transformation of Karma" in Lecture Four of Zhuan Falun)
For ten years I have stumbled and fallen repeatedly in tribulations. I have met tribulations from both the Chinese Communist regime and from fellow practitioners. Especially after I was released from prison, I had to look for housing. But fellow practitioners refused to help me because they suspected that I might be a special agent. I met one tribulation after another. I felt very hurt and cried a lot. I now know that it must have been a hint from Teacher when a fellow practitioner repeatedly told me, "Why don't you search within? Ask yourself why you have been suffering from so many tribulations." It is such a pity that I completely dismissed the criticism. I was enraged and found it most unfair when fellow practitioners misunderstood. I was offended because I could not take any criticism. I only wanted praise and compliments. I was immersed in emotions and the feeling of being hurt. I didn't search inward or cultivate myself. When I met tribulations, I didn't regard it as a good opportunity to cultivate or upgrade myself. Instead, I blocked and missed these opportunities.
"But normally when a problem arises, if it does not irritate a person psychologically, it does not count or is useless and cannot make him or her improve." ("Transformation of Karma" in Lecture Four of Zhuan Falun)
Not long ago I had a big fight with an elderly fellow practitioner. On the surface, the root cause was the vast differences in our ages, personalities, living styles, etc. In actual fact, I think it was the old forces that exploited our difficult relationship and our respective karma to divide us. She always said, "Don't you think too highly of yourself." But I failed to detect my attachment to praise and vanity or my mentality of showing off. I was really offended. I thought, "True, I need to let go of my egocentricity. But what about you?" I would only notice her problems and find her irritating. Underneath my attachment to reject criticism were other human thoughts and attachments--hostility, jealousy, the mentality to show off, and curiosity. These attachments manifested themselves during my conflicts with that practitioner. When I was overcome with hostility, I would have a serious fight with her. After the fight, I knew I had made a mistake and blamed myself for failing to guarding my xinxing. Why is cultivation so difficult? Why did I find faults in others when I tried to search inward? Why couldn't I search inward unconditionally? Apparently these tribulations didn't just happen randomly. Why couldn't I learn from those practitioners who cultivated well? My problem was that I refused to cultivate myself. How could I call that cultivation? I must not continue to be a lousy cultivator. Finally I made up my mind to prevail over the tribulation! I would only look at the practitioner's merits and search within myself. Teacher must have noticed my determination, because I soon ran into new opportunities to temper my mind.
One day the elderly practitioner and I had another difference of opinion about the expense of buying DVDs to make truth-clarification video programs. Driven by my self-interest, I misunderstood her and said things to hurt her feelings. When she was about to return the DVDs, a message appeared in my mind: "You definitely must eliminate your notions." I immediately realized my problem. I apologized to her, but it was too late to take back what I had said. After she returned, she took the DVDs out of her bag. She said that a fellow practitioner had encouraged us to work together. I apologized to her again. However, I felt as though I had missed something. When I wrote this article, I studied "Fa Teaching Given in Manhattan" again.
"Don't argue left and right, and don't emphasize who's right and who's wrong. Some people are always stressing that they're right, but even if you are right, even if you're not wrong, so what? Have you improved on the basis of the Fa? The very act of using human thinking to stress who's right and who's wrong is in itself wrong. That's because you are then using the logic of ordinary people to evaluate yourself, and using that logic to make demands on others. As gods see it, for a cultivator to be right or wrong in the human world is not important in the least, whereas eliminating the attachments that come from human thinking is important, and it is precisely your managing to eliminate those attachments rooted in your human thinking as you cultivate that counts as important." ("Fa Teaching Given in Manhattan")
I edited this article many times. Before I was ready to send it to Minghui/Clearwisdom, I thought it was nicely written. However, she pointed out things she found inappropriate. I rewrote the article and asked her to review it for me, but she still found it unacceptable and showed me fellow practitioners' articles as a reference. Once again I felt like rejecting her criticism. However, I immediately eliminated the thought with righteous thoughts. I told myself, "I am a Falun Gong practitioner. I must let go of my pride and accept criticism." I was then able to accept her feedback. The process of writing this article was a process of upgrading my level of cultivation and elevating my level of reason.
I thank Teacher for his compassion and hints. As a result, I have been transformed from a lousy cultivator who never searched inward into one who knows how to search inward. The only thing I can do to repay Teacher's grace is to cultivate myself diligently, do the Three Things well, and save sentient beings.