Thoughts on the Mentality of Showing Off
(Clearwisdom.net) Master used a whole section of a chapter in Zhuan Falun to discuss the problem of showing off. In other lectures, Master mentioned the mentality of showing off numerous times, and of all the attachments, it is my understanding that Master mentioned the mentality of showing off the most, so it is obvious that it is a big problem. Master also discussed the different states and manifestations of showing off; it is clearly a serious matter. Master said:
"Because of practicing cultivation among everyday people, a lot of our practitioners cannot release many of their attachments. Many attachments have already become second nature, and these people themselves cannot detect them. This mentality of showing off can manifest in any situation; it can also surface when doing a good deed." "Showing off itself is a very strong attachment and a very bad attachment that a practitioner must relinquish." (Zhuan Falun)
It is obvious that the mentality of showing off is a strong attachment, and also common among cultivators. As a stubborn attachment, it is very important for a cultivator to relinquish this mentality.
My understanding is that the mentality of showing off is a state of numerous attachments mixed together. It is deeply rooted and connected to numerous other attachments. After you cultivate away the mentality of showing off, those other attachments will also disappear.
First of all, the mentality of showing off is directly linked to "fame." Showing off itself is pursuing fame, and people who like to show off are also vain. They show off in order to satisfy themselves and be pleased with themselves.
Secondly, showing off also has deep connection with qing: it is an attachment that stems directly from qing, it is a concrete manifestation of qing, and it also has various links with other attachments that stem from qing. The purpose of showing off is to get compliments from others. Even if it is not apparent, one will secretly pleased with oneself. Those with a strong mentality of showing off also do not cultivate their speech well. If one wants to show off, how can he or she cultivate their speech? For those who do not cultivate their speech well, their mentality of showing off is bound to be strong, as these two attachments are closely related.
Digging deeper, the origin of showing off is selfishness. It is the concrete manifestation of the selfish, old universe. Those with a strong mentality of showing off also have strong sense of "self," and are attached to self. Everything is about "I": How capable I am, how extraordinary I am, I have accomplished so much, I cultivated so high and so well, etc. There are all sorts of such thoughts in their heads. They intentionally or unintentionally put themselves first: "I am the most important, I am above and beyond." They even view themselves as above the Fa, are unable to live up to to the standards of the Fa, and are unable to correctly position the Fa. This is very dangerous, as it is far from meeting the standards of the Fa which requires us to be selfless and to consider others first. It deviates from the characteristic of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.
The harm caused by showing off is also big. For those with a strong mentality of showing off, their hearts are impatient and impetuous, and their xinxing level of is also limited. They cannot reach the state of being indifferent to fame or gain, are unable to be content, and unable to achieve the realm of being in the Tao. Because the mentality of showing off is not compatible with the characteristic of the universe, if it is not cultivated away, one will be restricted by the characteristic of the universe. Then, one is unable to raise one's xinxing level, and one's cultivation energy cannot grow. For example, if the mentality of showing off is not relinquished, one cannot develop supernormal abilities, nor can one's Celestial Eye be opened, because these sacred and supernatural phenomena do not exist for you to show off with.
More seriously, if one lets the mentality of showing off run wild, one even will damage Dafa, go against Dafa, and ruin one's opportunity that only comes once in thousands of years. When one has a strong mentality of showing off, one is irrational, not level-headed, he or she will be easily manipulated and used by demons to do things that damage Dafa. Some people are manipulated by their mentality of showing off, start something new in order to be different, and draw small groups of people to their side. Then they talk nonsense together, and cause harm to themselves and others. There are many examples of this sort, and these lessons have been learned the hard way.
Because the mentality of showing off is so indecent, it become something for a cultivator to avoid at all costs. Also, because it is deeply rooted in the origin of things and has so many connections with other attachments, it is very stubborn. The important thing is to keep a clear head at all times, suppress those thoughts of showing off and not let oneself be manipulated by them. In the meantime, dig deeper to try and find the cause of developing this mentality and get rid of it from the root. Once you relinquish the mentality of showing off, the rest of the related attachments will also be gone. You'll become content and indifferent to fame and gain, and able to reach a higher realm; it almost feels like being reborn. Of course, this is a slow process. It is impossible to get rid of it completely all at once, but when you diligently cultivate yourself, you will naturally get there.
This is my personal understanding, please kindly point out any shortcomings.