Enlightening to "the Appearance Stems from the Mind" and Cultivating Away Negative Thoughts
(Clearwisdom.net) I have always been a person with a lot of negative thoughts. I always look at the bad side first whenever something happens. For example, when I saw that fellow practitioners still demonstrated strong attachments after practicing cultivation for many years, I was puzzled about why the Fa had not changed them. When I saw the way people reacted to truth-clarification, I wondered why they were still like that after we had worked so hard for so many years. I was puzzled about why I was not able to get rid of the things that I should have gotten rid of before, like constantly being in a poor state or having bad thoughts. When I had problems understanding Fa-principles, I was even more puzzled on why the old questions I used to have when I obtained the Fa still existed.
After feeling confused for a long time, I grew more and more discontent with fellow practitioners and the effect of saving sentient beings. I grew more disappointed in my cultivation state. When I saw the huge difference between the cultivation state of the fellow practitioners reported by Minghui and those I came into contact with, I did not believe that what was reported in Minghui reflected the state of our whole body. When I saw the huge difference between the achievement of fellow practitioners reported by Minghui who had advised people to quit the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its affiliated organizations and that of other fellow practitioners, including myself and those around me, I could not believe the statistics were true. Compared to what was reported by Minghui and what I had personally experienced in clarifying the truth to people, I was not optimistic about getting people to understand the truth.
I began throwing cold water on some of the ways fellow practitioners used to clarify the truth. I criticized this or that. I gradually became disappointed in our whole body and my own cultivation state. I lost confidence in the future of saving sentient beings. Worried that I had lost confidence in the Fa-rectification, I sunk into great despair.
Teacher's new article, "To the European Fa Conference" touched me very deeply. Indeed, for whom do I cultivate? Any external factors in ordinary society made me confused about the future of Fa-rectification. Yet, is it not simply because I did not firmly believe in the Fa. Teacher said in "Teaching the Fa at the 2003 Washington DC Fa Conference,"
"... what's a Dafa disciple? He's a being created by the most magnificent Fa, (enthusiastic applause) and he's rock-solid and as indestructible as diamond. How could a few words from an ordinary, bad person count for anything? 'However evil you are, you can't change me. I simply must accomplish my historic mission, and I must do what a Dafa disciple should do.''"
I was ashamed of my losing confidence. However, I did not realize that it was all because of my having negative thoughts. Afterward, I was greatly inspired by what Teacher said in "Fa Teaching at the 2009 Washington DC International Fa Conference, "
"Even if there have been human attachments involved or factors arranged by the old forces, your starting point has been to validate the Fa, and that's something nobody could change. And for that reason, your endeavors to validate the Fa and save sentient beings have never stalled. When the coordination was poor, you proactively did things on your own; when the coordination was poor on a larger scale, you got things done on a smaller scale; and when the coordination went well, you did things together. So whatever the situation was, you made it through. I hope that going forward you will do a good job with whatever you are supposed to do, and will do so with even greater rationality."
When I first read those words, I did not feel it had anything to do with me. I just thought, "So it doesn't matter whether we coordinate well or not, as long as we do not stop saving sentient beings." But very quickly I stopped interpreting it that way because it looked as if Teacher was giving us a way out when we did not coordinate well. Then why did Teacher still acknowledge us knowing that we did not coordinate well? I realized that Teacher was teaching us to look at things in a positive way. Instead of looking at how poorly we have coordinated and how we have strong attachments, what Teacher sees first is our starting point when we do things and that we have not stopped validating the Fa and saving sentient beings. I felt that Teacher was using the incident to teach us how to look at the positive aspect of things. "Good or evil comes from a person's spontaneous thoughts." (from Zhuan Falun). If we acknowledge the positive side when we clarify the truth and practice cultivation, things will turn for the positive, and vice versa.
In "Fa Teaching Given at the Epoch Times Meeting" Teacher said,
"The bigger you perceive the challenges to be, the harder things will be to carry out, since 'the appearance stems from the mind.' And so the task will become increasingly burdensome. When I say "the appearance stems from the mind," by that I also mean that the difficulty stems from your overstating the importance of the matter itself and seeing yourself in a lesser light."
"If you don't let the evil's interference sway you, bad factors won't arise from you, the evil will become trivial, you will become towering and massive, and your righteous thoughts will be ample. That's truly the case."
It is exactly because I look at the negative side first when something happens, that I always see the negative messages. Those negative messages are no more than the false appearances that are transformed by my thoughts. Then, I am, in turn, led by false appearances and lose confidence in future. It is indeed a vicious cycle.
Looking at negative things first can easily lead to an antagonistic mentality, which is not good for saving sentient beings. In "Explaining the Fa During the 2003 Lantern Festival at the U.S. West Fa Conference" Teacher said,
"If I were to always look at your negative side, how could I save you? The more I looked at it the angrier I'd get, and then how could I save you?"
In "Fa Teaching Given at the Epoch Times Meeting" Teacher said,
"Ordinary people don't know that all of this is encompassed by the expression 'the appearance stems from the mind.' So, put another way, one's own factors can in fact change one's surroundings."
I made up my mind to look at things positively.
I tried to look at the good sides of fellow practitioners and to only look at people's good thoughts. As for myself, I acknowledged my improvement in cultivating in the Fa. In this way I was able to achieve a common understanding with fellow practitioners after a while. My cultivation state changed. Fa-principle constantly demonstrated for me and I was able to do well when I advised people to quit the CCP and its affiliated organizations.
When I saw a surveillance camera on a long-distance bus, instead of becoming mad and stopping my conversation with people, I talked about the fact that they have to pay for the camera and corruption, and eventually persuaded the driver and the bus attendant to quit the CCP and its affiliated organizations. Instead of looking at things negatively or worrying too much, I made good use of many different opportunities to successfully advise people to quit the CCP and its affiliated organizations.
We should not worry too much. We should just do what we are supposed to do and save more people.