Handling Others' Shortcomings with Compassion
(Clearwisdom.net) When I noticed some of my mother's shortcomings, or things that she wasn't complying with in regards to the Fa, I always pointed them out and added what my own understandings were on the issue. However, this resulted in reprimands from my mother, and sometimes she even said things like, "I don't need you to supervise me. Cultivate yourself well." This formed a barrier between us. At the beginning, I looked externally and thought that my mother belonged to the category of those who would not take criticism, and could not take it well.
Later, when my mother once pointed out a shortcoming of mine, I felt pretty uncomfortable and did not want to accept it. Like a mirror, my mother let me know what I was like.
Then I looked within myself. Teacher said in "Clearheadedness" (Essentials for Further Advancement):
"While working, your tone of voice, your kindheartedness, and your reasoning can change a person's heart," "...if all a person wants is the well-being of others and if this is without the slightest personal motivation or personal understanding, what he says will move the listener to tears."
I realized that my words were too aggressive. How could I directly disrespect my mother? Didn't I commit a wrongdoing and lose de? My mother thought that, as her daughter, I should listen to her. So when she confronted me with a commanding tone, I did not want to accept her criticism. I felt uncomfortable, and that also showed that I could not take criticism gracefully.
I had intended to help and let her correct herself using the standard of the Fa. Actually, it showed my mentality of wanting to change others, although it was buried too deeply in me to sense. When others' words or actions were not in accordance with my own notions, I indicated that it was not meeting the standard of the Fa, and was selfish, and so on, rather than basing my criticism on compassion and for the sake of others. In fact, I was trying to conceal my own attachment, rather than face it. So, I was unable to meet "your tone of voice, your kindheartedness, and your reasoning," to the standard, much less "move the listener to tears"!
Then, how do we compassionately point out other practitioners' deficiencies and mistakes, and avoid conflicts? I think, first, we should not criticize, place blame, or comment unnecessarily. It's much more important to look within ourselves and make sure that what we are thinking is in accordance with the Fa. We should not use our own personal concepts to judge the situation; rather, we should view them from many points of view, and then use the Fa as the standard for right or wrong. Finally, we should point out their shortcomings with complete compassion and without any selfishness. If we use this method, they may accept what we say. If they do not, and even reject our words, we should forgive them, and not rush forward or justify anything, or the evil might make use of the loophole.
We should leave the time and space to allow fellow practitioners to think and look within. Gradually they will realize what's wrong and correct the problem with regards to the Fa, but only if he is a genuine cultivator. We all would do well to examine ourselves, and ultimately we will form an indestructible entity.