Distinguish One's True Self from False Appearances
(Clearwisdom.net) Recently, bad thoughts, thought karma, and thoughts of disrespecting Master often came to mind. This really worried me, and the feelings these thoughts generated were so painful that I was miserable. I knew that Dafa and Master were the most righteous and holy, truly the best, so why did I often have such bad thoughts?
This situation improved a little through sending forth righteous thoughts, but it did not disappear completely. I was in despair and couldn't find the root cause for it when I looked inward. Then I read an experience-sharing article on the Minghui website (Chinese version of Clearwisdom), titled "Grasp Every Opportunity to Improve Xinxing." The article included the following paragraph:
"I asked myself where my realm was. I suddenly realized and asked myself a question, 'Is it me that is feeling pain so severe it seems as if my bone was being penetrated or my heart was being scooped out?' They are notions and human thoughts that are formed postnatally. They feel unwell. I should not regard them as myself because my true self has assimilated with Dafa. My bad feeling gradually faded. I went to work with a calm and peaceful mind."
Reading it, I realized that those bad thoughts of mine were not from my true self. The postnatal, "false me" was taking advantage of my loophole. Master said, "There is another powerful karma that greatly affects practitioners--it is called thought karma." (Zhuan Falun)
Thought karma has more influence than regular karma. It interferes with one's main consciousness. One will think it is his own thought if one cannot distinguish it from one's true self. This is how one can make mistakes and even be destroyed. The old forces make use of the thought karma to interfere with me, to make me think I am not worthy of being a Dafa practitioner. The effect of such thought karma is almost the same as persecuting practitioners in forced labor camps and prisons. One must always cleanse one's thoughts with the Fa and maintain righteous thoughts all the time.
There are a few local practitioners who fell behind because of it. A fellow practitioner was a reporter with the local CCP newspaper. She had risked everything to appeal for Dafa in Beijing and had a good understanding of the Fa. Later she had contact with someone in Buddhism. She felt that she was worse than they were even after she had practiced Dafa for so many years. She felt she was dirty and not worthy to be a Dafa practitioner. She thought the bad thoughts were coming from her true self and gradually slacked off in doing the three things. Even after our efforts to share our understandings with her, she gradually moved away from fellow practitioners and gave up doing the three things. The truth-clarifying materials that practitioners sent to her last year were still in her place and had not been distributed. The thought karma drew her down.
Of course, everything has a reason behind it. Behind any bad thoughts there must be an imperceivable human thought that provides the dark field for it to exist. I calmed down to think it over. I realized there were many factors behind me, such as the attachment to doing things, a competitive mentality, a need to criticize myself, a show-off mentality, a grudge mentality, a mentality to prove oneself, fear of having disrespectful thoughts of Master, impatience, the mentality of perfectionism, seeking ease and comfort, an attachment to cleaning up attachments, not studying the Fa thoroughly, an unclear main consciousness, no strong righteous thoughts, etc. I also realized that I didn't look inward based on the Fa and with rationality. I always tried to learn lessons and think about things from the negative side. In cleaning up those attachments, I tried to deal with that thought karma forcefully and with ordinary methods, which is also an attachment. Therefore I was unsuccessful in eliminating them by their roots.
"In order to explore this domain, humankind must fundamentally change its conventional thinking. Otherwise, the truth of the universe will forever remain a mystery to humankind, and everyday people will forever crawl within the boundary delimited by their own ignorance." (“Lunyu” in Zhuan Falun)
How can we escape "the boundary delimited by our own ignorance?" First, we must be clear about what is our "true self" versus our "false self." Our "true self" has assimilated with Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance and is wonderful and most righteous. Those bad thoughts are not what we want. We must deny them and not follow them. We must firmly eliminate them and eliminate any human notions behind them. With strong righteous thoughts, we will be able to eliminate those bad thoughts and improve xinxing and thereby do the three things steadily.
Cultivation is extremely serious, especially during the Fa-rectification period. Every Dafa disciple has a great mission to assist Master in Fa-rectification and to save sentient beings.