Cultivating Truth-Compassion-Forbearance Simultaneously
(Clearwisdom.net) I have been troubled by an issue for a long time. Sometimes I noticed problems that fellow practitioners or a particular team had, and I thought that my understanding of the Fa was correct and that I should point out the problems. However, after I did so, the result was not that good, especially when others felt that they were criticized. Therefore, I didn't speak up much anymore. But I know that silence may not be the best solution.
When I studied the Fa recently, I realized that I might have seen the core of the issues, but something was missing in my communication.
“Dafa is in perfect harmony: If one separates the three characters of 'Zhen-Shan-Ren,' each still fully contains Zhen-Shan-Ren. This is because matter is composed of microscopic matter, which is in turn made up of even more microscopic matter—this goes on and on until the end. Therefore, Zhen consists of Zhen-Shan-Ren, Shan consists of Zhen-Shan-Ren, and Ren also consists of Zhen-Shan-Ren.”
(“A Brief Explanation on Shan” in Essentials for Further Advancement)
I realized my problem. Even though what I said was true, and I was honest, my “truthfulness” lacked compassion and forbearance. Truth is also composed of Truth-Compassion-Forbearance. If my truthfulness didn't have sufficient compassion and forbearance, then it must not be the real pure and selfless truthfulness.
I reflected on my motivation of making “truthful” remarks. Was it for others to endorse me or to genuinely help others? Maybe both, but it wasn't pure. My “truthful” remarks were mixed with many selfish notions such as complaints, criticism, self validation and imposing my own views on others, especially when I thought I was so right, or I was too anxious to complete the project or just wanted to vent.
Sometimes I would think: “What's wrong with speaking the truth? Even if he is not happy to hear it, I still have to say it because this is the truth!” As if when truth is on my side, I could bomb others with cannons. Such “truth” won't help and may even hurt.
Master said in “Clearheadedness” in Essentials for Further Advancement:
“I have not only taught you Dafa, but have also left you my demeanor. While working, your tone of voice, your kindheartedness, and your reasoning can change a person’s heart, whereas commands never could!”
Even if a certain principle is right, it is only one aspect. When “truthfulness” lacks enough compassion and forbearance, and I am not considerate and lack generosity, I am just a frank person in the ordinary society. It is far from the “truthfulness” in the principles of the Fa. Therefore, I remind myself, have I considered others before I make a remark? Have I considered if the other person can take it? When it's hard for others to take, it's better that I don't say it out loud. No matter how kind the intention is, if the approach is not right, I may achieve bad results with good intentions. When my remarks carry compassion and my words are gentle, others can listen to my “principles.”
Compassion also contains truthfulness and forbearance. Sometimes we appear to be friendly with each other, but not in our hearts. Sometimes remarks sound very considerate. However, after several twists, personal calculations surface. Master mentioned this in “Teaching the Fa at the Meeting with Asia-Pacific Students:”
“On the other hand, a very small number of students are like this: on the surface they're kind to others, but what they say carries a lot of their own factors, even factors that irk others. But on the surface what they say is plenty gentle. That's being slick and fooling people, and it's absolutely not the state that a Dafa disciple should have.”
In short, when we cannot be truly kind, it's because we are selfish. Dafa disciples' kindness should be the manifestation of our returning to our true selves and based on our understanding of the truth of the universe. Kindness should come from the heart. Otherwise, the kindness is not true kindness because it has selfish motives.
To be truly kind, one has to also be tolerant and treat everyone the same. It's easy to be kind to nice people. It's not easy to be kind to unkind people. When Buddha Milerepa imparted the Fa to his aunt who once harmed him, his aunt kept mocking him. However, he continued his efforts and overcame his dislike of his aunt. In the end, she changed.
Master said in “Fa Teaching at the 2009 Washington DC International Fa Conference:”
“And that is what compassion means--not some intentional display, show of human preference for this or that, or an instantiation of, 'If you're good to me, then I will be shan toward you.' It is offered unconditionally and has no thought of reward--it is fully for the sake of sentient beings.”
The real kindness is selfless and completely for others.
Forbearance also contains truth and compassion. Master said in “What is Forbearance (Ren):”
“To endure with anger, grievance, or tears is the forbearance of an everyday person who is attached to his concerns. To endure completely without anger or grievance is the forbearance of a cultivator.” (Essentials for Further Advancement)
To endure without anger or grievance requires great compassion and no attachment of one's own loss and gain. When tribulations arise, Dafa disciples step up to the challenge and can withstand great difficulties. This is because of the indestructible righteous thoughts based on the Fa.
At the same time, our forbearance is not passive. It contains the elements of being responsible for sentient beings and Dafa. Sometimes, when a few individuals are off the Fa but quite dominant, some practitioners become passive. Some say: “Isn't cultivation about cultivating oneself? Let's look inward. There's no need to fight for anything. We should be compassionate to fellow practitioners.” It sounds right, but I don't think this is true forbearance. This is handling conflicts passively, avoiding responsibilities and dodging responsibilities. We need to be aware of the consequence of such “forbearance.” It may cause losses to saving sentient beings.
“Forbearance (ren) is not cowardice, much less is it resigning oneself to adversity.” (“Beyond the Limits of Forbearance” in Essentials for Further Advancement II)
Our forbearance should be based on Fa-rectification cultivation, not for ourselves. We cannot place individual cultivation above being responsible for the Fa. Dafa disciples should be responsible for righteous factors and correct any unrighteousness.
In addition, Master mentioned in many lectures that Dafa disciples have an issue of not being able to handle criticism. When one has an omission, and one doesn't admit it even if it's pointed out, this is being untruthful. Not being thankful to others' reminders and even talking back is not kind. Losing one's temper immediately after others' reminder is not forbearance. Unable to handle criticism is a state opposite to the characteristics of the universe. If we cannot correct this problem, how can we claim that we are practicing Truth-Compassion-Forbearance?
Above is my shallow understanding of the Fa. Truth-Compassion-Forbearance is the Fa of the universe and is boundless and most profound. Please kindly point out anything inappropriate.