The Key to Eliminating Distance between Practitioners Comes from Within
Greetings, our great compassionate Master!
Greetings, fellow disciples!
I would like to take the opportunity of the 8th Internet Experience Sharing Conference for Falun Gong practitioners in China to share my experiences of cultivating my xinxing with fellow practitioners. I would also like to express my sincere respect and gratitude for our revered Teacher!
Before I started practicing Falun Gong, I was a highly competitive person. I require myself to follow my conscience, but I also insisted on getting ahead of others in everything. I applied my personal standards and values not only to myself, but also others. I looked down on and resented everyone. As I grew older, I became increasingly set in my notions. For many years after I started practicing Falun Gong, I still did not realize how much my standards had obstructed my cultivation practice. The old forces have repeatedly taken advantage of a loophole by arranging their tests, but I was still blind to my problems.
My daughter had been intolerably rebellious since she was little. All of my education failed. I had hoped that she would grow out of it, but she turned worse. I gave up hope. I was afraid of criticism and sarcastic comments. However, what I feared the most was what came to be. A fellow practitioner blamed my daughter's behavior on my poor cultivation. A woman told me that she would not believe Falun Gong is good until it rectified my daughter. I became all the more defeated. For years I dared not clarify the truth about Falun Gong before friends or acquaintances.
With the help of a fellow practitioner, I finally realized that the root cause had been my personal standards in the past few decades of my life. Such standards originated from my desire for people's good opinion of me. It was vanity. My standards had prevented me from assimilating to Dafa. I finally realized the danger of being attached to fame and remembered what Teacher said about fate. Then I started to disintegrate my attachment to fame repeatedly with my righteous thoughts. I wanted to disintegrate the desire for praise. After a while, I felt lighter and more energetic. When asked about my daughter, I was able to answer calmly. After a while, people stopped asking about my daughter as though they had forgotten about it completely.
Yet I had only identified the problem on the surface. I didn't realize the root cause at a deeper level. Hence, the old forces would not leave me alone. I ran into trials and tribulations repeatedly. I started to have conflicts with fellow practitioners. I was forced to learn from my lessons and look for the root cause.
A fellow practitioner from another city and I had a conflict. From my perspective, she did not have any manners and stabbed me in the back. I thought she had a filthy heart. I thought she was cold and ugly inside. I was heartbroken. I even lost faith and courage to continue practicing Falun Gong. But I did not realize that I was just another person when I failed to evaluate things as a cultivator. When I do not behave well as a cultivator, I am not even considered a good person based on conventional standards. I saw a brief moment of her and passed an immediate judgement. I even thought the so-called cultivator's compassion was but a beautiful myth. I was sad and pessimistic. If I should become like her, I would only bring a bad name to Dafa. Why don't I just give up now? At least I can be a good person based on conventional standards.
I finally woke up because of Teacher's compassionate hints. I re-evaluated my own cultivation state. I asked myself, "I have benefited directly from practicing Falun Gong. I have repeatedly witnessed the mighty virtue of Dafa and the mighty power of Teacher. Why do I doubt Dafa because of one problem?" Teacher said,
"At a certain point in time, you will be made unable to discern clearly whether something is true, whether your gong exists, whether you can practice cultivation and make it, or whether there are Buddhas and if they are real. In the future, these situations will surface again to give you this false impression and make you feel as though they do not exist and are all false—it is to see whether you are determined. You say that you must be firm and sure-footed. With this determination, if you can indeed be firmly resolute at that point, you will naturally do well because your xinxing will have already improved. But you are not yet that stable at the moment. If you are given this tribulation right away, you will not be enlightened to it at all, and neither will you be able to practice cultivation whatsoever. Tribulations may take place in different respects." ("Your Mind Must Be Right" in Lecture Six of Zhuan Falun)
I was shocked as I repeatedly studied the above passage of the Fa. I was in agony because of my personal stubborn standards. When a demonic tribulation occurs, these "standards" jump out first to lull me and to make me forget about the Fa. I was under their manipulation to act like a non-practitioner. These standards are at an everyday person's level, and nothing compared to the Fa's standards. As a cultivator, I must purge everything that does not comply with the Fa. I realized I had not evaluated the situation from the Fa or conducted myself as a cultivator. It was not the fault of the fellow practitioner. I have learned from this experience that I must purge the notion of a "good person" from a conventional standard. It is more important for me to have faith in Dafa. It took only trivial tribulations for me to doubt Dafa. This showed that I did not believe in Dafa fundamentally. What kind of a cultivator am I? I was ashamed of my cultivation state.
Although I rectified my attitude towards my cultivation, the old notions continued to manipulate me. Those stubborn notions often surfaced to disturb me and led me to question when those selfish fellow practitioners that have been cultivating at the speed of a turtle will purge their selfishness. As I studied the Fa more, these stubborn notions lost their place to hide. I soon purged the notion that some fellow practitioners would never be able to enlighten to certain levels of the Fa or the determination to do so. Yet these notions appeared to be so puny and weak when I exposed them with the Fa.
"The thoughts sent out by some people were really bad, but I didn't look at any of that. I just look at your positive side, and thus I can save you." ("Explaining the Fa During the 2003 Lantern Festival at the U.S. West Fa Conference")
It is a human notion, not a divine thought, to judge whether a fellow practitioner can purge his or her bad side. All the divine beings in the universe respect the Fa. Only a puny human being who does not know how big the universe is would evaluate or even doubt the Fa. On the other hand, one will never be able to see the mighty virtue of the Fa until he or she has developed respect for the Fa wholeheartedly.
"'Seeing is believing; no seeing, no believing.'” This is the view of an inferior person." ("Why One Cannot See" from Essential for Further Advancement)
With this in mind, I realized that I had harbored the view of an inferior person. I did not have faith that the Fa or Teacher is powerful enough to transform a life into a good one. I did not have enough faith! When I finally enlightened to the Fa, I suddenly felt relaxed and clearminded. I was filled with respect for the fellow practitioner. For a while, I had cultivated well.
Just when I started to think I was cultivating stably, something else happened. Cultivation, like the growth rings of a tree, has layers. There are attachments in each layer to be purged during one's cultivation. Last year a local practitioner coordinating a project suddenly formed a negative opinion of me and even spoke hostilely before fellow practitioners. Even those practitioners at the scene noticed something was wrong. Yet I continued to chat with her as though I was unaware of the belligerence. They were astonished.
Afterwards some fellow practitioners were upset about the coordinator's behavior and said they wanted to talk to her. But I stopped them. They expressed their sympathy and was glad that I did not take it to heart. The coordinator told another practitioner that she was impressed with my elevation of xinxing. The coordinator also confessed she felt she did not behave well. I told the practitioner that spoke to the coordinator that I was not interested in what happened. I had a lot of important things to do. After a while, I forgot all about it.
One day I ran into the coordinator. I didn't expect that she would immediately mention an article I had written a year ago. She accused me of writing something that was not true and said a fellow practitioner had used me to write something against her. Now I finally realized why she had been hostile towards me last year.
Yet I had no question about the reliability of my article. After all, many practitioners confirmed the facts before I put them in the article. On the other hand, I didn't think she was lying. It was just a matter of different perspectives. After some lessons, I have learned to calm down when a conflict occurs. Whether she was right or not, I would not argue with her. I might not be able to find my loophole right away, but I can at least prevent things from getting worse by keeping calm. I told her sincerely, "If I have harmed you in any way, I apologize to you from the bottom of my heart." She said she was touched by my sincerity. She said she no longer held any grudge against me. She added that she had let it go. Finally, she thanked me for helping her elevate her xinxing level.
I read my article repeatedly, but I didn't find any place in the article about accusing her. I only stated how she regarded the overall cultivation state in the area. Now I felt better.
I didn't have any negative feelings towards her. Yet this issue must have surfaced a year later for a reason. What kind of attachment am I supposed to eliminate? I thought carefully about my conversation with her and noticed that a fellow practitioner's gossip might have made it worse. All of a sudden, I had a negative opinion of the practitioner who had gossiped. I thought of negative adjectives to describe her behavior, such as "two-faced".
Having learned from my previous lesson, I immediately tried to stop thought karma from taking over. I forbade myself from forming negative opinions. Negative thought is a powerful form of thought karma. It came from the Communist Party's culture: once a person makes a mistake, he should be condemned in public. The practitioner gossiping might have made a mistake or made the same mistake repeatedly, but they were merely moments in her cultivation, not the ending. How could I see her as a foregone conclusion? Moreover, I must have created something for her to gossip about. If I had never said anything about the coordinator, how could she have possibly had the chance to say anything to the coordinator? If I had stopped her when she spoke ill of the coordinator in front of me, would she have gossiped about the coordinator? Ultimately, I have a problem to address in my own cultivation. I had thought of confronting the practitioner who had gossiped, but now I am no longer interested. Suddenly, I feel every practitioner is friendly and respectful. We are an invincible one-body and we will not let Teacher down.
We all descended to this world with the faith that the Fa-rectification shall succeed. There is no reason for us to hurt each other because of the tribulations that the old forces have created.
"A long, long time—ten thousand lifetimes of predestination
Dafa, like a thread, strings them together"
("The Path to Divinity is Difficult" from Hong Yin II)
The magnificent Fa-rectification of the universe also illustrates the sacred predestined relationships between Dafa practitioners. Our knowing side knows to cherish the Fa and our predestined relationships. Why do we allow specks of dust to confuse us? All darkness shall disappear in the light of the Fa. Teacher said,
"Since such an immense Fa is being taught in human society, think about how remarkably easy it is to assimilate one person. Let me draw a most simple analogy: If a piece of sawdust drops into a furnace of molten steel, it will vanish in a twinkling. It would be effortless for an immense Fa such as ours to assimilate a person like you, to eliminate your karma, to remove your improper thoughts, and so forth." ("Lecture at the First Conference in North America")
I feel nothing can separate fellow practitioners and me. At least I can say there is no degenerated element in my dimension to conflict with fellow practitioners. Only when I uproot all the stubborn and egocentric notions will I be able to make progress by leaps and bounds in my cultivation and transform myself. I started to do the three things well. When I clarify the truth, the result is a lot better. Even my daily life has become better. I realized the beauty of dissolving into the Fa. I feel the joy and honor of being a Dafa disciple. I feel the happiness and sacredness of basking in the infinite grace of the Fa.
I would like to thank all my fellow practitioners with a steadfast faith in the Fa and Teacher! I would like to thank all fellow practitioners whether I know you or not! Let's cherish our sacred predestined relationship with the Fa! Heshi!