Stop Showing Excessive Concern Over Fellow Practitioners’ Manner of Speech
(Clearwisdom.net) By chance, I met fellow Practitioner A, whom I hadn't seen for quite a while. She told me about a certain Fa study group that wasn't willing to let Practitioner B join them in their group study. I asked why, and she explained, “No one wanted to listen to his tone of voice.” I asked, “So you have to see whether what fellow Practitioner B said was within the Fa perspective.” Practitioner A replied, “Who says whether or not it's within the Fa? He's just a bit impatient when he sees that fellow practitioners around him aren't diligent enough.” I am aware of other Fa study groups with similar problems and would like to share my understanding via the Minghui/Clearwisdom website.
Practitioner B is a senior practitioner who retired from a leadership position, and was the supervisor at his factory. The position and nature of his work led him to develop an authoritative tone when he spoke. Though he'd cultivated for many years, his habit was difficult to eliminate. This is not an isolated case in our area. Strictly speaking, although practitioners with these notions may not want to appear authoritative in front of fellow practitioners, their habits formed in ordinary society should be corrected. I think that this isn't just an issue of changing their habits, but is more about improving their xinxing.
I want to focus on the problem of practitioners’ opinions.
“You're a cultivator, so why is it that sometimes you have lengthy arguments where you refuse to give ground? Why do you always say it's because of other people's attitudes? Why is it that whenever someone else says something you're affected? Aren't you supposed to remain unaffected even when someone verbally assaults you?”
“Some people always insist, 'My, how come that person always has such an attitude? Why is he like that with everyone?' And there are some people who say, 'Well nobody thinks too highly of him.' But if you ask me, your master, you're all wrong. When none of you are attached anymore to wanting to hear pleasing things, when none of you are affected when you're insulted, see if he'll still be like that. Exactly because you people have those attachments, there exist factors that hit on your attachments; and exactly because those attachments of yours are stirred up, you get irritated; when all of you have those attachments, the situation where everyone is irritated by the person who hit on their attachments comes about. If you can all keep a calm and steady state of mind while being assaulted by strong words, and you're not at all affected, then see if those factors still exist.” (“Teaching the Fa at the 2004 Chicago Conference”)
We were taught this almost seven years ago, but I think that fellow practitioners (including myself) haven't cultivated away much of our attachments in this respect. Sometimes, we seem to be more self-indulgent, not allowing anyone to even touch upon this topic, not to mention taking them seriously. Even when others pointed out these issues with kindness, we still didn't want to listen.
Particularly, some coordinators have very obvious problems. For example, some of them got really picky about the senior practitioners after they suggested some projects that required overall cooperation to save sentient beings (out of their responsibility for the Fa and for the sentient beings). Instead of being responsible for the Fa and for their fellow practitioners and the overall situation, they made excuses, talking just like a government official. They simply didn't accept their comments or refused to cooperate with them. Some people even said, “Since she suggested the project, she should take the lead for it and not just talk about it.” In fact, this senior practitioner was quietly working in harmony with the coordinator. The coordinators didn't care about the pressure the senior practitioner was under, having been severely persecuted on several occasions. When another practitioner pointed this out, the coordinators didn't look within. Instead, they were upset. As a result, no one dared to step forward and everyone just worried about it.
As cultivators, we understand that when conflicts arise, they are always related to both parties who have attachments that need to be eliminated. Your actions depend on whether or not you want to cultivate, or whether you can actually cultivate. Why care so much about other practitioners’ attitudes and tone of voice? Why don’t we think about whether or not their comments are good and within the Fa? Usually, most people like Practitioner B are short-tempered and only talk directly to the point out of concern for the interests of the whole group. As cultivators, why don’t we use human beings’ reverse principles to look at the issue? Non-practitioners enjoy hearing pleasant things, but practitioners are different.
Some time ago, a lead coordinator visited our area, and we all believed that she cultivated very well. This practitioner was even-tempered and paid attention to her attitude in speaking with other practitioners. No matter what she encountered, she remained calm and clear minded and always spoke to others in a soft voice. As a result, everyone came to her with admiration and relied on her (including myself). After a while, she heard many words of praise and flattery. She didn't treat this as a test to solidly cultivate herself, but instead had attachments. At the beginning of the persecution, she was sentenced to three years in a forced labor camp by the evil Chinese Communist Party (CCP). She was released a year early after she cooperated with the demands of the authorities. After she resumed her cultivation and returned, her fellow practitioners didn't learn this lesson and continued to surround her. It is not surprising that she was sentenced again to a forced labor camp for several years. After she gave in to the authorities and agreed to quit cultivation again, she was released about a year ago. Many other fellow practitioners didn't let go of their sentimentality towards her, and she hasn't come back to us. Fellow practitioners feel very sorry for her, but when we feel sorry, shouldn’t we think about the role we had in it? Isn’t it because of our human attachments that we ruined her?
Cultivation is very, very serious. We definitely need to solidly cultivate ourselves. We shouldn't just pay attention to superficial harmony, like, you're good to me and I'm good to you. How is it possible that we all want others to treat us like divine beings?
“While working, your tone of voice, your kindheartedness, and your reasoning can change a person’s heart, whereas commands never could! (“Clearheadedness” from Essentials for Further Advancement)
We should try our best to continually improve in cultivation. I believe that focusing on superficial harmony and having a pleasant demeanor, or even hiding our strong attachment to fame, are only non-practitioners' notions and tricks. In that way, how can we expose our attachments and get rid of them?
Non-practitioners have a saying: “The sea is able to accept all rivers because it has this capacity.” We are great enlightened beings who will make a universe, so how can we show excessive concern over a fellow practitioner's tone of speech?
“We have said, however, that as a practitioner one should not fight back when being punched or insulted, but should conduct oneself with a high standard.” (Zhuan Falun)
This is a requirement for beginning cultivators, let alone senior practitioners who have cultivated for so many years. Additionally, we aren't being insulted or beaten; they're just a little impatient while talking to us. How can we cultivate if we can't let go of these small trifles? Of course, I am not trying to blame fellow practitioners, since I didn't do well in this respect either. I just wanted to share my understanding with the hope that we can improve as a group and mature as soon as possible, so that we won’t hinder the Fa-rectification process, and Teacher will be more pleased and worry less.