Nipping Attachments in the Bud
(Clearwisdom.net) I visited Practitioner A a little while ago, and he told me something that happened recently. He was in frequent contact with Practitioner B, who went to southern China for business. When Practitioner B returned and visited Practitioner A over the Chinese New Year, Practitioner B brought two jars of tea. Practitioner A said, “I am delighted you're here to see me. However, I am not happy to see your gift. We are both cultivators. How can we follow the customs of ordinary people? Practitioner B said that the gift wasn't worth much and it was only a token of his appreciation. Practitioner A said, “It's not a matter of how much it's worth. We don't exchange gifts like ordinary people do. We are together to talk about matters related to cultivation. We share on how to improve on the Fa and how to treat ourselves as cultivators. Although this is not a big deal, let's not let it slide. A small matter could grow into a big problem.” Practitioner B said, “OK, I understand now.”
This story reminded me of a saying, “Nipping it in the bud.” In other words, let's correct a mistake when it is just emerging. Sometimes practitioners do not care about small details [and they turn into big mistakes].
For example, Practitioner C went to Practitioner D's house to work on a project. When they were finished, it was nearly noon. Practitioner D invited practitioner C to have lunch together. At first, C rejected the offer. But after D insisted, C stayed for lunch. The next time, they had lunch together without even the exchange of common courtesy. As time went on, C visited often, even when there was no project to work on. He would just chat for a long time. Practitioner D had to treat him as a guest and offer him meals. Sometimes they would order a couple of dishes from a restaurant, sometimes from a market. This wasted Practitioner D's time and money.
In another case, Practitioner E went to Practitioner F's home over the dinner hour. F asked E to stay for dinner, which E agreed. The meal was delicious, and E praised F for her cooking. F offered some food to take away, and E ended up going home with more food.
Practitioner G went to Practitioner H's home to work on a project. While Practitioner G was leaving, Practitioner H harvested some vegetables from his home garden and offered them to G. At first, Practitioner G turned down the offer. Practitioner H said, “These are produced here and not worth much money. Take it!” Thinking that the vegetables were “not worth much money,” Practitioner G accepted, feeling at ease.
When we talked about these “small” things, some practitioners said, “We are all practitioners. Why are you so trivial? Let's not be too rigid.”
Master said, “he is full of great aspirations while minding minor details.” (“Sage,” Essentials for Further Advancement) This is something that every practitioner must strive to meet. Even ordinary people know that minor details could derail a person. Shouldn't Dafa disciples' standards be even higher? I have read a few stories in “Minghui Weekly” that addressed this point. As a Chinese saying goes, “Ant holes could cause a great levee of a thousand miles to collapse.”
The first example is a female practitioner who lived on a tight budget. Her husband was an ordinary person and bed-bound due to illnesses. Her daughter was in high school. Every month, she only made 600 yuan to support her family. However, the practitioner was not held back by her situation. Despite her busy schedule and tremendous difficulties, she tried to find time to clarify the facts and persuade people to withdraw from the Chinese Communist Party. She also handed out other materials. Her fellow practitioners saw her hardship and collected nearly a thousand yuan to give to her. At first she turned it down. However, after the practitioners insisted, she accepted the money. This became a monthly routine. As time went on, she accepted the money willingly. Sometimes she even felt slighted if the money was less than usual. Later, she quit her job, because the money collected amongst practitioners was more than her salary. Now she only stays at home to take care of her husband and family. She stopped clarifying the facts as well.
Another example is a practitioner who was forced to leave his home. He was in his 30s and made materials at a materials center. At first, this practitioner was doing well. He downloaded, printed, and assembled fact-clarification materials all by himself. He also studied the Fa whenever he could, and set high standards for himself. He ate meals offered by other practitioners and wore clothes given by other practitioners. Initially, he didn't care what he received. However, gradually, he slacked off in his cultivation. He felt it was too lonely to work at the materials center all by himself. He became picky about his food and clothes, and thought that what was given to him was not good enough. He used money given by practitioners to go to restaurants and buy name-brand clothes. In the end, he stopped studying the Fa. He started watching pornography, and his loopholes were exploited by the evil; he was illegally arrested.
Of course each practitioner carries some responsibility for the interference and persecution that happened to him or her. However, other practitioners also have partial responsibility.
When the practitioner became reliant on money from other practitioners to make a living, we should immediately have cut off financial support to her, so that she could be self-sufficient.
When the other practitioner began caring about food and clothes, we should not have continued to give him money, which he used to go to restaurants and buy fashionable clothes. Instead, we should have studied the Fa and shared with him. We should have encouraged him to study the Fa more, be more diligent, and do well the three things Dafa disciples should do. If a practitioner could realize he deviated from the Fa, and correct himself, perhaps the evil interference and persecution would not happen.
An old saying goes, “It's a sin to steal a pin.” Even people of the ancient times knew to mind small details. Master said,
“At first, because he was pretty good, maybe he’d turn down the money and gifts that people tried to give him for his healings. But he couldn’t resist the contaminating force of the big dye vat of ordinary people. The reason being, the people who did reverse cultivation like that hadn’t truly cultivated their character, and so it was hard for them to keep up their character. Slowly the person would start accepting small tokens of appreciation, then gradually he’d start to accept bigger things, and finally he wouldn’t settle for anything less than what he had in mind. In the end he’d complain, 'What’s the point of giving me all this stuff? How ’bout money!' And he wouldn’t let it go if people didn’t give him enough money.”
(Zhuan Falun, The Third Talk)
Dafa disciples are cultivating amongst ordinary people. Ordinary people's bad thoughts are polluting us. Their notions are controlling us. There are also many other things that are interfering with us. If we don't break through them, it is easy to deviate from our cultivating paths. Breaking through these bad things is also cultivation. We need to pay attention to small things in order to eliminate our attachments. At the same time, practitioners should share on the Fa more and financially support each other less.
If a practitioner is having financial difficulties, conflicts at home, or problems at work, that is the path the practitioner needs to walk. That is a part of Master's arrangement and tests for the practitioner. (A part of it could also be interference and persecution by the old forces. It's up to the practitioner how to understand the situation and do well.) If we have too much sympathy, or try to help him or her from an ordinary people's perspective, then we not only do not help him or her, but also are encouraging his or her attachments. This could in turn cause more interference and persecution. Are we doing something good or bad? Are we helping or hurting our fellow practitioners?