We Should Focus on the Strengths of Fellow Practitioners
(Minghui.org) Two fellow practitioners in my area passed away recently from apparent diseases. One of them, practitioner A, worked closely with me years ago during our truth clarification efforts. He was only in his forties, and fellow practitioners all felt great pity when discussing this matter. The practitioner's death alerted us that there must be loopholes in the cultivation of our whole body, so we reflected on where we had fallen short.
When the persecution of Falun Gong began in 1999, fellow practitioner A risked his life and overcame financial difficulties in order to gather persecution information and send it overseas. For over ten years, he was steadfast in Dafa and refused to be intimidated by the persecution. He later moved to another city for employment, but then began focusing on material pursuits, and eventually slacked off in his cultivation.
I felt that he was no longer behaving like a cultivator. However, instead of communicating with him about Fa understandings, I kept my distance and turned a cold shoulder whenever I saw him. I must have hurt his feelings. I didn't even visit him in the hospital when he got sick. I deeply regret not helping him break through his tribulation with righteous thoughts. I had instead treated him with my human mentality, which showed that I hadn't cultivated very well. I made a mistake that can never be righted.
I now see my own arrogance, which is something that I must eliminate. I thought that I had a better understanding of the Fa than others, and lost my humility.
Master taught us,
“Each person has his own realizations and feelings about things. So it’s unlikely, when encountering something, that everyone will understand it in the same way, approach it in the same way, or handle it in the same way. It’s highly unlikely. That is because people have different ways of thinking and the origins of one’s thoughts are complex.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2013 Greater New York Fa Conference”)
“A cultivating human being is not a cultivating god, and everyone makes mistakes in the cultivation process; the key is how you deal with them.” (“My Version of a 'Stick Wake-up'” from The Essentials of Diligent Progress Vol. III )
According to Master's teachings, judging fellow practitioners based on our own criteria is not in accordance with the Fa. A cultivating individual possesses a human mentality, which is why one has to practice cultivation. We need to find our own faults. We should also clearly understand that other practitioners' problems are cues for us to examine ourselves and find where we need to improve.
The test of validating the Fa or validating oneself recurs throughout cultivation. If we choose to validate the Fa, we won't put much emphasis on ourselves. How we treat fellow practitioners' shortcomings will indicate whether we behave based on our attachments, or the Fa.
Those who behave based on attachments may also claim that they make judgments according to the Fa, but they are actually looking for others' faults and validating themselves. On the other hand, those who cultivate based on the Fa look inward for their own faults and correct themselves, instead of judging fellow practitioners based on their own standards. Everyone is limited by his or her cultivation level and heart nature. It is impossible to have uniform understandings of things. We should look at the strengths of our fellow practitioners, as this is a step towards improving ourselves.
When we notice others' shortcomings, we first need to ask ourselves why we happened to notice them. Was it because we have attachments ourselves, such as looking down upon others, being irritable or arrogant, picking on others' faults, or being afraid of going through tribulations? Isn't this a good opportunity to eliminate these attachments? We validate the Fa only when we are cultivating ourselves, denying the old forces' arrangements, and helping Master save sentient beings. This is what Master has asked us to do.
Focusing on others' shortcomings is not being compassionate. It blocks communication between practitioners and pleases the old forces. The old forces will then take advantage of the situation, giving us tribulations and creating unnecessary obstacles for our cultivation. Focusing on our own strengths and others' shortcomings also exposes an underlying attachment to competition.
I now remain alert whenever I notice the shortcomings of fellow practitioners. I warn myself that cultivation is serious, that this is precisely the time to cultivate myself and eliminate my own attachments. After gaining a deeper understanding of the Fa, I realized that seeing the strengths of fellow practitioners creates a good cultivation environment and promotes improvement as a whole. This is what Dafa practitioners must do in the Fa-rectification period. It is the only way that we can cooperate well with each other and form a powerful group to validate the Fa and save sentient beings.
It is so important to know that we are one unified body. The problems of other practitioners are also our own, so we can't ignore them. We must work together to stop the persecution and fulfill our mission.