(Minghui.org) Recently, I've often felt unsettled when I talked to fellow practitioners. Although sometimes I didn't argue with them and seemed rather friendly on the surface, I didn't really agree with what they said and felt they were simply boasting.

I've also had some small conflicts with a few practitioners that I have a lot of contact with. I didn't wish to talk to them or see them again afterwards.

I felt there was something wrong with me, but what was it and why did I feel this way?

I remember it wasn't like this between practitioners before the persecution began. At that time when practitioners gathered together, we all liked to hear each others' sharing. We also weren't as picky, whether the practitioner's understanding was correct or not. It truly was a peaceful group.

Now when we discuss something, everyone talks about his or her own understandings. Plus, our conflicts have increased. It seemed to me that everyone thought their own enlightenment was the most correct. Is this “becoming mature” in cultivation?

One day, several practitioners mentioned that another practitioner from our area had had a negative impact on practitioners and non-practitioners. They said, “What will happen to such people?” Everyone began to talk about their own understandings on this matter, like doctors giving advice to a patient. Someone said this, and others said that. Everyone had their own thoughts, and they all thought their own understanding was correct.

While they were talking, I was thinking to myself, "I don't approve of what they are saying. My understanding is different from all of theirs. However, if I speak up, I might hurt the feelings of some of the practitioners." (You see, I was trying to protect myself as well.)

There was one thought deep inside me: “None of their understandings is correct, and none of them have talked about the essential nature of it. Only my own understanding is right and consistent with the Fa.”

That thought was controlling me, and many things I've done were because of that thought. Even on some very small matters, my human thinking and attachments were all controlled by that thought deep inside me.

What was it? Now I finally see it clearly, it is “Self.” As long as it exists, it controls everything on the surface.

When talking about how lives from the old universe looked at Fa-rectification, Master said:

“That is why they're thinking, 'Since this matter involves us, how could we let you do whatever you want with us? I, like others, have countless sentient beings, and I too want to try to be chosen.'” (“Teaching the Fa in the City of Los Angeles”)

When I first read this paragraph, I couldn't understand why a being at such a high level would have such thoughts? How could beings who had such thoughts be at such a high level?

Now I realize that, no matter how high a life is, as long as it carries the notion of “self,” it will make others feel uncomfortable. Only when we completely relinquish this “self” can we truly display the magnificent and grand beauty at that level.

After I enlightened to this, my heart suddenly became very light. When I sent righteous thoughts again, I included one thought: “Completely eliminate the layers and layers of selfishness within myself. Let every particle of me, from the most superficial to the most microscopic, assimilate to Truth-Compassion-Forbearance unconditionally.”

Later on when I had different opinions from fellow practitioners, I thought, “I won't compete for that 'self' again. When we have different opinions, it's not to have practitioners assimilate to my understanding, it's to let everyone's understanding assimilate to Truth-Compassion-Forbearance through sharing. Everyone has different understandings at different levels--what's the use of arguing?”

Because of that “self,” I've made several major mistakes in cultivation. When I had a xinxing test, I always wanted to argue with practitioners about who was right or wrong on the surface. Actually, it's far from satisfactory just to look at the surface. What's more important is rooting out the “self” that is hiding deeply within ourselves. Every human thought, every attachment, and every unrighteous action all have deep connections with that “self.”

The most difficult part for me isn't the lack of courage to cultivate away that “self,” but sometimes it's the inability to recognize the manifestations of that “self.” Only by following Master's requirement to “consider others first, so as to attain the righteous Enlightenment of selflessness and altruism” (“Non-Omission in Buddha-Nature” from Essentials for Further Advancement), am I truly becoming mature in cultivation. Only in that way can I better fulfill my prehistoric vows.