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The Importance of Propriety

November 07, 2014 |   By a practitioner in Anshan, China

(Minghui.org) In ancient times, there was a saying: “Propriety can maintain and safeguard human hearts.” Humans have emotion and sentimentality, but people don't act based on emotion alone nor do they behave without restraint, since propriety serves to control one's thoughts and behavior.

Propriety is also the basis for proper etiquette in human contact—It's the virtue of respecting and honoring others. To some extent, propriety had maintained the moral standards of China, and had kept them relatively high. Since ancient times, China was called “the nation of propriety” and was respected and admired by all.

Since the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) seized power, it has systematically destroyed traditional Chinese culture, and obliterated everything virtuous. Proper etiquette is considered too fussy and old-fashioned nowadays. People do whatever they please and engage in promiscuous behavior which they like to call “openness.” Moral values have fallen so much that they are at the point of collapse. How sad for a nation that was once so magnificent!

Master said in “Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Switzerland:”

“If one wants to be a good person, the criteria that exist in this dimension are: benevolence, loyalty, propriety, learning, trustworthiness, and so on and so forth.”

There was a male practitioner who faced the grave danger of arrest. He could not stay at home and could not find another place to stay. His girlfriend, also a practitioner, wanted him to stay with her. (Please note that homes and apartments in China are not as spacious as in Western countries)

He refused. “I cannot do that; it's not proper nor is it good for you,” he said. I admire the fact that he knew how to behave with the opposite sex, and that he could respect and honor others to such a degree. Many people today might not be aware of this.

A female practitioner told me about her experience in behaving correctly. A male practitioner would often work on projects with her. They would work late and he often became very tired. Sometimes he asked if he could stay overnight.

The first time she refused. It was summer and didn't seem proper. The second time, however, she agreed. How could this happen? He lived in the same city and should have been able to return home no matter how late it was. This was not a common occurrence among practitioners.

As a cultivator, one must restrain oneself. Cultivators can't measure themselves against the current declining moral standard. One has to pay attention to propriety, respecting oneself, and the honoring of others. A cultivator absolutely cannot do anything improper. If we let down our guard, it's very difficult to resist other kinds of temptations.

Most of us Chinese grew up in the CCP culture. There are only bits and pieces of proper etiquette left that we inherited from the elderly. We need to be aware and remind each other of propriety and the proper way to live. Whatever we do has to be righteous, so that people in the future will know what is improper behavior.

We are facing an unprecedented persecution. Sometimes this comes to us in the form of hard-to-detect lures and temptations. It may seem like the “normal or common” way to behave.

The great Tao has no form, Dafa is boundless, and we do not have to leave the secular world to cultivate, but the standard will not be lowered. On the contrary it is even more strict. If one cannot handle oneself seriously and be responsible for one's own behavior, it is extremely dangerous.