Different Manifestations of Sentimentality
(Minghui.org) Sentimentality poses challenges for cultivators and may manifest in different forms. Some of these forms may be easily overlooked by cultivators if our minds are not alert. This article talks about three aspects of sentimentality: taking care of family members, missing lost family members, and discerning the influence of emotions.
Families May Be Traps
Having several generations under one roof is considered a blessing in ordinary society. As cultivators, we treat our family members kindly, but if we devote ourselves to taking care of our families without doing anything else, then it is going to extremes.
Some elderly fellow practitioners try their best to serve their children and grandchildren. They are consumed by cooking for the family, taking care of babies during the day and putting them to sleep at night. In doing this, they exhaust themselves and become too tired to study the Fa, not to mention to clarify the truth.
A fellow practitioner's father was widowed. She had a lot of sympathy for her father. As a result, she cooked all three meals and stayed at her father's place at night to take care of him. She was suffering from insomnia, yet she still took care of her father meticulously. As a result, she was constantly tired.
Surprisingly, her father often picked on her. This practitioner eventually realized that she was too attached to her love of her father. She then told him, “I'm very busy and have tried my best. If you are still unhappy, I will have to come less often.”
Her father changed completely after the conversation. He has been very friendly to her and understanding of her situation. He doesn't need her care every day. As a result, she has more time to do what practitioners need to do.
Cultivators need to gauge the extent they devote to their family members. The right amount of care is appropriate. Cultivators should treat every aspect of life as part of cultivation; we sincerely care for family members and balance family relationships well. However, we need to know that cultivation comes the first and foremost.
Cultivators face daily challenges of discerning which arrangements come from the old forces and which ones are Master's. We have to make choices every step of the way. Master has arranged us to be disciples who help him to rectify the Fa, not to be consumed by family relationships.
Handling the Loss of a Family Member Rationally
According to ordinary people's standards, missing lost family members in sorrow is a reflection of one's love and loyalty. However, in cultivation, this is caused by interference from emotion.
I heard the following story: A mother was very sad over the death of her seven-year-old son. Whenever she thinks about the boy, she visited his grave and cried there. She became pregnant again with another boy soon after he passed away. Unfortunately, the second son died at age seven, too. She missed her two sons deeply and often wept at their graves.
She had a third son, but he, too, died at the age of seven. As she was on the verge of collapse, she met a Taoist. The Taoist told her: “The three sons you had were the same child. He came back to cause tribulations for you because you couldn't get over his death.”
Master told us a similar story of a cultivator and a deer. A cultivator practiced alone. Once he rescued a deer and spent a lot of time taking care of the animal. He gradually slacked off in his cultivation and couldn't purge the deer from his mind after it died.
At the end of his life, he didn't think about his practice; he thought of the deer. As a result, he reincarnated as a deer. He learned this lesson the hard way: His years of cultivation were in vain.
Every cultivator has to face the issue of life and death. Some practitioners can let go of their own life and death, but cannot let go of the death of their family members. They forget that their family members in this life are independent beings who have their own destiny. If their time is up, they will have to depart. Then the predestined relationship in this life is over.
As cultivators, we take care of our family members when they are in pain or sick. However, we shouldn't get stuck in a rut and miss them if they pass away.
What Are Emotions?
To me, emotions are about using one's own standards to evaluate everything. One is willing to lose one's life for something or somebody one likes. However, as for the thing one doesn't like, one may hate it very much. In other words, the standards of emotions are one's postnatal notions. They are not the characteristics of the universe.
Using emotions as standards is in itself wrong. Cultivators absolutely shouldn't use emotional standards to evaluate issues and rely on sentimentality to maintain their lives. In fact, emphasizing emotions is the same as emphasizing human notions and holding on to human things.
Emotions may lead to a cultivator to handle family relations incorrectly. In the ordinary society, we should respect and take good care of our parents and children. However, if we place higher value on emotions than the Fa, then it's dangerous.
A cultivator relies on cultivation as the basis. A good cultivator will prioritize the three things as the most important and balance his family life well. He has the wisdom, ability and ways to deal with things because everything comes from Fa study. The power of the Fa and solid cultivation can help us remove sentimentality.
Master has told us that only by letting go of sentimentality will we have compassion. Compassion is selfless, unconditional, and without pursuit. On the contrary, emotions are easily impacted.
We should know that our family members are those who have a predestined relationship with us. We cannot spoil them and shouldn't ruin our futures for them. If that happened, we wouldn't be doing them any good, either.
At the time of Consummation, when we look back at our family life, isn't it just a drama? If we can clearly know that everything in human society is an illusion and nothing really belongs to us, we won't be affected.