The Attachments of Showing-off and Blind Admiration
(Minghui.org) The Minghui editorial “Starting Point” pointed out “some situations” that “have come up at each juncture with different people in various regions.” This reminded me of occurrences in my area.
There are some people who go around sharing their shallow understanding of the Fa or even plagiarize Master's teachings. Yet they are able to confuse some practitioners who blindly admire them. This is exactly what is described in the article “Starting Point.”
“Some have inflated egos and engendered demons in their own minds. Some have idolized and praised others to the point where they have turned into demons, yet they remain unaware that it has happened.”
The editorial further warned us of the danger of not taking cultivation as the starting point – anyone who fails to relinquish his or her attachments to fame, human emotions, and lust will face grave consequences.
I'd like to share my understanding of the issue of a showoff mentality and blind admiration.
Root Cause and Consequences of the Showoff Mentality
I realized a few years back that the root cause is our pursuit of fame and material interests in the human world. Many people entered the door of Falun Dafa cultivation as an escape from the mundane world, where they failed to find success in their work and life.
These practitioners feel that they didn't have a good job or life simply because they were unlucky. They still want to “succeed” in Falun Dafa cultivation and will lunge at any chance to show off their talent and capability. The persecution that began in 1999 only helped inflate these people's egos. They brag about their contribution to the truth-clarification projects and enjoy being idolized by other practitioners.
Some of these practitioners go so far as to think that they are higher than Master, unaware that they are putting themselves in grave jeopardy.
In Explaining the Content of Falun Dafa, Master repeatedly warned us:
“Some people’s attachment to showing off is really obvious. If it develops further, it will damage the Fa and cause some people who haven’t attended the seminars, as well as people at different practice sites, to form some wrong ideas or even to thoughtlessly follow them to do reckless things.”
“If this attachment to showing off develops further it can fuel a person’s pursuit of a certain reputation and selfish gains, because it comes from that—it comes from the pursuit of prestige and selfish gains. If it develops further, people will start to form factions. Someone like this will become the ringleader and tell people: "You have to listen to me! Even Li Hongzhi has to listen to me in everything he does." And the students wouldn’t be able to discern, anyway. That’s what he’d say.”
“I’ve also heard that some students like to visit different practice sites.... But when some people go to some sites, they seem to have the intention of showing off, and they say, 'I know something…' spreading rumors, or they’ll say, 'You don’t know about these things, but I do.' They always want to... they have that tiny little seed of an attachment. They have a little bit of underlying intention to use this Fa to boost themselves. That too is an attachment to showing off. It’s not that they consciously want to boost themselves, it’s not like that. They just have that little bit of intention of showing off. This intention to show off can be quite destructive for a cultivator.”
On comments for “If the Attachment to Showing off Isn't Eliminated, the Danger Is Great,” Master said:
“There is order amidst disorder. All such people have deviated from the Fa as a result of their attachment to showing off. There are always some among our students who wish to display their brilliance, to show how learned they are, or how lofty their realizations are. Sooner or later they get into trouble. The evil websites try to ensnare such people. Cultivation is about removing human attachments, and if one doesn’t earnestly cultivate there will be deviant 'realizations'. As the multitude of gods see it, these people are in a stupor and nonsensical, at once pitiable and laughable; they don’t cultivate in earnest, and are only deceiving themselves. Cultivation rests upon you, gong upon the master. If it’s a case of sand, then it will be sifted out.”
The Danger of Blind Admiration
Practitioners with a showoff mentality are often further pumped up by those who idolize them, but fail to take the Fa as Master. I remember years back, many practitioners couldn't stop gushing at a practitioner who earned two patents after his primordial spirit left his human body and saw something in other dimensions. He was later sentenced to prison.
There was another practitioner who published her experience sharing on the Minghui website, and was widely admired for her firm faith in Dafa. She later died as a result of the persecution.
A third practitioner whom I know went from being a millionaire to a homeless man after he heeded the advice of Li Xupeng (the man mentioned in “Starting Point” as playing the role of a demon) to borrow a huge amount of money to pump into dubious investments. He failed miserably and wasn't able to pay back his debts.
It is clear that blind admiration not only harms the one being idolized, but also does damage to the followers. It is my understanding that only by studying the Fa well can we remove our attachments to showing off and blind idolization.
Studying the Fa Diligently and Looking Within to Identify Attachments
Falun Dafa provides a true cultivation path to heaven. Cultivation during the Fa-rectification period is extremely solemn and difficult. To succeed in cultivation, we should genuinely cultivate ourselves and understand the Fa from the perspective the Fa. In the meantime, we should always look within to see if our thoughts and deeds conform to the Fa standards.
Master taught us the importance of identifying our attachments:
“These problems have already become very serious. It would be good if they could manage to search within themselves for the things that they have been able to find in others.” (“A Dialogue with Time” from Essentials for Further Advancement )
I came to a deeper understanding of the above passage after I was imprisoned for eight months in 2008 for refusing to give up my belief. I learned to look within whenever I heard or saw other practitioners' shortcomings. I knew it must be that there were some impure thoughts on my end that needed to be removed.
When I was arrested again four years later, I enlightened to the fact that my arrest had something to do with my attachment to lust and arrogance, which in turn fueled my showoff mentality. I knew that the old forces had taken advantage of my loophole and sent me to detention again. Through this experience, I have become more attentive and aware of potential pitfalls.
In my view, those who like to show off, along with their followers, have also failed to look within to identify their attachments, just like the way I was a few years back. The old forces may then control them to do Fa-damaging things, such as becoming the above-mentioned speakers who go around misleading other practitioners.
I'd like to remind such practitioners, and myself too, of Master's teachings:
“I hope that Dafa disciples can take the Fa as their teacher, deter interference, and cultivate solidly—this is how a person makes diligent progress.” (“Comments for Republication” from Explaining the Content of Falun Dafa)