(Minghui.org) Master has repeatedly told us to look inward whenever we encounter problems. But many practitioners, including myself, often forget this principle and fail to follow it unconditionally. When we read Master's teachings, we often think we understand the principles. But in daily life, we find it hard to follow them.

I have failed to let go of my attachment to defending myself, even now, after all these years. When conflicts happen, my first reaction is to blame others instead of looking at myself for the cause. This morning after doing the exercises, I suddenly realized that this hidden attachment has hindered my cultivation for years.

In the past, people examined historical figures' bad behavior as an example of how not to act, and a reminder to do better. But today people have forgotten this. During arguments, people blame and attack each other, but few blame themselves. Despite the Dafa principles that require us to unconditionally look for our own problems all the time, many practitioners do not change our old habits.

Master said:

“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 always thought I had a good understanding of this principle, but I still did not internalize it. After I applied this principle to my cultivation I began to feel a big difference.

One day I listened while two practitioners talked. When Ms. Jin [alias] heard herself being criticized, she immediately became defensive and began to argue. I was quite disturbed by her reaction, and began to have negative thoughts about her. At that moment, I suddenly thought: “Why do you have negative thought about others? Isn't this an opportunity to examine yourself?” I began to look for my own shortcomings, and recalled a conflict that involved me.

Practitioner Ms. Wang [alias] and I have had a strained relationship for years. Whenever I heard negative feedback from her, I felt hurt, and began to defend myself. I also complained about her shortcomings to other practitioners. Ms. Jin’s refusal to accept criticism was a mirror reflecting my inability to accept criticism. In complaining about Ms. Wang, I was behaving the same way Ms. Jin did.

Master revealed the secret to elevating our cultivation levels to us, but have we truly treasured Master’s teaching? I have not truly become one with Dafa, and thus my cultivation has been sluggish for years. When others treat us unfairly, whether right or wrong, if we immediately become defensive, we fail to act as practitioners should. But why do we become upset and defensive? The minute we become defensive, we push away a precious cultivation opportunity. Every time we explain and argue to protect our reputation, we bolster our human side.

Others might have indeed wronged you, but are you really that innocent? Behind this self-defense is a strong attachment of self-validation, and pursuit of fame. I was quite shocked when I realized this. I was trying to defend my human reputation, that is not cultivation.

Master said:

“In another dimension, an entity can become big or small. When this thought arrives on this entity, the Buddha statue will have a brain and mind, but it does not have a body. Other people also come to worship the Buddha statue. With this type of worship, they will gradually give it some amount of energy. It will be more dangerous if a practitioner worships it, for this worship will gradually give it energy and enable it to form a tangible body. Yet this tangible body is formed in another dimension.” (Zhuan Falun)

I realized that the old habit of self-defense is like a practitioner worshiping a phony Buddha. With enough energy, the phony Buddha will control our cultivation, and that would be awful.

Many cultivation principles have been ignored by practitioners. Every time we judge who is right and who is wrong using human logic, we fall into a pitfall.

We should pay attention to our thoughts, and not make judgments based on human values. Cultivating ourselves is a process of relinquishing our human mentality, and it has nothing to do with “being fair” on human level.