(Minghui.org) While helping other practitioners overcome their sickness karma, I noticed a common problem: They have trouble accepting criticism. This issue prevented them from improving in cultivation. Master talked about this issue as well.

I'd like to share my understanding here.

Some practitioners were going through sickness karma for a long time. As soon as others pointed out their problem(s), they immediately made excuses or shifted to other topics to prevent them from saying anything further.

The problem lies with both parties. One party (A) thought that he pointed it out for the benefit of the other party (B) and expected B to be grateful. But A disregarded how B felt and did not listen to B for his true thoughts. When B did not accept it, A thought that B was not reasonable, and thus A felt he was not appreciated. A did not put himself in B's shoes. A was opinionated and imposing his own standard on B. On the other hand, B felt he was not respected and misunderstood.

Master said:

“Others can’t say a critical word about him, he can’t take any criticism, and even if he does something wrong he won’t hear a word of it. How could that work, though? How is that being a cultivator? Even if you are doing Dafa things or things to save people, you still must be a cultivator in the process. You can’t go about them as ordinary people. And with some people, it’s even to the point that if they do something wrong and others kindly point it out, they make excuses for themselves. As soon as their error comes up they try to explain it away, telling bald-faced lies and trying to find some external reason for it. Is this kind of behavior, which is beneath even ordinary people, befitting a Dafa disciple? Cultivators must be able to accept others’ criticism, and this is set forth in the book. Then there are some students who shift the blame, trying to attribute whatever problem comes up to this or that reason. And if there really isn’t any reason, they’ll make one up (everyone laughs), saying things like, “You don’t realize what the situation was at the time.” And then they carry on with some nonsense or other. (Everyone laughs) And that’s the lighter of the problems, no less. In the more severe cases, the person won’t have any part of it whatsoever. Do you know how gods look at you in these instances? The old forces will remember you for it as soon as that happens, with your performance at that time becoming a handle for them to latch on to. What’s in store for you is trouble, then. When your xinxing doesn’t measure up in this regard, it will spell big trouble for you. Watch out.” (“Fa Teaching Given in Manhattan”)

It is difficult to pass a tribulation caused by sickness karma when one cannot take criticism and remains that way for a long time.

It seems that one reason a practitioner cannot take criticism or takes it superficially—while in his heart he does not accept it or rectify it—is that he cannot face his shortcomings. If he accepted that his suffering in past decades originated from his poor xinxing and is retribution from karma of his past life, it means he denied that he himself is a good person.

It seems painful for him to acknowledge this. He might not have somebody to talk to in the future. Dafa practitioners are walking on the path toward godhood. What a practitioner has in his mind differentiates whether he is a practitioner or an ordinary person.

Master said:

“...and don’t emphasize who’s right and who’s wrong. Some people are always stressing that they’re right, but even if you are right, even if you’re not wrong, so what? Have you improved on the basis of the Fa? The very act of using human thinking to stress who’s right and who’s wrong is in itself wrong. That’s because you are then using the logic of ordinary people to evaluate yourself, and using that logic to make demands on others. As gods see it, for a cultivator to be right or wrong in the human world is not important in the least, whereas eliminating the attachments that come from human thinking is important, and it is precisely your managing to eliminate those attachments rooted in your human thinking as you cultivate that counts as important.” (“Fa Teaching Given in Manhattan”)

How does one get rid of this attachment? First, I think he has to face this phony self image courageously and separate his true self from it. This is the first step in cultivating “Truthfulness.” It is an attachment to recognition and being liked, which is a kind of sentimentality. In order to get more people to like him or to avoid being criticized, he will form a habit of lying and covering up, shifting responsibility to others, and only showing his good side to others. In order to maintain a good reputation, he will lose his basic judgment for good and bad. He will support whoever is good to him, even if this person is immoral. And he will reprimand whoever is not good to him, even if this person holds moral principles.

Driven by strong sentimentality, people will do many bad deeds. Nowadays people cannot discern good and bad and do not have basic moral standards. Many ordinary people fall because of the strong sentimentality. If a practitioner cannot let it go, it can become the biggest hindrance to his cultivation.