(Minghui.org) In the course of cultivation, Master often arranges circumstances to point out our shortcomings. I'd like to share about one I found rather complex, and which was very beneficial for me to experience.

Over time, I have noticed myself looking down on others. It most often manifested as noticing ways in which others were inferior, in the way they clarified the truth, what they produced for truth-clarification projects, and other ways they carried out various tasks. It has been quite noticeable lately, and I accordingly made an effort to repress this negative train of thought.

I know that Master taught in the Fa that not all practitioners are identical:

Of course, when there’s something that needs to be done in a Dafa project, you should set aside your own things as much as you can to get done what the project needs done. That is the first priority. So you need to cooperate. When completing that task, however, you will bring to it your own manner of handling things, which is a reflection of you walking your own path in cultivation. Master acknowledges this, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s inevitable that each person goes about things like that. It can’t possibly be that you are all the same, as if all cut from the same mold.” (“
Fa Teaching at the 2013 Greater New York Fa Conference”)

Despite knowing this, my mindset of looking down on others persisted, and I was unable to shake loose from it. I figured it was a manifestation of my attachment to showing off, but I wasn't entirely clear in my mind how these thoughts and this mindset were linked to showing off. Usually when I notice something recurring often, I take measures and eventually eliminate it, but here it persisted. I think my lack of clear understanding of the problem resulted in my staying trapped in this state.

One day while talking with my wife, a non-practitioner, she mentioned a news item that was a somewhat sensitive topic in our society, and the information was quite fresh. What she was saying seemed to be true, but was totally unexpected based on what I knew of the issue. Despite it being a sensitive topic, I laughed a bit and told her I found it interesting. She immediately asked me why I was laughing. Given the subject matter, it was strange to laugh about the news that she was sharing with me.

I explained that the news was so far from what I knew and was familiar with, and it amused me that I was so much more ignorant than I expected. At that moment, I came to realize that the root of my reaction to her story was thinking too highly of myself, and that this sense of self was why I looked down on people. I realized, too, that jealousy was involved.

I have considered jealousy to be reliant on other attachments to control a person. If a person has fame, greed, lust, attachment to self, etc., the person can be made jealous of how those desires are being fulfilled by others, or made to be afraid of losing the fulfillment of those things. In the absence of other attachments, my understanding was that jealousy has nothing to latch on to and utilize.

I realized that because of my strong sense of self, I searched for ways in which I was superior to others so that I could feel good about myself and keep my jealousy from being exposed. As a result of finding a flaw in the other person, I did not worry about falling short in other areas, since, in my judgment, whatever shortcoming I found in the other party was sufficient to consider myself superior. This created a vicious cycle in which the attachment to jealousy cleverly hid itself and these other attachments for so long, which caused problems when I worked on various projects. It manifested by my spreading bad things about others whom I thought highly of, in order to make myself look good.

The mannerism of laughing at interesting information or turns of events was a behavioral manifestation of these thought processes. Thinking back, I have displayed this mannerism and therefore had these attachments all my life. In the past, as a non-practitioner, when people asked why I laughed so often at serious things, I was unable to explain it, or I told them that I laughed at everything. I was so greatly surprised and happy to finally understand the root of this habit, to which I had hung on for so long.

In Lecture Seven of Zhuan Falun, Master said,

“This also occurs among true practitioners, for mutual disrespect and not eliminating the attachment to competition can both easily lead to jealousy.” (Zhuan Falun)

In my case, I thought I had abandoned jealousy earlier in my cultivation, but in fact my strong sense of self and superiority led to not respecting others, which was utilized by my jealousy, and allowed it to hide and even strengthen itself.

Now that I understand the underlying reasons and attachments at hand, restraining and controlling myself has been easier. I am so grateful to Master for this opportunity to improve myself.

Category: Improving Oneself