My Understanding of Forbearance
(Minghui.org) Master taught us,
“Forbearance is the key to improving one’s xinxing. To endure with anger, grievance, or tears is the forbearance of an everyday person who is attached to his concerns. To endure completely without anger or grievance is the forbearance of a cultivator.” (from “What is Forbearance (Ren)?” in Essentials for Further Advancement).
I knew this was important when I previously read this. But I now realize that my lack of forbearance was the reason my cultivation had not improved.
My wife who is a non-practitioner said recently, “You always say that you want to improve, but you've become more stubborn. You are neither kind nor tolerant. You have practiced for 20 years. Do you think it will take another 20 years for you to improve?”
When she talked about anything else, I could explain my behavior. But I had to admit that I had not done well in this aspect.
I sometimes noticed that other practitioners had shortcomings, but I did not think that my seeing this had anything to do with me. For example, some practitioners might have practiced Taoism and were unintentionally following the Taoist principle of being truthful but they overlooked compassion; other practitioners might have practiced Buddhism and emphasized being compassionate. If a practitioner is not tolerant, it will be hard for him to move forward in his cultivation. In fact, he is not truly practicing.
When I thought about my cultivation I realized that I had missed opportunities to improve because I had not paid attention to being tolerant. Whenever someone disagreed with or complained about me, my first reaction was to defend myself. I also complained about that person, and our relationship became strained. Because I was concerned about maintaining my reputation, I did not express my anger. In other words I was behaving like an everyday person.
A genuine cultivator would have used the principles of the Fa and would think: What did I do or say that made her say these things?
To endure with grievance and tears is placing everyday people's concern about gain and loss first. If a practitioner becomes angry or retaliates, then he is behaving worse than an ordinary person.
When a practitioner knows the principle but fails to follow it then one is not truly cultivating.
Master taught us in “Solid Cultivation,”“Study the Fa and gain the Fa,Focus on how you study and cultivate,Let each and every thing be measured against the Fa.Only then, with that, is it actually cultivation.” (from Hong Yin (The Grand Verses))