Recognizing and Eliminating Selfishness
(Minghui.org) Being selfish creates a habit of thinking in a certain way – it makes us see others' shortcomings clearly, but it makes it difficult to detect our own. It also makes us think that we are right and others are wrong. Our selfish mentality makes it difficult to recognize our selfishness.
I once discussed distributing informational materials about Falun Dafa and the persecution with another practitioner, who is also my neighbor. She told me not to distribute the materials in our neighborhood, since many were already doing it.
We then talked about the surveillance cameras in our district. She said that she did not notice any cameras when she distributed materials in our area. I thought that the reason she did not want me to distribute materials in our neighborhood was because she wanted to.
The practitioner did not think about what she said. If I were her, I probably would not have noticed the selfish thought either. On the surface, she did not want to waste any materials, but maybe it was also for her convenience.
On another occasion, a practitioner had purchased a batch of paper that was of poor quality. It jammed her printer. She was afraid of ruining her printer; so she asked if my printer would have the same problem. I thought she was just going to give me some papers to try, but instead she gave me the entire batch.
The papers jammed my printer as well, and I wasted a lot of time. I was very upset and thought that the practitioner was being selfish. I did not want to quarrel; so I waited until I had calmed down, before approaching the subject.
The practitioner said she did not think much about it. She thought my printer was better; so she gave me the papers, hoping that I would not have the same issue.
Each practitioner's selfishness was so obvious to me in these two incidents. I then brought my attention back to myself. Have I clearly seen my selfishness? Even if I did, I was never this upset. I was the selfish one, so why was I blaming others? This was a great opportunity to eliminate my selfishness.
“I’ve often said that whenever you come across a problem, you should take a look at yourself first. Even if a problem has nothing to do with you, when you see it, you should still search inside yourself. I’d say that then nothing can stop you from advancing on your path.” (Teaching the Fa at the Assistants’ Fa Conference in Changchun)
Very often, selfishness will make us reluctant to look within, and it can interfere with our main consciousness.
Seeing Others in Conflict
A practitioner complained about another practitioner she worked with. I agreed with her and comforted her.
“...when a conflict arises between two people and it’s seen by a third person, even the third person should think to himself, 'Oh, a confrontation is happening between them, so why is it that I was there to see it? Is it because I have certain attachments? Is it because I have that kind of problem as well?'” (Teaching the Fa at the Fa Conference in Australia)
When we come across someone else's problem, we should also look inward unconditionally. The things that we cannot tolerate about others are the things we should avoid doing. We should ask ourselves if we have a similar problem.
When we notice others' shortcomings and do not search within ourselves, how can we eliminate our selfish thoughts? We could stubbornly think that we do not have those attachments and insist that it is the other person's fault. But this kind of thinking can cause us to miss an opportunity to eliminate our attachments. It could also create gaps between practitioners.
I now appreciate the magical tool of looking within even more. It helps us get rid of our attachments, and prevents barriers from forming between practitioners.