Eliminating the False Self Using the Principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance
(Minghui.org) Greetings, revered Master! Greetings, fellow practitioners!
I have been practicing Falun Dafa for seven years. Words can’t express my gratitude to our great Master, because He gave me a new life. I would like to share my understanding about the false self in the hope that it can help fellow practitioners in their cultivation.
Master said in Zhuan Falun,
“One should return to one’s original, true self; this is the real purpose of being human.”
But what is the main reason for getting away from our true selves?
Master said in Zhuan Falun,
“Yet as the number of lives increases, a collective form of social relations develops in which some people may develop selfishness and gradually their level will be lowered. If they cannot stay at this level, they must drop down further.”
In my understanding, the main element of this false self is “selfishness.” Master stated that the essence of the old cosmos was based on selfishness, and we must fundamentally let go of it to become beings in the new cosmos.
Life after life, we have shaped our notions and beliefs, and our true selves have been buried with those acquired notions and beliefs. During my cultivation process, I noticed that there are many false selves within me, which control my original true self at different levels of cultivation, and do not allow me to connect to my true self.
“Studying the Fa with attachments is not true cultivation. Yet during the course of cultivation a person may gradually become aware of his fundamental attachments, rid himself of them, and thus meet the standard for a cultivator. What’s a fundamental attachment, then? Human beings acquire many notions in this world and are, as a consequence, driven by these notions to pursue what they yearn for.” (“Towards Consummation” from Essentials for Further Advancement II)
Every time a layer was removed from my false self during cultivation, I found another layer of selfishness at a more microscopic level, and it was harder to identify.
But the recognition of this false self was not so easy, as it places itself in our true self, thinks instead of us, decides instead of us, gets upset when it loses something, becomes happy when it gains, and only thinks about protecting itself. During my cultivation process, I realized that although I was doing the three things, I was unconsciously seeking to validate myself in all that I did.
By further studying of Zhuan Falun, I realized that the solution to eliminating selfishness is accurately examining ourselves with the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance.
Master explained in Zhuan Falun the way for us to return to our true selves,
“If you want to return to the original, true self and move up in cultivation practice, you must conduct yourself according to this criterion. As a human being, you are a good person only if you can follow this universe’s characteristic of Zhen-Shan-Ren. A person who deviates from this characteristic is truly a bad person. In the workplace or in society, some people may say that you are bad, yet you may not necessarily be bad. Some people may say that you are good, but you may not really be good. As a practitioner, if you assimilate yourself to this characteristic you are one that has attained the Tao—it’s just such a simple principle.”
One of the fundamental principles of Falun Dafa is Truthfulness. That is, the first thing is to discern the true self from the false self, and looking inward is a magical tool given to us to discern it. We must first identify who is upset, who thinks he is disobedient, and who fights for competition and favors himself; It's not my real self.
Master said in Hong Yin III:
As cultivator one always looks for one’s own faults Tis the Way to get rid of attachments most effectivelyThere’s no way to skip ordeals, big or small [During a conflict, if you can remember:] “He’s right, And I’m wrong,” What’s to dispute?(“Who’s Right, Who’s Wrong”)
While thinking about this poem, I realized that Master was referring to our false self and taught us how to eliminate it. I then understood why I should always accept from the inside that I am wrong and the other person is right. Because this “me” is in fact a fabricated and false concept that is our biggest obstacle in achieving ultimate perfection, and only in this way can we eliminate our selfishness.
Our true self is at peace with the whole world, and it does not have any conflicts with any being. If you compliment him, he will not be happy, if you disrespect him he will not be upset, and he will always be in absolute calmness and will not ask for anything.
We should thus realize that we are never right with our false self. Of course, it's easy in words, but it was very hard for me to practice in the real world. Very often, with the awareness of this issue, I could not overcome the sense of being treated unfairly. But over time, with persistence in studying the Fa and really wanting, from the bottom of my heart, to eliminate this “false self,” this attachment became less and less, and thanks to Master, I was able to overcome it at a certain level.
Another fundamental principle of Falun Dafa is Compassion. My understanding is that may be one of the reasons why Master repeatedly stated that in everything practitioners do, they should first think about others. By doing so we can act contrary to our selfishness and false self. If we try to become accustomed to this by constantly practicing Compassion in our daily lives, and always consider others first, then our true selves will be able to take control.
Another fundamental principle of Falun Dafa is Forbearance, which is the most important principle in eliminating selfishness.
Master said in Zhuan Falun,
“What is a ‘heart of great forbearance?’ As a practitioner, the first thing you should be able to do is to not fight back when you are beaten or sworn at...”
“Perhaps in the future you may be slapped in the face twice, and you will lose face in front of someone whom you least want to see it. It is to see how you will deal with this issue and whether you can endure it.”
In fact, when we are attacked, severely humiliated, or badly mistreated among ordinary people, our false self becomes very upset and angry, and wants to defend itself and fight back.
But according to the above teachings, Master has shown us the path that is the opposite of selfishness, because our true self cannot be revealed until this false shell is broken away.
In my understanding, the third stage, which is Forbearance, is the most difficult part of eliminating selfishness. Because our false self is alive like karma and resists when we want to eliminate it. And as practitioners we must be careful because the most dangerous stage in cultivation is when our false self is in the process of disintegrating. Because this creature does not want to be destroyed in any way, it will make you angry. At this point, some cultivators are likely to make serious mistakes in cultivation. If we lose our righteous thoughts for a moment and let our false self get control, our level will fall and we will fail this test. Therefore, practicing Forbearance is very necessary.
Master told us the solution in Zhuan Falun,
“Most people, however, can remove and resist it with very strong thoughts from themselves (a strong Main Consciousness). With this, it indicates that this person can be saved and can distinguish good from bad. In other words, the person has good enlightenment quality. My fashen will help eliminate the most of such thought karma.”
Of course Forbearance can have different meanings at different levels. First, we must try to avoid doing wrong. We must then try to avoid saying hurtful words, and ultimately, by taking control of our thoughts and leaving our minds in a state of non-action, we should try not to think about anything or ask for anything.
Master said in Zhuan Falun,
“Monks in the past took these things very seriously, because once one started to think one will create karma. Therefore, they would cultivate ‘body, speech, and mind.’ The cultivation of body they spoke of meant that one would not commit bad deeds. Cultivation of speech meant that one would not talk. Cultivation of mind meant that one would not even think.”
If we can evaluate our every behavior, every word, and every thought carefully in our daily lives, using the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance, we can identify our false self and not allow our main spirit to be controlled by it, so that we can really help Master in Fa-rectification.
The above is my understanding at my limited level. Please point out anything that is inappropriate.
Category: Improving Oneself