Eliminating the Attachment to Validating Self
(Minghui.org) I would like to share with fellow practitioners some reflections on some of my attachments, in particular the attachment to validating myself. I haven't totally eliminated this attachment, but I have gained a deeper understanding, and achieved some breakthroughs.
Master Li said,
“...the entire cultivation process for a practitioner is one of constantly giving up human attachments.” (Zhuan Falun)
All of us, having gone through reincarnations in the human world for so long, have accumulated attachments and human notions, some of which are so ingrained in our minds that we don't recognize them. Even when they are pointed out to us by other practitioners, we still dismiss them as if they have nothing to do with us.
Fortunately for myself, Master Li kept giving me hints through different methods, including other practitioners, to help me find these attachments and human notions.
Master Li said,
“In the past, cultivators would remove attachments one after another. But in your case, almost all of your attachments remain while they are weakened and lessened one layer at a time, weakened and lessened continually, further and further.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2015 West Coast Fa Conference”)
Master's words clearly point out what is happening to me.
Eliminating Arrogance and Hating to be Criticized
I thought for a long time that I was free of certain attachments, being warm-tempered, and someone who seldom argued with others. When Master Li mentioned that some practitioners are 'set off' by criticism, I didn't think I would act like that. I then realized that this was because I had not been genuinely tested, and that I still hated to be criticized.
Being indoctrinated by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), with everything going pretty smoothly, I gradually became opinionated, and assumed that I was right about everything. When others disagreed with me, I would sometimes verbally consent, but resent them in my mind. Occasionally I would also argue, but I am a very mild-tempered person, and rarely lose my temper in front of other practitioners. However, over the last two years, I have more than once lost my temper in the office and raised my voice against my colleagues. I obviously still have an attachment to eliminate.
Master Li said,
“'He's right,And I'm wrong,'What's to dispute?”(“Who's Right, Who's Wrong” from Hong Yin III))
I also often tell myself not to be attached to the right or wrong of anything. After all, we don't see the real causes for such disputes. After some time, I could better control my emotions and try to put myself into others' shoes.
I sometimes proposed new procedures to improve work efficiency, and often times such proposals were not accepted by my supervisors or colleagues. Although I didn't insist on my ideas, I did express my disappointment occasionally, complaining that not implementing my proposals would hinder the projects, and so on.
I recently partnered with a management expert, another practitioner, to promote some management measures in our project. Our efforts encountered much resistance from other colleagues. This practitioner did not bring out his professional expertise, nor did he complain about the lack of support and coordination. Rather he just said that his cultivation was not good enough, and he was unable to touch the hearts of other practitioners, and he therefore had to improve on his cultivation path.
He continued to support the project and use his expertise to compensate for the shortcomings of the project. He set a good example for me. I have also been trying to improve my personal cultivation, stop complaining, and simply do what I can to help the project grow faster and be more efficient.
Be Part of and Not Above the Team
During the past few years, I helped in coordinating certain aspects of various projects, and in the process unknowingly started to act like a coordinator and supervisor. Once during a discussion with a fellow practitioner, I commented about other disciples. This practitioner corrected me, saying that “disciple” is a term used by the master to his students, and not by a practitioner. I realized my mistake right away and felt embarrassed. I have since always double-checked my mentality when talking about other practitioners.
In reality, however, we all take different roles in the work, and I sometimes have to act as a supervisor. Such roles sometimes result in positioning oneself above fellow practitioners. I became very bossy at times when dealing with fellow practitioners. A local coordinator recently criticized me for being arrogant and cocky, but I laughed it off upon hearing this. This comment rang an alarm in my mind however, and I wondered if my attachment had popped up again.
When I was doing an exercise demonstration at the truth clarification booth the other day, a practitioner wanted me to move, and asked my wife to talk to me, instead of talking to me herself. My wife jokingly said to me, “She doesn't want to talk to you because you're too bossy.” This rang a second alarm. I really did not realize that other practitioners thought of me this way. I felt ashamed of myself.
Letting Go of the Attachment to Doing Things
The attachment to doing things is a serious issue in cultivation, especially among practitioners working on various projects overseas. During my first years of cultivating, I encountered a huge test because of this attachment. I obtained Dafa in 2003, and soon afterward joined several truth clarification projects. I spent much of my time on the projects, and used it as an excuse to avoid Fa-study and doing the exercises.
This created a large gap in my cultivation, which was taken advantage of by the old forces. I had an almost fatal car accident in 2005. And I wasted much precious time, which should have been used to improve on my cultivation path.
I reflected afterwards, as the projects incorporate factors of cultivation and truth clarification, and one can easily mistake project achievements as major improvements in one's cultivation. It is wrong to think that if one does many things, he would gain much virtue in helping Master to rectify the Fa. However, one has accumulated attachments, such as to doing things, zealotry, fame, and so on. With so many attachments, no matter how much he does for projects, his efforts will be in vain.
Master Li said,
“...if you don't cultivate yourself well, you won't have mighty virtue in anything you do.” (“Teaching the Fa at the 2003 Atlanta Fa Conference” from Teaching the Fa at the Conference IV )
We are in the final phase of the Fa-rectification period, and time is precious. Precious time spent on projects will be in vain if we do not cultivate well. How regretful that would be! So I always remind myself not to have any attachment to doing things. Only by cultivating oneself solidly can we do well in any projects.
Do Not Validate Oneself
There is another stubborn attachment deeply rooted in my heart, namely the elitist complex, thinking of myself as a social elite, more capable than others, and so forth. When others praise me for my capabilities, I am often very pleased.
As this attachment grew, I often took credit for certain achievements in projects, and again positioned myself above the group and fellow practitioners. Often times I subconsciously validated myself in the work, showing others that I was really an 'elite'. I have long realized this issue and have been working hard to suppress and eliminate it. It's just that this attachment is deeply rooted in my mentality and quite hard to clear out. Hopefully with Master's help I can eliminate it completely soon.
Master Li said,
“Some are more capable when it comes to one thing, others with another--you definitely shouldn't let your thoughts run wild based on that. You say that you have such great abilities and so on and so forth, but that was all bestowed upon you by the Fa! Actually, it wouldn't work if you failed to attain that level of abilities. Fa-rectification required your wisdom to reach that point, so you definitely shouldn't think that you're so capable. Some practitioners want me to check out their abilities and skills. But actually, what I think is, all of that was given by me, so there's no need to look.” (Teaching the Fa at the 2003 Lantern Festival)
All of our wisdom and capabilities come from Dafa, to be used for Dafa. I always warn myself not to take credit for achievements bestowed by Dafa and Master Li. Such arrogance could easily evolve into demonic interference from one's own mind, which will eventually ruin a practitioner.
The above-mentioned attachments actually all attribute to one fundamental attachment, validating oneself, manifested in different forms.
Master Li said,
“...you are validating the Fa, not validating yourselves. A Dafa disciple's responsibility is to validate the Fa. Validating the Fa is cultivation, and what you remove in the cultivation process is none other than the attachment to self; you can't, instead, go and exacerbate the problem of validating oneself, even if you do it unwittingly. When you're validating the Fa and cultivating, that is a process of removing self, and only when you do that are you really validating yourself. That's because ultimately you have to let go of all your human things, and only after you've let go of all your human attachments can you step out from the throngs of everyday people.” (“Teaching the Fa at the Meeting with Asia-Pacific Students,” from Teaching the Fa at the Conference VI )
To summarize, I have realized my attachments, and will work harder to eliminate them.