Willingly Becoming a “Junior Monk”
(Minghui.org) I am a young Dafa practitioner. As my parents rarely had me do any household chores or deal with various hardships growing up, I had gotten accustomed to comfort and lacked diligence in my life.
Because I was usually “the smart one” at school and at work, I gradually developed a cunning, condescending personality. Because of this, I rarely experienced any losses in my personal interests – something I took great pride in. Later, after I became a Dafa practitioner, this mentality caused me to stray from being down-to-earth in my cultivation. I was constantly looking for a shortcut in doing the three things. Although I read the books on a daily basis, I still treated cultivation with a human mindset and failed to grasp the true meaning of the Fa.
One night, I had a vivid dream where I was in a pool with a group of fairy maidens wearing colorful clothes. We stood in the pool washing and cleansing ourselves and looked inward for our attachments.
The fairies told me, “We must wash and purify our bodies so that, when the time comes for us to return to the Heavens, we can float and fly away.”
I then attempted several times to fly but failed.
As I looked at my own cultivation state, I realized that I so aspired to return home with Master; yet I harbored a great many attachments in my heart. Once my human feelings were hurt, I would agonize and resist the hardship and tribulations, further trapping myself in the human world of fame, self-interest, and emotion.
Hidden Human Attachments Exposed in a New Environment
I used to work as a salesperson in a department store. With this fairly easy job, I was able to memorize and recite the Fa, send righteous thoughts at work and participate in Dafa activities after work. I attended two group Fa studies regularly. My work environment was mostly harmonious; minor conflicts here and there with co-workers did not present much difficulty for me. I considered myself diligent in my cultivation and took comfort in my environment.
In early 2016, I suddenly lost my job when the department store closed down due to poor profits. Due to my tendency to avoid difficult situations and to seek comfort, I was not able to find a job despite the fact that I was young and had a decent education.
A fellow practitioner had her own company that happened to be hiring at the time. She arranged for me to work for her company doing computer data entry. This new job required excellent typing skills and proficiency in making all kinds of electronic forms. Although I had basic computer knowledge, I needed to learn most things from scratch.
The relationships among my coworkers were not as easy as before. People were antagonistic and watched others' work progress closely, which caused strife from time to time. They were also materialistic and spent much time and money on food, drink, and entertainment. Because I was different and did not follow suit, they kept finding fault with me, attacking me with disparaging words and innuendos.
In terms of working with clients, I was not accustomed to their style; it was saturated with Chinese Communist Party culture. Yet, I had to be compliant and succumb to the company's various demands of my professional role.
Occasionally, I would complain to my fellow practitioner, but she always told me to look inward, which made me feel wronged. As I kept trying but was unable to meet the high expectations, I developed a grudge and animosity toward this practitioner. It also caused a gap and separation among our group of local practitioners. Other practitioners saw my situation but did not know how to help.
At the same time, my family was undergoing some changes. My younger sister and I were both practitioners who lived and worked away from our hometown. We used to have enough time and energy to do the three things well after work. When our parents aged and required more care, they moved in with us. That meant I had to spend extra time and effort taking care of them. I thought I had sacrificed a lot, but they were always unhappy about how I cared for them.
If my previous cultivation environment was like “cultivation in a temple,” my current environment would be like “wandering around in society.” Facing conflicts and pressure in different aspects of my life, I was struggling without much success. I thought I was striving and advancing diligently, but people around me did not seem to be impressed. I felt the tension rising and developed many grievances.
Digging Out the Root of My Attachments
The new environment exposed many of my undetected human notions and attachments that had been lingering for a long time. It helped me realize that my cultivation foundation was not solid, which made me easily defeated by a slew of tribulations. I kept searching within but had not been able to find the root of my attachments.
One day at group Fa study, a fellow practitioner shared a dream. In the dream, someone was telling her, “You have done too little in Fa validating activities.” But in fact, she was very diligent in her cultivation and very strict with herself. She never slacked off in Fa study, helping fellow practitioners, or in making personal sacrifices for the sake of saving sentient beings.
Her daughter encouraged her.
“You can do even more and even better,” she told her mother.
All of a sudden, I came to the enlightenment that my root problem was that my human notions had not been transformed. I always felt that I had already done enough and sacrificed enough, so I was not willing to take one more step forward. The root was the notion of self and being selfish.
I had been setting limits for myself, limiting both the scope of my responsibilities at work and in cultivation and the standards by which I judge myself. Therefore, I had been falling short of the requirements of the Fa. Those limits were a result of the old universe's characteristic: selfishness. Although I had been doing the three things, I could not advance further and break through the limits that I had set.
Master has taught us,
“Because pain is hard on people, they try to, consciously or unconsciously, ward off suffering in hopes of leading a more pleasant life. And so it is that in the pursuit of happiness people form ideas about how to avoid harm, how to live well, how to get ahead in society and achieve fame and success, how to acquire more for themselves, how to come out on top, and so on. To this end, as they gain experience people come to form notions about life; and those experiences, in turn, come to fortify these notions as people live out their lives.” (“The Closer to the End, the More Diligent You Should Be” from The Essentials Of Diligent Progress Vol. III)
Because of my laziness, arrogance, and attachment to comfort, I tried to avoid hardships; because of my craftiness and inclination to take shortcuts in life, I tended to not encounter hardships; because of my attachment to being competitive and jealous, I rarely suffered losses. So when real conflicts and suffering happened, I resisted them, felt I was treated unfairly and resented those who presented the tribulations to me. I was actually trying to avoid some great opportunities to better myself.
Willingly Becoming a Junior Monk
Master taught us,
“But in reality, what human society takes to be truths are, from the perspective of the cosmos, inversions of truth; when humans go through hardship and suffer it is so that they may pay off karma and thereby have happiness in the future. A cultivator thus needs to cultivate by correct and upright truths. Going through hardship and suffering is an outstanding opportunity to remove karma, be cleansed of sin, purify the body, elevate your plane of thought, and rise in level—it’s an extraordinarily good thing. This is a correct and upright Fa-truth. But as cultivation is lived out, when the suffering bears down on you and conflicts come up that hit upon the deepest part of you—and especially when it rattles the rigid notions you have—the test is really hard to pass. It can even be to the point that you know full well it’s a test but still can’t let go of your attachments. What’s more, Dafa disciples are cultivating in this “real” world that brims with temptation, so it becomes even more difficult—and even more important—to change those notions.” (“The Closer to the End, the More Diligent You Should Be” from The Essentials Of Diligent Progress Vol. III)
I realized that I had been wrong all these years. I had been seemingly studying the Fa every day, but I did not truly understand the real meaning of the Fa. I had been treating all of my problems from an ordinary people's perspective. Also, I had been plateauing in cultivation for a long period of time without many breakthroughs to higher levels; I did not view my conflicts and tribulations as chances to improve myself and eliminate my attachments. I did not cherish my cultivation environment.
“Human beings suffer a lot. The enlightened beings think that the more one suffers, the better, as one should speed up repaying one's debts. This is what they think.” (Zhuan Falun)
“The more the junior monk suffers, the easier it is for him to achieve the Unlocking of Gong. The more comfortable the senior monks' lives are, the harder it is for them to reach the state of Unlocking Gong since there is the issue of transforming karma. The junior monk is always suffering and tired. He will repay his karma and become enlightened more quickly. Perhaps one day he achieves the Unlocking of Gong all of a sudden.” (Zhuan Falun)
Master taught us in the beginning of Hong Yin, ("Tempering Your Will," Hong Yin):
“To consummate, obtaining Buddha’s fruitLet hardship then be treated as your joy”
Master has illustrated to us multiple times in the Fa that “a foolish person is the smartest.” I am so ashamed that I prided myself in my cunning; ironically, I was the real fool in cultivation.
Master also said,
“If you do not change the human logic that you, as an ordinary human, have formed deep in your bones over thousands of years, you will be unable to break away from this superficial human shell and reach Consummation.” ("Cautionary Advice" from Essentials For Further Advancement)
“If every one of you can understand the Fa from the depths of your mind, that will truly be the manifestation of the Fa whose power knows no boundary—the reappearance of the mighty Buddha Fa in the human world!” ("Cautionary Advice" from Essentials For Further Advancement)
What Master has taught us and given us must be the best. Therefore, I have decided that I will become that junior monk in the future, change my human logic, and break away from the selfish nature of the old universe.