Letting Go of Fundamental Attachments
(Minghui.org) Since I was young, I always wanted to attend a prestigious university, because I thought that this would provide many opportunities and a better life. That dream did not materialize, and I had to settle for a “regular” college and a major I was not interested in.
I became dissatisfied and was attached to getting ahead of others or being “top-notch.” Therefore, I did everything in my power to change my status. Although I desperately “fought” for my desires, my status and life did not change.
Controlled by Attachments
After I began to practice Falun Dafa, I understood the true meaning of life and gradually let go of my desire to being top-notch. My friends and relatives were amazed at the positive changes they saw in me.
Although I have been practicing for a long time, I was still attached to being accepted by a prestigious school after hearing that my friends' kids got admitted to elite universities in the United States. I then hoped that my son would get accepted by a prestigious school as well. However, he was not accepted by any well-known school in the U.S.
My son graduated from college in 2018 and thought of applying to a graduate school. This time, he was accepted to six prestigious schools, with two offering a scholarship. This brought up my attachment again to attending ivy league schools.
Since he found a job, he no longer wanted to attend graduate school. Although I respected his choice, I was very sad that my attachment was not satisfied, so much so that I would sometimes wake up in the middle of the night feeling extreme sadness.
My husband said on one of those nights, “You really should find your true self. What is making you feel lost and sad? Is that really you? Stop living for the attachment that is not you.”
My husband’s words awakened me. I had been in such a state for many years. When I was in a good state and my righteous thoughts were strong, the true me would determine all my thoughts. When I relaxed in my cultivation, and when my human notions were strong, I would give up my main consciousness and let the attachments take over. It was not really a practitioner's behavior.
“A notion, once formed, will control you for the duration of your life, influencing your thinking and even the full gamut of emotions, such as your happiness, anger, sorrow, and joy. It is formed postnatally. If this thing persists for some time, it will become part of a person’s thinking, melding into the brain of that person’s true self, at which point it will shape his temperament.” (“Buddha Nature” from Zhuan Falun Volume II)
Attachments Driven by My Cultivation Environment
When the persecution was most severe and the external pressure was great, my mind was focused on how to do the three things better. Although my thoughts were righteous and the true me was dominant, I did not pay much attention to looking within to find my attachments and to let them go since I was too busy doing things to validate the Fa.
Our cultivation environment has become more relaxed and there is not as much pressure as before. Thus, I feel that I am not as diligent in doing the three things. In this relatively comfortable environment, the deeply hidden attachments and human notions would frequently surface controlling my thoughts.
As practitioners, we have attachments and notions that need to be eliminated. However, if we let the attachments control us it will interfere with our cultivation.
How are the attachments able to interfere? In fact, the fake me was composed of the most fundamental attachments—the pursuits and interests of human beings. An everyday person lives for them, dies for them, feels happy and worries because of them. Therefore, if practitioners cannot maintain a clear mind and strong righteous thoughts, they will succumb to ordinary human notions.
Sometimes we find excuses to protect our fundamental attachments by telling ourselves that cultivation takes time since it is impossible to eliminate all of the attachments in one go. Then, we might eliminate a nonessential attachment that is less painful to let go of than the fundamental attachment. Other times, we may keep ourselves busy with more Dafa projects in order to temporarily cover up a fundamental attachment.
We might use the excuse of validating the Fa to let the fake me do whatever it pleases. For example, I thought if practitioners had a good social status, it would be easier to validate the Fa. This is not a wrong concept, but it must be clearly understood that raising our social status has nothing to do with validating the Fa. Practitioners should not use the excuse of validating the Fa to satisfy the feelings that come from our attachments.
I clearly understood where my problem was. In the meantime, I also found that many practitioners had the same issue. Some of them even brought the concept of the fake me into Dafa projects. On the surface, everything they did was to validate the Fa, but the true purpose was to satisfy their attachments.
Human Notions Drive Attachments
An elderly practitioner was very firm during the persecution. Yet, he had a strong attachment to working on Dafa projects that were considered exceptional, no matter how difficult they were. His idea of doing the three things was also different from every practitioner.
In fact, his attachment to pursuit originated with the indoctrination by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and was not his true nature. He refused to eliminate this attachment and tried to cover it up by claiming that he had no fear. He was unable to accept it when other practitioners had a different understanding.
This practitioner was arrested last year. After returning home, practitioners pointed out his attachment and suggested he do the three things diligently. He was able to accept their sharing this time, but he became bored quickly.
In addition, the fake him prevented him from studying the Fa, making it even more difficult to recognize the false him. Over the years, everyone felt that he was very difficult to cooperate with because his focus was not on clarifying the truth about Dafa, but on the feeling of doing something great. As a matter of fact, the fake him not only interfered with validating the Fa but also prevented him from saving sentient beings effectively.
“All human attachments and notions that interfere with validating the Fa and saving sentient beings must be removed. For cultivators traveling a divine path, is it really that hard to get rid of those attachments that arise from human thinking and to change those notions? If a cultivator doesn’t want to get rid of even those things, well, how is he to show that he’s a cultivator?" (“The Closer to the End, the More Diligent You Should Be” in The Essentials of Diligent Progress Vol. III)
The Party's persecution has not only failed to defeat Falun Dafa, but has also made us more firm in our belief. When we now face the concepts formed in life, or the fake us, we should not compromise. However, when we do not realize or do not pay enough attention, these human notions can embed in our thoughts, interfere with our righteous thoughts, hinder us from understanding the Fa and prevent us from improving.