Identifying and Eliminating Jealousy
(Minghui.org) I would like to share one of the great obstacles I have in my cultivation, which is the attachment of jealousy.
“This person may start a conflict with a Buddha because his jealousy has not been eliminated.” Zhuan Falun
It is my understanding that when we lower our xinxing in a conflict, or we mistreat another person due to this or that issue, it is due to jealousy. I would like to elaborate on this point.
The Many Manifestations of Jealousy
I've heard many practitioners say, “I am not a jealous person, I don’t envy him over what he has or what he is. I am OK with what I have.” This kind of thinking is, in my view, way too narrow. Because we Westerners have learned that to be jealous of someone is to want the other person’s status, whether it be material things, or we have formed this fixed notion about envy. But cultivators know that we cannot follow ordinary people’s principles if we are to succeed in cultivation, so we must use the Fa to measure ourselves and dig deeper into our minds.
After nine years of working for an ordinary company, a practitioner started a project aimed at having practitioners work together and form a cultivation environment, where we could also promote Dafa and raise awareness of the persecution. I was asked if I wanted to join the project. This was a rather big decision as I had a very comfortable position in the company and a tenure that gave me many benefits. I said yes, quit the other job, and began my path there.
It was not long before I began receiving criticism almost on a daily basis. I could not bear losing face like this. I was the subject of criticism at every meeting. There were reasons for that of course, as my behavior was not proper in many aspects. At almost every meeting, I rejected the things they were pointing out, and many times I became angry. The most common reaction was that as soon as someone said I was not doing something well, I said, “What about you? Have you noticed how bad you do that thing or the other?”
This happened because during my interactions with fellow practitioners, I routinely gathered “information” about all the things they did wrong. This wicked mindset was a self-protective shield in case they wanted to criticize me. This was my human side wanting to protect itself from harm.
In less than a year, I feel I have cultivated more than I had in nine years, because I did not have a good cultivation environment.
“A person has many tests to overcome in the course of cultivation, one reason being, from the time of birth on, a person ceaselessly forms notions of every sort as he comes to an understanding of human society, and attachments result. Because human society is a place in which suffering goes hand-in-hand with enjoyment, life does abound with suffering, however wealthy you may be or however high your status. 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”)
With this strong mindset, I was unable to take any criticism at all, because I believed that everyone was “bad” and all of them had “many attachments” as well. In order to accept criticism, I had to get rid of this filthy mindset. Also, I was unable to develop compassion one bit because of this. So from all perspectives I was going the opposite way from a practitioner of Dafa.
The above mindset is well known among ordinary people and is also a manifestation of jealousy.
I have a very strong attachment to pride. I realized that I was attached to jealousy, which I did not know before. This is also a factor that prevented me from moving forward and discarding these groups of attachments. What does it mean to be attached? You don’t want to let go, and find various excuses to defend your attitudes, despite their not being in line with the Fa principles.
I work in a kitchen. After I finish the requested dish, a younger practitioner often pointed out that it was not nice enough or did not taste as good as it should. After we cleaned the kitchen, the practitioners on the morning shift pointed out that it was dirty, something was out of place, etc. My reaction was, with a tough face, “How dare you? I know well how to cook! And I have made every effort to do things well.” I mistreated the other person because he dared to question my work, in which I put so much effort.
How am I to be the humble person Master has asked us to be? How is a practitioner to elevate his level if he cannot accept when he is doing wrong? Didn’t Shakyamuni himself find his understanding to be wrong every time he looked back?
Pride leads a person to defend fake values, or fake achievements. Some practitioners cannot let go of the things they did in the past, and think they are very capable because of that. When one points out some flaws to them, they can’t accept it because they are holding on to those “great things” they did or “how great” they were. This is also a manifestation of jealousy. Nothing of this plane of existence is actually true, because this is not our true home. Actual achievements are those in cultivation, eliminating attachments, developing compassion for sentient beings, and wholeheartedly assisting Master in this Fa Rectification period.
Attachment to Controlling Others
“‘I’ve scored a hundred, I’ve scored a hundred.’ The child runs home from school. Even before opening his door, a neighbor already begins to curse from inside his house, ‘What’s so great about getting a hundred? Show off! Who hasn’t scored a hundred?’” (Zhuan Falun)
I never understood what was Master trying to point out here. Yet I have had my own experiences of being like the above-mentioned Chinese neighbor.
I am a responsible person in all tasks I am assigned. I was in the military for a time. I like to be early and not leave until I am satisfied with the work. I am even a bit obsessive about the outcome. Because I know this, I have developed some attachments too.
I am always looking at what others do, how much they do and how much time they spend without doing anything related to work. If I clean and no one helps, I complain. If I work more hours than others, I complain. If I make every effort to have things done properly and others are not concerned with the issue, I complain and develop resentment.
Why was I like the Chinese neighbor in the above example? He is introverted, and when others are not like him, he begins to curse and gets upset. So, a jealous person thinks that everyone must be like him, because he thinks he is right. This mindset is in complete disregard of the Fa principles: We practitioners know that everyone has his or her own destiny. Each of us has different amounts of karma and virtue and thus the difficulties and blessings we have differ. I cannot look at others and try to make them equal to me.
Here I am just sharing from my own experience. If it is your actual job to control others, that’s a different thing entirely. It is not my case. In any case, our hearts should not truly be upset at others. Doing the best in every environment is what we must do.
“Of course, you have a very high xinxing level and an upright mind. You will improve your own xinxing and your own level; you do not commit wrongdoing and only do good deeds—this is how you act.” (Zhuan Falun)
But I should not have an unstable mind and should look within whenever something triggers my emotions.
We know that all attachments come from the human heart, which is often filled with selfishness.
I always get upset when someone asks something of me, something that is complicated and requires extra effort. I complain and react badly. Whenever there is a complication that I must deal with, I get upset and am not friendly at that moment. This is also a manifestation of jealousy. When someone is asking something beyond the role description, something that does not bring me any benefit, I get upset or complain. This is a heart of personal spite.
The same occurred to me when coordinating activities with fellow practitioners. I was assigned a certain task, and someone did not show up, so I had to cover for him. I became upset at the person without even knowing the reason why he did not make it. How narrow-minded!
I remember one time when the police were trying to take our banners from Chinatown, a situation that lasted for a long period of time and was orchestrated by Chinese Communist Party (CCP) thugs. Since I was always there, I ended up dealing with the police and authorities. My heart was moved during this time, with fear and anger in the mix. While I was talking to the police, trying to reason with them, a practitioner walked up to me and said, “Look at your face, you are moved!” I had to hold back so as not to lose my temper in front of people. I was so upset at this practitioner saying that at such a critical time.
“Do you realize that as long as you’re a cultivator, in any environment or under any circumstances, I will use any troubles or unpleasant things you come across—even if they involve work for Dafa, or no matter how good or sacred you think they are—to eliminate your attachments and expose your demon-nature so that it can be eliminated, for your improvement is what’s most important.” (“Further Understanding” from Essentials for Further Advancement)
It took me many years to understand and let go of this. I thought she was wrong, but that incident was arranged to have me remove that heart, which was violent and evil. It also originated from jealousy.
I have many examples to share about failing to recognize my attachments. But I have summarized many aspects of jealousy, one of the biggest obstacles in my cultivation.
I hope this can help others to look within sincerely and rectify themselves.
“Today I am explaining this to practitioners, so you should not keep yourselves in the dark and fail to enlighten to this.” (Zhuan Falun)
I have seen many practitioners casting themselves aside because of jealousy. They have been unable to recognize their attachments and think all the others are wrong. They often justify themselves by saying they are not alone, and many practitioners are “doing things alone” because they don’t agree when others pointing out their flaws.
Criticism is certainly not something like a fresh breeze, but why would you, on the path to divinity, want to have it easy? Cultivation is supposed to be something difficult to achieve, yet when problems arise you don’t want to face them with a righteous attitude and you run away from your local group. Master is so sad to see this, and the evil has achieved its goal.
The above is some of my experiences regarding eliminating jealousy. I have made some improvements now; my heart is lighter and I am happier. My sleepy state while studying the Fa has improved significantly. Also, more Fa principles have been shown to me while studying the Fa in these last two years than during the previous thirteen years of practicing cultivation. Looking within seriously is the only path to ascend!
Category: Improving Oneself