Cultivate Until No Attachments Are Left
(Minghui.org) I read through the Minghui Journals in 2007 to cut out and compile articles related to divinely inspired and traditional Chinese culture. One article entitled “Do Not Deceive Yourself When Pursuing Fame” caught my attention.
A person named Ye Tongshan was in charge of distributing army supplies, including the soldiers' pay. When he left his army job, there was a large sum of money that he had accumulated over time. The money was sent to Ye, but he refused to accept it.
After Ye returned to his hometown, he experienced financial difficulties. When his servant lost a fish, he wasn't happy. His wife reminded him that he wouldn't accept a large sum of money when leaving the army, but now he was creating a fuss over a small thing. He laughed when he heard that.
The story made me think: Isn't cultivation also like this? Shouldn't we follow the Fa, even on small things? For example, at the beginning of the persecution, the Party secretary of my work unit passed a message to me, saying that if I stop practicing Falun Dafa I could return to my job and receive all my salary and bonuses that had been withheld, which was a large sum of money.
I smiled, and my heart was unmoved after hearing this.
However, when I recently went grocery shopping, I was overly concerned about small gains or losses. I even took an extra plastic bag at the checkout when I already had too many plastic bags at home.
I initially thought that there was nothing wrong with this, but later I came to realize that it was my attachment to self-interest, pursuing small benefits, and not wanting to lose out.
Eliminating Attachments to Small Things
I decided it was time to eliminate my attachments. During the process, I realized that I needed to constantly remind myself that I am a Dafa practitioner, because when I slacked off a little I made the same mistakes again. The reason was that deep in my heart, I regarded these issues as too trivial to worry about. They had already become second nature, and if I didn't pay attention it would be difficult to eliminate them. For practitioners, losing one's self-interest can be a good thing.
Practitioners can usually see larger, more significant issues, that hinder their cultivation, but it's easy for us to neglect the small things. There are no trivial matters in cultivation, and we can't let ourselves fall on small things.
Whether it's a small or large issue is not important. What's key is the fundamental attachments to fame, selfishness, and self-deception that are behind both small and large issues. How can we cultivate without eliminating these attachments?
This can also manifest in family matters. When one behaves as a practitioner and looks inward unconditionally, one's family will be harmonious. Otherwise, there will be fighting and arguments. Once a practitioner corrects himself, one's environment will improve. The process of correcting oneself is a process of cultivating oneself. That is true cultivation.
“...you shouldn’t treat the little issues you have like they are nothing. The evil will seize upon any gaps. Many practitioners have even passed away on account of little things; it really was due to something very minor. That’s because cultivation is something serious, and requires having no gaps. If for a long time you haven’t dealt with those things through cultivation, small as they may be, if you haven’t taken them seriously for a prolonged period of time, then it is a big issue. Many people have passed away on account of such things.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2015 West Coast Fa Conference”)
We should pay more attention to the small things and cultivate ourselves well.
Motivations Are Not Pure
The article I read also told another story: One person did many good things when he was alive, but after he died he ended up being punished in the underworld. The King of Hell took out the book that contained the details of what he did during his life. The good things he did were all listed under the titles “fame” or “self-interest.” It clearly showed that he did not have kind thoughts or a kind heart. All the good deeds he did were driven by his pursuit for fame or self-interest. Upon seeing that, he had nothing to say.
How many of my attachments have I eliminated since I started practicing Falun Dafa in 1995 until today? Some were eliminated, and some even grew to be more serious. Something I did may have appeared to be magnificent on the surface, but deep down it was far from it. The superficial change was done to show others, but my heart had not changed. After reflecting on my cultivation and re-examining my heart, I realized that my motivations were not pure enough, as dirty hidden selfishness and other attachments were mixed in.
The new universe is altruistic, and practitioners have to meet the standard. Master said,
“...so as to attain the righteous Enlightenment of selflessness and altruism.” (“Non-Omission in Buddha-Nature” from Essentials for Further Advancement)
What a great distance I am from Master's expectations. Many times when my human attachments popped up, instead of immediately eliminating them, I just went along with it and let them continue to grow. When fellow practitioners pointed out my attachments, instead of quickly looking inward and eliminating them, I either tried to pretend they didn't exist, tried to justify their existence, covered them up, or simply wouldn't acknowledge them.
Sometimes, I'd only acknowledge my problem on the surface but deep down I didn't acknowledge them at all. I didn't cultivate myself or look inward. Yet I considered myself to be doing the three things well, and even better than others. I was deceiving myself and others.
I had an attachment of fear and was afraid of clarifying the truth to people face-to-face. I should have strengthened my righteous thoughts, put more effort into Fa-study, overcome my fear, and stepped up so as to continue to improve myself. But I didn't do that, instead I decided to produce more Dafa informational materials to avoid overcoming my attachment of fear.
I made many truth-clarification materials such as DVDs, brochures, bookmarks, stickers, cards, and journals. However, my purpose and motivations were not pure. My initial thought and my thinking was not about helping people to learn the truth and be saved. Instead, I only thought about how I was doing in my cultivation.
I received a lot praise from fellow practitioners, but I feel ashamed of this. I have done many such things to fish for compliments.
Cultivation is cultivating oneself. One needs to endure hardship and eliminate one's karma. One needs to enlighten and let go of one's attachments to fame, self-interest, and sentimentality. One needs to watch one's every thought and action.
Master said, “Cultivate until not one attachment is left.” (“Cultivating in a Maze” from Hong Yin)