Learn to Accept Criticism and Mature in Dafa
(Minghui.org) Greetings esteemed Master and fellow practitioners:
I obtained the Fa in 2003. My process of obtaining the Fa was very fast. At that time, we only had a photocopy of an English translation of the book Zhuan Falun, and the videos of Teacher's nine lectures.
On the third day of watching the videos, my body was purified, and I immediately stopped drinking alcohol, and smoking. My outward appearance changed from having a black face, and dark negative thoughts, to having a clear face and positive energy. All the people around me that were disreputable disappeared.
A strong desire to do things well was on my mind every day. Dafa gave me a new life and brought me out of the abyss and uncertainty of ordinary people. I really don't know where I would be today if I hadn't been saved by Dafa.
The Falun Dafa Association arranged for an International Fahui in 2004. I met many practitioners from different places.
To clarify the truth about Dafa, we bought a blackboard, printed some photos about the practice, and the persecution. I began to advance on my cultivation path.
Minghui's website was my pillar from the very beginning. I read articles on this website almost every day, and I learned how practitioners in other countries clarify the truth. I learned how practitioners in China overcome tribulations and trials that are enormously more complicated than ours. Their understandings of Dafa truths are really deep – they made me focus.
The former Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Hu Jintao came to Argentina that year. We displayed banners to peacefully demonstrate in front of the Hilton Hotel. A mob of Chinese thugs attacked us. I was left with only one Dafa banner. I was surrounded by four Chinese who beat me with their fists and kicked me in an effort to take the banner. I clung to the banner and was beaten to the ground. While on the ground, I only felt the noises of the blows, but no pain – I understood that Teacher was protecting me. They could not take the banner, and fled.
I did not do well in looking inward during the early years of my cultivation. I didn't understand the inner significance of it.
After graduating in 2005, I moved to Buenos Aires where I joined the Spanish language Epoch Times. Clarifying the truth was all that mattered at the time. We studied the Fa, clarified the truth, and talked to everyone we met. However, it was difficult to clarify the truth well, because we didn't understand everything that was going on.
The evil in other dimensions blocked people, so they didn't want to listen or found what we said difficult to accept. Many said things such as “that's far away; China has nothing to do with us', or what does that have to do with us?” Thanks to the righteous thoughts and our cooperating well, we stood firm in spite of all the difficulties. We continued to clarify the truth, with time we came to understand our mission better. Thanks to Teacher's guidance through his articles, the situation is completely different today.
Recognizing and Eliminating Attachments While Participating in the Shen Yun Promotions
Shen Yun came to Argentina for the first time in 2009. The process of promoting Shen Yun exposed all my attachments. During the preparations to promote Shen Yun, I felt being discriminated against, because there were so few practitioners distributing fliers. Most everyone was attending meetings or were putting together press releases. As I always watched what others were doing, I had a lot of conflicts with other practitioners. I was stubborn and arrogant, and I did not accept the opinions or instructions from others.
Because some practitioners were younger than I, I did not respect them. This was contrary to what Teacher required of us – maintaining a heart of humbleness and tolerance.
When promoting Shen Yun one year, I even thought of having a fight with another practitioner, because he was overwhelming me with his criticisms. Another time, a practitioner called me to make a suggestion about delivering lunch on time, however I felt so proud that my idea was better, that I turned off the phone. In the end, my idea turned out to be worse, because of too much traffic. We had to abandon the car and carry all the food on foot. I felt so ashamed. Whenever I remember this, I apologized to Teacher.
I remember when promoting Shen Yun another year, we were in a booth handing out fliers, and a practitioner said, “You're not well. It shows on your face.” I got so angry, but fortunately I did not lose my temper. Now, I realize that I couldn't relate the validation of the Fa to the elevation of my xinxing. If I didn't have human notions, I would not be angry at others. Why did I get angry about that comment? Didn't the anger itself indicate that I was in the wrong?
Now, I realize that I made the same mistake when others pointed out something about me. I felt that they were attacking, judging, or mistreating me. These are human emotions and attachments.
As a cultivator, I understand rationally that these are attachments that I must eliminate. No one is attacking me; no one is trying to make me feel bad. They are my fellow practitioners who see flaws in me, and are trying to help me elevate my xinxing. It is up to me to see if I want to be a cultivator or an ordinary person.
Now I have changed. Teacher told us to accept criticism, look inwards and cooperate unconditionally. If we don't elevate our xinxing, eliminate the attachments and all different kinds of negative thoughts, we are not doing well the three things. But it took me many years to understand this principle, and also many years to act accordingly.
“One must truly temper and improve oneself through actual practice.” (Lecture Four, Zhuan Falun)
Shen Yun continued to come to Argentina for many years, and after these years of trials and tribulations, I improved my xinxing. All the things I did due to my attachments, not understanding cultivation in the Fa-rectification period, of insisting that my ideas are good, of trying to validate myself instead of the Fa, I finally recognized and eliminated them.
Those months of Shen Yun promotion were not easy. I went to bed in the early morning hours, because there was so much to do. We had to prepare dinner for the performers, and clean up afterward. But, I still got up early, because I had to study the Fa, continue to promote Shen Yun, and then do my everyday job. No matter how tiring, I felt happiness for being a practitioner.
Treasuring the Cultivating Environment
After working for nine years in an ordinary peoples company, a practitioner invited me to partake in a project where practitioners worked together, and have a better cultivation environment, while spreading the Fa and raising awareness about the persecution. This was a difficult decision, because I had a very comfortable job. I had almost a month's vacation every year, and working there for so many years, I had also certain benefits. But, it didn't take long for me to decide to join the project.
Yet, it didn't take long for me to start being criticized, and I was losing face in front of everyone. In almost every meeting I had to listen to some problems. Of course, there were reasons for that, because my behavior was not correct in many ways. I was lazy, cunning, grumpy, and a liar. In almost every meeting where they mentioned this, I denied everything they told me. Instead of looking inwards, I looked at the others again, because for me, they were all doing things wrong, so they had no right to criticize me.
Also, in my interaction with practitioners, I made a record of the things that they did wrong. This astute mentality is a shell of self-protection in case any of them would say something to me, I could protect my human side from being hurt.
“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,” The Essentials of Diligent Progress Vol. III)
“While teaching the Fa before, I discussed a principle. To illustrate the issue, one thing that they say in the CCP's Party-culture is, 'Before you advise others to do well, you have to first do well yourself.' So after some people have done something bad and others point it out to them, they say, 'You haven't done well yourself. Don't tell me what to do. If you want to tell me what to do, you first have to do well yourself'.” (“Teaching the Fa at the Western U.S. International Fa Conference”, Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. VII)
At one point, I no longer could take the criticism. It seemed that I had reached my limit. The situation was harmful for me, and the remarks were too strong. I got angry and left the job. When I got home, I felt something wasn't right. In my heart, I thought I'd endured too much already. When studying Fa, Teacher pointed out something that was helpful for improving my xinxing.
“I have thus said before that Dafa disciples, being cultivators, should view problems in the opposite manner from how human beings do. Some people are unhappy when they meet with unpleasant things. Then aren’t you a human being? How are you any different? When you encounter unpleasant things, it is precisely time to cultivate yourself, to cultivate your mind. Didn’t religions used to teach that one should cultivate inward, working on the mind? Don’t listen to how modern people might interpret it—they don’t necessarily know the true meaning. Go and truly cultivate yourself—when you get into a conflict or run into some problem you should look at yourself and see what’s wrong, and ask yourself how you should handle it, using the Fa to evaluate things. Wouldn’t you say that is cultivation? Whether you are cultivating and are able to do this outside of the secular world or in regular society, ask yourself, could an ordinary person manage to do that? He couldn’t. Then, aren’t you someone who is cultivating himself? When something upsetting happens, something that angers you occurs, or there is personal gain at stake, or your ego suffers a blow, are you able to look inward and cultivate yourself, searching for your own shortcoming, and even when you find yourself in such a situation and you’re not at fault, are you able to have an attitude of, 'Oh, I understand—I must not have done well in some regard. Or if I really didn’t do something wrong, perhaps it’s that I’m paying off karma that I owe. I’m going to handle it well and pay off what I should. And as you continually encounter such things, you should continually cultivate yourself. Then, if a cultivator can handle things in that manner, using true principles to cultivate himself, then aren’t the unpleasant things that you experience in the ordinary world good things? If you want to cultivate, if you want to break free of the Three Realms, if you want to return to your original place, and to save the sentient beings belonging to your paradise, if you really want to help Master rectify the Fa, then aren’t [those adverse things] facilitating all of that for you, enabling you to truly cultivate yourself? Isn’t your encountering such adverse things in fact paving the way for you? So why are you unhappy? (“Dafa disciples must study the Fa, – Fa Teaching Given at the 2011 Washington DC Metro Area Fa Conference,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. XI)
After reading this Fa, I realized what I did wrong. I began to memorize this passage of the Fa, in the hope to calm my heart. They gave me another chance at work, and I joined the group again. I feel it was a turning point, because I began to be calmer when being criticized, and eventually could calm my heart when facing criticism. Now, I realize that I can study the Fa, clarify the truth and send righteous thoughts, but if my heart doesn't fundamentally change when the others point out my problems, it is not genuine cultivation.
Teacher said: “Every test or every tribulation is related to the matter of either progression or regression in cultivation.” (Lecture Six, Zhuan Falun)
I recognized that I had attachments to my ego. This was one element that interfered with my cultivation. This self-conceit makes us defend our human notions about value and success. Some cultivators could not forget what they did before and consider themselves very competent. When someone points out an error, they could not accept it, because they have not let go of their past achievements. But the real achievement is obtained when abandoning attachments after cultivation, compassion takes over, and we dedicate ourselves completely to assisting Teacher in the Fa-rectification.
By being in the practitioners' environment, measuring myself against the Fa standards, I improved my xinxing, and am different from the way I used to be.
Of course, I face tests, and I seem to be still far from assimilating to Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance. Three years in a cultivation environment have brought much improvement when compared to the nine years in the company of ordinary people. I no longer accumulate attachments, but let them go.
I have been cultivating for 16 years, but I only understood a little more about the fundamental pillars of cultivation during the past three to four years. The high-level Fa is higher than the principles of ordinary people, and “ looking inward” is a precious tool. I think that I have not done this before, at least not consistently, therefore I have caused losses to the local and personal environment.
In addition, I have seen over the years that some practitioners stopped associating with other practitioners due to all kinds of human attachments. They are not easy to discern if one uses ordinary people's principles. What principles do they use? For that one must follow Teacher.
Ordinary people's attachments are not derived from Fa principles. We cannot follow our understanding, but have to unconditionally follow the Fa related to cooperation. This is difficult, but it is supposed to be like this, because when cooperating, we find our faults, as others are going to point them out. It is Teacher's arrangement for us to eliminate our attachments.
I have to confess that I still have manifestations of all these attachments I exposed in my article. But, I am grateful for the immense mercy that Teacher has displayed. He gave me one opportunity after another to improve myself, hinted where I needed to improve and encouraged me. I have also seen how the practitioners who follow the Fa have broadened their xinxing, and are the best people in this world. Today, I am here because I want to continue to diligently assimilate to Dafa.
I hope that my experiences will help others improve. I also hope that those who have moved away from the group do not run away from conflicts, from difficulties, and do not cling to their human notions. Once they release them, they will begin to see everything differently from the way they perceived things. This is the moment when they assimilate to the Fa, and see the changes within themselves.
(Presented at the 2019 Argentina Fa Conference)