Looking Inward for Hidden Attachments to Personal Interests
(Minghui.org) I have read a few articles recently on Minghui which are related to pursuing personal interests, and they have inspired me to write this article. There are some experiences that I've had regarding this that I'd like to share.
In my workplace, a few of us in the same office would always order lunch delivery together. My coworkers often asked me to pay for the order. Some of them would pay me back right after but some of them would forget. One of them was Sue, who always seemed to forget.
I didn't bother to go after the money she owed me in the beginning. However, I soon discovered that Sue was doing it on purpose because she knew that I would not demand the money from her. So I forced myself to remind her. She always told me that she would remember to pay me back each time, but she still kept forgetting. Because it was not a big amount, I did not want to nag her. Instead, I thought of it as a test where I should let go of my attachment to personal gain.
Shortly afterward, things began to escalate.
One of my friends, Young, came to me to borrow money. He told me that he borrowed some money from his brother some time back and now his brother needed him to repay the debt. He already borrowed money from some internet loan agents at an extremely high rate. I lent him 10,000 yuan without hesitation and asked him to pay back the high-interest loan.
However, Young kept coming back to me to borrow more. He told me that he had to borrow more money to pay back his loan since he acquired more debts. Although his rationale made no sense, I still lent him more – reaching 25,000 yuan in total.
Later, I heard from a friend of Young's that he had borrowed money and taken out loans for gambling. Now, all the debtors are going after him to collect payment. He no longer took my calls.
I asked this friend to pass my words along to him: please stop gambling; I will not go after him. With this friend's help, I finally got in touch with him. He recounted his story: he was introduced to an online gambling game on his phone. Through this game, he was later tricked into borrowing money from a few high-interest internet loan agencies. When they began to chase him down for payment he borrowed money from all his friends and family.
The above incidents made me reflect on my past experiences related to personal interest: situations when people either took or borrowed my money, when my boss didn't give me the bonus he promised, when I didn't get reimbursed for my work expenses, so on and so forth. I had a good income but I was in a bad financial situation because of all of these bad experiences.
In other practitioners' sharing articles, they normally felt upset when they lost their personal gain. However, I had a different attitude: I felt happy. Why did I feel that way? I looked further at myself for the root cause.
My co-worker Sue knew that I was a kind person, so she always gave me the most difficult tasks at work and made me pay for the group's lunches. I was annoyed when this kept happening. But I knew that I should think of this money as payment for my debts in previous lives. I also believed that Dafa practitioners should be nice people.
In fact, Sue was being selfish when she took advantage of my kindness. The old forces thus manipulated her further to make trouble for me. I did not stop her, but instead followed along. I enabled her in taking these selfish actions, which was the same as letting the old forces manipulate me.
When I paid for others, I wanted to show off how generous I was and how little I cared for money. The old forces saw my loopholes and made use of them. While pursuing a positive image, I was irresponsible to Sue and pushed her further down the path of harming others.
When Young repeatedly borrowed money from me, especially the last few times, his reasons were not persuasive and not logical. But I still gave him the money. I was afraid that I would be called a bad person if I did not help him. My motivation was not for his goodness but to save my own reputation. I was not truly considerate.
I ended up in a bad financial situation. Sometimes, I had to borrow money from my family. Looking back, I summarized my loopholes as follows:
First, I did not recognize that a practitioner's money is a part of Dafa's resources, which should not be used casually.
My income has been growing over the years and is pretty good now, but it is not for me to waste. It should be used for Dafa. Since I failed to enlighten to this, the old forces persecuted me and made me lose my money in various ways. It was a crime for a practitioner not to protect Dafa's resources.
After my mindset changed, I began to manage my money better; my financial situation also started to improve. I believe it will be even better in the future.
Secondly, I did not pay attention to clarifying the truth and was irresponsible to people.
Sue withdrew from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) after she heard the truth from me. I had clarified the truth to Young too and he knew about the CCP's evil acts. Sometimes, he even told me about crimes that the CCP has committed. But why did they do these bad things to me?
“Actually, a lot of Dafa disciples say when they're clarifying the truth, "I'm going to go clarify the truth now," as if at that moment they're going to clarify the truth, but they don't clarify the truth normally. Saving beings should permeate every single aspect of your daily lives at this time. If you can all understand and really see its importance, I think you'll probably save more beings.” (Teaching the Fa at the 2003 Atlanta Fa Conference, Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. IV)
Although Sue quit the CCP, she had not become kinder. If I had done better myself and been a good influence on her, she would have changed. We should keep up our righteous thoughts and actions toward these people even after they quit the CCP so as to truly save them.
Young knew the truth of the CCP but he did not acknowledge Dafa; I was unable to find a way to untie this knot. Later, I thought of an idea: I should introduce Dafa to him. It would be better for him to learn about Dafa himself than to hear it from my words. So I gave him the audio files of Master's Fa lectures. He happily accepted them. Now, he's almost completely paid off his debts.
Third, I had an attachment to myself and my reputation. I was afraid of losing face.
One day, I was memorizing the Fa when I came across this passage:
“Some people are so concerned about their reputations when they do healings that, would you believe, they even think about taking on the person’s illness so that he or she can get well. But this isn’t coming from compassion. Compassion can hardly arise in a mind that’s occupied with things like money and reputation. To want to take on someone’s illness just to protect your reputation indicates that there is a serious attachment!” (The Second Talk, Zhuan Falun)
I felt like Master was talking about me. If I did not lend money to others, I thought that they would consider me petty and I would be unable to save them. If I did not save people, I wouldn't be doing the three things well and it would affect my cultivation. The true reason behind lending this money was still motivated by my attachment to self.
When I was writing this sharing article, I collected my thoughts and sorted them out step by step. It helped me in discovering my attachments and it was a process of improvement. I will continue to look inward and advance in my cultivation.