Germany: Letting Go of My Attachment to Personal Gain
(Minghui.org) Greetings, esteemed Master! Greetings, fellow practitioners!
I began practicing Falun Dafa in 2011, seven years ago. Since then, I experienced a lot. At times I am diligent, while there are times when I lack diligence. I passed some xinxing tests well, while I experienced many difficulties with some tests. I wish to share with fellow practitioners some of these experiences and how I gave up the attachment to personal gain.
In my childhood, my family was poor. Thus, I had little money to buy snacks or clothes. I knew that I had to hold on to any money I was given. While my father's income was rising, and the financial situation of my family was getting better and better, I still saved instead of spending. There are times when I go to the extreme with my frugality, even when I have money. Once I began to cultivate, my attachment to protecting my own interest was particularly noticeable.
Tests Concerning Tickets and Lodging
I was recently faced with a test that was specifically related to my attachment to self-interest. I decided to go to Ludwigsburg to support the Shen Yun preparations, so I checked out train and bus schedules. The cheapest ticket was more expensive then the one I regularly bought.
My attachment made me hesitate about taking the trip. I realized that the thought was based on human notions, which troubled my mind. I asked myself, “Why don't you want to go there? Is it because of the expensive ticket? Will you no longer save sentient beings because of the expense of the ticket? This is a clear indication that I was clinging to the attachment to self-interest. Besides, it also meant that I hung on to the attachment to comfort.” Then, I asked myself if I could afford the ticket, and I needed to make a decision.
This was not the first time Master hinted regarding my rather strong attachment to self-interest. My husband, also a practitioner, also pointed out this problem more than once.
Shortly before I experienced this test I read a western fairy tale. As the story goes, the main character was cheated several times on his way home. Whatever he received was worth less than what he traded in. In the end, he had lost everything. However, he remained cheerful and unstressed.
After reading this story, I felt ashamed. Although I had cultivated for quite a few years, I was still hampered by my attachment to self-interest, and still clinging to things in this world.
As I was self-absorbed with this theme at that time, I realized that concerns, such as the issue with the ticket, was a test, meant for me to let go of my attachment. I decided to buy a ticket. However, I later encountered more tests of this same attachment.
Before leaving my home, I contacted a local practitioner, and was told that I would be sharing a room with a Western practitioner. I contacted her and was told that the dates would not work for her. I was then told to stay with yet another practitioner, Alice, who told me that that would be all right. However, she lived some distance from Stuttgart.
I checked how to get to her place and realized that I needed four additional tickets, costing me between 20 and 30 Euros. That would be a financial burden. She suggested I stay with a practitioner in Stuttgart. I thought about it and said that I would ask her.
I took some time to call another practitioner, as I needed to find out why I was told to stay with a practitioner who lived in the suburbs. I knew that I should not complain but cooperate and not make problems for others.
I asked myself, “Do you want to keep asking other practitioners? Most of them are busy and having a guest would create a problem. I would need one bed for two nights, which would not be that expensive. Practitioners should cooperate with each other. That means that I need to cooperate.”
At that point I accepted the arrangement and let go of my pursuing self-interest. I broke into tears. I smiled and reminded myself that endurance is a part of cultivation.
Then, I got a call from the practitioner in charge of arranging accommodations. He explained why it would be best to stay at the first suggestion. Although Alice did not live in Stuttgart, my train would pass through that location. I was touched and felt embarrassed for having created difficulties and thanked him over and over again.
As soon as I decided to stay with Alice, I felt relieved. I did have to buy additional tickets for other reasons, but my heart was no longer moved.
Missed Train Problems
While on my way, my attachment to personal interest was tested again.
I arranged with Alice to meet at the Stuttgart central station and continue our trip together. We talked to each other on the phone before my arrival. To save time, I asked her to buy a ticket for me, so we could catch an earlier train.
I realized that something was not quite right but could not put my finger on it. Maybe I should not have made this arrangement.
On arriving at the platform, I did not see her. Shortly before the train left, she called me and told me to get on the train, which I did. Moments later I saw her running towards the train, but she could not open the door, and the train left.
I was speechless, felt powerless and worried because the train had left and I was without ticket. I could not purchase a ticket on the train. I would have problems when the conductor checked my ticket. Then, I thought that I should get off and take the next train.
Then she called and told me that the next train left in half an hour. We agreed to meet on that train.
I realized that I always asked others for help. It would have been easier if I had not asked her to buy a ticket. Even if we would have missed that train, there was always another one. I should have taken the train to her town on my own, as I have lived in Germany for quite some time and am familiar with the German language.
Then I thought to buy a ticket, so I would not have to look for her on the train and telephone back and forth. I wondered if I refused to buy another ticket, it would be the result of my attachment to interest. I was so humbled that the practitioner had agreed to what I suggested.
As soon as I calmed down I decided to let go of my attachment to interest. I texted that I would buy another ticket and meet her in her town. I had such a sense of relief. Everything went smoothly. I paid her for the invalid ticket, although she first refused to accept the money. However, I was the person who needed the ticket and thus had to pay for it.
The practitioner who arranged the accommodation called me that evening and informed me that I could stay with the practitioner in Stuttgart the next night. This would save time and money. Master helped me reduce my cost because I let go of my attachment.
Taking Self-Interest Lightly
It was about two years ago when my husband took over a store selling Asian food, with financial assistance from his mother. In the beginning, I did not help much. But then, I had to help as we were short of money and could not hire help. Now, we alternate when manning the store.
I did not have much work experience of any kind, as I only had worked part time on and off. If one works for others, the pay stays the same. However, when owning a business one sees the turnover on a daily basis.
In the beginning, my human notions came to light. When the turnover was high, I was overjoyed, and when it was low, I was disappointed, unhappy and nervous. When the expiration date of the goods expired, I was worried, and so on.
I realized that I had a strong attachment to the store. When studying the Fa or sending righteous thoughts I could not calm down, and I thought about the store. There were times when I was disturbed about that. At those times, I got angry and wanted to quit tending the store. It makes one dependent, as if one is tied to the place. It was not easy to go out and clarify the truth about Dafa and the persecution.
Then, Master hinted through my husband that it is not the profession, but one's inner state that matters.
“In social interactions one will come across all kinds of conflicts. For those who practice cultivation among everyday persons, what type of business you are in does not matter. Regardless of how much money you have, how high your position ranks, or what kind of private enterprise or company you run, it makes no difference, as you should trade fairly and maintain a righteous mind. All professions in human society should exist. It is the human heart that is indecent, rather than one’s occupation. There was a saying in the old days: "Nine out of ten merchants are fraudulent." That is a saying made by everyday people. I would say that it is a matter of the human heart. As long as your heart is righteous and you trade fairly, you deserve to earn more money if you make more effort. That is because you are rewarded for the effort you have put in among everyday people. No loss, no gain. You have worked for it. With any social status, one can still be a good person. There are different conflicts for people of different social classes. The upper-class society has conflicts of the upper-class society, all of which can be properly dealt with. In any social class, one can be a good person and care less for different desires or attachments. One can be a good person at different strata, and one can practice cultivation at one’s own social level.” (Lecture Four, Zhuan Falun, Version 2000)
Master's Fa told me that I should not think like that, because it meant looking outside instead of inside. The problem did not appear because of the job, but because of my inner state – I should take these things lightly.
Anyway, the store is also a platform for clarifying the truth , as we can also leave fliers and newspapers to be picked up by the customers. We don't hesitate to tell the people the truth about Dafa. We study the Fa in the store. We take turns manning the store. The one of us who is not in the store can work on other projects or take part in other activities.
My husband keeps reminding me that our income depends on our virtue. Our income has risen and we earn enough to maintain our livelihood. At the same time we can clarify the truth. Interestingly enough, our business does rather well when we go out to talk about Dafa. In contrast, our business often experiences shortfalls when we get overly focused on our business.
Master talked about people doing business in Europe in one of his articles:
“In regards to this point, I think Caucasian European businessmen have a very good state of mind. A Caucasian businessman considers his business a profession and a duty, and he does it whole-heartedly to the best of his ability. He doesn’t mind even if there’s only one customer a day. He thinks that it’s his job, it’s part of life, he’s doing something, and it’s fine as long as he can support himself or his family and save a little. This is the state of being human. Nowadays, people’s desire to get rich quick is terribly strong. This is the mindset that guides them. People are simply hurting one another, as if they want to get all of everyone else’s money to put in their own pockets. What are other people going to do? Why don’t they think about other people’s hardships? They do things without considering others at all. This is the mentality of the perverted humankind in people’s society today. When acting on something, think about whether others can bear it—this is how a human being should be” (Lecture at the First Conference in North America)
This further spoke to my tendency of seeking personal gain, which I will continue to eliminate on my cultivation path.
(Presented at the 2019 German Fa Conference)