Recognizing My Attachments in Every Single Thought
(Minghui.org) I was visiting a fellow practitioner today. Hearing her understandings of the Falun Dafa teachings, I was really impressed by her insights.
She then said, “I read an article on Minghui a few days ago. I feel that the author's understanding of the Fa is almost at the level of reaching enlightenment. I really wish that I could have an opportunity to share experiences with such a practitioner. It would help me improve much faster.”
I knew that she said that believing that I was not currently cultivating well. I could also tell that she was bothered by the fact that she was not able to speak with those diligent practitioners. I was listening to her tell me about this article she read on Minghui, when I suddenly realized that the article she was talking about was mine.
I wanted to say to her, “I wrote that article!” But I had a feeling that Master did not want me to say that. So I kept my mouth shut.
After I left her home, I thought about what happened and muttered, “You think that practitioners around you are not cultivating well, but can you believe that the article was written by me?! I have been cultivating for over 20 years... How could my cultivation be as bad as you think? When I try to tell you my understanding, you never listen. You always interrupt me and just talk about your understandings, as if you know better....”
After a while, I realized my thoughts weren't righteous. I asked myself, “What does Master want me to learn from this incident? I need to look at myself using her as a mirror.”
Once I changed my perspective, I came to a sudden understanding.
Just the day before, I was talking with three other practitioners. We were so concerned that practitioners in our area generally did not look within. Whenever someone tried to approach them about it, they didn’t want to listen. The four of us worried that their cultivation states were not up to par. Wasn’t this the same thing that this other practitioner was doing to me?
The practitioners we were concerned about had also cultivated for over 20 years. How could they be without any merit? On the surface, I appeared to be truly worried about them and their cultivation states, but what I didn't recognize was that my negativity and my superiority were hiding behind that intention.
When it comes to divisions among practitioners and looking down on each other, most practitioners do not knowingly attack or reject others. Most people are just like me. They only look at the shortcomings of other practitioners. In the name of worrying about their cultivation states, we constantly look down on them, which eventually lead to divisions.
“Disciple: How have the divisions among fellow cultivators come about? And what can be done to dissolve them? Master: When human attachments collide, and people refuse to look within, with each viewing things with human thinking and looking down on the other, divisions will form over the course of time. And just like ordinary people, they will cease to get along. Instead, look at things with righteous thoughts, and if both parties can manage to search for their own shortcomings, and truly each do better, then you will see the other party change and that person will be looking for his own shortcomings. If you can do that, there won’t be any divisions coming about. Dissolving the divisions is no different. You both cultivate the same Fa, and you both have the same predestination. So if there’s something you simply can’t get over, then have a heart-to-heart discussion with the other person and really be willing to acknowledge any shortcomings of yours that he may point out. Won’t the problem be resolved, then?” (“Fa Teaching Given at the 2010 New York Fa Conference,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. XI)
When I studied this section again, I realized that in the past when I felt that others weren't cultivating as well as I did or when I wanted to help others, I was not looking at things with righteous thoughts. I wasn't looking at my own shortcomings. In fact, if I had looked within and done well, the other parties would be able to see their own problems and would naturally do better. And I wouldn't need to worry about others.
When I heard some practitioners talking about how several local practitioners overcame tribulations with Master's help, I thought to myself, “That's so dangerous! These practitioners really need to cultivate themselves or the evil will take advantage of the situation. Cultivation is a serious matter.”
Now I realized that I might have unknowingly helped things along when the old forces persecuted these fellow practitioners. I never thought that such a thought could add to a fellow practitioner's tribulation or cause it directly. But I understand now that every thought of a practitioner is powerful. A righteous thought can dissolve evil in an instant, but a not-so-righteous thought can also bring enormous damage.
I used to say to my father, “So-and-so cultivates really well!” Not long after that, I'd say to him, “That practitioner has dropped down in their cultivation.” Or sometimes I'd say to him, “So-and-so is amazing!” But this practitioner would pass away or go astray soon after.
After this happened a few times, I again told my father a practitioner was cultivating well. He said to me, “I am trying to figure out if you are telling the truth or not. How come every practitioner who had cultivated well, according to you, eventually drops down or had something bad happen? See? You are again telling me about someone who's doing well.”
I was shocked. I had never realized that I admired fellow practitioners so much before, nor did I ever think that their falls might have had something to do with me.
Master has talked about this issue many times in the past.
“Of course, certain things have happened. Students in different regions have pretty much become clearheaded, they are able to understand things on the basis of the Fa, and they can thus handle those things correctly. There used to be some students who would often say, 'So-and-so at our practice site has done so well! We'll do whatever he does.' Let me tell all of you that you absolutely must not do that and absolutely must not think that way. Cultivators can't take other human beings as their role models. They must take the Fa as the teacher! (Applause) As soon as you start doing things [like I described] and thinking in that way, two problems will surface. One is that you will likely push that student to a place where there is no way out for him. And it's likely the old forces will lead him to have problems and even make him leave us early in order to test other students. [They'll think,] 'You're all looking to him. With things like this, are you still going to study, and are you still going to cultivate?'” ( Teaching the Fa at the 2004 International Fa Conference in New York)
“And how confusing does it get here? Here’s an illustration. Some Dafa disciples, along with their families, are very diligent. They look good to others, and some people even try to learn from them. However they go about cultivation, others do the same. But I have said that for cultivators, there are no role models. If you take someone as a model rather than trying to understand the Fa for yourself, it will bring trouble. The old forces may think that you are merely watching him cultivate instead of trying to gain an understanding of the Fa for yourself. Then it’s likely they will make that other person pass away….
That’s what the old forces have made of this issue. They use this evil approach to test others, to test people through this thing that happens. 'What now? Here’s someone you think cultivated well. He died. Do you still believe?' There have been many instances of this. Many Dafa disciples have had this experience, and are now aware of the old forces’ tactics. But as for Master’s requirements, cultivation is serious; a human being can’t turn into a divine being merely by sitting there sipping tea and reading over the book. Only when someone is able to truly cultivate on the path will it work.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2013 Greater New York Fa Conference”)
When I studied these paragraphs in the past, I didn't think I had this problem because I didn't copy other practitioners. I have always studied the Fa and tried to enlighten on my own. I didn't think I was affected when other practitioners encountered tribulations or issues. I felt that I wasn't among the people Master was talking about.
But Master had said that we “absolutely must not think that way.” I realized that I should not even hold admiration toward any practitioner. If I had such feelings, the old forces would persecute that practitioner in order to test others–“Here’s someone you think cultivated well. He died. Do you still believe?” (“ Fa Teaching at the 2013 Greater New York Fa Conference”)
I was surprised to hear that a practitioner whom I always held in high esteem was taken by police. Many practitioners believe that he was very diligent. I now believe that his arrest was partly due to our collective admiration.
When I first heard the news, my initial reaction was that he would be fine and there was no need to send forth righteous thoughts or rescue him. But when I dug deeper, I realized that that thought of “he will be fine” was still based on this admiration. Once I realized that the attachment was so deeply rooted that it was preventing me from helping this fellow practitioner, I immediately started sending forth righteous thoughts for him.
My understanding is that our judgments of other practitioners at our own levels are not true–they are the root of conflicts. When we think others are not doing well and look down on them, it leads to division among practitioners and might even push them down. When we think others are doing well and start to praise and worship them, it could also push them into a dangerous spot. As a cultivator, it is very important to cultivate every single thought. It is a very serious matter.
I hope others can learn from my experience. Only when we truly cultivate ourselves and align with the Fa can we help Master with Fa-rectification and saving people.