Letting Go of Ego: Improving Oneself When Assisting Practitioners
(Minghui.org) I'd like to share about how I improved myself in the process of helping practitioners.
In my Fa study group, there was a practitioner who used to have cancer but Falun Dafa helped him recover. He was having a tribulation which required him to choose between solid cultivation and personal interests. Everybody saw his attachments clearly, but he didn't see them himself. He was experiencing sickness karma and was dealing with issues in life. He chose to run away from home and blamed practitioners for not helping him out. He kept emphasizing the lack of efforts from the whole body which caused him the difficulties. He said practitioners failed to recognize his sacrifices for the group and nobody regarded each other's problems as their own problems.
I was one of those practitioners who experienced persecution. I knew that when we were faced with harsh ordeals, having to connect with practitioners like him would make us feel unsafe. If we didn't cultivate genuinely, we wouldn't be able to get out of the troubles that the old forces arranged for us.
I told him how I took up cultivation, hoping that he could avoid being persecuted. Then another practitioner said that when I did that, I wasn't acting according to the Fa principles. He cited the following quote from the Fa:
“When you learn bad things, you are in fact using human thinking to consider things, and becoming more cunning, and sly, which means you are becoming worse.” (“Fa Teaching Given at the 2010 New York Fa Conference”)
The reminder helped me see my own issues. I tried hard to correct my thinking and felt the reminder was helpful.
The practitioner I described above ran away from home. I saw that he continued to show the mentality of putting his personal interests above everything else. I also saw that he spoke eloquently but didn't practice what he preached.
Another practitioner said to me, “If you had known this side of him from the beginning, would you still help him?” I blurted out, “It depends. Otherwise, wouldn't he be destroyed by the old forces?” At the time, I really felt sorry for the practitioner. He already obtained the Fa and his cancer was cured, yet just because of some little personal interests he couldn't tell right from wrong and small, negligible things were threatening his life. It was truly a pity.
It was the true sense of compassion that made me change my attitude. I didn't think of his bad things as himself; instead, it was Party culture that made him behave differently. Neither did I regard him as a life that came to cause us harm. I discussed things with him via writing open letters because I wanted everyone to see them. I aimed at the thing that needed to be recognized and pointed out so that hopefully he would abandon it. I felt that he wasn't aware of them.
Each time when I pointed out the problems, he denied them. He said he had attachments, but didn't admit that he put personal interests first. He was annoyed and the language he used in his reply was ironic, looking for all kinds of excuses to avoid the attachments and cover himself up. I thought about giving up on him again and again because it was really a waste of time to maintain the communication. If I spent time writing experience sharing articles, the writing would help me improve my character. But then I thought, helping practitioners was also a way to improve myself. These two things didn't stand opposed to each other. If I chose one of them, wasn't this showing that I was like him, finding excuses to cover myself up?
Each time when I communicated with him, I examined myself. I looked at the questions I asked him and tried to see if they applied to myself as well. When I said that he wasn't genuinely cultivating, I looked inside to see if I genuinely cultivated. Anyway, for all the comments I made about him, I really used the opportunity to examine myself. I felt that I cultivated poorly.
Having read the letters between us flying back and forth, practitioners said I was too kind to him. In fact, I wasn't as good as some practitioners felt. I only held on to the thought that I wasn't after his attitude, but rather, I only pointed out to him the Party culture exhibited in his letters. I used the Fa to measure what the correct thinking should be. I always kept these words of Teacher's in mind:
“You folks can't just go and abandon a person without trying hard enough. No matter what kind of mistakes someone has made, or what kind of a person he is, I still want to give him a chance.” (“Teaching the Fa at the 2004 Chicago Conference,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. IV)
When I was debating if I should stop communicating with him, all of a sudden the practitioner changed. Not only did he admit that he put too much emphasis on personal interests, he also apologized for his improper behavior. I witnessed the mighty power of the Fa and Teacher's immense compassion. My eyes filled with tears.
When I re-read some of the letters I wrote to him, I saw the patience and kindness. Was that me who wrote the letter? Now I understand. It was Teacher who saw my sincere heart, wanting to help others and giving me the wisdom. Thank you, Teacher. Thank you, fellow practitioners, for helping me to improve in the process.