Having a Clean and Calm Heart
(Minghui.org) I've been cultivating for many years. Yesterday a practitioner got sick and went to the hospital. Some practitioners discussed that this fellow practitioner all along had a strong competitive nature. They asked me what caused this. Without thinking, I said that it is because the heart is not clean; some fellow practitioners have cultivated for so many years, but still have a fighting mentality and jealousy, thus many tribulations follow them.
The Root Cause of an Unclean Heart
On my way home I got more ideas on what an “unclean heart” meant. I previously only related it to the appearance of attachments and desire, but now I realized that an unclean heart meant more than this. When we have the heart of a non-practitioner, the heart is already not clean because what a non-practitioner wants is to live better and more comfortably. As practitioners, if we still think about how to live better with more comfort, we are still treating ourselves as non-practitioners, thus our hearts are not clean anymore. People do want to live better with comfort, but they may do things such as hurting others in the process. It's the exact opposite of how a practitioner should be, so we should not seek those things.
I found that my heart also had a lot of unclean places. For example, my attachment to my son was too strong, so I always worried about him. I couldn't help thinking that I should be taking care of him better since he worked very hard. I was concerned when he did not do something well and worried that he would suffer the consequences. I was also very anxious about my husband not studying the Fa well and when he encountered tribulations.
Master told us,
“You can’t interfere with other people’s lives, you can’t control their fates, be it your wife’s, your kid’s, your parents’, or your sibling’s. Is that something you decide?” (The Fourth Talk, Zhuan Falun)
An unclean heart doesn't only manifest in these aspects. Tracing it down to the root cause, the most crucial thing was that I didn't really believe in Master and the Fa. When I first started to study Master's teachings, I didn't realize there was a difference between “calm” and “clean.” My mind was not quiet, and I had lots of distracting thoughts. When I practiced and studied, my mind wandered and I didn't pay attention to the difference between the two words, thinking it was the same idea. I thought that my mind could not be calm.
One day I was startled when I suddenly realized that these two words had different meanings. If I am not clean, I can't be calm and serene. I found the meaning of being clean too profound and didn't comprehend it well at all. Up till now I thought I could understand the meaning of Master's Fa, even though I knew, of course, there were higher meanings.
Looking at my heart, I could see competitiveness, zealotry, curiosity, fear, greed, desire, laziness, self-interest, love, fear of suffering, and sentimentality for family. I understood that some of the interference came from fellow practitioners and some from friends and family. If one doesn't practice, one will be pulled back to the life of an ordinary person.
Attachments Related to an Unclean Heart
I also found that my unclean heart was closely related to my competitiveness, showing off, and jealousy. In my daily life and at work, my competitiveness often showed up. When I studied the Fa well and did the three things well, there was no such phenomenon. When I relaxed on my couch it was not cultivation, so human notions came out. For example, if I was going to a party, I deliberately dressed up. I always wanted to show off in front of my classmates. When I saw classmates who were doing better than me, I was jealous. When I saw friends who were not doing as well, I secretly felt proud. If my parents favored my sisters, I was resentful. What a bad attitude that was! With that kind of mentality, how could I calm down?
Tracing it down while looking within, I found my very bad heart of self-interest. On the surface I seemed to have let go of many pursuits for fame and fortune, but in fact I still had a pursuit of self-interest. Therefore I definitely was not able to calm down with all these kinds of thoughts in my mind. Even though I had let go of a lot of things during the many years of cultivation and thought some of them were gone, I found there was still so much deeply hidden in my heart. In fact, my heart for self-interest was still there fundamentally and it affected my cultivation level.
“Your power of concentration is a reflection of your level.” (The Ninth Talk, Zhuan Falun)
Thinking about it now, I only want to hurry and get rid of these attachments. Once I get rid of an attachment, I find my heart becomes cleaner and I am truly calm.