Conquering the Attachment to Reputation
(Minghui.org) Recently, I was experiencing a high fever due to sickness karma. I looked inside but did not find any problems with my xinxing.
A practitioner paid me a visit and said she would like to help my husband return to Dafa because he had stopped practicing. I also wanted my husband to practice again, but I didn't want another practitioner to help him.
Because I had stumbled a lot in cultivation and my husband had witnessed it, I was worried he would tell others and blame me for the state he was in. Of course, I knew he was the main one responsible for his current state, but I did not want others to know about the mistakes I had made.
Discovering the Attachment to Reputation
At that moment, I suddenly realized the reason for my sickness karma – protecting my reputation. I decided to remove it, so I summoned all my courage and shared with the other practitioner all the bad things I had done. After that, I felt my attachment to reputation was uprooted.
For a long time, I thought I had almost no attachment to reputation because I had been poor to the point of having no possessions or money. My heart had not been moved so I felt that I had no attachment to those things.
This time, I realized how strong my attachment to reputation actually was because I did not even want anyone to help my husband in order to protect my own reputation. What a strong, ugly and selfish attachment!
As soon as I dug out the attachment to reputation, other attachments related to it all surfaced. In the days that followed, I identified many manifestations of that attachment. I have come to realize that to remove an attachment, one must remove the root and not just the manifestations of the attachment on the surface.
Afraid of Losing Reputation
My husband and I have been married for more than 10 years. He hits me a lot but I tolerate it and stay with him. I believe a divorce would bring undesirable consequences that are bad for saving sentient beings so I bear the pain myself.
Even though my husband was not cultivating, other people did not know this and continued thinking he was a practitioner. I would not allow the old forces to take him away because I did not want everyday people to develop misunderstandings toward Dafa.
I always believed my thoughts were grounded in the Fa so I never held back sharing my experiences with fellow practitioners. Now I realize I often shared my experiences with others because I thought what I was doing was remarkable. There was an intention of building reputation behind my actions.
When studying Zhuan Falun, the following passage struck me:
“That is not out of compassion, as one’s attachments to fame and self-interest have not been given up at all. This person is unable to develop this compassion one bit. He is afraid of losing his reputation. He would rather have this illness himself in order to keep his reputation. What a strong attachment to fame!” (Lecture Two, Zhuan Falun)
I realized that I was using the tribulations with my husband to build my reputation. I did not put up with the pain that he caused me because of my compassion. Instead, it was because I would rather endure the pain than lose face amongst fellow practitioners. What a strong attachment to reputation! I was shocked that I'd never spotted it before.
I realized that many attachments are hiding underneath seemingly positive thoughts and actions.
“This universe has this principle that no one will stop you as long as this is what you want, and neither will anyone say that you are good.” (Lecture Two, Zhuan Falun)
I wanted the tribulations with my husband because I used them to build my reputation. Therefore no one could stop it, not even Master.
Hiding True Intentions
After I recognized my pursuit of reputation, I realized the same attachment was present when I submitted articles to the Minghui website.
If an article of mine was published on Minghui, I would never tell anyone. Even if someone guessed that I wrote the article, I would warn them not to tell anyone else. I therefore thought I had no pursuit of reputation.
However, when I was writing articles, if I was writing about a Fa principle that I had enlightened to I would use the term “I”. But if I was writing about lessons learned when I made mistakes I would refer to myself in the third person as “Practitioner A”.
It was a strong attachment to reputation because even though it did not display in person, it was aimed to keep practitioners at Minghui from knowing how poorly I'd cultivated. I wanted to protect my perfect image amongst practitioners at Minghui, even though they do not know me.
Once, I submitted an article about a mistake I made without referring to myself as “Practitioner A.” As soon as the submit button was pushed, I had butterflies in my stomach, “It’s over. Minghui practitioners now know. In the future, will they look down on me and stop publishing my articles?” Alas, what a strong attachment to reputation!
Making a Breakthrough
I am introverted, shy and socially awkward. I was afraid of losing face over my awful handling of matters. Therefore, being introverted and feelings of inferiority were caused by my pursuit of reputation.
I rarely went to any parties when growing up. After practicing cultivation, I thought I was taking things lightly. Now, I realize, that the reason I didn’t go to parties was that I was afraid of making a fool of myself and it was actually the attachment to reputation.
Moreover, the reason I couldn’t do well in face-to-face truth-clarification was not because of fear, but was because I was worried that I'd say something embarrassing. Again, it was the pursuit of reputation getting in the way.
After I identified the attachment to reputation, I felt that pieces of the attachment were taken out of me like pebbles. My whole body felt so light! Master used another incident to enlighten me further.
A Pure Mind Understands
One day, I told my daughter, “From now on, we should mind small things and do well. I will start doing housework well and stop thinking it’s a waste of time, because a Dafa practitioner should be a good person in all areas. In the past, I only cleaned the house when I knew a visitor was coming. That thought was not righteous. What was it then?”
My daughter answered immediately, “It was for reputation and personal gain.”
I replied, “You are so right. It was precisely pursuing reputation.”
My daughter shared her understandings of pursuing reputation, and concluded, “If one does not do something well from the bottom of her heart, and only wants to do it well on the surface, she is pursuing reputation.” I was shocked that she had noticed the root cause so clearly!
She was not nine years old yet, and her mind was pure. That was why she could see through the attachment to reputation so easily. I realized I was doing a lot of things well on the surface to show others. Alas, all of that was pursuing reputation! It’s obvious my attachment to reputation has manifested in all aspects of my life, so much that the attachment has become natural.
Finding the Root of an Attachment
I started to realize that just because one cannot feel that they have an attachment, it doesn’t mean they don't have it. On the contrary, sometimes it is so strong that it has become natural.
I no longer dare to say I do not have this or that attachment. As long as I’m among everyday people, I have every attachment others have. It’s only a matter of how strong the attachment is and whether it’s manifested or hidden. I have to dig out the attachments and remove them one by one.
A few days later, while pondering on “doing something well on the surface, not from the bottom of one’s heart,” I realized that it described a lot of my behavior. To show people Dafa is good, I conducted myself very well in front of people.
But I did not do those things because I was fully considerate of others and have melted into the Fa. I did those things because I wanted people to say I was good and Falun Dafa was good. I did those things on the surface, with a purpose.
I have come to understand that only when we can understand the Fa from our heart, demonstrating Dafa’s compassion and solemnness at our current level, can we validate Dafa. Only then can everyday people witness our conduct and understand the beauty of Dafa from their own heart.