My Family's Behavior Helped Me Recognize and Get Rid of My Attachments
My Family's Behavior Helped Me Recognize My Attachments
I grew up in a farming village with several sisters and a younger brother. In a family with so many children, it is impossible for the parents to treat every child exactly the same. Parents love all of their children equally and of course wish the best for them. However, because of predestination, parents do not have the ability to assure that all of their children will obtain everything that they want or appear to deserve in life.
Master Li Hongzhi said, “...everyone has his or her own fate.” (The Fifth Talk, The Blessing of Sacred Images, Zhuan Falun)
However, most people do not understand predestination and karmic law. Some of my sisters felt that they suffered a lot of hardship at home and thought that our parents treated them unfairly. They complained constantly. Every time one of them complained, other family members remained calm, but I felt really uneasy. I failed to share my understandings of the Fa with them regarding this matter, I was not tolerant, and I didn't look within myself. I felt that their complaints and criticisms were disrespectful to our parents. Complaining like that is not good for anyone. I often forgot about watching what I said and argued with them, making everyone unhappy.
On top of that, I told one of my sisters that I thought her son was impatient, gluttons, hot-tempered, etc. This went on for a few years. It was only after reading an experience sharing article on Minghui that I understood the situation.
According to the article, seeing how other people behave makes it possible for us to see our own inadequacies and attachments. I suddenly realized why my sister kept complaining and grumbling and why my nephew had so many inadequacies: It was because I had these deep attachments to resentment, jealousy, complaining, seeking benefits, family ties, impatience, not guarding my speech, being hot-tempered, etc. I had so many attachments that I felt really ashamed. My family actually did so much in order to help me see my attachments!
Identifying Attachments to Criticism and Resentment
My father and my stepmother are practitioners in their 70s. Not long after my stepmother came to stay with us, she and my father started to cultivate Dafa. At one point she did not manage to overcome an illness tribulation and went to the hospital. When she returned, through experience sharing, she came to an understanding about the tribulation. My father is afraid of being criticized. When my mother passed away, the complaints and gossip he endured weighed on him terribly. So when my stepmother became ill, rather than handle his attachment based on the Fa, he called her two daughters to handle the situation, and they took her to the hospital.
My father was not afraid of confronting his own illness tribulations, but when it happened to my stepmother, he found it hard to handle. Personally, I felt that this was due to his not being able to let go of his attachment to her and the burden he felt. Actually, we have Dafa. If we do things righteously, it does not matter how others complain or gossip.
“When some of you say that others are attached, is it because your own attachments are being hit upon, so you turn around and cover up your own attachments by saying that others are attached?” (Teaching the Fa at the Eastern U.S. Fa Conference)
As I thought about this situation with my father and my stepmother, I realized that I, too, struggled with such an attachment. When my mother, a practitioner, ill at the end of her life, I did many things that weren't right, such as calling my non-practitioner sister and taking my mother to the hospital. These were also attachments of fear and being afraid of being criticized for decisions I made on my mother’s behalf. I only started to have confidence when mother told me firmly that she wanted to leave the hospital. When the doctor told our family that there was nothing they could do for her, we arranged for her discharge.
After she was discharged, Mother told us how much she suffered in the hospital. At that time, I did not reflect on myself. Even when Mother passed away, she did so by going through the life and death tribulation by herself, so she had nothing to regret. What is cause for regret is that, as a fellow practitioner in the family, I did not have righteous thoughts at the critical moment.
Not only did I not help her but I created more troubles for her. Because I did not have a clear understanding of the Fa, I kept thinking that her situation was about repaying karma and thus did not help her much. It was only later that I understood that it was the persecution of the old forces. This caused me to resent my elder sister and other practitioners, thinking that, since they had cultivated for so long, why didn't they know about this simple thing - persecution by the old forces?
When I began to write this article, I finally understood that I had a fear of criticism and that I resented others. I also could not let go of my attachments, so my father behaved in that way to prompt me to look within.
Getting Rid of My Attachment to My Phone
My elder sister, a fellow practitioner, is totally preoccupied with her mobile phone. All my efforts to try to communicate with her about it have been futile. She always told me to mind my own business. Now I finally understand why her inability to let go of her attachment to her phone irritated me so much. It was because I was also very attached to my phone. It was just that my behavior was not as obvious and I was too embarrassed to talk about it.
At that time, I was engrossed in reading novels and watching videos, filling my mind with unhealthy thoughts like lust and violence. My attachment of desire for the opposite sex and love has created a great deal of disturbance and damage to my cultivation. However, no matter how I tried, I could not get rid of them and I became more and more lax in my cultivation.
It was only when I read Master’s lecture that I realized what I should do:
“Buy a cell phone that can’t go online. (Laughter and applause.) Where there’s a will there’s a way. Did you know? Many of the young disciples on the Mountain just have a simple phone without Internet, so that they won’t be interfered with.” (“2018 Fa Teaching Given in Washington, D.C.”)
A few days ago, I went to buy a mobile phone designed for use by the elderly and started using this phone at home. I left my mobile phone that can go online at work to wean myself away from this attachment. However, I did not totally let go of the smartphone that can go online mainly because of dignity. I am worried that I will be embarrassed in front of my colleagues if they know about it. Even when I was buying that phone for the elderly, I did not dare tell the salesperson that I was actually buying it for myself. My concern for my dignity is still so strong.
If I had corrected myself earlier, then maybe my elder sister would not have acted as she did. Without a smartphone, I've become more relaxed and no longer feel tormented about not being able to let go of this attachment. I've become calmer and quieter and actually have more time.
Getting Rid of the Fear of Being Bullied or Wronged
Two days ago, a huge conflict broke out between two of my colleagues over a small matter. After the commotion, the colleague who sat opposite me got so angry that he decided to resign. I consoled him, but he still wanted to resign, as he felt the other fellow was a bully. I told him that I had been bullied in the past, but if we do not have the thought of being bullied then no one can really bully us. So it is mainly a matter of our own attitude towards the matter.
I began to think about why I had felt bullied in the past and why I had such a strong sense of being taken advantage of. I still feared being bullied or wronged and I needed to get rid of these attachments. The restrooms where I work were very dirty and not looked after. I have a fear of filth and think that public hygiene and clean restrooms should be everyone's responsibility. I concluded that, since nobody at worked cared about the state of the restrooms, I shouldn't either.
Upon looking within, I realized that I am a Dafa practitioner, so I cannot behave the same as others often might. Also, so many people in the office know that I cultivate Dafa, so I cannot cause them to have any negative thoughts about the Fa.
Master said, “And yet Dafa disciples are not just unswayed by it all, but moreover, are going against the tide!” (2018 Fa Teaching Given in Washington, D.C.)
Thus, I swallowed my displeasure and forced myself to clean the toilets, feeling taken advantage of and bullied.
Later, while sending forth righteous thoughts, something Master said came to my mind,
“Forbearance is the key to improving one’s xinxing. To endure with anger, grievance, or tears is the forbearance of an everyday person who is attached to his concerns. To endure completely without anger or grievance is the forbearance of a cultivator.” (“What is Forbearance (Ren)?” Essentials for Further Advancement)
After that, I no longer felt wronged. Everything happens for a reason. Since I have started cultivating, I should not be afraid of such small matters. The thought of being bullied or wronged gradually disappeared.
After cultivating for so many years, I finally know how to look within to cultivate myself. Luckily, I've finally understood what Master meant when he said,
“With this kind of practice you have to work on yourself, not on anything else.” (The First Talk, Zhuan Falun)
Maybe that is how we gradually improve!