(Minghui.org) My technical skills in Dafa projects and in my everyday job have improved in recent years. At times I have showed off my capabilities to other people, showing off how quickly I discovered how to solve a very difficult problem, how I executed it, and finally that the problem was solved. I realized that I was not validating the Fa, but instead validating myself.

We've probably all had similar experiences; that is, when we encountered a technical problem, there was a spark in our minds, we followed that thought, and the problem was easily solved. Actually everything is arranged by Master. We wouldn't have solved the problem so easily with just our human minds and skills.

Although I understood this principle, in reality I didn't always treat the situation like a practitioner. Every time I solved a tough issue, I developed some zealotry and the mentality of showing off. After looking inward, I finally realized that all my capabilities were given by the Fa. I originally thought these were my own, and so I was proud of myself. That was validating myself, not validating the Fa.

In the video “Fa Teaching Given to the Australian Practitioners”, Master mentioned several times the issue of validating one's self versus validating the Fa. But I wasn't really reflecting on myself. I didn't regard myself as a true cultivator at all times.

Master said:

“If you are unable to look at things properly, if you are unable to regard yourself as a cultivator and look inside, you will really have no way to cultivate.” (“Fa Teaching Given at the 2014 San Francisco Fa Conference”)

Master also said:

“Examine how each and every thing measures up—Achieving these is cultivation”
(“Solid Cultivation,” Hong Yin, Translation Version C)

How many times didn't I cultivate my thoughts? How many times didn't I follow the standard of the Fa? After I looked inside, I realized that I didn't cultivate genuinely. Digging deeper, I realized that I had more attachments.

Master said in the section of Zhuan Falun “The Mentality of Showing Off:”

“This mentality of showing off can manifest in any situation; it can also surface when doing a good deed. In order to gain fame, personal profit, and a little benefit, some people often brag about themselves and show off: 'I’m very capable and a winner.'” (Lecture Six, Zhuan Falun)

Didn't I always think that I was a capable person? Wasn't it the mentality of showing off? Didn't I have the desire for fame and profit? Absolutely. I wanted my capabilities to be recognized by others so that I would gain fame. I should be alert when I get compliments from other practitioners, I must remember Master's teaching:

“For a cultivator, all the frustrations he comes across among everyday people are trials, and all the compliments he receives are tests.” (“A Cultivator is Naturally Part of It,” Essentials for Further Advancement)

I knew that I should also make sure I did not develop the attachment of zealotry.

I also saw that when my technical skills continued to improve, I developed the thought that I was really capable. Actually, our abilities all come from the Fa. They are all generated in the Fa. When we deviate from the Fa, we have nothing.

Master said:

“If you put Dafa in a secondary place and put your supernatural powers in the primary place, or as an enlightened person you believe that what you understand one way or another is correct, or if you even regard yourself as being great and beyond Dafa, I would say that you have already started to stumble. It would be dangerous and you would become ever worse.” (Lecture Six, Zhuan Falun)

I realized that my starting point wasn't righteous. I was pursuing personal skills. Sometimes I neglected to study the Fa. I put more and more effort into improving my skills. This is like what Master described:

“… put Dafa in a secondary place and put your supernatural powers in the primary place …” (Lecture Six, Zhuan Falun)

My starting point wasn't right. I put myself in the primary place.

Why did I put myself first, even above Dafa? Did I think of myself as more important? That's selfishness; a self-centered mentality. Because I hadn't cultivated genuinely, I've suffered several severe tribulations in recent years. Many were tests associated with how I made choices. Did I consider my own life and status first? Or did I give top priority to Dafa and saving sentient beings?

Master said:

“Truly cultivate in DafaOnly this is great”
(“Obtaining the Fa,” Hong Yin, Translation Version C)

Selfishness, which is contrary to the law of the universe, is putting one's self before others. In the midst of tribulations and on the brink of death, I considered my own life more important than anything else. After looking within, I realized my selfishness.

I found that my selfishness was deeply rooted. Sometimes it was hidden, and difficult to perceive. However, I would readily follow along with this mentality of selfishness. I wondered how I could get rid of it.

Master said:

“If something is not within the scope of a time-field, it is not restricted by that time.” (Lecture Two, Zhuan Falun)

My understanding is that every single thought should be in accordance with the Fa. If I am assimilated to the characteristic of the universe, Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance, then I am not assimilated to the characteristic of the old universe, which is selfishness. Thus I would not be restricted by the law of the old universe. I need to get rid of every single thought that is generated out of selfishness and correct it according to Dafa.

Examining Every Thought

One day at work my boss left very early in the afternoon, and I was there alone. I thought that since everyone else was gone, I could go home early once I finished my work. But then I remembered Master's teaching:

“Since studying Falun Dafa, these workers have been coming to work early and going home late. They work very diligently and will do any assignment the boss gives.” (Lecture Three, Zhuan Falun)

I felt guilty, I wasn't thinking like a practitioner. A practitioner should think of others first, come to work early, go home late, and work diligently. So I decided to stay.

This experience helped me understand the Fa better.

Master said:

“… your simply sitting here does not mean that you are a practitioner. These things will be provided as long as you fundamentally change your thinking ...” (Lecture One, Zhuan Falun)

Making Choices Based on Priorities

Another experience occurred around when it was almost time to send forth righteous thoughts. At times when I was busy doing something else, I thought that it would only take several minutes to finish the work at hand and that I would send forth righteous thoughts a little later, even though fellow practitioners were reminding me. Such thoughts were not in accordance with the Fa. I put myself before the Fa, which was selfish.

As a consequence, my mind was not clear while sending forth righteous thoughts, and I couldn't really focus. I didn't clear my own field beforehand for a long enough period of time, so the power of my righteous thoughts were weakened. This was caused by the thought that I would send forth righteous thoughts after I had finished my work.

Aren't I walking the path arranged by the old forces when my thoughts and actions are not in accordance with the Fa? Then how could I deny the old forces when I am following their arrangement? For every such thought that isn't in accord with the Fa, I should understand the consequence it could bring, reject it, and deny it. But very so often there wasn't any immediate consequence on the surface, or I wasn't aware that I didn't cultivate my thoughts based on the Fa. So I might not have paid attention to it. When there were more and more such thoughts, I would gradually deviate from the Fa.

Master taught us:

“When you loosen standards for yourself and do things as you please, gods don’t look at the matter the way you do.” (“Fa Teaching Given at the 2014 San Francisco Fa Conference”)

Master also said:

“As a practitioner, one must then conduct oneself by following this characteristic of the universe rather than the standards of everyday people. If you want to return to the original, true self and move up in cultivation practice, you must conduct yourself according to this criterion.” (Lecture One, Zhuan Falun)

I hope I can correct every single thought and action and adhere to the standard of the Fa from now on. I hope I can remember Master's teaching and follow Dafa when there is a test.

Master said:

“Only through following this Dafa can you do things correctly.” (Lecture Six, Zhuan Falun)

My understanding is limited to my cultivation level. Fellow practitioners please correct me with compassion.