Helping Others with Compassion and Righteous Thoughts
(Minghui.org) Once, I had symptoms of a serious illness. I told a fellow practitioner about it when I visited her. She said, “You will be fine. It's just the old forces causing trouble. Don't acknowledge it, it is nothing.”
Her words unexpectedly encouraged me. Upon returning home, I felt that my righteous thoughts became stronger and I felt better.
For a period of time, I got a headache whenever I would consume sweet food and beverages; as a result, I began to avoid anything sweet.
I worked outdoors with a fellow practitioner on a very hot day. He decided to get some cold drinks. I told him that I would get a headache if I drank anything sweet, but he came back with a sweet beverage anyway. He said, “Why not give it one more try? I think you're going to be just fine.”
Encouraged by him, I drank the beverage – strangely enough, I did not get a headache. Since then, I don't get headaches from consuming sweet things anymore.
This fellow practitioner did not believe in the notion that “sweet food or beverage would give me a headache.” He helped me break through this notion and eliminate the evil's persecution.
I appreciate how these two practitioners helped me in a positive way. In many cases when a practitioner encounters tribulations, other practitioners will say that they ought to look within, and then point out this or that attachment they have.
It's fine for us to kindly point out the attachments of other practitioners to help them improve, but the way we say it is in fact a reflection of our own cultivation. If we have the mindset that the practitioner didn't do well in their cultivation, our kind suggestion can easily become criticism. And instead of helping others, we may unknowingly put more pressure to them, making it harder for them to pass their test.
The Punishment Mindset
I feel that this kind of subconsciously critical mindset is similar to that of the old forces, who often resort to punishment to solve problems.
When we see other practitioners' shortcomings, we really need to examine our own thinking to see if we also have the hidden thought that they should be punished for having that attachment.
How can a cultivator be flawless? When a cultivator has a problem, should we allow the old forces to take charge and punish him? Shouldn't we listen to Master and cultivate according to the Fa? The old forces only know to punish beings for their shortcomings. They do not know any other way. It is Master who is rectifying the Fa, and we shouldn't let the old forces do as they please.
I discovered such a mindset in myself after I was involved in a car accident. I felt I was right and it was the other party who violated the traffic rules. I had a secret wish that the driver would undergo a tribulation for what he had done to me.
But I realized that this wasn't only for the driver – I found I also had similar thoughts toward fellow practitioners when I saw them doing things that didn't meet the standard of the Fa.
Developing Positive Thoughts
I tried to have positive thoughts about others, but I realized I didn't know how to develop them. It was almost instinctual for me to think that people would be punished if they didn't do things in line with the Fa. Through Fa study, I eventually changed my way of thinking.
When I see or hear that someone has done a bad thing now, I think that this person lives during the time when Dafa is spreading around the world, and the Fa has the power to change him for better. As a practitioner, he is already studying the Fa, and Master will help him remove his attachments.
He might change one day suddenly and realize his shortcoming. He will correct himself and improve, and the change will come from his own wish to become better, and not because he is being criticized by anyone.
In fact, I have now realized that the reason that I see others' shortcomings is because I need to improve myself.
A practitioner in our local area was imprisoned for many years. For a few years after he was released, he didn't do anything in terms of saving sentient beings. Another practitioner was very angry and complained to me about him.
I said I was not qualified to judge him. “First, I didn't help him in any way. Secondly, I feel that he has a very solid foundation of cultivation and had done so well back then. The change in a person's mind can happen in a split second. As long as he studies the Fa, he might one day regain his righteous thoughts and become diligent again.”
A few days later, I heard that this practitioner indeed became very diligent all of a sudden.
One characteristic of the beings of the old cosmos is that they like to complain and have negative thoughts about others. They subconsciously feel that others are not as good as themselves. It is particularly obvious in their words and behavior whenever they've accomplished something, however little.
In fact, when we have negative thoughts about others, our compassion is already replaced with wickedness. But the goal of our cultivation is to become righteous and enlightened beings who think of others at all time.
The Story of Xuanzang
I want to share a story about Xuanzang, the monk from Journey to the West, to show my understanding of what real righteous thoughts are.
One time, Xuanzang was traveling with a group of people in a boat heading to the kingdom of Nalanda. A group of bandits attacked their boat. The bandits demanded all of their valuables and decided to use Xuanzang as a human sacrifice. Xuanzang tried to reason with them and his companions pleaded with them, but it was in vain. The bandits set up an altar and put Xuanzang on it. Xuanzang was not intimidated. He sat down calmly to meditate and entered a state of tranquility. The bandits saw his extraordinary serenity and felt respect for him.
When Xuanzang entered tranquility, his soul left his body. At that time, Xuanzang made a vow: “If this journey to seek the Buddhist scripture fails, I would like to reincarnate in the divine land and continue studying the Buddha Fa there. Upon completion, I wish to reincarnate back into the human world and offer salvation to the bandits who would kill me.”
At that moment, dark, strong winds came up instantly from all directions. They were so powerful that large trees were uprooted; sand and dust swirled everywhere. The river swelled with raging waves, flipping many boats that had been docked along the riverbank.
The bandits panicked, thinking that their actions had incurred heaven's wrath. One of people who traveled with Xuanzang said that it was wrong to kill a monk, especially because Xuanzang had come from the Eastern Land of the Tang Dynasty to seek the Buddhist scriptures.
At that moment, Xuanzang came out of tranquility. The bandits threw their weapons aside and knelt before him. Xuanzang accepted their apology and taught them basic Buddhist principles. He also suggested that they stop doing bad deeds to avoid karmic retribution. These bandits, therefore, received the Five Precepts and accepted Buddhism.
An enlightened being, one with great compassion, does not think of himself amidst tribulations. He is always thinking of others, including those who persecute him. When being persecuted, if a practitioner thinks about how the sentient beings are committing sins against Dafa and shows compassion toward the people controlled by the old forces, the persecution can be eliminated in an instant. When other practitioners who hear about the persecution afterwards have similar compassion toward sentient beings, it would also help to eliminate the persecution.
One practitioner told me that she had met people who wanted to report her to the police on many occasions. Each time, she asked Master to not let the person be controlled by the old forces and commit sins against Dafa. And each time, she was able to avoid danger.
Another practitioner was also detained by police for telling others about Falun Dafa. I met her a few days after she was released. She said that the person who reported her was very evil and she wanted him to be punished for what he did. I asked her if she had asked Master to help. She said she did but it did not work. But how could Master and the righteous Gods help her when her thoughts were not righteous?
It is my understanding that as a cultivator, everything in life is a choice. Do you choose to show the compassion of an enlightened being or to strengthen your human attachments? This choice often happens in a split second.