A Toothache Points Out My Shortcomings
(Minghui.org) I recently found a large cavity in one of my molars, and the tooth started hurting badly. The pain spread right down the side of my head. I felt a large obstacle in my head every time I sent forth righteous thoughts. It distracted me from focusing, as if my heart was being pulled up and down by the pain.
I realized that there must have been some problem in my cultivation, or something I needed to correct. For cultivators, a toothache usually indicates an attachment to food or having said something wrong.
Master published a new lecture that talked about saying bad things behind others' backs. I thought that this was my problem, as one of my colleagues often complained to me about her teammate. Even though I knew that a cultivator shouldn't get involved in everyday people's conflicts, I couldn't help chiming in occasionally to make her feel better.
When my tooth began intensely hurting, I wanted to have the exposed nerve around the tooth treated. I went to see a dentist but the procedure was too expensive. I decided to leave it alone, send forth righteous thoughts, and correct my behavior.
The next day, another colleague told me something negative and I agreed with him. I used to think I was a very rational person and wouldn't casually comment on things. Even though I knew the importance of cultivating speech, I didn't realize that I had this issue of talking behind people's backs, and that it had even developed into a habit.
I was surprised and frustrated by how quickly I said those negative words, even after the hints I’d been given by my toothache. Why couldn't I be mindful of what I said? Why did I talk behind people's backs? I realized that cultivating myself was the key to cultivating my speech. I tended to comment on anything that did not conform to my notions, and even if I said nothing my mind was disturbed. In other words, I failed to stay unmoved.
I encounter many people at work. When I see someone, I immediately have a judgmental thought about them, such as, “Her clothes looks cheap. His hairstyle looks weird.”
Master taught us:
“Karma such as this was formed under specific circumstances and in the context of the moral standards of the past few years, so it evaluates things in light of those standards. If large amounts of this material are formed, the person will be under its sway for the rest of his life. When the notion that was developed thinks that something is good or bad, that person will think so as well and think that things should be done accordingly. But his real self no longer exists. His real self is completely encased and smothered by his unkind, acquired notions. He no longer has his own, true standard for telling good from bad.” (“Buddha Nature,” Zhuan Falun, Vol. II)
When I examined myself to see what was behind these thoughts I noticed that most of them originated from my attachment to lust. I hadn't tried to strictly cultivate my every thought. After I saw my loophole I was able to identify these thoughts as soon as they arose. They weren't part of my original self and I eliminated many of them. I can now stop some thoughts before they are fully formed.
The other day I remembered an experience-sharing article I read on the Minghui website where the author's broken bones and tendons were completely restored by Master. I thought that my toothache was nothing, and would definitely go away, and I felt ashamed for having seen a dentist. It was an indication of my lack of faith in Dafa and Master.
My tooth was completely fine the next day. There wasn't even a tiny hole left.
From this experience I've gained a deeper understanding of the Fa. Everything I encounter is a good thing because it helps me discover and eliminate my attachments, and correct myself.
It's just like Master said:
“No matter what it is you have encountered as you've gone about validating the Fa, it is all, I will tell you, a good thing--and that's especially so in these years of persecution--for those things have come about specifically because you do cultivation. Those ordeals and the suffering, no matter how great or harsh you find them to be, are good things, because they take place solely on account of your cultivation. A person can eliminate karma and shed human attachments when he goes through ordeals, and through ordeals he can improve.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2008 New York Conference,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. VIII)