(Minghui.org) The process of cultivation is a process of letting go of one’s selfness, or selfishness. In cultivation, one should let go of selfishness, put others first, and be compassionate and tolerant. Only by putting down selfishness, can one assist Master to rectify the Fa and save sentient beings.

Many practitioners are strong-willed and overbearing. It has become habitual for them, and they feel good about it. They don’t focus on looking inward, self-reflecting, and letting go of selfness. In this way, their selfishness has increased and perhaps even turned evil. Their selfishness appears in a few ways.

Emphasizing Themselves

Some such practitioners are opinionated and see their own understanding as the truth. For example, one practitioner kept emphasizing that he had righteous thoughts, and it was okay to keep his phone with him when he worked on a Dafa project. Then he was persecuted. Some other practitioners kept boasting about their hard work on a Dafa project, fearing that no one knew about it. Then the Chinese Communist Party also learned about it. They had deeply sunk into strong selfness.

Promoting Themselves

Some practitioners are condescending and like to lecture others and show off; they can’t humbly communicate with others. For example, one practitioner who was a teacher was very talkative, and liked to emphasize her own ideas. She was going astray, but she didn’t realize it. She was arrested multiple times. She went on hunger strikes many times during detention, and eventually passed away due to the persecution. Another male teacher often talked through the whole cultivation sharing time, as if he was lecturing the other practitioners.

Master said,

“On the surface these people appear to be spreading Dafa, but in reality they are promoting themselves.” (“A Heavy Blow,” Essentials For Further Advancement)

Cultivation sharing is equal and mutual. If one person takes up all the sharing time, it’s not sharing anymore but an “individual's self-promotion.” It doesn’t conform to the Fa.

Insisting on Themselves

Some practitioners love to be in control, don’t like to be questioned, and insist on their opinions. Instead of making decisions based on the Fa, they like to make decisions based on their own ideas, and don’t accept others' ideas. For example, one practitioner had printed Dafa materials for a long time. She told others not to get involved, because she could do it all. She didn’t communicate with fellow practitioners about distributing Dafa materials, which created a lot of pressure for others. The practitioner was sentenced to prison due to the persecution, and didn’t look well after she was released.

Master said,

“Insisting on holding onto your own opinion stubbornly and refusing to let go is an attachment to “self.”” (Teaching the Fa at the Fa Conference in Australia)

All such practitioners have their own virtue and positive aspects, such as working hard, persisting, being devoted, and so on. But their selfness is too strong. It’s a pity that they either went astray or were persecuted because of their selfness.

The core issue of emphasizing, proving, and insisting on oneself is that they put themselves above Dafa.

Even though they read Dafa books and do the three things, they are not humble or respectful to Dafa. If they don’t cultivate solidly, they are sure to run into tribulations.

Master said,

“Only someone who truly studies it and truly cultivates by it will be able to see its higher truths.” (“Fa Teaching on World Falun Dafa Day”)

A fellow practitioner once boasted that someone liked him, but he wasn’t moved, and that another person pursued him, but he rejected her. He was emphasizing that he was attractive and showing off and that he cultivated well. Later on, he was arrested.

Master said,

“The desire to show off plus the attachment of zealotry are most easily exploited by the demonic part of your mind.” (“Definitive Conclusion,” Essentials For Further Advancement)

We noticed that most of the persecution cases were practitioners who focused on their selfness and were not being careful. It’s a serious issue to have a strong sense of self, because it leads to going astray, interfering with Fa-rectification, and being persecuted.

A cultivator who can't let go of selfness, will be shackled by it. They will boast about themselves, be arrogant, and see themselves as better than others. They gradually shift away from righteous thoughts, Master, and Dafa. The old forces will then take advantage.

Some practitioners were persecuted severely, and one of the reasons was that they were validating themselves instead of validating the Fa. Cultivators should validate the Fa, while everyday people validate themselves. Master doesn’t protect everyday people. Therefore, the more practitioners emphasize themselves, the closer they are to danger. A strong selfness also attracts demons, which makes the shackles of selfness stronger.

Master said,

“There's something you must pay attention to: you are validating the Fa, not validating yourselves. A Dafa disciple's responsibility is to validate the Fa. Validating the Fa is cultivation, and what you remove in the cultivation process is none other than the attachment to self; you can't, instead, go and exacerbate the problem of validating oneself, even if you do it unwittingly. When you're validating the Fa and cultivating, that is a process of removing self, and only when you do that are you really validating yourself. That's because ultimately you have to let go of all your human things, and only after you've let go of all your human attachments can you step out from the throngs of everyday people.” (“Teaching the Fa at the Meeting with Asia-Pacific Students,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. VI)