Honestly Examining My Cultivation State
(Minghui.org) A few days ago my sister-in-law got sick. She had back pain and couldn’t get up. I went to see her and found two decorative plates with the images of the former CCP Chairman and Premier on top of a cabinet. I was disturbed and suggested we destroy them. My brother didn’t agree. I said, “No wonder she’s sick. You revere these bad people.” He became furious and said some nasty things about Falun Dafa. I didn’t expect his emotional reaction and I responded in kind.
I contemplated this incident for several days. My brother’s entire family had withdrawn from the CCP (Chinese Communist Party), and he sometimes cursed it. Although he didn’t understand why I practiced Falun Dafa, he didn’t try to stop me. I realized that I must have problems in my cultivation because he had such a deep misunderstanding of Dafa. I calmed down, set aside my resentment, and started to reflect on my shortcomings in cultivation.
Am I Really Saving People?
The incident with my brother clearly showed me that I hadn't thoroughly clarified the truth to him. Like most people, my brother only looked after his self-interests. He often said, “I’ll listen to whoever gives me benefits.” When I initially tried to persuade him to withdraw from the CCP, I followed his thinking and said, “The CCP will soon collapse. Anyone associated with it may be held responsible for its crimes. To stay safe you should quit your membership.” He agreed to withdraw from the CCP since it would benefit him.
I had talked to him from the standpoint of personal interest. I didn’t tell him much about Falun Dafa and why the CCP persecutes it. I didn’t arouse his righteous thoughts or his conscience.
I recently tried to talk about Falun Dafa to my brother again. But he was not interested and didn’t listen. Instead, each time we got upset with each other. My attachment to comfort prevented me from doing anything further. I thought that as long as he withdrew from the CCP, he was saved. But he was not really saved. He quit the CCP to get benefits. He asked me, “You’ve practiced Falun Dafa for years. What benefits have you gotten? You risk your life every day. The CCP is still in power and is still persecuting practitioners!”
I realized that practitioners shouldn’t cater to the deteriorated moral standards of the general society. We should show people our kindness and forbearance. We should rectify their deviated behavior with righteous thoughts and awaken their conscience with kindness.
“While living in this human worldYou mustn’t betray your conscienceBeing good or evil determines your futureDon’t in any way bolster the wicked Party”(“Don’t Betray Your Conscience,” Hong Yin III)
I felt that Master was pointing out the standard that ordinary people should reach so they could be saved.
Identifying My Fundamental Attachments
When I further examined myself, I found that I was arrogant like my brother. He was responding to my strong ego. I tried to force other people to do what I thought was right. My ego was deeply embedded and I wasn’t able to let it go. At home, I made all the decisions. I looked down on this practitioner or that practitioner because I thought I had a clearer understanding of the Fa principles than them. I thought I was more capable and wanted other practitioners to listen to me. I alienated those practitioners who had different opinions than mine. Wasn’t I on a dangerous path?
The incident with my brother also reflected my lack of compassion. I got along with my family members and other relatives. I enjoyed the pleasure that sentimentality brought me. I never made sure that they were truly saved. I got angry with my brother because he attacked Falun Dafa and insulted and bullied me. I didn’t feel sorry for him when he committed such a huge crime; instead I was angry and resentful toward him.
For two days I was upset and felt lost, but I didn’t know why. When I discussed what happened with the practitioners in my Fa study group I said, “Almost all the people I thought I'd saved were not really saved.” It seemed I did not really care about whether those people had been saved. I only cared if my efforts were rewarded. I only cared about my cultivation and how much virtue I accumulated.
I was shocked to realize that I was not saving sentient beings out of compassion but to complete myself. My motive for cultivating and clarifying the truth to people was selfish – I did it for me. I hadn’t broken through the selfish characteristic of the old cosmos. I realized that I didn’t feel any urgency to save sentient beings and I didn’t always cultivate diligently. Instead I was attached to gain and pursuit. I was unable to completely let go of jealousy and other attachments.
“I also want to tell you that your nature in the past was actually based on egotism and selfishness. From now on, whatever you do, you should consider others first, so as to attain the righteous Enlightenment of selflessness and altruism.” (“Non-Omission in Buddha-Nature,” Essentials for Further Advancement)
I knew I must let go of selfishness. Otherwise my cultivation path would become more and more narrow and I might end up stepping off the path.
There were a lot of experience sharing articles on the Minghui website about how practitioners changed their selfish state. I was very moved when reading those articles. More and more practitioners realized that the characteristic of selfishness of the old cosmos had severely hindered us from helping Master rectify the Fa. It was time for me to change.
Although I identified my problem, I still felt heavy hearted and restless. I dug deeper and found that the reason my brother and I had our argument was to point out my cultivation state. I never tried to fundamentally change myself. I wasn’t willing to bear any discomfort when eradicating my stubborn attachments and I was afraid of losing my comfortable “cultivation environment.” I didn’t really try to improve my xinxing. This led to my improper cultivation state. My behavior was usually no different than a non-practitioner's. The people I interacted with could not see a cultivator’s realm from me.
What had I been doing all these years? I only cultivated on the surface. I got along well with my family and relatives using sentimentality and solved conflicts by using everyday people’s methods. I balanced my relationship with them by sacrificing personal interest a bit. In return I enjoyed a good reputation. I regarded this as the result of my good cultivation state. I was after this superficial comfortable relationship with ordinary people. When they said that I was a good person, I thought this meant I cultivated well. I was cheating and not really cultivating.
“As a practitioner, one must then conduct oneself by following this characteristic of the universe rather than the standards of everyday people.” (Lecture One, Zhuan Falun)
Master also said,
“If only your surface is changed while your nature remains the same, it’s not genuine. At a certain time or at a critical moment, [the attachment] will still show up. So if a person’s mind isn’t changed, that is just covering things up with a false appearance. Changes must occur starting with your nature. Only that counts as genuinely changing yourself. In other words, you have to be responsible to yourself in cultivation, and you have to genuinely change yourself and let go of the bad things that you are attached to deep inside—only that is true letting go. If you seem to do everything right on the surface but deep inside you still guard and hold on to the things that you don’t want to let go of, that’s absolutely unacceptable. (Teaching the Fa at the Western U.S. Fa Conference)
In all these years I only cultivated superficially. Inside I stubbornly held on to my own things and didn’t want to let them go. I didn’t demonstrate the serenity and nobleness that a practitioner would have when their realm reached a certain standard. If ordinary people didn’t appreciate me, would they appreciate Dafa? I realized that because I hadn’t cultivated to a certain realm, many sentient beings missed their opportunities to be saved. I must improve myself solidly. Cultivating superficially is not acceptable.
I know that Master looks after me and he is worried about my cultivation state. No words can express my gratitude to Master. I must forge ahead and cultivate diligently.