Are My Thoughts Human or Divine?
(Minghui.org) Esteemed Master and fellow practitioners:
The last months were governed by the pandemic, which turned into a test on my cultivation path. It showed me that the foundation of my cultivation path was not as solid as I thought. Looking inward, I found many shortcomings and human notions. It was a great lesson in humility.
How Human Emotions Affect a Cultivator
My heart was heavy and I lacked the energy to do the three things. When looking within, I found that my thoughts and decisions were often not based on the Fa but on my desires, such as pursuit of comfort or convenience.
“Whether a person likes to do something or not, is happy or unhappy, loves or hates something, and everything in the entire human society comes from this sentimentality. If this sentimentality is not relinquished, you will be unable to practice cultivation.” (Lecture Four, Zhuan Falun)
My understanding is that everything that happens in human society arises from emotions. As I watched my thoughts and actions that day, I was surprised to find that my emotions guided my actions and I didn’t offer any resistance.
For example, I lacked the motivation to do the exercises early in the morning or I preferred one task over another because it was less pressing. Or I wanted to solve a problem my way or I lost patience when an unplanned event arose suddenly and required a lot of my attention and time. Then my mind became restless and my human side took over. It was like drowning in the middle of the emotion.
As part of my professional work, I had to give a presentation that was rather stressful. To make matters worse, I did not have time to rehearse the presentation beforehand. When I started to speak I was overwhelmed by fear, my mind was empty, and I lost my train of thought.
I suddenly remembered Master's Fa:
“At that time, when students went to school, they practiced sitting in meditation and emphasized good posture. When they picked up their brush-pens, they would regulate their breathing and qi. All professions believed in emptying the mind and regulating the breathing, as this was the state throughout society.” (Lecture Seven, Zhuan Falun)
Since no one could see me (as the conference was held online), I sat in the half Lotus position and calmed down. Within a few seconds I was able to speak fluidly and naturally. When I was questioned, I felt as if time was slowing down, allowing me to calmly look at a problem from different angles in order to decide on the most appropriate answer.
This experience showed me that a change in our attitude and mind determines the quality of what we do, no matter how ordinary the issue.
As I understand it, Master rearranged the lives of all his practitioners. Worrying about it and wanting things to happen one way or another is an ordinary person’s state of mind.
Experiencing a Deep Connection with the Fa
Last winter was pretty tough for me, with little time to sleep and facing one test after another. As my environment relaxed a little bit, I thought I could get more sleep. I decided to just get up earlier when time ran short. In the end, this growing attachment to comfort led me to slow down and do the three things more on a superficial level. At first it wasn't really noticeable, but when I decided to be more strict with myself again, I realized how big and severe the attachment had become.
The worst situation was that I could not get up to do the exercises in the morning, although I had done them for a year without much difficulty. At first I tried several obvious things: changing the alarm clock, sleeping in uncomfortable places, and taking a cold shower. Each one worked only for a few days.
This attachment to comfort actually hid many other attachments that were not easy to discover. When looking within, I realized that my main consciousness was not strong enough. Sleeping kept me from facing daily difficulties. Similarly, if my main consciousness relaxed during meditation due to sleepiness or thought karma, my legs no longer hurt. But then it was no longer my main consciousness that practiced Dafa at that time.
This helped me understand that whatever does not conform to the Dafa principles has to be regarded as demon nature, which has to be eliminated during cultivation.
“Only those who are bound by moral values are displaying Buddha-nature. What is cultivating Buddhahood? It is to get rid of your demon-nature and assimilate to Buddha-nature.” (“Teaching the Fa at the International Experience-Sharing Conference in Beijing,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. I)
When I took a closer look, I noticed that my decision to become a Falun Dafa practitioner was actually for selfish reasons. It was a deep-seated attachment that started to turn into a serious obstacle. For example, I used the Fa to find the meaning of life as an ordinary person and to find contentment and comfort. However, Master said that Falun Dafa disciples are on a mission to help him during the Fa-rectification period. Cultivating Dafa does not mean clinging to ordinary human life by doing the three things superficially.
When looked at from the outside, the difference may not seem to be that great, but the difference is truly enormous. In my understanding, it shows whether the Fa is viewed from a human or a divine perspective. After I became aware of this, I realized that my human notions were very ingrained, which separated me from true cultivation like a wall.
“Secular and sacred, one creek apartForward or back: two different realmsEnter the temple in the woodsOne step and you’ve reached heaven”(“One Thought,” Hong Yin III)
At any given moment, we can base our actions on our understandings of the Fa or on our human notions and preferences that are derived from our emotions. I understand that we should not get discouraged and think it is too difficult, because it is a process. One cannot do it on a whim or by using this or that “method,” because it requires a true departure from human logic.
Every time I became truly aware of the impact of this human side and the strength of my postnatal beliefs, strong righteous thoughts arose. However, I was only able to remain in this state for a few days. Then, it was as if I had forgotten this thought, and it became a theory, and I returned to the state of apathetic cultivation.
I understand that it is not enough to look within and recognize one’s shortcomings. One really needs to actively reject and suppress one's attachments and improve one's xinxing. Only then can a fundamental change occur.
“If you truly take these things that seriously, you will be able to restrain them. Then you will be able to weaken them and gradually get rid of them completely. If it's a case where you are aware of it and feel anxious about it, but in practice you don't truly restrain and suppress it, then in reality you are just stopping at this mental activity of seeing and feeling something, but you haven't taken any action to suppress that thing. In other words, you have only thought about it but not actually cultivated and put it into practice.” (Teaching the Fa in San Francisco, 2005)
The reason I couldn’t remain on the straight and narrow was that I lacked sufficient motivation. After a few days of restricting my actions and thoughts, my willpower loosened and eventually it was more convenient to just go with the flow.
When I looked for the reason why I could not let go of my attachments for good, I found many atheistic and modern scientific notions. For example, I had a hard time understanding Master's Fa with respect to this issue. Master said, “Qigong is a science, and it is a higher science.” (Lecture Six, Zhuan Falun)
In general, my understandings of what it means to cultivate and practice and be a practitioner and have a master are insufficient. This was due to my modern beliefs. However, if these principles could not be understood, how could I be a true practitioner? It is like a student who has memorized his lesson but has not really understood the meaning of what he memorized. He is unable to use it in his daily life.
Now when I study the Fa, I try to remember to use the Fa as a guide, to maintain a humble demeanor, and to believe that every one of Master's words is the truth. Reading Zhuan Falun in English was also of great help, especially since it required a deeper concentration that kept my mind from wandering.
The interference that prevented me from getting up early in the morning to do the exercises and being diligent prevented me—in my opinion—from doing the three things well. This also is a reason for following the old forces’ arrangements. Since then, I not only look within for the reason for the interference, but I also send righteous thoughts to find the real cause of the interference. Then I will eliminate any arrangement by the old forces—or any arrangement not made by Master.
The Environment Is a Mirror that Helps us Look Within
Regarding a truth clarifying project, we needed to decide which direction to take the project. It was an important discussion, but we could not decide.
A fellow practitioner in our group often speaks of high-level things and sometimes quite enthusiastically. Listening to him, I developed bad thoughts and found that his ideas went to the extreme, that ordinary people could not accept them. I used to reject his ideas and present instead.
At the last meeting I realized that my reasoning was based entirely on human logic, while this practitioner had strong righteous thoughts and a strong belief in the Fa. He could not accept my suggestions, as they were based on human notions, fears, and different desires.
As we shared our views and understandings, I realized that my reasoning was based on human notions and various other attachments. This helped me realize the importance of relying on the Fa when sharing understanding or making decisions. Our human hearts are obstacles and interfere with the welfare of sentient beings.
Realizing this was very painful. In retrospect, my will to overcome these shortcomings is now all the stronger.
I sincerely thanked this practitioner in my heart for pointing out my shortcomings and valued his strong and righteous thoughts. Since then, our approaches have often complemented each other and I appreciate his opinion. His attitude has also become more rational and relaxed. I wished it had not taken this long to really look inside and correct my wrong outlook.
Thank you, esteemed Master and fellow practitioners.
(Presented at the 2020 Swiss Fa Conference)
German version: https://de.minghui.org/html/articles/2020/10/21/149425.html