Online Shopping and the Legend of Buddha Milarepa
(Minghui.org) While lying on the sofa you can purchase almost anything on your cell phone with just a touch of a finger. Online shopping has become extremely popular, and many products are often surprisingly cheap and include free delivery.
Shopping itself is an everyday activity. However, if one is not self-disciplined, it is easy for practitioners to be interfered with by the allure of this convenience.
Master Li Hongzhi said,
“I just said that it's a whirlpool that the demons use to mess up the world by pulling in people, that is, they want to pull in all of humankind and destroy it!” (“Fa Teaching at the 2016 New York Fa Conference”)
I previously thought Master referred to apps such as WeChat, video games, and harmful websites. I now believe that online shopping is in the same category. To control my excessive shopping habit, I did not make a deposit into my online bank account. But I still found myself indulging in buying things I did not even really need.
Looking back, I regret how much time I wasted.
It was convenient and cheaper to purchase some necessities for my child, but this is how my shopping habit began. There are so many options, competitive prices, and the latest fashions. I couldn't help shopping around and could have used that time to study the Fa.
In order to save time, I decided to shop only while I ate. That did not work, however, as I quickly fell back into my old habit.
I recently felt sleepy after reading only two pages of Zhuan Falun. I picked up my cell phone without thinking about it and started online shopping again.
“People today cannot tell clearly whether their actions and expressions are driven by their own thoughts or controlled by negative elements. On the surface your actions all look very natural, and you even feel the origin of your thoughts is also very natural. You cannot tell what is truly your own thought, and what is external elements controlling you, leading on your desires and attracting your various addictions, no matter what it is that you like. How hard it is to cultivate in this kind of environment. It is so difficult, truly very difficult!” (“Fa Teaching at the New York Fa Conference on the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of Dafa’s Introduction to the Public”)
I thought about giving up this attachment by not using my cell phone. However, I had to scan the security code at the supermarkets, banks, and other places, so not using my phone is not an option. Master said, “If you cannot let the attachment go, you will not be able to discard anything.” (Lecture Six, Zhuan Falun)
I also purchased different ebooks, I-pads, and MP3s. I felt I put too much emphasis on these luxury items. As a result, I had less time to study the Fa and do the exercises. It was similar to the analogy of the “gold begging bowl” vs. “jade begging bowl.” that Master mentioned.
I remembered “The Cultivation Story of Buddha Milarepa.” When Buddha Milarepa cultivated at the cliff cave Drakar Taso, he sang a vow:
“Before attaining Buddhahood,I vow to stay here;Regardless of cold or hunger,I will not leave for clothes or food.
If sickness comes,I will not go down for treatment;Enduring suffering I would rather risk my life,than walk down the mountain to seek medicine.
Even for a brief moment,no worldly benefits for this physical body,Only through body, speech, and mind,can one strive for great enlightenment.
I sincerely pray to master,and all Buddhas in ten directions;Please bestow great support,so this vow is not violated.
I sincerely pray to all dakinis,along with divine custodians;Assist me with this predestined affinity;make this vow my ultimate destiny.”
He then vowed, “Before my completion and great realization, I will not go down the mountain for food even if I starve to death; I will not go down the mountain for clothing even if I die from the cold; I will not go down the mountain to look for medicine even if I lose my life to illness. I resolutely forsake anything and everything related to this life and the earthly world. My body, speech, and mind will remain steadfast, solely pursuing Buddhahood. I hope masters, dakinis, and divine custodians will help me achieve this. If I were to violate this vow, I would rather die than keep a human body that does not cultivate righteous dharma. Therefore, if I disobey my vow, I hope Buddhas and divine custodians will end my life immediately; after I die, I also wish master could help me be reborn as a human that can practice righteous dharma.” (“The Cultivation Story of Buddha Milarepa (Part 8)”)
Of course, we live among ordinary people, so we do not need to cultivate the same way as Buddha Milarepa. But the requirements may be even higher. We must let go of our attachment to material interests. What's more, we are now in a critical period of Fa-rectification. We should cherish the time to cultivate and save people. I was able to seize every moment to cultivate diligently in the beginning, but I recently slacked off.
Let’s keep in mind Master’s recent article about remaining steadfast during this critical period:
“Master will say one more thing: Every moment of yours, you are on the path of cultivation practice, and at every moment, I am the one who is looking after you. You must not seek out interference for yourself. Walk well what little is left of your path.” (“Another Stick Warning”)