My Understanding of Resentment
(Minghui.org) Our resentment often comes from our strong displeasure at, or loathing of something or someone. It usually starts from a feeling of annoyance or dissatisfaction. This feeling often leads to some kind of conflict which escalates over time, planting the seeds of resentment. This process is so subtle that we are usually unaware of it.
Resentment permeates the air in China—it manifests throughout our society, our workplace, schools, neighborhoods, and families, and no one can escape it. We are all victims of resentment regardless of whether it’s hidden in us or fought out in the open, whether we are the winners or losers in the conflict. The blame lies at the feet of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The specter of the CCP is after all made up of “hatred and all degenerate matter at the lowest levels of the cosmos.” It is rooted in hatred, it spreads hatred and encourages its growth and spread. This specter takes advantage of the slightest feeling of discontent we have and multiplies, strengthens, and magnifies it to ensure it can inflict the most grievous harm on us and on humanity as a whole.
As Falun Dafa cultivators we must deal with any resentment we have, or see in others, in accordance with the Fa. Resentment is antithetical to the aspirations of a Dafa cultivator.
“Shan is the manifestation of the nature of the universe at different levels and in different dimensions. It is also the fundamental nature of Great Enlightened Beings. Therefore, a cultivator must cultivate Shan and assimilate to the nature of the universe, Zhen-Shan-Ren...Dafa is in perfect harmony: If one separates the three characters of “Zhen-Shan-Ren,” each still fully contains Zhen-Shan-Ren. This is because matter is composed of microscopic matter, which is in turn made up of even more microscopic matter—this goes on and on until the end. Therefore, Zhen consists of Zhen-Shan-Ren, Shan consists of Zhen-Shan-Ren, and Ren also consists of Zhen-Shan-Ren.” (“A Brief Explanation of Shan,” Essentials for Further Advancement)
If we fail to practice Shan (Compassion) in our everyday lives, especially in disagreements or confrontational situations, we have in fact failed to adhere to all three fundamental Dafa principles of Zhen, Shan, and Ren (Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance). We certainly do not qualify as Dafa cultivators if we do not adhere to these principles.
It’s a sacred honor to be a Dafa disciple. No one has ever had that privilege in history, not even the many Buddhas and Gods in the universe. We cultivators must not be attached to anything in this secular world because our brief stay here is an opportunity for us to cultivate back to our origin. The more we hold onto these human attachments, the harder it is for us to transcend this world to become worthy, enlightened beings.
What lies behind our fear of losing face is vanity, ego, and our sense of self-importance, and behind our feeling of bitterness is envy, jealousy and self-interest. Even behind our pursuit of a happy family life is a human desire we cannot let go of.
“...being upset is qing, so are happiness, love, hatred...” (Lecture Six, Zhuan Falun)
“If this qing is not relinquished, you will be unable to cultivate. If you break free from this qing, nobody can affect you.” (Lecture Four, Zhuan Falun)
Many of our human attachments come from qing (sentimentality or emotion). Without letting go of qing, resentment naturally builds up in Dafa cultivators in China who suffer enormously from the persecution. We try our best to suppress it or keep it hidden even from ourselves. But Master and Buddhas and Gods in the other dimensions can clearly see it. If we don’t conscientiously rid ourselves of this deep-seated resentment over time, we are giving the old forces an excuse to inflict harm on us or even take our lives.
“When a person harbors resentment it’s because he has grown fond of hearing pleasant things and having things go well. And then when things don't go that way, he resents it. You can’t be like that, if you think about it. You can’t go about cultivation that way, can you? I have always taught that a practitioner should look at things in the opposite way of how people normally do. When things go badly for you, you should see it as good, and understand that it’s meant to help you rise higher. [You should think,] “I’ve got to handle it well. This is a test for me to cultivate through, another test.” And when things go well for you, you should remind yourself, “I can’t get too happy. When all is well, I can’t improve and can easily slide downward.” So to cultivate you have to look at things in reverse. But if you always push away and reject the difficulties and unpleasant things that come your way, then you are refusing to cultivate through your tests and turning down chances to make progress, aren’t you? The persecution we face is a different matter, of course.” (“2018 Fa Teaching Given in Washington, D.C.,” Team Yellow Translation)
Resentment Manifests in Different Ways
Resentment can also attract things from other dimensions. I had an argument with someone in my family. After saying some unpleasant words in anger, I stormed back to my room. As I slammed my door, the door latch fell off. I picked it up and placed it on my desk. When I looked up, the entire wall was covered with disgusting looking creatures. Terrified, I called out, “ Master, I am sorry! I have been wrong!” Everything on the wall disappeared instantly. I also apologized to the person I had the argument with.
It was a memorable lesson for me. Since then, I was careful to be calm. I treated others with compassion and did not allow myself to harbor any kind of resentment. After all, I do not want my cultivation to go the way of my door latch!
The greater our attachment to qing, the stronger our resentment becomes when our qing is under attack. Before I became a Dafa cultivator, my ex-husband was originally a boiler worker. With the help of his cousin (who was the county committee's CCP secretary), he was admitted to a university, completed his post-graduate studies, and got a job as a university lecturer. He later had an affair with one of his students. As a result, we divorced.
For five long years, I was the sole breadwinner supporting him and the two children. I put all our hopes in him but I was betrayed. You can only imagine the level of resentment I had toward him and his new wife. A few years later he asked me to take him back. He wanted to divorce his new wife but would only go ahead with it if I agreed to re-marry him. I had begun practicing Falun Dafa by then and did not like the idea. I left the matter alone because he was still married.
A co-worker suggested, “You can promise to re-marry him and then refuse once he’s divorced. That way, you can take your revenge on both of them.” I thought as a Dafa cultivator I could not do that because I practiced Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. I assumed my resentment was gone because I did not want to take revenge on them but instead felt sorry for them.
Some time later, another seemingly unrelated matter happened. Another colleague was diagnosed with hepatitis and her husband had an affair during her treatment period in isolation. Afterwards, they divorced. A few years later, the husband wanted to come back. She asked me and I gave her my honest advice. I even said something like: “It’s not possible to have a perfect reunion. A broken mirror can be put back together but the crack will still be there.” I was still thinking to myself after she left, “Marriage is not something you can pick up or drop on a whim.” I suddenly realized I was still resentful.
My colleague did not agree to reconcile with her ex-husband.
Two months later, it was reported in the newspaper that my colleague’s ex-husband was caught stealing money from his employer and was sentenced to more than 10 years in jail. At first, I was glad my colleague did not take him back. But what followed was my feeling of enormous guilt: this unfortunate event may have been avoided had he re-married her. I have possibly incurred a lot of karma by giving the wrong advice.
That incident still haunts me to this day. I should have remembered that everything happens because of karmic reasons. I don’t interfere in disputes within my own family. So what made me give advice to my colleague? Now I know that was resentment against my husband still lingering in me. I felt sorry for my colleague and was indignant at the treatment she received because her story was so similar to my own. These feelings are in fact a reflection of my resentment about my own situation.
Easily recognizable feelings of resentment are sometimes easy to rectify while deeply hidden ones are hard to detect and can ultimately mislead us. Therefore, we need to be relentless when it comes to rooting out any feelings of resentment in us and not give them any chance of coming back to bite us.
The above is my understanding at my current level. Please kindly point out any misunderstanding I may have.