Cultivating Myself While Helping Fellow Practitioners
(Minghui.org) Another practitioner in my local group recently came down with serious illness karma. Fellow practitioners took turns visiting her and studying the Fa teachings with her.
Through experience sharing and discussions, we learned that, because she had been giving money to her younger son and his daughter, she was having endless conflicts with her older son. Unable to let go of her attachment to her family, she fell victim to the new virus.
While reading the Fa with this practitioner, I came across the following paragraph:
“Actually, this is the time to remove his attachment to competitiveness. If this competitive mentality is not relinquished, he will always be this way. As time passes, he still cannot move beyond this level after several years. He will be rendered unable to continue qigong practice. With too much energy consumed, his physical body also can no longer bear it and may easily be disabled.” (Lecture Six, Zhuan Falun)
I suddenly realized that, when something or some conflict keeps happening over and over in our cultivation, it is a hint from Master Li that there is an attachment to get rid of. Only when we let go of the attachment in question will we be able to break through our current level and make progress. Cultivation is serious and we must treat it with the utmost care.
Now that Master had me enlighten to this understanding, was it because I myself harbored some attachment? There was something that had been bothering me for a long time.
Whenever I saw a fellow practitioner with an obvious attachment or difficulty, I would think how easy that would be to conquer, which led me to be intolerant and impatient and even disrespectful of the practitioner with the problem.
No matter how hard I reasoned with the person or what advice and understanding I offered, there seemed to be some invisible wall separating us, which led to my holding a grudge and resenting those practitioners who “wouldn’t listen” to me. That attitude, in turn, eventually disturbed my own cultivation. This went on for about two years without any improvement.
Master had used this fellow practitioner’s problem with her sons to wake me up. I knew I must have done something wrong, or else Master would not have repeatedly brought it to my attention.
So what was the attachment I needed to get rid of? I now realized that it was my attachment to fellow practitioners' attachments. This attachment of mine stemmed from my tendency to show off and to compete. I thought my cultivation level was well above theirs and tried to force my understandings on them, which was partly due to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) culture.
We all had been immersed in and poisoned by the Party culture, including the ideology of “criticize and self-criticize,” which pushed us to force our ideas and thoughts on others. It was a manifestation of the CCP philosophy of “struggle.”
As practitioners, we cultivate according to Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, not the philosophy of “struggle” or “criticize and self-criticize.” Master has told us,
“If you do not want to cultivate, no one can force you—that would be the same as doing a wrong deed. Who can force you to change your heart? You must discipline yourself on your own.” (Lecture One, Zhuan Falun)
I could not force fellow practitioners to change. Any change must come from within and from the practitioner's own willingness to make the change. After realizing this, my grudges, arrogance, and impatience with fellow practitioners disappeared. When something else arose, I was able to treat them with a more peaceful and compassionate heart.
Although I came to that enlightenment, when another practitioner did not fully understand my advice or did not act accordingly, I would still wonder why they just would not see such a simple truth and what the root cause might be. I found a hint in my recent Fa study:
“I can make you immediately reach the state of “three flowers gathering above the head” (sanhua juding). Once you step out this door, however, the gong will come off because it is not yours, and it is not from your cultivation. Because your xinxing standard is not there yet, it cannot stay there. Whoever wishes to add it to you will be unable to do it, because it comes completely from one’s own cultivation and from cultivating one’s own mind.” (Lecture Three, Zhuan Falun)
I came to realize that we improve our xinxing through diligent cultivation one level by one level, and that we improve our understanding of the Fa little by little as well. Therefore, other practitioners' issues will not be completely resolved by me or anyone else offering our suggestions or understandings.
What we can do is to kindly point out the issues we notice and leave the rest to the practitioners themselves to work through in their own cultivation. At the same time, we should not be stubborn and cling to our own understandings. We must stay open-minded and willing to hear others' ideas and see things from others' perspectives. After this enlightenment, my mind truly became calm and kind.