(Minghui.org) I recently realized that being self-righteous and opinionated seems to indicate a variety of attachments. When a self-righteous person sees his attachments, he may not want to eliminate them, as he may be blocked by his notions. Only if one can put down one’s notions and self-righteousness, can he really cultivate.
As we all have different understandings of the Fa, we are all at different cultivation levels. We express our respect for Master in different ways. Yet, we cultivate the same Fa, and try to meet the same requirements of the Fa.
Formation and Development of Self-righteousness
“Studying the Fa with attachments is not true cultivation. Yet during the course of cultivation a person may gradually become aware of his fundamental attachments, rid himself of them, and thus meet the standard for a cultivator. What’s a fundamental attachment, then? Human beings acquire many notions in this world and are, as a consequence, driven by these notions to pursue what they yearn for.” (“Towards Consummation,” Essentials for Further Advancement II)
A person experiences many things during his lifetime, based on how he develops his thoughts and notions, and may judge everything, including people around himself, based on those notions. If the notions are believed to be correct, he may become opinionated and self-righteous. The self-righteousness, in turn, protects one’s notions from being changed or questioned.
For example, when criticized, driven by the self-righteousness, the person starts to argue to protect himself. As a practitioner, at that moment, he should recall Master’s poem,
“Don't argue when people argue with youCultivation is looking within for the causeWanting to explain just feeds the attachmentBreadth of mind, unattached, brings true insight”(“Don't Argue,” Hong Yin III)
The self-righteousness protects all kinds of attachments, and rules one’s thoughts and behaviors. It governs one’s thoughts, and determines whether to accept or reject some additional knowledge or concept. One may measure everything against one’s notions. If he does not see this clearly, he cannot truly cultivate.
The Danger of Being Self-righteous
When criticized, many practitioners say, “Your words have not touched me.” They use their qing and notions to protect their notions, attachments, and self-interests. They don’t want to cultivate themselves, and only cultivate passively. They may not change until other people’s words touch them. But Master told us that no one can force others to cultivate.
Everyone has his notions, which guides his thoughts and makes him think that he is right when it comes to anything. Being self-righteous is the reason that one fails to see one’s attachments, and fails to gain the Fa while reading the Fa.
“I have several books, audiotapes, and videotapes. You will find that after watching and listening to them once, they still guide you as you watch and listen again after a while. You are also constantly improving yourselves, and they continually guide you—this is the Fa. The above are the two reasons for not being able to increase gong. Without knowing the Fa at high levels, one cannot practice cultivation. Without cultivating one’s inner self and one’s xinxing, one cannot increase gong. These are the two reasons.” (Lecture One, Zhuan Falun)
My understanding is that the Fa we read every day is the manifestation of Dafa at the human level. If we keep improving our xinxing, Master will give us guidance and hints, and let us see the more profound contents of the Fa at higher levels. We enlighten during cultivation, and the enlightenment helps us cultivate. When we reach a certain level, Master will show us the Fa at that level, which then lets us go to the next level.
If we don’t improve, Master will not show us the Fa at the higher levels, and we will not be able to enlighten to the Fa at the higher level. In this case, we will not gain the Fa while reading the Fa, and what we are enlightening to are merely the principles at the human level.
Some practitioners don’t want to talk about enlightenment. Enlightenment is very important in the entire course of cultivation. Master taught us the Fa. Without enlightenment, we would not be able to gain the Fa. One fellow practitioner once said that Master never gave her any hints. I believe this was very disrespectful. If you don’t have enlightenment, how can you say that Master gave you no hints?
After she said that, she had a dream that night, in which Master was riding a motorcycle. She tried to follow Master with her luggage, but failed.
Being opinionated and self-righteous blocks cultivators at each level. One may be able to eliminate some attachments at the surface level, but many attachments are deeply hidden, and one may still be wrapped in one’s own notions.
Some practitioners try to rectify themselves using their own notions. Because they are self-righteous, they think that their own rectification met the Fa’s requirement, and they therefore thought they were doing well enough. This is the major reason why they failed to strive forward diligently.
I once worked with my son on something. I pointed out that his approach was not right. He refused to listen, and finally got mad and quit. At the beginning, I failed to conduct myself well. I thought that my approach was correct, and that there was nothing wrong with teaching my son the correct technique. On a human level I was right, but from a cultivator’s viewpoint, I was wrong.
I apologized to him. But he criticized me, “Your approach is of course correct. Since I was very little I have had to listen to you on everything, because you are always right on everything. You are never wrong.” The 20-some-year old man cried hard.
He rejected my apology, and refused to answer my calls. I sent him many text messages, but he was always sarcastic, “It isn’t right for a father to apologize to his son. You are right. How can you make mistakes?” I kept apologizing for two days, but he was always sarcastic. The more I apologized, the more I felt that I was wrong. I realized that people at different levels have different understandings of things, and they can only accept the things at their level. It will hurt others if I impose my own understandings on others. I saw that I was wrong. I was really wrong. Helping others achieve what they want is showing compassion. We should consider others while doing anything.
Being jealous, crafty, hiding ones true thoughts, showing off, and being impatient and competitive are the attachments that self-righteousness tries to protect.
Many practitioners see their notions, but don’t know how to eliminate them, because the notions are intangible, and are protected by the self-righteousness. When we try to rectify ourselves in the Fa, and eliminate the self-righteousness, all the attachments and notions will be exposed, and will therefore be easy to eliminate. So to eliminate the attachments, we must get rid off the self-righteousness.
Only if we recognize the formation and development of self-righteousness, and eliminate it, can we accept the purification by Dafa, assimilate into the Fa, and improve ourselves within the Fa. Only this way will we not betray the precious opportunity of cultivation.
Master changes us at the most microscopic and fundamental level, and wants us to reach consummation. It is up to us whether we can genuinely cultivate, and whether we can truly return to our original true selves.