How Many Attachments Have We Been Harboring?
(Minghui.org) I noticed recently that many practitioners, myself included, did not do well in searching within and cultivating off our attachments. It appeared we were holding onto our attachments instead of getting rid of them.
When a fellow practitioner ran into a conflict, her feelings were hurt and she complained. She realized later that she needed to work on herself. She looked within and found what was bothering her and let it go. She felt better and thought her attachment was gone. It may be so on the superficial level, but if the root cause that caused the conflict had not been touched, then it might happen again later.
When another fellow practitioner had conflicts with their family members, he stated that it was to help him get rid of sentimentality toward his family. In my opinion, he might have overlooked many other attachments.
Some practitioners accused others of interfering with them when conflicts arose. Such practitioners believed they were doing things to safeguard and validate Dafa, and they automatically categorized the difficulty or obstacles they encountered during the process as interferences. But nothing happens without a reason. Instead of blaming others for not cooperating or listening to them, maybe they need to look within to see if there is anything hidden in their motivation in doing things.
Master told us:
“The tests for you to pass are in fact meant to remove your demon-nature. Nonetheless, from time to time you have used various excuses or Dafa itself to hide it, and failed to improve your xinxing while missing opportunities again and again.”
“Do you realize that as long as you’re a cultivator, in any environment or under any circumstances, I will use any troubles or unpleasant things you come across—even if they involve work for Dafa, or no matter how good or sacred you think they are—to eliminate your attachments and expose your demon-nature so that it can be eliminated, for your improvement is what’s most important.” (“Further Understanding,” Essentials for Further Advancement)
Master made it even more clear in another Fa teaching:
“Everything that happens to you is a test to see whether you can regard yourself as a cultivator, find your own wrongdoing and mistakes, and conduct yourself as a cultivator. Remember these words of mine: No matter what trouble you encounter, no matter what makes you feel unpleasant inside, and no matter whether on the surface you’re right or wrong, if you are to truly regard yourself as a cultivator you should always examine yourself for causes. Ask yourself whether you have a wrong, hard-to-detect motive that’s related to the problem. If you, as a cultivator, only part with things superficially while deep down inside you still stick to something or cling to your own vital interests that you don’t allow to be undermined, I’d say to you that your cultivation is fake! If your own thinking doesn’t change, you cannot advance even one step and are deceiving yourself. Only when you truly improve from within can you make real progress. So be sure to remember this: Whenever you come across anything such as troubles, unpleasant things, or friction with others, you need to examine yourself and search within. You will find the cause of that insurmountable problem.” (Lecture at the First Conference in North America)
It took me a while to learn to search within to find my fundamental attachments.
Truly Searching Within
I realized cultivation is searching for the motive behind each attachment, asking myself why I reacted the way I did, finding the root cause, and truly changing myself so as to avoid making the same mistake again the next time. Only then can I gradually transform to a better person, until eventually reaching consummation.
I often thought I really cherished my own cultivation and always tried my best. When I ran into problems or conflicts, I tried to keep my heart peaceful, but I was not always successful. I realized recently that only when I dig deeper to get rid of my attachment, will my cultivation have qualitative change and improvement.
When I discovered an attachment in the past, I would send forth righteous thoughts for a long time to eliminate it. I found it worked for attachments that were superficial but not those stubborn and deep ones.
For the tougher ones, I would ask myself questions: “Why do I have such a strong reaction to this?” The answer might be it’s all others’ fault. That was obviously not the right answer I was looking for. I would continue searching until I found the part that needed to improve or cultivate off.
If I truly could not find my fault, I would still ask: “Even if I did not do anything wrong, why has this affected me so much? Will a divine being have such reactions to human affairs?”
After the back and forth questions, I was usually able to find my attachment. The deeply hidden selfish heart that only wanted to protect me would finally appear. That was the time I noticed a breakthrough in my cultivation.
In the past, I never thought I had any issues with mundane house chores. I would complain and blamed my spouse or children when they did not do things well. Now I can easily find my attachment. I thought I was doing something important and they should do their part to support me. I was demanding and self-centered. Now if I am busy and the house needs some cleaning, I will no longer become irritable, impatient, and upset. I feel peaceful and calm. I will get to the chores when I finish my work. I know that this is a state that a cultivator should have.
I also noticed some attachments are very tricky. They might be concealed by other attachments to prevent me from finding them. They made me feel that I was cultivating diligently and that I was doing just fine. As a veteran practitioner, I should not be too confident in myself. Sometimes I couldn’t find my attachments immediately, or they would become hard to distinguish at times and I might think that they are my own thoughts, but they are not!
So when a conflict arises, we shouldn’t run away from it, as it is the best opportunity for us to elevate and improve. I notice my xinxing elevation always happens after I solidly cultivate myself to reach the standard.
Master told us:
“I just said that the principles of cultivators and those of ordinary people are opposite. Human beings believe that a life of comfort is a good thing, while Dafa disciples believe that having everything be easy is a bad thing when it comes to their improvement and that discomfort is conducive to improvement. (Applause) Have you managed to turn around your fundamental concepts?” (Teaching the Fa in San Francisco, 2005)
I no longer avoid tests or tribulations. I feel that they are the best opportunities that Master grants me, and I need to cherish and handle them well. I feel I’m becoming mature when changing my mentality regarding tests and tribulation. Instead of avoiding and fearing them, one should embrace them, seize the chance to make a breakthrough, otherwise, it will be hard to truly transform in one's cultivation. Let us cherish the cultivation opportunities that Master has arranged for us.
This is my understanding at my level, please kindly point out any shortcomings.