Lessons Learned about Eliminating Greed
(Minghui.com) I knew of a female Falun Dafa practitioner who purchased a number of MP3 players from her younger brother and sold them to other practitioners for profit.
Knowing this wasn't appropriate, our local group later suggested that she return the price difference to the buyers, and reminded her that we should not try to profit from other practitioners. But she put off making restitution to the point that she could no longer reach those who had bought the MP3 players. So she just forgot about it.
Afterwards, this practitioner was reported while clarifying the truth about Falun Dafa and sentenced to a three-year prison term. This practitioner happens to be very kind and steadfast in cultivation; how could she be severely persecuted? Was it because she knowingly profited from Dafa?
I, myself, used to be very greedy. For example, I used the company car to do my personal business. I also accepted gift cards, asked for gifts, and ate free meals. Master Li Hongzhi taught:
“By taking advantage of him, you are the gaining side, so you must lose something.” (Lecture Nine, Zhuan Falun)
I enlightened to the fact that, as practitioners, we should buy things we need ourselves, rather than get them for free from others.
My workplace provided only three rolls of toilet paper each week for the office restrooms. In the past, I never brought toilet paper to work. One day I thought: I always use the free toilet paper. If I use more, then others must use less. I later brought toilet paper to the office. However, the old habit was very difficult to eliminate, and I sometimes had negative feelings about not taking advantage of the free toilet paper. So I had to constantly suppress, reject, and remove such thoughts.
I asked myself, would the Gods be greedy and stingy? Would they take advantage of others? I am a practitioner, and I always strive to let go of all attachments and help Master Li save sentient beings. If I can’t even let go of something as trivial as toilet paper, what am I actually letting go of?
In traditional culture, being incorruptible is a noble virtue. Greed is corruption and is shameful. With the deterioration of human morality, however, most people have followed the trend of vying for personal gain. Sometimes, we are only happy when getting free things or gaining an advantage with something. But this is an incorrect and distorted value.
There were many old sayings in this regard, such as, “Take advantage of a millet and lose half a year’s grains.” (Shi Xianjie); “I take non-greed as a treasure, and you take jade as a treasure. If you gave the jade to me, we will both lose our treasures.” (Zi Han); or “If something is not mine, then I won’t take a little bit.” (Su Shi). A true cultivator should let go of greed.
There is a story that captures the correct value. The Chinese medical scholar Ye Tianshi cured Emperor Kangxi’s back sore. The emperor wanted to reward him, but Ye politely declined, “I have charged only a consultation fee since I began to see patients; I never accept any gifts from patients.”
The emperor asked, “Ah, Ye Tianshi, you won’t even accept my gifts?”
Ye replied, “I have been seeing patients for over 30 years. And I deeply know that the principles of medicine are connected to the laws of heaven. The principles of medicine require a mindset to cut the thigh (to save a patient), but not to have a mindset on self-interest.
“Medical techniques are used to save people, and the doctor is related to the lives of thousands of people. Human life is related to heaven. If medical techniques are used as something for seeking fame and profit, the person is tantamount to a bandit. I am well aware that medicine must not be tied to money. Only with selflessness can one’s medical techniques be satisfactory, and the medical way righteous. I also hope that you, the emperor, will be able to understand my wishes and help me to fulfill them.”
If using the practice of medicine to seek profits is tantamount to banditry, a practitioner using Dafa to seek profits may be a greater sin. Cultivation is far more serious than the principles of medicine. If we have selfish desires and self-interests, we haven’t cultivated selflessness, and our xinxing hasn’t improved. Only by cultivating a pure heart can we take the right path and negate the arrangements of the old forces.
I then reflected on myself. Is the money I used for Dafa projects clean? My computer was one that was scrapped by the company. I used the company car to mail truth-clarification letters, and I even thought that I was smart for doing so.
Not long ago, a fellow practitioner asked me to copy some lined pages to use for hand copying Master Li's articles. I copied them for him at work. My supervisor saw it and looked at me with scornful eyes. I immediately stopped, looked down, and left.
Why would I use the copier at my company? It was because I was unwilling to spend my own money and was taking advantage of a convenient opportunity. I should use my own money to make copies, so that I am truly responsible to our body of practitioners.
After I eliminate the greed and improve my xinxing, I will be more virtuous and holy. Master said,
“Those who are attached to money seek wealth and feign their cultivation. Undermining the practice and the Fa, they waste their lifetimes instead of cultivating Buddhahood.” (“Cultivators’ Avoidances,” Essentials for Further Advancement)
Some practitioners who engage in pyramid schemes and fund-raising may not understand the true meaning of this teaching, so they went astray and deviated from Dafa. It is unjustifiable for them to commit such sins for just a little money. In true cultivation, one needs to eliminate the attachment to personal gain and not do anything that may undermine Dafa.
I recently heard a story of a practitioner who made a small machine to produce bean sprouts. Three other practitioners saw the machine and asked him to make one for each of them. These devices are actually available online at reasonable prices. Why did they not buy one themselves instead of relying on a practitioner to make one?
If the fellow practitioner used his time making these machines for them instead of doing the three things, isn’t that delaying his offering salvation to sentient beings? Isn’t this a loss due to trivial things?
Master has said a lot about loss and gain. If we do not pay close attention to this, our selfishness and greed will manifest. We should therefore act in accordance with the Fa. Master said,
“He used to take home pieces of towels from the textile factory, and so did the rest of the employees. After he started practicing Dafa, instead of taking things home, he brought back to the factory what he had taken home before.” (Lecture Four, Zhuan Falun)
In terms of our conduct, we practitioners should not do things to take advantage of others, and we must repay all that we have taken. Only then is this true cultivation!