Let’s Not Concentrate on Fellow Practitioners’ Negative Side
(Minghui.org) I recently enlightened that we cannot assess a fellow practitioner by merely concentrating on his or her negative behavior and traits. If we focus our attention on the earth that’s covering the gold, we would tend to miss or misjudge the real substance beneath it. This appears to be the cause of disagreement, criticism and resentment that creates barriers that keep practitioners apart.
When we stop assessing others merely by their superficial appearance and instead take into account practitioners’ glorious achievements in cultivation, our respect for them will grow. With that understanding in mind, many complications we encounter in our own cultivation can be simplified.
This is my understanding from a recent experience with helping my mother to overcome her tribulation.
When my mother came home after her illegal arrest for her faith, I was very worried about her cultivation state. I took the view that the unfortunate incident occurred because she had too many human attachments. She is talkative, has a carefree personality, and was therefore less likely to look within herself and listen to others’ advice. I started insisting we study the Fa a lot more and helped her to look within.
Because I was judgmental and harsh in pointing out her many shortcomings, it wasn’t long before she became annoyed and started arguing with me, “I put you through a few years of university and now you think you’re tough? You’re lecturing me now?” I said, “The old forces are persecuting you, so why aren’t you worried and trying hard to break through that?” She replied, “You don’t need to worry about me. I am better than you because you can’t even get up early in the morning to do the exercises. I am more worried about you.”
I was frustrated because I was trying to help, but she couldn’t see that. Mother did not want to talk to me for a few days and I was tired and mentally exhausted. I thought that since she was old, her enlightenment quality was poorer. However, I felt it was her own business if she did not want to improve and that I was better off concentrating on my own cultivation.
We hardly talked to each other and studied the Fa on our own for a few days. In my heart, I was still hoping that Mother could quickly improve herself.
After a while, I realized I was wrong. Mother’s arrest was due to gaps in her cultivation, but it also must’ve been an indicator of my own gaps. I searched within myself, and lo and behold I uncovered a few issues.
Firstly, I was eager to help my mother and wanted her to improve because I was scared that she might face arrest again and I might lose her as a result. I did that out of my attachment to “qing” (sentimentality). It wasn’t real compassion on my part.
Secondly, I thought I was in the right and spoke to my mother in a harsh tone of voice, projecting condemnation and resentment toward her. No wonder she reacted badly. My behavior was completely contrary to Master’s requirement of selflessness. Why did I not know this about myself before? The manifestations of my human attachments were different then my mother’s, but they are attachments all the same. I was definitely not better than her. Once I conceded that, I began to recognize my mother’s positive side, which I’d previously overlooked.
Mother works hard, puts up with my difficult father, goes out of her way and makes lots of sacrifices to help out my brother and sister-in-law, and always puts her family and fellow practitioners before herself. She wakes me at midnight to send forth righteous thoughts, wakes me in the morning to do exercises, and puts up with my little tantrums. I realized that when I magnified her negative side, I unduly inflated my own ego.
Master said, “Don't look at the negative side of other people. You should always look at their positive side.” (Teaching the Fa at the 2003 Lantern Festival) Master tells me to change my way of thinking, but I failed to do so and kept concentrating on my mother’s negative side.
On reflection, I behaved rather irrationally about my mother’s arrest. I was ruthless in my judgement of her shortcomings. I thought she had too many low-level human attachments and if they were not rectified quickly, the old forces would make trouble for her again. All I could see at the time was her negative side, and it worried me.
Before this incident, I always thought I was pretty steady in my cultivation and had a reasonable understanding of the Fa. I sometimes earned the praise of older practitioners who thought I was quite pure and mature. But now I realized I was taking the side of the old forces by heaping more tribulations on my mother. Digging deeper, I found selfishness embedded in me. It was a characteristic of the old cosmos. I was self-centered and erroneously placed myself high above others. No compassion could have emerged under such a frame of mind.
I also enlightened that cultivation is about cultivating oneself rather than fixing others. I should not require of others what the Fa requires of us cultivators, and helping others in their cultivation is the same as helping myself. If there is no humility or compassion in our interactions with fellow practitioners, we are no different than non-practitioners. I was so glad to have come to that conclusion and felt much happier for it.
I also enlightened to something else: What happened to my mother was an illusion on the surface, much like the earth covering the gold. I had placed too much stock on the illusion and overlooked the truth of the matter. The well-cultivated part of my mother’s true being shines like gold–something I had not given her credit for. When I looked at my mother by looking past that superficial “illusion,” I found her to have a lot of positive traits. For a few days, I noticed her face was glowing and she appeared much younger.
“This table is also squirming, yet your eyes cannot see the truth. This pair of eyes can give one a false impression like that.”
“Precisely because in this physical dimension we have this pair of eyes, people receive a false impression and are prohibited from seeing things. Thus, in the past it was said that if people did not believe what they could not see, such people would be regarded by the community of cultivators as having poor enlightenment quality, as being deluded by the false impressions of everyday people, and as being lost among everyday people. This is a statement historically made by religions. Actually, we have also found it quite reasonable.” (Lecture Two, Zhuan Falun)
I am led to conclude that when frictions occur between practitioners, we must not get bogged down by assessing matters or individuals involved by their superficial “illusions.” We would save ourselves a lot of precious time, effort and resources this way.
From another angle, by Master’s grace, the true substance of our being is the cultivated part of us, which shines like gold. As Dafa disciples, we all have our own magnificent and glorious past, and each of us has his or her own awe-inspiring cultivation story. This true but hidden part of us is not visible at the surface level, so let’s not get blinded by what appears at the surface. Helping fellow practitioners should be taken as an honor, and giving of ourselves unconditionally is our duty. Every Dafa disciple is gold despite it being covered by earth.
“When Dafa disciples’ mighty virtue is displayed, now that will be glorious and brilliant.” (Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Switzerland)
I hope we can all work together in this last leg of Fa-rectification, make Master proud, and leave behind an awe-inspiring historic account of our own Fa-rectification journey.