Fa-Study Groups Are Not Ordinary People’s Gatherings
(Minghui.org) Another practitioner and I both felt that we had a misunderstanding: We noticed some practitioners’ actions did not conform to the Fa, but nothing bad happened to them. We believed that everyone’s cultivation state is different and we may have the attachment to being “cautious”. But now we feel that this thinking is wrong. We failed to judge the situation based on the Fa.
Our local Fa-study group always had a problem: Eating while sharing. Practitioners prepared snacks or fruit. After we read the teachings they talked about their cultivation experiences while eating. Some even commented on how tasty the food was while talking about their cultivation. I felt it wasn't quite right when two practitioners began to talk about which eggs were better while they talked about a cultivation insight.
The other practitioner and I both felt this behavior was wrong, and discussed it with the group. But the situation did not improve. Every time someone passed us a cookie or a piece of fruit, we even felt it hard to refuse. As time went on, we began doing the same thing. Sometimes we felt we did not recognize the seriousness of cultivation.
Later some Fa-study groups began holding day-long Fa-study. At first, every practitioner brought their own lunch. Later, the hosting practitioner began to prepare food for everyone. The food was tasty and everyone complimented her. She began to put time and effort into improving the meal, making more complicated dishes. Other practitioners enjoyed her food and looked forward to the meal. Over time, this became an integral part of Fa-study. It started to feel like a non-practitioners' gathering. We seemed to forget what Master said,
“Eating, but caring not to taste— The palate’s attachments severed.”(“Abiding in the Dao,” Hong Yin)
Some practitioners may feel: Whether each person brings their own food or everyone eats together, they need to eat anyway; it has nothing to do with attachments. But the original simple meal turned into something that took a lot of time and effort to prepare. It also gradually and subtly aroused practitioners’ attachments. The practitioner who prepared meals developed zealotry because other practitioners complimented her. Several practitioners developed an attachment to food preferences.
Master left with us the format of group Fa-study. Master said,
“Everything you're doing today is the actual practice that will be used as examples in the future” (in “Fa-Lecture During the 2003 Lantern Festival at the U.S. West Fa Conference”)
We failed to remember that getting together to read the teachings and talk about our experiences should be a pure and solemn cultivation environment. It should never be mingled with chatting about everyday things or eating. It will be very dangerous if we go astray.
The other practitioner and I sensed the seriousness of the above problem. But we could not judge whether our reaction was right or wrong based on the Fa’s standard.
Another issue was that some practitioners still used WeChat to communicate. We knew it was wrong and had a few discussions with them. But they claimed they always used it and never had a problem. We gave up pointing out the security risk. Sometimes we even thought that what they did was fine. But through further discussion, we became increasingly certain that, “It doesn't matter whether there's a problem or not. We need to do things according to the Fa.”