Looking at “Self” with Clarity, Letting Go of “Self”
(Minghui.org) I had psoriasis since the age of five or six. Both of my knees were covered with ringworms and as I got older, the ringworms spread all over my body. It was very itchy. I was really embarrassed as a teenager. It affected my image and I was afraid of being discriminated against. This continued until I turned 23, when I started to practice Falun Dafa. Master cleansed my body and the psoriasis disappeared without treatment.
Not long after, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) started to persecute Falun Dafa. I was not a good cultivator and got lost amidst ordinary human society and the psoriasis returned. I was afraid to tell my husband and my in-laws so I started to do the exercises in secret. I didn’t know that I also had to study the Fa diligently and this really was because I didn’t know how to truly cultivate. I only did the exercises but I didn’t study the Fa very much. Even in this state, Master did not give up on me and cleansed my body for me once more. The psoriasis was healed. After this, I occasionally went out to hand out truth clarification materials and this state of on and off cultivation continued for over a decade. Benevolent Master saw that I was not enlightening in cultivation, and arranged for an aunty practitioner to invite me to participate in a group Fa study. After joining the Fa study group and studying large quantities of Fa, I awakened to the meaning of cultivation: I wanted to return to my original, true self.
Throughout the process of cultivation, I couldn’t always maintain good xinxing. I didn’t enlighten to what I was supposed to do, and amidst conflict, I felt troubled. Fa rectification is already nearing the end. I suddenly understood that it was actually a great sense of “self” and getting too lost in this human society that made me unable to get over a difficult tribulation. Because this “self” was deeply hidden, I wouldn’t notice it if I was not paying attention. I will give a few examples of this from my day-to-day life.
Recently in the Fa study group, the aunty practitioner has always had a sour expression on her face. Once, another practitioner asked me why she couldn’t open any of the articles that she downloaded from the Minghui website. I said that I could use the aunty’s computer and demonstrate how to do it for her. The other practitioner said that the computers were not the same, and the aunty also said that the computers were not the same, so the steps must be different. I replied that even though the computers were different, the steps to download the content were the same and that it made no difference. She didn’t agree with me and asked me to go to her home to take a look. I asked her for more details about the situation and I didn’t know if it was my attitude or if it was the aunty not willing to turn on her computer for us, but the aunty started to ignore us. She picked up her book and did not participate in our discussion anymore. I spoke to the other practitioner some more and in the end the aunty asked us, “Are you finished talking? If you are, we will start Fa study.”
The “me” at the time felt that this aunty practitioner was very selfish and cold. Shouldn’t fellow practitioners discuss things when there is a problem? Yet she would not talk or share with us. After Fa study, the aunty told the other practitioner that she would go to her home and take a look. Then the aunty told me, “If we can’t solve it, then we will ask you next time.”
At the time, I didn’t think much of it, but when I left and was walking on the street, I felt the urge to complain and I couldn’t eliminate the feeling. I still didn’t feel quite right when I returned home, so what was the problem? I asked myself: Was I showing off when I was speaking? I didn’t think so. Then I asked myself if I hurt the aunty’s feelings with what I said. The answer was that I negated what she said and nothing else. Then did I embarrass her when I negated her words? Perhaps I did. After thinking it through, I still couldn’t find much. I still thought that the aunty was selfish, cold and unkind.
Actually, while it appeared that I had looked inside, under the influence of “self,” all I found was how others behaved in such and such ways. I didn’t realize that this manifestation of “self,” this basic selfishness, had become as natural as breathing. What exactly was this about? I later talked to my mother, who is also a practitioner, about this. Master saw that I wanted to look inside and allowed me to suddenly understand that this aunty was my mirror. Her actions and reactions allowed me to see myself. I was being selfish and cold.
When my mother was suffering from sickness karma, she said that she really needed me. Yet I always blamed her for not overcoming tribulations on her own and instead depending on me for everything. I didn’t have a single compassionate thought and I didn’t consider things from her perspective.
My mother was feeling quite hopeless while suffering from this sickness karma and I as her daughter, her fellow practitioner, was not thinking about how to help her. I was blaming her instead. How selfish and cold that was! My selfish side thought that everyone needed to enlighten on their own in cultivation. Everyone had to overcome their own tribulations. If everyone tells you what to do and you just follow suit, would that still count? Of course it wouldn’t count. This was what the sense of “self” was saying.
When I thought that it was me, it would generate even more bad thoughts and bad substances. For example, when I thought that fellow practitioners were inferior to me, I blamed fellow practitioners or thought that I was right; it was all going against Falun Dafa’s principles of Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance. I was wrong to have thought that those thoughts were my own. They led me to believe that “I was right” and that others were wrong.
When I realized this sense of self, I continued to dig deeper and I discovered that it was truly the root of my attachments. For the sake of preserving “self” I wouldn’t listen to things I didn’t want to hear. I couldn’t take criticism, I would blame others, complain about others, pursue fame, others’ approval, pursue praise from others, pursue comfort, not want to get up early for morning exercises, think only about myself, be intolerant of others, and not have compassion and forbearance towards others. I felt a lot of regret and self-blame that my enlightenment quality was so poor. I want to completely cultivate away this sense of “self.”
Thank you, Master, for arranging the aunty practitioner to help me discover this selfish part of me that was not easy to notice. Also, I would like to apologize to my mother! Going forward, I will definitely be a true, diligent cultivator and cultivate myself well. I won’t let compassionate Master down for saving me.