Eliminating the Attachment to Frugality
(Minghui.org) Many practitioners live a frugal lifestyle. They do not want to spend money on anything.
My family’s financial situation was not good in the early years, so we lived on a very tight budget. I was very conscious of my spending and wanted to get the most out of every penny. My husband did not know how to spend money wisely, however, so we always quarreled about it.
My husband always bought more groceries than we needed. For example, people usually only buy one box of tofu at a time, but he usually bought a tray. When I said he bought too much he threw the rest of it away.
I felt upset and always argued with him about this. I know I'm a practitioner, so I should not fight with him. I knew I must cultivate myself. I knew my behavior was wrong, but I did not know what my attachment was. I thought, “We are not rich, but my husband does not know how to manage money. How can we save money this way.” I suddenly realized I was thinking from the perspective of humanness, and I should look inward.
I looked within and asked myself why I always quarreled with my husband. I realized I had a notion that he should be frugal and learn how to spend money wisely. I only felt he was correct if he conformed to my notions; he must be wrong if he did not conform to my notions. I realized that I had been dominated by the notion. I realized as a practitioner, I should consider things from the perspective of the Fa instead of notions.
“Everyone has his own fate, and no one can handle that of another person. Even if they are your family, they are your family in this life, but in the next life perhaps they will be the family of some other person; and moreover, in the last life they might have been someone else’s family, too. So everyone has his own fate. Then if we want others to be a certain way, it definitely won’t work, because human lives are not arranged by humans, but by higher beings. There’s no such thing as whether you will leave them suffering, as these things have long been arranged. (Teachings at the Conference in Houston)
My husband is not a practitioner. His life is already laid out, including how much money he would have. It would not change based on my preference and my frugal lifestyle. How much money we have in our lives is not determined by how frugal we are. It was all arranged and already part of our lives.
I realized I was wrong. However, I did not know how to improve. I still felt uncomfortable when I saw he bought more than we needed. I decided to rectify myself with the Fa and get rid of my attachment to money.
First, I stopped complaining to my husband about paying too much or when he bought more than we needed.
One day as usual, my husband bought too many vegetables. I thought to myself, “I have an attachment to money. I must get rid of this attachment.” I kept what we needed and gave the rest to my neighbors. I started to share our extra groceries with the neighbors and eliminated my attachment.
My husband seemed to suddenly wake up and said, “Why did I buy so many vegetables! We cannot eat them. Isn’t it a waste?” From then on, he only bought as much as we needed and he even reminded me not to buy too much. In this short period of time, he behaved like a different person. I realized he acted that way to help improve my xinxing. He changed after I got rid of my attachment.
Frugality is a traditional virtue; however, going to extremes is a human notion. We should remove our attachments to personal loss and gain and take self-interest lightly.
“Any human notion is an obstacle. I’m not against the glorious achievements that have come about with society’s development up through today, nor do I disapprove of the knowledge accumulated in that process. Let me tell you, though, that you need to, as cultivators, clear them from your minds. Ordinary people can enjoy such glories and go through life with a human frame of mind, but, as cultivators, you have to discard those acquired notions. In other words, the principle I have taught is this: You should cultivate while complying with ordinary people as much as possible. Since you live among ordinary people, you can work and study [as an ordinary person does]. But you have to let go of human notions.” (Teachings at the First Conference in North America)
“That is because a cultivator wouldn’t easily form ordinary people’s notions, and he puts the Fa above all else. He uses the Fa to break through the delusions and eliminate human notions, and uses the Fa to judge everything. Besides using determined righteous thoughts to uphold the Fa, he does things of everyday people naturally and without pursuit. He has no attachment to whether it can be accomplished or not, so even less so should he have rigid notions.” (Teachings at the Conference in Australia)
We should understand this Fa principle Master taught us. We should do what Master asks, and break out of our human mindset.