Learn to Truly Look Inward
(Clearwisdom.net) Several of us were studying "Teaching the Fa in Canada, 2006:"
"At the last West Coast Fa conference, didn't I talk about how a lot of Dafa practitioners aren't able to take criticism? They refuse to be criticized. As soon as others say something they explode, get upset, or start a confrontation with someone. They want to hear only pleasant things. So you just want to walk a smooth path, don't you? You want to ascend to the heavens with your big load of baggage?"
I felt Master was talking about me, and I immediately turned red. I thought, "This is my situation exactly."
So I began to look for my shortcomings. Several days later a practitioner visited me, and we discussed a recent incident. I felt wronged that others did not understand me. Another practitioner said I did not truly look inward and did not know how to practice cultivation. I felt even more wronged and thought, "I'm making sacrifices for others on a daily basis, and I alone am taking the responsibility to maintain a truth clarification material production site. How can you say that?" But when I eventually calmed down and studied one of Master's lectures I saw this:
"Cultivation is first and foremost. I just said that if you aren't able to suppress it, if you can't look inward and search within yourself when you encounter tensions or conflicts, if you can't change yourself and remove human attachments, then you won't have parts that are fully cultivated and that become divine, and what you do can't be called cultivating. So you need to constantly cultivate the part of you that hasn't been fully cultivated, such that it achieves divinity and is fully cultivated, and you must be strict with yourself--only then is it cultivation." ("Teaching the Fa at the Fa Conference at the U.S. Capital," 2006)
I realized that the purpose of looking inward is to eliminate human notions, and cultivating ourselves well always comes first. We cannot overlook self-cultivation and become mired in tasks while doing them. It's our duty as Fa-rectification period Dafa disciples to assist Master to rectify the Fa and at the same time improve ourselves and eliminate various notions that others might bring out in us during the process of validating Dafa.
Looking inward helps us, and not others. I must look inward whenever conflicts arise. Because of this thought and because Master prompted me, I learned to look inward.
One day a technician returned the printer I had asked him to fix. He tested it in front of me to show that it was indeed fixed, and several pages printed, problem-free. After he left, however, having printed eight pages, the printer broke down once more. The first thing that occurred to me was, "That person is terrible! He never really fixed it, and yet he brought it back to deceive me."
Right away I caught this thought and blamed myself for assuming the worst about others. I am a cultivator, and everything has to do with my human notions. I must look inward. I remembered my feeling when the printer was initially returned--that of distrust toward the technician. I didn't believe it was fixed. I didn't have any faith in my Fa-weapon--the printer--either. Recently, when the printer's condition was not stable, I should have looked within myself to find the problem. But I emphasized technical expertise, and my human notions were blocking me. I also consulted other practitioners and I did not form an integrated whole with my printer. At the very least I did not believe in Master and Dafa on this single topic and did not regard myself as a divine being. When I dug deeper, I found I was lacking belief in this whole incident.
After I discovered my attachments I said, "I'm sorry, it's my fault. I should have believed in you. We are both Fa rectification Dafa disciples; how can I look down on you?" When this sincere thought emerged, the printer instantly recovered.
I have always had strong emotions regarding my daughter. I have realized this and restrained them, yet human notions told me that I gave birth to her and I brought her up, which is not easy. Now, she lives away from me, so it's only natural that I am attached to her. How can it be easy to eliminate one's feelings about one's child? I have already given up a lot. I didn't hold myself to a higher standard.
My ex-husband and his family often didn't let my daughter come to my home. His grandfather feared that my daughter would practice Falun Dafa with me, so he tried his best to keep her from me. For a long time I was uncertain what to do about it. One day my sister said to me, "The fundamental issue underlying your attachment toward her is that you are afraid that she will forget you. You think that you have done so much for her. Don't forget that she is a cultivator, too. If she always thinks about you, how can she whittle away emotion? She needs to cultivate herself, too!"
I knew that Master was prompting me through my sister, seeing that I was not able to overcome this fault on my own. I was startled and realized that I should work on my xinxing. How can I blame others? What is at the root of my attachment toward my daughter? I discovered that I did not cultivate myself according to Dafa. I was reading Dafa books on a daily basis, and I knew the principles, but I did not measure myself against Dafa principles when conflicts arose. I was seeking "equality" and "fairness" in an ordinary sense. I was thinking that I must be repaid if I did anything for others, or I would have wasted my effort. I also had a deeply hidden tendency toward fighting with others and held the unkind thought, "They will receive retribution for treating my daughter and me like this." At this point I felt that I did not deserve to be Master's disciple, because I was harboring such filthy human notions after nearly ten years of cultivation.
From then on, each time I sent righteous thoughts I included a thought to eliminate acquired notions and emotions. I also thought, "Time is tight, my daughter must come back to me so we can study the Fa together and make diligent progress." I also cleansed my complaints and bad thoughts toward my ex-husband and his family. When I truly gave up my attachment, my daughter came to me on a daily basis, as if nothing had happened. I told myself that I should never become attached to my love for my daughter again, because I cannot afford to delay the return of a young disciple because I did not do well. That would be a huge crime!
My younger brother is also a practitioner and he wanted to find a practitioner to be his wife. We tried to help him from the perspective of Fa principles and hoped that he would walk the path that Master arranged for him and let everything happen naturally. But the outcome was not very good. In the end, he felt desperate and simply gave up his efforts to improve in cultivation and waited for Master to remove his attachment at the time of Fa-rectification.
I felt the difficulties Master must face to save sentient beings. Master has undertaken all of my younger brother's karma he created in history, yet only one attachment was enough to weaken his resolve to return. I was pained in my heart but never gave up on him.
Once I saw what a practitioner wrote: "When three of us asked to follow Master to the human world, Master said, 'The human world is vicious and dangerous. If any one of you becomes lost, remember to awaken her. Remember it.'" I cried when I read this story.
When I recalled my younger brother's predicament, I tried to figure out whether we also had human notions that prevented him from getting rid of his attachment. I found out that my family was somewhat affected by his attachment, and our mother (a practitioner) was also worried about him. I thought, "It's normal for him to get married as he comes of age, and it's natural for me to help him." Weren't we trying to change his cultivation path based on human emotions and principles? Do we truly believe in Master? I was trying to help him whenever I saw his state of mind, yet I forgot that Master said,
"Speaking of pursuing this or pursuing that, the more you pursue it, the less you will have it. Only when you give up this attachment will you have it. Everyone should make sure to remember this principle. Among ordinary people, if you want to attain something, you may pursue it, study it, and attain it after making the effort. However, for things beyond ordinary people, only by giving it up, can you attain it. What is it called? It is called, 'natural attainment without pursuit.'" ("Lecture in Sydney," 1996)
When we truly understood this principle, all of us let our attachments go. I thought, "Our relationship as brother and sister will only last through this lifetime. I should not delay the valuable time because he forgot his grand vow when he descended into this world. I believe he will return to the right path because Master is looking after him."
When he came to my home I told him the story of the three practitioners. My heart was serene and filled with compassion and I said to him, "You cannot reach Consummation if you have any attachment at all. Don't think that Fa-rectification will find you a divine being. If you don't follow Master's requirements and don't do the three things, then you are not a Fa-rectification period Dafa disciple. Many people know that Dafa is good, and many have read Dafa books. Only by living up to Dafa's standards are we truly practicing cultivation. We can be Master's disciples only after he recognizes us; it is not like we can claim to be his disciples simply by saying so."
Several days later my brother said to me, "I've come around. Master has removed my notion for me because I had the wish to let it go. I've improved more in the past week than in the past three years, and I feel Master is enduring my karma for me. I read three lectures in Zhuan Falun each day. I can truly feel your good intentions. Your story touched me, and I regret that I have dragged my feet for so long."
Then I had another opportunity to have a discussion with the practitioner whom I mentioned at the beginning of this article. She said, "Now you've truly learned to look inward. Congratulations!"
Now I am truly experiencing the benefits of looking inward. By looking inward we will discover more shortcomings and how far off from Master's requirements we are. Because time is tight, we must seize every single thought and look inward. We must cultivate ourselves well and rescue more sentient beings. I've discovered that when I truly identify human notions, the situation instantly turns around and improves for the better.