(Minghui.org) Every cultivator knows about searching inward, but there are some misunderstandings about the issue, and as a result we have failed to truly use this Fa-treasure well. This in turn has caused us to be stagnant in our cultivation for a long time. The following are some of the misunderstandings that I have noticed:

1. Looking outward in disguised form

Very often we hear some practitioners saying in their sharing, “I looked within myself when I encountered this problem. I looked inward quite a few times but could not find anything. Of course there must be something that I could cultivate regarding the matter. While looking inward I found so and so may have some attachments.” This is no different than looking outward.

Although on the surface it appears that he/she was sincerely looking within, in the end they still found fault with others instead. Even though what they said sounds quite nice, it is very much like the bureaucratic tone in the Party culture, such as: “Oh yes, as a leader, I should bear the responsibility, but... ….” The next several sentences are all about how others have not done right.

2. Telling the other party to look inward

We often run into conflicts with other cultivators, and many tell the other party that what happened is no accident, and that they should look within and so on and so forth, as if it has nothing to do with themselves and they do not need to cultivate any more regarding the matter. Everything is for the cultivation of the other party.

3. Looking inward conditionally

Such behavior appears like this: If you won't look inward, I won't either.

Sometimes, when conflicts occur, neither party involved is willing to calm down first to look inward. They wait until the other party starts to look within, and then they remember that they should search inward as well. They behave as if whoever looks inward first is losing something. Such behavior is looking inward conditionally.

4. Looking inward in order to solve a problem

Some people say, “I have looked inward and have found where I have fallen short. How come the conflict still remains unresolved?” It seems that the reason they look inward is because they want to resolve some everyday people's conflicts instead of making a fundamental change in themselves and truly regarding the conflict as a good opportunity to elevate. They look within for the sake of resolving some problems amongst everyday people.

5. Looking inward with big and empty talk

When problems or conflicts occur in an area, very often some people will say in their sharing: “Let's see if we have some problems as one body; the situation is like this because we all have shortcomings.” There are still people whose cultivation states are not good and often say that, “We're having problems as one body, as a result my cultivation state is not good either.” On the surface, they seem to be looking inward, but in fact what they say is very shallow and without substance. Naturally, one cannot improve by behaving this way.

The above are a few misunderstandings I have noticed with regard to looking inward. I myself have also fallen short in this area. Then, how can we truly search inward?

I feel we should first of all measure ourselves against the Fa. If we compare ourselves with other people, we are bound to feel that we are better in certain areas than others, and it will be very hard for us to find our own shortcomings. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. If we use our strong points to compare with others' weak points, we'll never be able to see our own shortcomings and won't be able to improve either. When we measure ourselves with the Fa and require of ourselves according to the Fa, we will see that as long as we are cultivators, we will always have shortcomings and there will always be gaps. When we see our gaps and try to catch up, we will make continuous improvements.

Secondly we should look within with a pure heart, without any added conditions. We must not put too much stress on objective factors, such as others are not good, the environment is not good, this person is not reasonable, it is not my fault that we did not do well in that, I'm at the end of my tether, my life is so miserable, this thing is so unfair to me, etc. Interfered with by these things, some people stop looking inward. It's true that there are many objective factors, but these are precisely there for us to use to cultivate ourselves. Even in the face of enormous difficulty, we must cultivate ourselves and search inward

Searching inward is not a slogan or a form, but a precondition for cultivators to improve and elevate. Not only should we find our own shortcomings, we should also resolve to relinquish them, and only then can we say we have completed a cultivation action.

The above are some of the misunderstandings regarding searching inward that I have noticed. I used to have similar problems and some practitioners around me also had similar problems. That's why I wrote this article so that we can remind each other.

Let us now study a paragraph of Master's Fa teaching together,

“Whenever you encounter problems you should each look inward to search for the cause within, regardless of whether you’re to blame or not. Remember my words: Regardless of whether the problem is your fault or not, you should look inside yourself, and you will find a problem. If the matter has absolutely nothing to do with you or doesn’t involve any of the attachments you should break, then that thing would rarely happen to you. If you didn’t have an attachment the problem wouldn’t have come about. I have to be responsible for your cultivation. Any problem that happens to you, around you, or among you is most likely related to you, and there is something for you to get rid of. No matter whether it’s your fault or not, when my Law Bodies are having you remove your attachment, they don’t care whether it’s your fault or another person’s. As long as you have an attachment, they will try everything to have you run into problems and have you recognize the attachment that makes you fall short. Yet you’re still looking around, “This isn’t my fault,” or you’re still thinking, “I’m protecting the Fa.” Meanwhile, the other person is thinking, “I’m protecting the Fa.” In fact, the conflict occurs because you probably each have faults of your own.” ("Lecture at the Conference in Europe" on May 30 & 31, 1998, in Frankfurt, Germany)