Eliminating Divisions Among Practitioners
(Minghui.org) Practitioners in a certain region had a lot of differences of opinion about a project and the gaps between them grew wider and wider. One of them wrote me a letter, which I felt showed some human notions, so I wanted to share my understanding with that practitioner.
However, my fear of conflict and disagreement led me to give up the idea. Later, other practitioners kept saying I was not honoring my vows. After searching inside, I realized that when I see shortcomings in fellow practitioners, I should cultivate myself first and adjust my own mindset. This is part of my own cultivation. After doing so, I wrote a reply to the other practitioner and pointed out what I had observed and understood.
Since I think the issue is relevant to many practitioners, I have modified the letter slightly and submitted it to Minghui, hoping it will provide reference for those practitioners who are divided due to differing opinions and ways of doing things. Below is the modified letter.
Truly cultivate ourselves and extricate ourselves from the chaos of conflicts
I would like to kindly share my understanding. When we see someone or something that causes us unhappiness, disapproval, or distress, we should always cultivate ourselves and try our best to suppress the impulse to criticize and argue. We have to cultivate our hearts in order to cultivate our speech. Otherwise, we might create karma without even knowing it, thus causing obstacles on our future cultivation paths—whether physical tribulations or interpersonal conflicts. It does not make sense to enjoy the temporary relief and satisfaction of speaking out at the expense of creating future tribulations.
More importantly, after karma accumulates, it deepens the divisions among us. The enlightened portion of every practitioner has fully assimilated to Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance and is not separated from other practitioners. The separation that does occur is from all kinds of human notions and karma. Divine beings do not care about right and wrong on the superficial level. Master and divine beings look at how practitioners think, behave, and cultivate themselves. They care about whether or not we can let go of our selves and our attachments to our own understandings and feelings.
When I have strong feelings about someone, it is a matter for my own cultivation. I must not let my own emotions influence other practitioners. If a difference of opinion leads to conflict, both parties are responsible for the outcome, no matter who was first at fault. Below is an example of something that happened in 2007.
Some practitioners thought Practitioner A was a spy and so excluded her from different activities. Others thought she was wronged by those practitioners and tried to clear her name. Both sides fell into the trap devised by the old forces and became divided. In the end, all the coordinators involved in the matter, no matter which side they were on, were arrested. It was a hard lesson.
Recently, the division among practitioners in the region has become wider and wider, and more and more practitioners are involved. No matter who you support or whether you are right or wrong on the superficial level, you will be sucked into the whirlpool of conflict if you don't cultivate yourself well. Everyone's participation unintentionally aggravates the situation and adds to the destructive power of the whirlpool. It is like a black hole that sucks everyone in so that they lose control. More karma and further separation will provide an excuse for the old forces to sabotage practitioners as a whole and to effect persecution on a large scale.
Therefore, we must be able to escape the trap and not be attached to who is right and who is wrong, or whether others are behaving like practitioners. We should not think about and comment on people or matters that we don't like. As soon as any such thought comes up, we should eliminate it immediately.
We must not be taken advantage of by the old forces. We should clearly realize that, behind all the complicated superficial appearances, are the arrangements by the old forces and evil beings. Let our pure and righteous thoughts be targeted directly at them! We also are responsible for eliminating all the evil elements that cause gaps among practitioners and completely negating their arrangements.
That is the overall picture. So what about our own cultivation? Ordinary logic begs, “If he or she is wrong, why can't I point it out?” But that is on the surface human level. We are Dafa disciples. Master asks us to search within at all times. Even if the problem was someone else's fault, we should ask what we are supposed to cultivate. We should cultivate to get rid of our ill state of mind and the hard-to-suppress indignant feeling.
If our minds are filled with others' faults, we will lose the opportunity to cultivate ourselves. And those things that make us feel angry and irritated will keep happening to us.
There is a saying in Chinese traditional culture that goes, “Sit quietly to examine our own mistakes; chat leisurely but not about other people's faults.” Our cultivation today is different from the past. But we should not disguise our human notions and attachments with the excuse of being responsible to the whole. Otherwise, we will lose the precious opportunity to get rid of our attachments to fighting, resentment, and criticizing others.
Even if we do point out others' faults or shortcomings, we should first calm down and do it with a kind heart and compassion.
We are Dafa disciples—benevolent, rational, and wise kings that countless sentient beings are anxiously awaiting. We are not cynical and angry ordinary people. We must not hold ourselves to a low standard. Facing difficult situations, what would a great Buddha or Bodhisattva do?
When we stand at a higher level, we will realize a lot of our thoughts are not actually ours. Then it will become easier to get rid of the evil elements that would cause damage and destruction to us and the beings of our worlds. When we can cultivate ourselves at all times, we are saving the lives of our worlds. In fact, we all have achieved this at different times. Let's cultivate according to the Fa and ascend to a higher level. It is the hope of sentient lives and the foundation of their wellbeing.
Compassion and tolerance but not appeasement
In this human world, none of us can see the real situations of other practitioners. All we see are superficial appearances and each others' human notions. None of us is clear on how other practitioners should behave and walk their paths. Whether the path is smooth or rugged, there is always a reason for it. Therefore, we must cultivate to understand others' states, their situations, their paths, and the tremendous differences among beings in the boundless cosmos. This ability to understand is also a requirement for us in the new cosmos.
Another practitioner's experience sharing article, “Treat Fellow Practitioners with The Purest Compassion,” has a few paragraphs I found relevant:
“Why do the old forces dare to persecute Dafa disciples? Isn't that because they see some disciples' shortcomings and wrongdoings that are below a practitioner's standard? They consider the wrongdoings unforgivable. So they want to push these disciples to the opposite side of Dafa and make them do a lot of bad things, and, in turn, they find the excuse to destroy these disciples. However, perhaps the irrational appearances and behavior of some practitioners are actually the arrangements by the old forces from prehistoric times? These practitioners are unable to negate and deny these arrangements. We must not accept the old forces' arrangements to destroy our fellow practitioners. Aren't we all clear about the final destiny of those old forces who use seemingly reasonable excuses to destroy Dafa disciples?”
“I have come to realize in my Fa study that Master does not want to let any disciple fall behind and, as long as there is a slight chance, Master will give it to him or her. Even for those beings who have participated in the persecution, Master will leave them opportunities time and time again, not to mention a being who has already obtained the Fa.”
“It is out of human notions that we get attached to focusing on others' attachments. Sticking to human notions, one will never understand the Divine's tolerance and compassion.”
Cherish our fellow practitioners, cherish the countless sentient beings and the tremendous cosmic system represented by a Dafa disciple, and cherish the great suffering and sacrifices our Master has endured for all disciples to walk their paths. Think about how we would want other practitioners to treat us when we are in trouble and hardship. We would ask for understanding and tolerance. Treat others as we want to be treated. As we see other people's shortcomings, let's understand with good intentions, kindly remind them of Master's teachings, and help them with righteous thoughts.