(Minghui.org) To practice Falun Dafa, Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance must be cultivated together. When I look back on my years of cultivation, I realize I have much difficulty with “Forbearance” and have failed to pass many a test in that regard.
Master has told us, “Forbearance is the key to improving one’s xinxing.” (“What is Forbearance (Ren)?” from Essentials for Further Advancement)
“We emphasize Tolerance in particular. Only with Tolerance can a person cultivate into somebody with great virtue. Tolerance is a powerful thing, and it surpasses Truth and Kindness. Throughout the entire cultivation process you are asked to tolerate, to mind your character, and to exercise self-control.” (Chapter 3 of Falun Gong)
Master said: “For cultivators, the act of 'Don’t hit back when hit; don’t curse back when cursed at' reflects the most appropriate way of handling it.” ("Teaching the Fa at the Eastern U.S. Fa Conference")
For example, when someone suddenly points a finger at you and curses you, do you feel calm? In a large crowd, somebody slaps you in the face: how can you endure feeling wretched, embarrassed, awkward, and disgraced?
“How many of you seated here can keep at ease when someone points at you out of the blue and berates you? How many of you can stay unruffled and search for the reason on your part when faced with others' criticism and chiding?” ("Teaching the Fa in the City of Los Angeles")
“Forbearance” is indeed a very powerful thing. It’s not at all easy to do. To do it thoroughly is an arduous process.
1. Start with “Holding Yourself Back” and Force Yourself to Endure
“If you still hate the other person or can’t stay patient with him, that’s not correct. Some people also think, 'Master told me to endure, so I’ll hold it in.' After a while you then say, 'Master, I held it in to the point that it’s too painful.' I say that that’s not endurance. A true cultivator will not get angry at all. No matter how big the matter is, his heart will not be moved. Why bother holding things in until it’s painful? This is how a cultivator should be. Some people endure for the sake of their reputation, and that too is not true endurance. But since you have started cultivating, if you can’t achieve this right now, then you still really must hold it in.” ("Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Houston")
I realize that, at the beginning of our cultivation practice, when we run into any conflict that tests our xinxing, the least we should do is “restrain ourselves,” forcing ourselves to “grin and bear" each adverse situation. We must resolve to grit our teeth, not fight back, not argue, and not explain. Even if our heart is in an uproar, our expression is pained, and our eyes are filled with tears, we have to control ourselves and not utter a word--we have to stop dead in our tracks.
To restrain such desires as lust, gluttony, and other addictions, you must commit your whole heart to make it crystal clear to the bad desire or evil thought: “I won’t let you get your way. I won’t let you win. You are not me. You can’t tempt me. I must eliminate you!”
In essence, holding yourself back or forcing yourself to “grin and bear it” is like “the heart is affected but the temper is controlled.” To cultivate, to get rid of human notions will definitely move the heart, and one's heart will suffer. Temptation stirs up the heart. If you can keep your temper under control, if you are able to refrain from losing your temper, if you hold back your emotions, and if don't vent your grievances, then you will have succeeded in “holding back.”
However, Master also said: “If you can tolerate it and yet it preys on your mind, it is still not good enough.” (Zhuan Falun) We still have to advance to a higher level.
2. Achieve a Cultivator’s Standard of True Forbearance
There’s a saying in Chinese society: “Lack of forbearance in small matters will ruin great plans.” This is the crafty forbearance of ordinary people.
As the story goes, the great philosopher Socrates married a "shrew." One day, the shrew was having one of her temper tantrums. Socrates left the house to escape her wrath. When he walked under one of his windows, a basin full of dirty water came cascading down on his head. Socrates looked like a drowned rat but said in great good humor: “After the thunder and lightning, heavy rain must fall.”
This is the reaction of a sage, with a high level of forbearance.
According to an ancient Chinese legend, two high-level Zen Buddhist monks, Hanshan and Shide, once had this conversation:
Hanshan asked Shide: “There are people who slander me, bully me, insult me, ridicule me, belittle me, and despise me. How do I deal with that?”
Shide replied: “You grin and bear it, avoid him, let him be, be patient with him, don’t pay attention to him. Look back at them in a few years.”
The dialogue is brilliant. I find the above examples very meaningful. The objective, responsibilities, and meaning of cultivation practice for Dafa disciples are incomparable. What we practice is the entire universe.
To truly reach the standard of forbearance, we must first study the Fa. Only Dafa is omnipotent. As long as we continue to ensure Dafa stays in our consciousness, enters into our brain and heart, as long as we assimilate ourselves to the Fa, everything is manageable.
We must constantly remind ourselves of the serious responsibility of being Dafa disciples in the Fa rectification period. If our cultivation is not up to standard, how are we to realize our “historic vows?” How are we to save the world’s sentient beings, the beings that have been eagerly awaiting us all these long years? For them, what can we not endure!
Also, we must expand the capacity of our minds. Master has repeatedly talked to us about our universe, celestial objects, and the structures of the colossal firmament, so that we can cultivate better, so that our horizon can be broadened, so that our minds expand, and our capacities increased. We have such an enormous Fa. In contrast, ordinary people’s injustice, sarcasm, insult, and injury, what do they amount to? They’re absolutely nothing!
In addition, we must place the way we treat and deal with all contradictions squarely on “looking inward,” and do so completely, unconditionally. Everything practitioners encounter is for the sake of our cultivation practice. Things happen because we have the corresponding attachments. These things are painstakingly arranged by Master so that we will improve and elevate.
When confronted with sarcasm, we face it with a smile; when a blow comes, we treat it as insignificant; when temptation threatens, our hearts are not affected; however insurmountable things appear, we will not take them to heart. We will aim for and achieve the forbearance standard set for genuine cultivators.
3. Continue to Understand the Connotation of Higher Level Forbearance Within the Fa
Forbearance within the Fa has unlimited levels and profound connotation. Below are three things I have come to understand:
a. Dafa forbearance connotes both compassion and dignity.
As Dafa disciples in the Fa rectification period, we must help Master rectify and harmonize the Fa. Dafa is both compassionate and august.
“Forbearance (ren) is not cowardice, much less is it resigning oneself to adversity. Dafa disciples’ Forbearance is noble; is the manifestation of beings’ magnificent, indestructible, and diamond-like solidity; is tolerance for the purpose of upholding the truth; and is mercy toward and salvation of beings who still have human nature and righteous thoughts. Forbearance is absolutely not the limitless giving of free rein, which allows those evil beings who no longer have any human nature or righteous thoughts to do evil without limit.” (“Beyond the Limits of Forbearance” from Essentials for Further Advancement II)
Our will to eliminate the evil forces that persecute Dafa disciples has to stay firm. We need to use the gong of righteous thoughts not only to destroy evil thoroughly, but also to make sure that these wicked beings, who have no human decency or morals, pay for what they have done and get their deserved retribution on the spot.
b. Dafa’s forbearance can bring about a more wonderful state.
Master tells us that, with great forbearance, we will have “...gained four ways in one shot” (Zhuan Falun) and will feel the freshness that follows a storm. We will enter into a state that helps us forget about every mundane thing. We will feel all things can be set aside because everything in the world becomes insignificant and meaningless. We will gradually enter into the realm of emptiness and nothingness, a truly magnificent state.
c. Have a deep understanding of the great, eternal cosmic significance of Dafa’s forbearance.
Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance are the fundamental characteristics of the universe. Only when endowed with these characteristics will the raw materials, the original particles, or the original source materials aggregate, combine, harmonize, and continue to develop to form all beings, to form all things, to form the universe.
As a member, a component, or even a particle of the universe, we have to be truly truthful, utterly compassionate, and patiently forbearing.
As we put others in the forefront, we will have no notion of self and will live in perpetual harmony. All of these are the most positive lives in the universe or they would be mutually exclusive and will ultimately disintegrate.
The fundamental law of the universe, Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, possesses the eternal nature of the universe. It is able to automatically and continuously rectify everything to its correct state, harmonize the universe, so that the cosmos resembles a diamond that cannot be destroyed, but is ever eternal, everlasting.
The above is merely my personal understanding. Please correct me if you find anything inappropriate.