Have We Cultivated Ourselves to Selflessness and Altruism?
(Minghui.org) Master taught us,
“I also want to tell you that your nature in the past was actually based on egotism and selfishness. From now on, whatever you do, you should consider others first, so as to attain the righteous Enlightenment of selflessness and altruism. So from now on, whatever you do or whatever you say, you must consider others—or even future generations—along with Dafa’s eternal stability.” (“Non-Omission in Buddha-Nature,” from Essentials for Further Advancement)
Master also said,
“You probably remember something I've said to you often: a Dafa disciple should consider others first in everything he does. Whenever something happens or whenever a situation comes about, even if it's a minor thing, my first thought is of others, for it's already become natural for me—I just think of others first.” (“Teaching the Fa at the 2002 Fa Conference in Boston”)
I had a theoretical understanding of the Fa while reading Master's teaching on this topic, but failed to apply it to myself. One day when I was talking to a fellow practitioner about selflessness and altruism, I suddenly realized the fundamental reason that I had stumbled in my cultivation for years. It was because I had failed to act according to Master's teaching of selflessness and altruism. I then felt enlightened, and as though I had suddenly woken up!
We learned from Dafa that the reason the old cosmos degenerated was because of a defect in the original mechanism, which caused beings to become selfish. This selfish nature is the reason why beings developed all kinds of attachments and dropped in levels.
“The new cosmos is perfecting all kinds of elements where the old cosmos is imperfect.” (Touring North America to Teach the Fa)
“All of the future beings will be selfless, while the beings of the past were selfish.” (“Teaching the Fa at the 2004 International Fa Conference in New York”)
It's my understanding that if the beings of the old cosmos cannot fundamentally change their selfish nature and become altruistic, they will not be able to enter the new cosmos. Master taught us this Fa so that we can conform to the nature of the new cosmos!
I feel ashamed that it took me so long to realize my fundamental problem. The principles of the Fa were revealed to me, and all the cells in my body suddenly seemed to wake up. I have cultivated for years, but even as I was doing the three things, I kept thinking, “I will do this and that.” All my thinking was based on myself, what I wanted to do. I suddenly understood that this was why I had been so slow in cultivating and saving sentient beings, despite all my efforts. If I had thought of others first in everything I did, and treasured their lives from the bottom of my heart, they would have seen my sincerity and compassion, and been saved.
One example of just cultivating for ourselves is jealousy, which interferes with many practitioners. Master has singled out jealousy and talked about it as a separate topic in Zhuan Falun. The strength of one's jealousy is directly reflected by one's xinxing. Cultivators will definitely not consummate unless we eliminate jealousy. But why can't we completely eliminate it after years of cultivation? Why are we passively restricting this attachment, but failing to uproot it? Some fellow practitioners sent forth righteous thoughts to eliminate it, but were not able to.
My personal understanding is that it's because we haven't fundamentally changed our selfish nature to altruism. When others do well, if we can be as happy as the example Master mentioned in Zhuan Falun, jealousy won't have any room to exist. If the root of selfishness remains untouched, it is like trimming the branches and leaves, but never completely uprooting it. In this case, no matter how much we do the three things, our xinxing has not improved, and we are still beings of the old cosmos.
By the same token, our telling people the facts about Falun Gong would be more effective if our first thought was to save these lives from the bottom of our hearts. Even though some people have been deeply influenced by the CCP's slander propaganda, we would feel pity for them, instead of being bothered by their words.
When we become selfless and altruistic, selfishness becomes weaker, and our egoism will gradually diminish before we know it. Eventually the egoism and selfishness will be completely gone.
After I identified my fundamental attachment, I felt happy and pure, and aligned with the nature of the new cosmos. Instead of feeling depressed, or excitedly talking about myself, I now treasure my predestined relationship with everyone. I no longer feel distressed and helpless when I identify my attachments. I no longer live in the shadow of the persecution... Every time I encounter an opportunity to improve myself, I naturally look inward for my own faults, and check my thoughts, words, and behavior to see if they are on the basis of the Fa. I correct myself, and increase my capacity to forbear. I deeply feel the wonder and holiness of upgrading my level based on my understanding of the Fa. Cultivation has turned from drudgery into bliss. I finally know how to cultivate myself!
When I first realized the root of my problem, I was shocked. I was ashamed by my poor understanding of the Fa and failure to solidly cultivate. I also felt how hard it was for Master to save sentient beings.
Since there must be many practitioners like me, I wanted to share these understandings, though what I've said may not be entirely accurate due to my limited level of cultivation. Please feel free to point out anything inappropriate. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Master for never giving up on me!