Criticizing Other Practitioners Was a Reflection of My Own Attachment to Self-Importance
(Minghui.org) I wish to share an experience I had with another practitioner, "Ms. Yang," who had longstanding attachments. Despite multiple reminders, she never improved.
This made me anxious for her, as I felt that she had already done so many Dafa activities and saved so many sentient beings. It would be such a waste for her to attain only an everyday person's blessing at the end of Fa-rectification.
I later learned that not only did Ms. Yang refuse to accept my feedback, but she was upset with me and even told another practitioner that I was, “purposely out to get her.”
For many days I felt wronged, misrepresented, and unappreciated. I replayed in my mind examples of how Ms. Yang did not adhere to the Fa and how she had spoken ill of me to other practitioners. I even started having thoughts of how I would retaliate.
At this point the aggressive nature of my thoughts shocked me greatly. I suddenly realized that it wasn't Ms. Yang who was reacting poorly to criticism--it was I who was intolerant of criticism.
This attachment arose from an intolerance and hatred of others' shortcomings. I was hard-hearted and thought that I cultivated better than others. I even took it for granted that others didn't know how to cultivate, and that I should be the one to tell others how to improve.
Revered Master Li has said,
“An everyday person’s kindness isn’t manifest in his not generating karma when acquiring food for survival, but rather, it manifests in not keeping count of others’ wrongs, not holding grudges, not getting jealous, not deliberately seeking revenge, not killing people, not taking innocent life irrationally, and not harming life intentionally.” (“Dafa Is All-Encompassing” in Essentials for Further Advancement II)
I, on the other hand, was always focusing on others' shortcomings and using the excuse of “fixing others' shortcomings” to show off how good I was. So one can hardly blame my fellow practitioner for saying such awful things about me!
In fact, according to Master Li's Fa, I hadn't even reached the most basic level of compassion that an everyday person should have. At the same time, my notions of self-importance and conceit had shackled me, preventing me from moving forward in my cultivation, and I had hurt other practitioners' feelings.
I thought, "If I had been speaking out of goodwill to Ms. Yang, why did she constantly refuse to listen to me?" I reflected on my verbal and non-verbal cues and my motives for speaking to her.
I realized that, during all our exchanges, I had been selfishly asserting that I was right, that I was better than she, and that Ms. Yang should follow what I had said and change herself.
I did not see her as an equal before Dafa. I hadn't genuinely cared for her or respected her feelings. I hadn't been humble and compassionate in reminding her to improve, nor did I encourage her and talk about how we could improve together.
We are all human beings who are cultivating, and we all have human thoughts. If someone had treated me the way I had treated Ms. Yang, I would have been upset, too.
I decided that, from now on, I would be more careful in my interactions with fellow practitioners. I would correct my own shortcomings first, and be humble and respectful of the practitioner I was talking to.
After coming to terms with all this, and accompanied by another practitioner, I went to visit Ms. Yang. I apologized to her sincerely and began to cry when I thought of how I had hurt her and how much I wanted to change. (Not once did I think of her shortcomings.)
To my surprise, Ms. Yang started telling us about her own journey of self-reflection. She added, “In the past, I was doing Dafa activities with a superficial attitude, and because of this I bungled things up. From now on, I'll cultivate well in Dafa!”
We resolved our conflict that had lasted for several days. Our fundamental desire to cleanse ourselves of all negative thoughts kept our discussion going. It dissolved our individual attachments and strengthened our conviction to truly cultivate.
I would like to thank revered Master Li, who uses many ways to show us our attachments and helps us get rid of them. Thank you, Master Li, for benevolently looking after us and making sure no one gets left behind.