Compassion Arose Naturally After Letting Go of Resentment
(Minghui.org) It had been almost impossible for me to be kindly disposed towards my mother for a long time, no matter how hard I tried. After much soul-searching and raking over some painful memories, I unearthed the reason for the deep-rooted resentment and bitterness I had towards her. Where did those feelings come from? Looking within showed me that my feelings stemmed from my perception of unfairness and jealousy.
Karmic Cause and Effect
I was always sick as a young child and my mother did not appear to expend much effort in getting me medical help. I blamed that for the misery I had suffered all my life and for the inferiority complex I had developed. Ever since I can remember, my mother never liked me as much as she did my other siblings. She looked down on me, and very often taunted me and verbally lashed out at me. As a practitioner I know that this stems from a karmic relationship we developed in a former life.
Once, in a dream, I saw that in a previous life my mother had locked me up in a water dungeon. I was shackled and immersed in deep, dark, dirty and freezing water. If that dream was real, it would explain much of my subconscious fear and loathing towards my mother.
I had told myself to let it go, but the more I wanted to rid myself of this resentment the stronger it rebounded on me – like the ocean waves that surged and rolled unremittingly in my head, unstoppable, and irrepressible. If I should let my guard down momentarily, my mother's hysterical; glowering face would appear before me driving me insane with seething anger.
What was I to do? I made myself repeatedly recite Master's words:
“A wicked person is born of jealousy.Out of selfishness and anger he complains about unfairness towards himself.A benevolent person always has a heart of compassion.With no discontentment or hatred, he takes hardship as joy.An enlightened person has no attachments at all.He quietly observes the people of the world deluded by illusions.”(“Realms,” Essentials for Further Advancement)
Demon-nature Suppresses Buddha-nature
Slowly Master's words came through to me. From the perspective of a normal person I felt I had been unfairly treated which had in turn fueled my resentment. However, from the perspective of the universe everything that happens to us is governed by karmic cause and effect, and it's all very fair. It was obvious then that any feelings of unfairness, resentment, hatred or dissatisfaction were a manifestation of my own demon-nature.
“One’s demon-nature is viciousness, and it manifests as killing, stealing and robbing, selfishness, wicked thoughts, sowing discord, stirring up troubles by spreading rumors, jealousy, wickedness, anger, laziness, incest and so on.” (“Buddha-nature and Demon-nature,” Essentials for Further Advancement)
It was obvious that all the elements of the demon-nature cited by Master loomed large in my feelings towards my mother. How could my Buddha-nature take the upper hand while my demon-nature was so dominant? The two opposing natures can not co-exist; one grows at the loss of the other. The Buddha-nature would not emerge if the demon-nature is not suppressed, likewise kindness and compassion will not arise if resentment is not cleared out. Only by working on my own heart to tame my demon-nature will I be able to resolve anything by benevolent means.
“Cultivating Buddhahood is to eliminate your demon-nature and strengthen and increase your Buddha-nature.” (Buddha-Nature and Demon-Nature, Essentials for Further Advancement)
In the following days and weeks, whenever my mother 's horrifying face appeared in my mind, I warned myself to overlook her negative side. If ever her hysterical outburst rang in my ears, I reminded myself to ignore her scathing language. It was a heart-wrenching, excruciating and at times tearful process, yet I fought hard to not give in to those damaging emotions.
Cultivate Away Resentment
Once when my head was about to explode with the torment of hatred, I heard a voice saying: “The purpose of this lifetime of yours is for you to cultivate away the resentment in your heart.” I figured I would have wasted my life if I could not weed out this resentment. I could not take it to the heavens with me and I certainly would not attain the Buddha status while still holding a strong grudge against my mother. What awaited me instead would be hell and the harrowing cycle of reincarnations. Fortunately for me, by persistently studying the Fa and rejecting all negative thoughts, the traumatic memories started to fade and my demon-nature grew weaker.
Consequently, I became more level-headed in my approach to any issues and stopped concentrating on other people's negative qualities. I realized my mother had in fact many positive qualities – she was self-reliant, highly capable at her work, and had succeeded in providing her children with a proper upbringing.
Mother often taught us, “If one has benefited from one drop of water given as an act of kindness, one should repay it with a gushing spring” or “Reflect on your own mistakes while alone, and do not talk about others' rights and wrongs while conversing with other people.”
My mother did not cause me the misery of an ailing body, my own karma was to blame and it had nothing to do with her. She had fed me, clothed me and looked after me most of my life. She had given me so much, yet I only had hatred for her in return – this lack of gratitude was undoubtedly, a manifestation of my unbridled demon-nature!
My current understanding is: human beings are innately good, elements of our demon-nature such as resentment is like dirt that's covering our good nature, but if this dirt is cleared out, our innate goodness will again shine through. We would naturally become more understanding, tolerant, and forgiving. To me, cultivation of kindness and compassion is not possible if our demon-nature is not weakened or rendered powerless.
I have come to the realization that we are troubled in our cultivation, not because of the cruel or vicious words from others, but the resentment lingering in our own hearts. There was this story about someone asking a Daoist master about the teachings of Daoism and he was told: “Do not resent!” This person at first felt he wasn't being taken seriously but had a epiphany later, “Oh, the Daoist master had told me not to resent anyone because that is the key to the attainment of Buddhahood or the Dao. From now on I shall ask myself every day the question: “Do I still resent anyone?” Genuine cultivation demands that we let go of resentment or we can only stay as humans, not gods.
As my resentment slowly melted away, my facial features became softer, a happy atmosphere surrounded my family, we became better off financially and even our house seemed to have warmed up. Smiles were breaking out behind the dark clouds on mother's face. Master's words had rung true in our experience:
“When your compassionate nature emerges, you will do things with much kindness (shan). From your inner heart to your outer appearance, everyone will be able to see that you are really kind. At that point no one will mistreat you anymore.” (Chapter III Cultivation of Character, Falun Gong)
Understanding Cause and Effect
Looking back at this difficult time, I now realize everything had happened because of the arrangements made by the old forces. They had set up the vengeful tie between my mother and myself in our previous lives so as to create the enmity between us in this life. They had also twisted my perception of my mother's negative qualities thus amplified my hatred towards her.
As a matter of fact, resentment is to be thrown out the day we become a cultivator – when we step out from our human selves. It is more so for us Fa rectification disciples because our only mission is to save people, therefore we should not get ourselves tangled up in any way in this human world.
Had I failed to rid myself of the resentment, the old forces would have used that as an excuse to create more tribulations for me. Ordinary people also have this saying: “Resentment can bring you troubles.” As cultivators we have to understand that to resent others is to allow your demon-nature to run wild.
Harboring resentment is actually quite common among us cultivators yet not many are aware of it. Some cultivators could not let go of their resentment towards their family members and thereby made themselves sick and eventually passed away. Some complained about their boss thus creating tension and stress at work. Others could not forgive their jailers and found themselves at the receiving end of even harsher treatments. Lastly, resentment caused division among fellow practitioners culminating in arrests and other unfortunate consequences.
Resentment in us provides the old forces the excuse to inflict harm on us. If we could seriously reflect on ourselves and catch and eliminate in time any resentment in our hearts, our paths of cultivation would be easier and less tribulations would come our way.
Resentment comes about when we can't understand, forgive or tolerate others, it's because we have not really looked within and cultivated ourselves. It also comes about when we do not want to back down in a conflict and want instead to fight back, in which case we would come under the control of our demon-nature. If resentment is simmering in our hearts as we clarify the truth to save people, what they get from us is resentment instead of kindness and compassion. We may have in effect done damage to the reputation of Dafa as well as preventing people from being saved.
We really need to tame our demon-nature and banish resentment from our hearts because it stops us from having the necessary compassion to save people.