My Understanding of Buddha Nature, Human Nature, and Demon Nature
(Minghui.org) How can I achieve the forbearance of a cultivator? I have been practicing Falun Dafa for more than 20 years, but I do not feel my forbearance has met the standard of a cultivator. What is hindering my improvement, and why?
Master taught us:
“Forbearance is the key to improving one’s xinxing. To endure with anger, grievance, or tears is the forbearance of an everyday person who is attached to his concerns. To endure completely without anger or grievance is the forbearance of a cultivator.” (“What is Forbearance (Ren)?,” Essentials for Further Advancement)
I was suffering from sickness karma lately and I thought it was due to my slacking off in cultivation. I looked within for any attachments and did find many, but it didn't solve the fundamental problem. I thought that after 20 years of cultivation I should be able to use a cultivator's mindset instead of a human mindset whenever I run into a problem. Human beings inherently have Buddha nature as well as demon nature. How to always promote Buddha-nature in ourselves, not human nature or demon nature, is the key.
After I thought about it, I realized that Buddha-nature is compassion, forgiveness, and generosity, which allows us to handle everything that happens in the secular world with a broad heart, and not get stuck in it.
Master told us before:
“There are many Kings in the heavens. As you know, Sakyamuni said that the number of Tathagatas is like the number of grains of sand in the Ganges River. Think about how many grains of sand India's Ganges River has! And there's more than that--what Sakyamuni said was in a figurative sense. Every Tathagata is a Fa-King. And the Buddha School isn't the only one--the Buddha School is only one widespread type that has a huge number of Gods. How many Gods are there? How many Kings like that are there? If every King handled things the way you do when something happens, that'd be big trouble. They don't have those kinds of arguments, which aren't consistent with their levels. Of course, they can see the truth and they can see the best way, but often they, too, have certain differences in some of their views. But they would never argue. They are in a state of immense tolerance, of mercy toward all beings, and of being able to understand everything with kindness. To put it in human terms, they're always able to be understanding of others. So sometimes we shouldn't “burrow into the horn's point” with strong everyday people's attachments, be unable to get out of it for a long time, and get more attached the more we think about it--the more you think about it the more your mind seethes, and the more you think about it the more demons take advantage of you. When you're not coolheaded, I'll tell you, that's when demons are using you.” (“Teaching the Fa at the 2002 Fa Conference in Boston,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. II)
After reading this, I realized that Buddha-nature is compassion for all lives, vast forgiveness, and generosity in dealing with everything and everyone. When I understood that, I began to let go of my resentment for fellow practitioners as well as non-practitioners, my grievances, and my resentments. My body felt much better shortly after that. I realized that Master had helped me, purified my body, and removed many unwanted substances.
After I figured out Buddha-nature, I began contemplating “What is human nature?” I believe that human nature is selfish. Whatever is based on self is human nature. Whenever a conflict surfaced, I thought it was the other person’s fault and start to complain, wondering why they were treating me that way. I had no forgiveness in my heart. Or when others infringed on my rights or benefits, my first thought was that I should not let anyone cheat or deceive me. I believe these are all manifestations of human nature.
Even though I had these thoughts and did not voice them, I had already let human nature seize the upper hand. I knew that a cultivator should follow a higher standard so I endured with tears in my eyes. But I did not let them go. After some time, they accumulated and stuck in my chest and caused chest pain. It also triggered other discomforts. I realized that’s why I had sickness karma. It was caused by my human nature not letting my Buddha-nature dominate.
Another example of human nature I see in some practitioners is when they “help” fellow practitioners who are enduring sickness karma. They always eagerly point out the things those practitioners did not do well. But this does not help, it aggravates the tribulation. They are not really helping, because it is human nature that prompts them to point out practitioners’ issues so quickly.
The practitioners going through difficulties are already upset. They might be trying their best to forbear. What we should do is let their Buddha-nature take over and their forgiveness take the upper hand. We can also help them to let go of their resentments and handle things around them with compassion. I believe if they can do that, their sickness karma will pass quickly. I’ve known a few practitioners in similar situations whose resentment for others kept lingering and caused sickness karma. Some of them suffered a long time and some even passed away.
A cultivator should have vast forgiveness and generosity in handling anything, as well as compassion for all lives. That is the best way to get rid of human nature.
I realized that when certain thoughts surfaced I could not control myself, went along with it, and lost my temper. This was demon nature at work. When one is being controlled by demon nature, one cannot help losing one’s temper, quarreling, or even fighting. Those are things a cultivator should not do. When we help fellow practitioners, if we cannot keep ourselves from blaming fellow practitioners, our human nature can be easily manipulated by demon nature and cause more tribulations for the practitioners who are going through tribulations. We should not let our good intentions be manipulated by demon nature.
I realized that I should not let those thoughts dominate me, thoughts such as, “So and so spoke badly about me again and I should do this and that to reply.” I was cheated again shopping yesterday, how annoying.” “Someone keeps treating me badly, I can’t bear it anymore,” and so on. If I let those thoughts run my life, I will never attain peace and tranquility.
I realized it was time for me to improve. I should let Buddha-nature dominate my thoughts. Only when I fill myself with immense forgiveness, understanding, and consideration towards everything and everyone, am I able to forbear without tears or struggle.
After I understood those principles and also after a period of studying the Fa, I felt the blocked energy in my chest break loose and immediately felt better. The discomfort in my body was gone and my appetite improved.
It really is true that one righteous thought determines the great outcome. These are my recent understanding regarding Buddha nature, human nature, and demon nature.