A Discussion on Experience Sharing After Group Fa Study
(Minghui.org) As Falun Dafa practitioners, we all know that reading the Fa together and sharing our experiences as a group are the formats for improving together in cultivation that Master asked us to follow. However, I have seen some common problems come up with experience sharing.
For example, some practitioners leave right after Fa study. Some only talk about their experiences superficially and don’t gain anything from it. As time goes by, most places hold group study with little experience sharing. As a result, many fellow practitioners think that group study doesn’t differ from studying at home, so they stop going to the group Fa study. I reflected on myself to see what attachments I have that could have caused this cultivation climate.
Master clearly told us,
“For a cultivator, looking within is a magical tool.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2009 Washington DC International Fa Conference,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. IX)
I’ve noticed that my human notions have become so natural that I automatically look for excuses to hide them. I lack righteous thoughts or behave like an ordinary person. I’ve identified the following human notions in myself.
Hiding Shortcomings out of Self-Protection
I rarely speak during experience sharing, no matter how large or small the group is. Although my personality is one reason, I find that hidden behind it is my attachment to self-protection. I don’t want to be scrutinized or hurt; I don’t want to invite trouble, and I just want to stay in my comfort zone.
When I dug deeper, I saw another factor behind it: My karma doesn’t want to be eliminated. If I identify it, it would be dissolved, so it had me feel that I was protecting myself. As a cultivator, self-protection isn’t a good thing, and getting one’s feelings hurt isn’t a bad thing.
I try not to talk about myself during discussions. I don’t want to become a topic or a target. This way, my self-esteem wouldn’t be hurt. Hidden behind this is my attachment to reputation and vanity. Even though I occasionally speak up, I avoid any crucial points. Instead I talk about trivial details. I avoid touching my well-hidden human notions.
Bad things are afraid of being exposed because they would be eliminated once they have no place to hide. Conversely, hiding these attachments helps to strengthen them. From a cultivation perspective, our worst attachments should be exposed even more so that they don’t have a place to hide. When my attachments repeatedly surface, it’s often because I have left too may retreats for myself. Cutting off all paths of retreat can also awaken and strengthen our main souls and make it easier for us to pass cultivation tests.
Attachments appear huge and untouchable, but they are actually as fragile as paper. Once we decide to break through them, they will struggle and resist. They tell our minds that we can’t expose ourselves.
Master has told those practitioners who have done wrong things under the table to expose what they've done. This is the only way to break through obstacles and walk out of the shadows. Gods wouldn’t judge us based on the nasty attachments we expose. Rather, they view our attempts to cover them up as shameful. I've noticed that practitioners who expose more of their attachments are those who cultivate diligently. On the contrary, those who cover up their attachments often stumble in their cultivation. This is why I warn myself that I need to overcome my fear of exposing my attachments. I hope to exchange cultivation experiences openly and honestly with fellow practitioners.
After I began to share openly, I found it easier to identify my shortcomings. I also stopped looking for others’ faults. I complained less and became more considerate of others. I also became modest and cultivated myself more solidly.
Another notion I had sometimes got in my way. When I identified my attachments, I thought I would keep them in mind and remind myself to eliminate them. I didn’t think it was necessary to tell other practitioners. It didn’t sound wrong, but hidden behind this notion was also my fear of exposing my attachments. It reflects whether we cultivate openly and honestly, and whether we measure ourselves against the highest criteria. Master told us to share our experiences with each other so we can improve as a group. Serious cultivators should bravely expose their own attachments.
New practitioners often do better in this aspect. They aren’t afraid of telling others about their attachments. On the contrary, some veteran practitioners have grown sophisticated and can’t let go of their attachment to reputation. They think they've been cultivating for years and might lose face if they admit to having attachments to showing off, fame, money, jealousy or lust.
They're too embarrassed to admit that they rarely study the Fa or do the exercises, or if they still suffer sickness karma. Besides their attachments, their lack of understanding of the Fa blocks them. Master told us that no matter how many years we've cultivated, we will still have human notions the moment before our consummation. Just because we've cultivated for years doesn’t mean we don’t have any human notions or don’t need to continue cultivating ourselves.
After years of working together on truth-clarification efforts, many veteran practitioners have experienced disagreements and conflicts. Some practitioners dare not expose their own attachments—they fear giving others leverage over them. They hide their attachments out of self-protection.
Attacking or ridiculing fellow practitioners’ attachments may leave a filthy stain on our most sacred cultivation path and damage our cultivation environment. If we lack a good environment and attitude of looking within, studying the Fa and clarifying the truth will become superficial.
Hiding Behind Truth Clarification
When I'm asked to talk about my experiences and don’t want to expose my shortcomings, I brag about my truth-clarification work instead of talking about my cultivation. It sounds stately and important. I feel this shows my clear and deep understanding of major events or how diligent and proactive I am in offering salvation to sentient beings.
All practitioners in the Fa-rectification period know how important clarifying the truth is. Who would oppose my talking about this? However, by doing this I sidestep looking inward. Even though I clearly know that truth clarification can’t replace cultivation, my behavior blurs it. I keep talking. I even give others suggestions and lead them to focus on this topic instead of talking about their cultivation.
I try to change others instead of myself, and my words lose the essence of cultivation. I've even become so attached to my own opinion that I argue with others. Many times our plans to clarify the truth don’t work out because of our disagreements.
I also found that when I used the words “we,” “us” and “everyone,” I'm actually referring to others and attempting to change them. These words seem to include me, when in fact, my intention is to change others.
Using Understanding the Fa as a Shield
I enjoy sharing my understanding of Fa principles. Cultivators certainly should have a clear understanding of the Fa, but we shouldn’t spend too much time discussing our understandings without talking about eliminating our attachments. Exchanging our understandings of the Fa is reasonable when we first begin to practice, but I think veteran cultivators should pay more attention on how to cultivate our xinxing, eliminate our attachments, and clarify the truth.
I also found the following additional attachments I had.
1. Attachment to Discussing Social Issues
Although I don’t talk about fame or money, I do pay close attention to the situation in society, the changes in Fa-rectification, the election, social phenomena, and society’s degenerated morality. It’s fine to mention them, but we shouldn’t get carried away. We also should not criticize ordinary people.
2. Ridiculing Others’ Attachments
As I mentioned above, some practitioners who exposed their attachments are talked about by others. I had deep regrets when I noticed that I did this. I felt guilty and blamed myself for a long time. What I did was terrible and damaged our cultivation environments. Our acting this way made those practitioners afraid of talking about their attachments. I did not follow Master's teaching, and I stained our sacred cultivation process.
3. Rejecting Others’ Sharing
When I noticed some practitioners kept talking about their understanding of social situations but avoided touching on their attachments, I stopped listening. Even though I didn’t say anything, I thought they were wasting my time.
Thinking back, I realized that their understanding on certain issues might be helpful to others, especially new practitioners. I reminded myself that talking about my experiences might be helpful to others or helpful to our truth-clarification efforts. I'm wasting everyone's time if I only talk about superficial things.
4. Jealousy, Attachment to Showing off, etc.
Various attachments occasionally surface during discussions. Some surfaced briefly but were hard to notice until I looked within carefully. Once I found them, I dug deeply and wouldn’t stop until I uprooted them.
I hope we can all share our experiences openly and honestly, and place greater emphasis on cultivating xinxing and eliminating our attachments.