(Minghui.org) I’m a Western practitioner who grew up in the United States. Before becoming a practitioner, I’d prided myself on being very practical. In my mind, it was a sensible, logical way to live. Being practical meant being efficient, saving time, saving money, and being smart.

In fact, being practical is the reason I decided my husband and I should get married in the same place we would honeymoon. I was in the middle of my internship at the time, the busiest year of medical training. To save time, money, and difficulty, I decided the practical thing was to have a destination wedding. I felt quite pleased with my practical decision and even bragged about it to others.

Being practical, when I first read Zhuan Falun three years ago, I noticed that Master Li (Falun Dafa's founder) mentions this word a number of times. As I continued to study, these parts increasingly stood out to me.

Master says in Lecture Nine of Zhuan Falun,

“Some people who are here listening find what Teacher says reasonable. Upon returning to ordinary human society, they will still think that those immediate gains are more practical and real.”

“Some people have very good inborn quality, but due to their being educated with that tiny bit of knowledge from our practical society, and especially because of the absolute methods in ideological education a few years ago, they have become very narrow-minded and will not believe anything beyond their knowledge. This can seriously affect their enlightenment quality.”

“As for some people, no matter how you explain things to them, they still will not believe and will think that it is more practical to be everyday people. They will hold on to their stubborn beliefs rather than relinquish them, and this renders them unable to believe.”

While I knew from a cultivation perspective that being practical wasn’t good, I couldn’t quite understand the how or why of it. After all, wasn’t being efficient and getting more done every day a good thing?

Master says,

“Perhaps some people, because they live among everyday people, still think that the everyday people’s tangible material interests right in front of them are more practical. Amid the current of everyday people they still cannot conduct themselves according to the high standard.” (Lecture Four, Zhuan Falun)

One morning, after dropping my son off at school, I found myself debating over which way I should drive home. For nearly five minutes, I thought it over in my mind, going back and forth. I struggled with the decision, trying to calculate which of the two ways would take less time. My mind truly felt pained over trying to make this simple decision. 

Finally, as I arrived at the place where I would have to turn right or go straight, I thought, “which way is more practical?”

That’s when it dawned on me. I enlightened to Master’s words and understood why being practical is not a good thing.

Master says,

“We are talking so much about cultivating one’s xinxing, yet this person still does whatever he wants once he is among everyday people. He thinks that the real and tangible benefits within his reach are practical, and he will pursue them; the Fa from Teacher also sounds reasonable, but is impossible to put into practice.” (Lecture Eight, Zhuan Falun)

The time difference between the two routes home was probably no more than two minutes. On top of that, I was not on a timeline and had nowhere I needed to be. I was just returning home to start my day. Yet I agonized over how I could save two minutes. I was shocked at my pursuit of such a tiny bit of practical gain! I knew that if I was doing this with such a simple matter, I was surely doing it in other areas of my life.

A few days later, I shared my experience with another practitioner after group study. She drives a lot for her job, just as I used to. When I told her my understanding, she was surprised. I shared that, in addition, when I drove a lot for my job, I always tried to figure out the fastest route, and I put a lot of mental effort into this. She shared that she does the same and just thought it was something everyone did. I had also believed this to be true.

Master says,

“Indeed, it is extremely difficult for people to enlighten since everyday people are deluded by ordinary human society. With practical benefits before them, they cannot give up the attachment. If you do not believe it, upon the conclusion of this class, some people will walk out of this auditorium as everyday people again. If anyone offends them or bumps into them, they will not put up with it. After a period of time, they will not conduct themselves as practitioners at all.” (Lecture Eight, Zhuan Falun)

In my understanding, pursuing a bit of practical gain is something many people do without paying much attention to it. It’s viewed as normal and acceptable in society, and even encouraged. As such, it is one of those attachments that lurks just beneath the surface and is not easily recognized.

In my understanding, doing things like planning our day, including our driving route, for example, is fine to do. It’s when we think too much about these things that they become attachments.

If we look deeper, why is it that we think so much about these types of things? Isn’t it to save ourselves a little trouble–to save a little time, a little money, a little hardship? Isn’t this what being practical is all about?

In fact, it was while driving that I was able to look within when I first became a practitioner. Master pointed out my strong attachment to competition (something I’d always denied having) when I wouldn’t let a car pull in front of me in traffic. Being so practical and wanting to save time–doesn’t this lead to me to compete with others in order to get ahead? While I had seen my attachment to competition early on, I have only recently seen my strong attachment to being practical and what it means. I also now see how being practical and being competitive tie together.

As a practitioner, I should not seek to avoid hardship, pursue practical gain, or compete to get ahead. Aren’t these forms of selfishness?

When I look back at my choice for our wedding, I now see that in my pursuit of being practical, I did not consider others. For one, because we got married in the Mexican Riviera, none of our family could attend our wedding. In my seeking to be practical, I thought only of myself and caused losses for others.

Master says,

“Because he is smart, he will not suffer any losses, and neither will he easily lose anything. Consequently, others must suffer losses. The more he cares for this tiny bit of practical gain, the more narrow-minded he becomes, and the more he feels that the material gains of everyday people are something he cannot let go of. So he will then deem himself very practical, and he will not suffer any losses.” (Lecture Nine, Zhuan Falun)

I had indeed always deemed myself very practical. Since Master has enlightened me to this, it has removed a mental burden. My mind feels lighter and closer to a state of wuwei (non-intention).

Master says,

“Cultivation itself is not difficult, and neither is raising one’s level itself difficult. It is because they cannot give up human desires that they call it difficult. This is because it is very difficult to relinquish something in the face of practical gain. The benefits are right here, so how can you abandon these attachments? It is actually because of this that one will find it difficult.” (Lecture Nine, Zhuan Falun)

In writing this sharing, I found that Master referred to being practical ten different times in Zhuan Falun. This tells me that being practical is no small matter. 

I will work harder to fully eliminate this and other attachments, with Master’s compassionate guidance, so that I can better help save sentient beings and return to my origin. 

This is just my understanding at my level. Please point out anything not in alignment with the Fa.

Category: Improving Oneself