(Minghui.org) I began to cultivate Falun Dafa in 1996. Master Li, the founder of Falun Dafa taught us in Lecture Two of Zhuan Falun, “When different social interactions unfold among everyday people, one will commit wrongdoing for personal gain and owe others.” As I recited this paragraph recently, a past event came to mind.

Enlightening from Losing Money That Was Not Rightfully Mine

Not long after I became a practitioner, my supervisor instructed me and two colleagues to go to a university in another city to conduct a special lecture series. The lectures took place over three days, each of us speaking on our research results in our respective fields. It went very well, and the university was quite satisfied. They were especially impressed with my presentation, although I simply used a projector to present data that was relatively advanced at the time.

Several months later, the university invited only me to give the same lectures again. Initially, I felt a bit hesitant because I was not that familiar with the research areas of my colleagues who had presented the other two lectures. However, since my superiors had already agreed to the university’s request, I went to see my colleagues. Fortunately, we had a good working relationship, and they graciously provided me with their materials.

After doing more research and consolidating the materials and data, I set out with a new lecture that went over very well. The university was so pleased that they provided me with excellent accommodations, meals, transportation, and sightseeing opportunities, as well as a 500-yuan stipend, which was considered quite substantial at that time.

Returning to my workplace with a sense of satisfaction and pride, I initially intended to split the money with my two colleagues. However, after balancing the losses and gains—despite using their materials, I had put in a lot of effort digesting and organizing their materials, which had contributed significantly to the success of the lecture—shouldn’t the stipend rightfully go to me? With that in mind, I chose to keep all the money for myself. Although I felt a bit uneasy, after a few days, I put it out of my mind. At that time, since I had just begun to practice, my understandings of Dafa’s teachings was shallow, and my expectations for my own character were not very high.

Not long after that, I went shopping on the main commercial street in the city. I was usually too busy to shop, but I had managed to squeeze in some time and had brought along quite a bit of cash. After I purchased two pairs of shoes, I realized that one of my wallets was gone.

I had brought over 700 yuan that I kept in two wallets. I’d put the one that held seven 100-yuan bills in the inner pocket of my clothes. The other wallet, with loose change, was in an outer pocket for easy access. Paying for the shoes, I took 200 yuan from the wallet with the large bills, spent a little over 100, and then put the change into the outside wallet. The wallet with the small change was still here, but the wallet with the large bills was gone. I searched around the shoe counter upstairs, but to no avail. Disheartened, I gave up on shopping and went straight home.

Back home, I reflected on the situation and thought it was very peculiar. I had always been meticulous and disciplined, rarely losing anything throughout my life. What happened this time? Moreover, it was strange that the wallet in the outer pocket was still there but not the one on the inside.

I had lost precisely 500 yuan, no more, no less. In an instant, I suddenly realized that it was the 500 yuan I shouldn’t have kept just for myself! It was like a heavy blow to the head: I was jolted awake, full of regret and ashamed. Getting carried away with a few words of praise, feeling superior to others, and grasping tightly onto the money once obtained—these were the behaviors of an ordinary person! I was already a practitioner; Master taught us to be indifferent to fame and gain. I should have known better!

Even in the secular world, there is a saying that “a gentleman loves wealth honestly come by.” I’d used other people’s academic achievements without sharing the rewards; how was that different from plagiarism? I was greedy when it came to others’ accomplishments and I’d seized the wealth—how shameful! I had truly placed too much importance on fame and gain.

Breaking Free from the “Self”

After that, I began to pay close attention to letting go of the attachments to fame and gain. I thought I was doing well, but after more than 20 years of cultivation, I realized that I still haven’t completely eradicated my attachments and it sometimes manifests itself in various situations, big or small.

A few days ago, I went shopping for groceries. As I was selecting lotus roots, a young woman asked what kind would taste better for a cold dish she planned to make. I said that the ones with the tips pointed towards the front should taste crisper and were more suitable for salads.

As I talking, I rummaged through the pile and found a good piece with a pointed tip. I showed it to her and told her that it would be good for a cold dish. At that moment, a thought flashed in my mind: “I should give it to her; it’s exactly what she needs.” However, immediately another thought surfaced, suppressing the previous one, “No, it took me so long to find it, I need it, too.” So, even though I knew the young woman might not easily find a better one, I bought that root and walked away.

At home, I realized I was wrong and I was overwhelmed with regret. Everyone we encounter, especially those who initiate conversations with us, often has a predestined relationship with us. With few people around at that moment, it would have been great if I had given the lotus root to the young woman and clarified the truth to her. However, for the sake of minor personal gain, I missed the opportunity.

I realized that I often handled matters with a human mindset rather than in accordance with Dafa’s teachings. Master teaches us to consider others first, and my behavior falls far short of Master’s expectations. I need to undergo a profound transformation, completely break free from the constraints of “self,” and meet the standards of the new universe to become an awakened being in the new cosmos. There is only one way: assimilate to Dafa! I must steadfastly move towards this goal, no matter how far ahead it may seem.