(Minghui.org) I noticed a phenomenon: Although some fellow practitioners, myself included, have cultivated for many years, they are not even as kind as non-practitioners and are often also extremely selfish. 

Why is there such a phenomenon? I think that people have different cultivation foundations and upbringings, and the values formed since childhood are also different. Once a self-centered value forms, it is difficult to change. The selfish substance formed may be like an iceberg, requiring much hard work to get rid of.

I am more and more aware of the seriousness of selfishness and unkindness, which seriously deviate from the characteristics of the universe. 

It is impossible to enter the future without letting go of these things because the new universe requires one to be altruistic. The old universe that centers on oneself is doomed to be eliminated. If one does not work hard to eliminate selfishness and cultivate compassion, no matter how well one does in other aspects in one’s cultivation, one still has serious loopholes.

Some of my fellow practitioners who cultivated diligently but later suffered serious tribulations revealed their loopholes of selfishness and being unkind in handling things at times. We should take this as a reminder that we need to remove every single one of our attachments in order to succeed in our cultivation.

Let Go of Unkindness

Fellow practitioner Fang was introverted and quiet, with low self-esteem. During a gathering several years ago, practitioner An and I ignored her, as if she was invisible. But Hui approached her with warmth and care, they had a delightful conversation. Fang felt accepted and acknowledged and showed her appreciation to Hui.

I realized now that I hurt Fang, as people can be sensitive about the attitude of others. She did not deserve to be ignored. And it was my fault for not having compassion for her. I felt very sorry. Since then, I began to pay closer attention to my behavior.

What I encountered last year inspired me even more. I had different views on certain things than another practitioner. I was so self-righteous that I kept wanting to convince him. Through Fa study, I realized it was me who had stubborn human notions and I should respect others’ perspectives. I sincerely apologized to him. 

At the time, I had a lump in my body. It was hard and kept growing over several months. After I apologized to the practitioner, the lump shrunk and disappeared within a few days. I was amazed and realized the importance of being kind to others.

My condescending attitude was disrespectful. I couldn’t imagine that something that I deemed so trivial was indeed so important. The lump had something to do with my unkindness, and I was not aware of the reason at all for months. 

We are in the delusion of the human world, to be more specific, in the cosmos’ last havoc. The world has been quite corrupted, and I have drifted with the tide. What I think is not a big deal may be a big one in the eyes of the Divine, and there is a big gap between what we perceive to be good and what’s required by the Divine.

In the past, I couldn’t bear the noise of fellow practitioners’ children and I felt that they should just stay at home to take care of their children, rather than taking their children to practitioners’ events. What a selfish and unkind idea I had! 

It is not that the intolerance of children’s noise itself will bring about serious consequences, but it reflects how poorly I was doing in my cultivation. 

During group Fa studies, when some senior fellow practitioners talked long-windily, some would interrupt them abruptly and rudely, while others patiently listened. This also showed the difference in practitioners’ xinxing levels.

Cultivate Speech

I realized that I did not cultivate my speech in the past. “Poisonous tongue” in Chinese is a homophone to “poisonous snake” for a reason. It is venomous: such as quarreling, scolding, using harsh words, and blaming.

Now I have come to realize that speech should focus on virtue as the ancient people have said. When someone criticizes others, the bigger the occasion and the harsher the words, the greater the virtue they will give to the other party, because of the more harm they will cause.

I often hear others’ comments: “He is too lazy,” “She only talks the talk, not walks the walk,” or “That couple fights a lot.” I used to be this way myself, thinking I was telling the facts.

Master told us:

“When you are commenting on who’s good and who’s bad, gods won’t even look you straight on.” (“Fa Teaching Given at the Meeting with Asia-Pacific Practitioners,” Collected Teachings Given Around the World Volume VI)

I am ashamed that after Master taught this Fa for many years, I was still commenting on who was good and who was not. In the past, I not only commented negatively on some fellow practitioners but also praised some who I thought were good. In fact, this was also a human heart. When I praised someone in front of others, I was in fact implying the listeners didn’t do as well as the one being praised. I was cunning because I didn’t directly point out their problems. 

Let Go of Unkind Thoughts

From Fa study, I understand that the divine beings see people’s thoughts in a panoramic view, and can see what’s on our mind even before we say it out loud. So when we look inward, we need to do it carefully and thoroughly so that we do not skip any hidden attachments. 

In the past, I didn’t pay attention to searching within my everyday thoughts. Those overlooked attachments often caused conflicts with other fellow practitioners to drag on longer.

Attachments manifest themselves in many aspects, not only during conflicts. One thought often brings about many attachments. I have to stay alert to my attachments manifesting in my interaction with others and send forth righteous thoughts to eliminate them whenever I sense them.

In one example, I had strong jealousy in the past. When I saw others gaining fame or money, it was as if I had lost. I did not have enough compassion when helping others. Instead of feeling sorry for others, I would have a sense of superiority when others were in trouble. 

Even when I sent forth righteous thoughts for a fellow practitioner who was struggling with tribulation, instead of caring about his well-being, I was looking for his problems. When his situation got worse, I felt as if my thoughts were validated. I felt it was a waste of my time visiting him. Even when he passed away, instead of feeling sorry, I had a sense of relief that we no longer needed to do anything for him.

I realized now that my basic point of helping others was selfishness. The purpose was to do good deeds and accumulate virtue for myself. The same was true for participating in Dafa projects. I was greedy for credit and virtue and unwilling to spend more time or effort, and I would be unhappy if it was a little troublesome. My thoughts spoke volumes about my poor xinxing. 

I used to resent fellow practitioners who had strong human notions, but in actuality, the other party happened to be a mirror of myself. It indicated that I was the one with a strong human heart and attachments and that I should be more understanding of them. 

Inspired by Traditional Culture

I realized many of my problems reflected the remnants of “materialism” and “atheism” which were instilled in me when I was young. 

According to Mencius, a Chinese philosopher (372–289 BC): “A sense of concern for others, compassion; a sense of shame and disgust, righteousness; a sense of humility and deference, propriety; a sense of right and wrong, wisdom.” After comparing myself against these values, I know that I still have a lot to work on.

My spouse, who does not cultivate, once pointed out that my fundamental problem was selfishness and unkindness. I was ungrateful and unsatisfied. I just wanted to receive but not to give. We used to fight a lot to the brink of divorce. But after I became aware of my problems and worked on my xinxing, my family became harmonious. He is actually a very kind and considerate person, but I did not notice this in the past.

Only by Eliminating Selfishness Can One Cultivate True Kindness

In the past, I had a misconception that selfishness was the fundamental problem of everyone and that I could only be selfless when I reached a very high level. I forgot that the fundamental difference between the old and the new universe is whether one is for oneself or for others. If I do not cultivate away selfishness, it equates to taking a detour on the path of cultivation.

I used to get up early, study many pages of Fa, do the exercises daily, and participate in projects of great importance. I thought that was being diligent in cultivation. I neglected to cultivate xinxing and kindness. I often compared myself with other practitioners in terms of the things we did and the results but did not look at how they cultivated their xinxing.

For example, when I heard others studied the Fa and exercised more, I would feel pressured and want to catch up; when I heard others successfully persuaded more people to quit the Chinese Communist Party, I would feel jealous and was afraid to be left behind, as if we were in competition.

I treated cultivation as if it was something human and I would achieve my goal by working hard at it, but neglected the fundamental essence of xinxing cultivation. But cultivation is something beyond human, it is about letting go of oneself and putting others first.

When cultivators are not able to let go of selfishness, it is hard for their kindness to emerge. Some of my fellow practitioners cared less about projects they deemed insignificant. They only got involved in what they thought to be worthwhile or important. Some became impatient and frustrated when others needed their help. Some rarely considered other people’s feelings and difficulties, and only cared about their own interests.

We should try to be empathetic and learn how to accommodate others when they need help and support. We should also learn to forgive others when they make mistakes. It’s also important to encourage and praise others’ improvements and achievements. 

Understand the Essence of Kindness

While I was fixated on others’ shortcomings, another fellow practitioner was the opposite of me. He saw everyone else as good. Even if someone has some problems, he still views them as good people with some minor flaws. I understand now that he evaluates people with a compassionate heart.

I changed a great deal after I realized my problems. When I disliked certain people in the past, I knew that my kindness was not up to par. The kinder a person is, the more tolerant one is. Now if I have objections regarding certain people, I know it is time to cultivate my kindness and elevate my level. 

It took me twenty years to realize my main problem in cultivation. I regret I didn’t enlighten to it sooner. But thanks to Master’s guidance and my family members and fellow practitioners’ reminder, I’m sure I will do better in my cultivation in the future.

This is my understanding at my level. Please kindly point out anything inappropriate. 

Editor’s note: This article only represents the author’s understanding in their current cultivation state meant for sharing among practitioners so that we can “Compare in studying, compare in cultivating.” (“Solid Cultivation,” Hong Yin)