PureInsight | February 24, 2003
[PureInsight.org] While sharing experiences with fellow practitioners, one practitioner raised this issue, "A fellow practitioner has a certain attachment. After I repeatedly pointed it out to him, I found that he could not accept it and even became upset by it. Shall I risk having a conflict by continuing to point out his attachments?" Here are some of my thoughts on this issue:
1. It is important to know the fundamental reason why we wish to point out fellow practitioners' attachments. Is it because we truly have their best interests in mind or is it because we cannot tolerate their words and behavior that are caused by their attachments? When we see their attachments, do we try to understand their pain and mindset with understanding and tolerance? If we truly treat them with compassion, we won't be affected by their attachments. Neither will we feel disgusted or angered by their attachments. When we become affected ourselves, we are actually judging others with our own notions. We may even convince ourselves that our analysis of others' attachments is very objective and we are not at all judgmental. In addition, a lot of times fellow practitioners do display very strong attachments that catch our watchful eyes. But when we then proceed to point out fellow practitioners' attachments with a judgmental mentality, the results are often not good. Without genuine compassion, it is next to impossible to reach other people's hearts. I have discovered that one can intuitively tell whether he is receiving true pure compassion from another person or not. Each of our thoughts is matter, so others can feel our compassion when we broadcast it through a word or a thought. No matter how compassionate we might act on the surface, we will carry impure information in our messages to others if we carry some notions and impure thoughts in our hearts. These impure thoughts then become constrained by higher-level principles, and our words of advice cannot reach people's hearts. I can speak from my own cultivation experiences that fellow practitioners' pure words and deeds often have an amazing power to inspire and move me. In this pure environment, I would unconsciously remove many of my attachments. Therefore, in a sense I think the best method for us to help eliminate other people's attachments is to purify ourselves. A person with a pure heart can purify all impure factors in his environment, and attain the realm where "The Buddha-light illuminates everywhere and rectifies all abnormalities."
2. The way we point out others' attachments makes a difference. Usually, I use different communication methods with different people. I give them my advice in a way that is acceptable to them. For instance, I know two elderly practitioners with some attachments that are obvious to others, but which have been invisible to them for a long time. After knowing them for a while, I have a good understanding of their personalities. One of them had many attachments, but a good thing about her is that she is very receptive to, and even welcomes feedback from fellow practitioners. The other practitioner, however, was not receptive to any kind of advice. She is somewhat arrogant, and conceited. For the former practitioner, I straightforwardly pointed out her attachments, and she was very grateful to me for my candid advice. For the latter one, I new that I couldn't use the same approach because it would accomplish nothing but hurt her pride. Therefore, I often shared with her my attachments, and my understanding of the Fa, which addresses both my and her attachments. Because I talked about how I sought inward, she was not defensive during our conversations. Gradually, she started to search inward. It was a big improvement because her biggest attachment was to avoid searching inward. After a few communications, she began to see all the attachments that she had been oblivious to, and would admit these attachments openly and honestly. I feel very happy for her because our experience sharing helped her face her attachments.
3. We should hold the attitude of "do without pursuit" when pointing out others' attachments. We shouldn't expect an immediate result, demand others to realize their attachments right away, or express their gratitude for our advice. Sometimes when fellow practitioners are not aware of their attachments, they might respond to our advice negatively. However, if we truly want what is best for other people, we won't be upset with their negative reception of our advice. After all, we mean to help them by pointing out their problems. Although they might not be able to accept our advice immediately, we might have already brought them a latent consciousness of their attachments. They are more likely to see their attachments when the next person points out the same attachments. We shouldn't judge our efforts prematurely for the effect might surface in the future.
Before I obtained the Fa, I had developed a very strong attachment to self-preservation and, thus, tried my best to avoid conflicts. As a result, in the past I seldom risked offending fellow practitioners by pointing out their shortcomings. Several months ago, when a practitioner spoke ill of fellow practitioners in front of me, I didn't have the courage to stop her, even though I clearly knew how she had wronged those practitioners. Each time when she spoke ill of fellow practitioners, I wanted to ask her to search inward. But no matter how much I wanted to get these words out of my mouth, I always ended up saying words in support of her point of view. Maybe it was an arrangement to help me purge this attachment. From that point on I encountered many different fellow practitioners speaking ill of others in front of me. Eventually, I realized that if I continued to indulge their behavior, I would actually be encouraging and strengthening their anger. Since then, I would first try to understand their sentiment and listen to them patiently, and then point out their shortcoming politely according to the Fa principles. Because I took great care in the way I communicated with them, they have been very receptive of my advice. In fact, while doing so, I noticed that my strong attachments to selfishness, self-preservation, and avoiding conflicts have gradually disappeared.
Finally, I must point out one more thing: When I see other people's attachments, it means that there must be something about me that requires me to search inward. Is it possible that I have similar attachments and it is just that my own attachments are manifested differently? The first rule for Dafa disciples when a conflict occurs is to always search inward.
This concludes my personal understanding on the subject. Please kindly point out anything erroneous.
Translated from: http://zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2003/2/5/20341.html