Get Rid of Everyday People's Mentalities, Put "Self" Down, and Place the Fa First

PureInsight | May 26, 2003

[]Greetings to Master and everyone!

I'm a practitioner from North Carolina. Master told Fa-rectification disciples to do three things. The very first one is to study Fa and cultivate oneself well. I often found that the evil forces would interfere when we were not cultivating well. As the result, some were not done very well. Only by truly purifying ourselves and being assimilating into Dafa can we save the countless sentient beings in the cosmic bodies that correspond to us. And only by doing so can we fundamentally break the old forces' interference and do better in assisting Master's Fa rectification. Here are some of my experiences and understandings.

1.Diligently cultivate myself by eliminating my superiority complex

Some assistants or coordinators' conflicts with other practitioners have adversely affected Fa-rectification activities. Regarding this aspect, I myself have not done well, either.

During the period of personal cultivation before July 20, 1999, it was relatively quiet. There were tests, but I could be relatively strict with myself. But after July 20, 1999, I participated in Fa-rectification activities, and later I started doing some coordination work. Then I started feeling like I had accumulated some type of "credit." Gradually, I started felling superior to the others. I was clearly aware that my Fa-study was not that good, yet I tended to think I understood the Fa better than others. Sometimes, I forgot to reason with others according to the Fa. Rather, I overruled others using my position as an assistant or a project coordinator. There was a period that I even thought, "The Fa-rectification period is different from the personal cultivation period. What's important is to get the Fa-rectification things done and it's OK to have a bad temper." Due to such thoughts, I slacked off at looking inward and became less strict with myself.

During this period, many fellow local practitioners had many complaints about me and said I had put on a superior air like some bureaucrat. I thought what I said during local group discussions was quite correct, but others said I was just spouting lofty ideals and tossing around empty words. One person said so, two people said so and eventually I found many people all said so. At first, my heart was not calm, "Am I like that? Which words or actions of mine showed I was putting on airs? Wasn't I doing this totally for his good and for our local group's good?" My mind was really seething for a while. But after calming down, when I looked back, it was true. The thought of "being a veteran practitioner and being superior to others" was hidden to me very deeply. Becuase of this, I unknowingly developed the attitude and mannerisms of a petty bureaucrat. I couldn't even sense it even after others have pointed it out to me. Just like my wife said, "How can you sense it? It has completely permeated your cells."

Master said, "Every one of our persons in charge needs to put special emphasis on studying the Fa. No matter how great or how extraordinary the tasks are that a person in charge shoulders, he cannot forget to cultivate himself. No matter how much work you do, you should be a Dafa disciple doing the Dafa work and not an everyday person doing the Dafa work. So you must study the Fa. A person in charge is actually an ordinary disciple as well. Each person, no matter what he does, should see himself as one of the disciples--you have to see yourself as one of the disciples." ("Fa-Lecture at the Conference in Florida, U.S.A.") In Zhuan Falun, it says, "All practitioners are disciples, no matter when they began the practice."... "If you do not practice cultivation, what's the use of carrying that designation? It does not matter whether you are from the first session of classes or the second session."

The mentality of superiority to others is closely related to my attachment of seeking recognition. During these 3 years of Fa-rectification, fellow practitioners have been fully utilizing their talents and professional skills to clarify the truth. However, it also exposed my attachment to being recognized for my achievements in life, such as titles, degrees and special skills. This fueled my feeling of being superior to others, which I thought I had eliminated.

When I was with those practitioners who have prestige, I could control my emotions, talk gently and even humbly consult them. But when with some other practitioners, I tended to lose my temper and blame them. And even when what they said was quite correct from the Fa's perspective, I listened with reservations. In fact, every disciple is equal in front of the Lord of Buddhas. Each of has a chance to fulfil Master's boundless expectations. We've all been given the most magnificent missions, and we're all under the Lord Buddha's Boundless Mercy and Compassion. There's no difference between us; no one is higher or lower than anyone else. At the foundation of ordinary people's society, are the notions of heirarchy and snobbishness.

In fact, I feel that, compared with many fellow practitioners, I have fallen far behind in terms of Fa-study, truth clarification and sending forth righteous thoughts. Many practitioners are doing a lot of work very quietly. I can only try to catch up and have nothing to be proud of whatsoever. I indeed must get rid of the impure mentality and notions of everyday people's and solidly cultivate myself.

2. Look within and elevate together

Last year, I went to another state to participate in preparing some Fa rectification activities. Before going, I heard that there were conflicts among some practitioners. On one hand, I wanted to help with the activities' preparations; on the other hand, I had a subtle show-off mentality and wanted to help solve their problems. After arriving, I realized the problems there were indeed serious and felt pained in my heart. But I didn't have a calm mind and exchange with fellow practitioners, what I had more of in my mind was complaints.

What a practitioner did when clarifying truth in a sensitive area was a bit irrational. Another practitioner harshly criticized him when talking to me, believing he has damaged Dafa's image and has caused great negative effect to the important Fa rectification activities later on. She didn't even want to communicate with that practitioner. I tried to mediate. I told the latter practitioner that Master told us to be have immense tolerance and understanding with kindness towards fellow practitioners and that we should talk compassionately and kindly. Words like these were repeated several times during those days. But at the last time, I realized that I was throwing them to the other side of the telephone with anger, placing blame, and impatience. Upon hanging up, I suddenly realized that the words I told her were like a mirror: Was I compassionate towards to this practitioner? Did I have any understanding with kindness? Did I talk compassionately and kindly? Master said that when two people have conflicts, even the third person should look at himself. At this moment, I looked back at the problems that I had observed on fellow practitioners in the past a few days, I realized every of them existed on myself or in my local area, with only different degrees.

Failing to look within, I couldn't be modest and kind towards fellow practitioners. Therefore, no matter how high the principles one talks about, the effect is bound not to be good. Thus, only by fostering an environment in which everyone tends to look within and the group improves xinxing as a whole can the problems be solved fundamentally.

In the past, I often observed this person in charge had these problems and that person in charge had those problems; and it seemed that I myself was a pretty good cultivator. But later on when I started to be in charge of something, the same problems were manifested in myself and even worse. From this I deeply realized that when seeing other people's shortcomings, I must look within and see that as a warning to myself and can never feel complacent since that could very well be because my attachment hasn't had a chance to be shown.

3. Put "Self" Down. Place the Fa First.

The evil tries everything to interfere during Fa rectification. Master said, "… as long as you still have everyday people's attachments, those are what demons can use, and when you're not paying attention they can be used at any moment. So as a Dafa disciple, you should try your best to restrain those everyday people's attachments, try your best to prevent them from having an effect …"

I have a lot of everyday people's attachments. When I looked within after having xinxing conflicts with fellow practitioners, I found that sometimes it was caused by competitive mentality, sometimes by jealousy, sometimes by the attachment of "saving face," or some other attachment. One day I realized that it made me so busy to dig out these attachments one by one, and it was like "if it's pain on the head, you fix the head; if it's pain on a foot, you fix the foot." In fact, I found that every time my heart was disturbed, no matter what the surface manifestation was, they all boiled down to one word – "self" or "me" and that was where the root cause was. Yet, "selflessness and altruism" and "considering others first" are the nature of a great enlightened being. Thus, if it's some kind of selfishness, it must be removed without question. Realizing this, when my heart got disturbed, I tried to immediately check whether I had "self" or "me" in it. This greatly simplified the process of self checking and it made me more willing to put down my attachments.

This "self" or "me" is manifested in many aspects:

In the project where another practitioner is the coordinator, I tend not to like to be ordered about. I felt the coordinator sometimes talked from high above, couldn't listen to others and lacked a compassionate heart and tone. It was wanting others to respect me. But in the project where I'm the coordinator, I myself tended to be bossy, feeling I was always right and wanting others to listen to me.

When discussing in our local group or sending emails, after I expressed my viewpoints, I liked to see others nod their heads or reply, saying, "Yes, I agree with Jeff." When there were no responses, sometimes I could be a bit disappointed, "What? How come nobody nodded their heads? No responses?"

When a thing was done well, I could have a bit of complacency, "Yeah, it was my idea." When a thing was not done well, while I felt bad about the loss to Dafa I sometimes worried about my losing face.

When this me carries so much weight in one's heart, it prevents one from thinking 100% purely from Dafa's perspective all the time. And it prevents one from thinking, as the very first thought, whether the other party's idea can achieve the same results and whether his has good points in it. If one doesn't pay attention to this, it can cause big loss to Dafa at critical moments.

One time, a practitioner harshly criticized me and some other practitioners who were planning some important events. He pointed out our lack of planning, not being thoughtful, lack of prioritization, and so on. I clearly realized all he said was correct, yet I simply couldn't accept his attitude, and thus developed some resistance and arguments. Consequently, we couldn't discuss things with calm and peaceful minds to achieve better results. Looking back, it was because he touched my attachment to saving face. What I thought and said were all out of the strong mentality of trying to protect myself from being hurt, rather than treating with tolerance and understanding the aspects that the fellow practitioner hadn't cultivated well just yet. I didn't put down my ego and truly put Fa first and didn't see whether what he said was truly for the good of Dafa or not.

At another time, a practitioner asked me to help her do something. I knew it was important, but I just felt strongly reluctant to do it and made many excuses such as lack of time and not being familiar with the situation. The real reason behind it was that in the past I had had different opinions from this practitioner about certain things and had xinxing tests several times. Thus I didn't want to worry about the xinxing tests that could happen anytime while helping her out. I forgot that I should always put Dafa first and her thing is my thing. I shouldn't have considered personal things at all. Fortunately I realized this soon and didn't cause much loss to Dafa.

The evil forces use the discord among practitioners to interfere. When not careful, we can easily fall into this trap. But when we are strict with ourselves, we can break that without much difficulty. Recently, after having realized this, there were several times when fellow practitioners had bad attitudes. If I hadn't watched my xinxing, arguments would have occurred and the interference would have been naturally inevitable. But these times, when I immediately tried to think from the other party's perspective and thought more of other party's strong points, the negative thoughts disappeared instantly, the possible arguments were avoided, and the interference arranged by the evil was naturally broken through.

When I first learned the Fa principle of "looking within," I was so excited, "How great the Master is! I'm so fortunate that I've found the true path of cultivation." However, practicing this principle has been surely a long, difficult process. Now Master recently taught us to first consider whether the end result of the other party's proposed approach can achieve the same goal and to quietly supplement it to make things more complete and perfect. I was so excited again. But the better it is and the higher the requirements are, the more difficult to practice it. When the things are not big and there is plenty of time, it's easy to do; but when the things are big and time-critical, it's difficult. Sometimes it's difficult to do things to the right extent so as not to lose the principles of Dafa and not to just be an easy-going person. Although I still can't do this well, yet recently I got enlightened to some other aspects of this. That is, what Master described is a realm, a realm of a selfless and altruistic enlightened being who always considers others before him. But this realm is not one that a practitioner can be in just by thinking. It requires a long, solid cultivation process during which one is strict with himself about getting rid of "self" and "me." It's exactly like only by getting rid of sentimentality can one have true compassion. In the past, my understanding about "selflessness and altruism" and "considering others before oneself" more focused on how to give good things to others first and leave the bad things to myself, or sacrificing my money and comfort for the sake of saving sentient beings. But recently I more and more realized some other part, which is also difficult for me. That is to put down my own opinions, my own self-esteem, my own reputation, and all those things. Only by truly getting rid of "self" and put the Fa first all the time, can one assist Master for Fa-rectification with pure mentality and can one truly become a great Enlightened Being with virtuous enlightenment and righteous Fa


This is only my shallow understanding. I have a lot of room for improvement. The same problems will even recur sometimes. If anything is inappropriate or you see problems in my future cultivation, I'd appreciate fellow practitioners' pointing them out.

Thank you, Master! Thank you, everyone!

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