Thought Karma, the Poet, And Cultivation

A U.S. Practitioner

PureInsight | August 11, 2003


Thought Karma

When I first began to work on the lawsuit against Jiang, I found myself besieged with thought karma, especially thoughts revolving around pride, hurt feelings and anger, not once a day, not twice a day, but many times during the day. It’s not that I didn’t attend to the issues, as I did in a way. I reduced the difficulties to two issues: 1) should I continue to participate in the lawsuit project; and; 2) if I do stay, how do I balance the principles of Dafa with the protocols of the law. For example, the rules of professional responsibility set forth pretty clearly what the client decides and what is decided by the lawyer. By these rules the practitioners were making decisions which more properly should be made by their lawyers. But of course as a Dafa project, decisions should more properly be made by all of us as one body based on Dafa. This issue troubled me so much that I sent the question to Teacher and while I didn’t receive a written response, I did receive an answer from the Fa in the words and comments of other practitioners. At the time, however, I didn’t hear HIS answer. I was not yet paying enough attention to the comments of other practitioners, nor had I gotten to the root of my many attachments. And thus the same issues continued to re-occur. In short, the first leg of the project was most difficult for me.

Sometime in June, after much prodding from another especially patient practitioner, I got closer to the root of the problem and realized that my thought-karma is not me, and that, by implication, the anger and pride are also not me. At that point I noticed that the problem was not, for example, other practitioners sending material to the Chicago judge, as I once thought, but my own heart. If I could change my heart, most if not all of the disharmony would disappear. Of that I was quite certain. But how to change my heart? My pride and my anger were real, concrete experiences which felt like me even though, from a higher level, of course, and, based on the Fa, they are not me.

The Poet

The first time a practitioner told me the story of the poet and the monk, I misunderstood the story and thought to myself – oh yes, that’s why others see so many attachments in me, it’s not me they see, but they. I did not, at that juncture, see me in them, and as a result, I didn’t benefit from the story as a cultivator.

The second time I heard the story was different. A practitioner sent me the story not only of the poet and the monk, but also of the life of the poet. I got the point immediately and I was furious. I was not simply angry but enraged. I read and re-read the story of the life of the poet over the course of the entire day. He was exiled. In spite of his talents he never achieved much in the ordinary world. Yes he was gifted but his harsh critical tongue held him back. I couldn’t believe anyone would dare to compare me to him. Why? I called the practitioner and he was gentle and kind on the phone. Clearly, I couldn’t blame him. Also I had learned over time to trust him. It’s me, I thought, but when I re-read the story of the life of the poet again, I was again enraged.

I simply could not accept my own similarity to the poet. To do so would require letting go of my own narrative of my own life, and it would require letting go of the meaning I gave to my life. Surely this is too much to surrender. My story of my life is my identity, it’s my name, it’s me. How could I possibly let go of me? I recalled persons from my past criticizing my choices and comparing me to Antigone (a Greek hero not unlike the poet). I found myself arguing with voices from my past, defending my choices as courageous and noble. I said what I thought. I spoke truthfully. How could that be wrong? Isn’t truthfulness a FA principle? I absolutely refused to let go.

Later in the day on the metro in DC I watched all the people rushing here and there and suddenly thought to myself –do I really want to come back? Do I really want to be an ordinary person? I looked at them and then at the poet, and finally at myself. Yes, my life was difficult, not because of the cowardice of others, but because of my heart. I saw what others did as negative because of the negativity in me. Instead of reaching out to the positive in others, I focused on their negative sides. As a result, I didn’t once see that side of me.

Gone were my stories of my life. Gone were my carefully crafted explanations of myself to me and to others. My identity, the identity I had created for myself, it was gone. But instead of feeling lost, I felt lighthearted and happy. I couldn’t stop smiling.


I have been asked many many times by practitioners, “so what does this project mean from the Fa?” I’d answer quickly, we all know it’s about saving sentient beings first and foremost, and of course clarifying the facts about the persecution, and suffocating the evil.

But now if asked the same question, I’d add – perhaps at the outset, it’s about cultivation, not only my cultivation but the cultivation of all involved. It’s about looking inward as often as is required to let go of the worldly attachments, which, for me, means letting go first and foremost of pride and anger. I know I personally have a long way to go. But I feel optimistic instead of pessimistic. I feel hopeful – positive instead of negative.

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