Eliminating Human Attachments


PureInsight | October 18, 2004

[PureInsight.org] "Without 'nothing,' it is a human feeling. If it is a human feeling, then it's not bei (compassion)." [1] ("Teaching the Fa at the 2004 Western U.S. Fa Conference") After reading Master's lecture in Los Angeles regarding the explanation of bei (compassion), I felt that it contains a deep meaning. But what does it really mean? I didn't think too much about it until I received an email from a fellow practitioner regarding his understandings of these two sentences. The Chinese Character for bei (compassion) is made up of two characters, the upper half of it means "nothing" and the lower half of it means "a human feeling." If you take away the upper half of the character "nothing," the character becomes "a human feeling." With "a human feeling", it can no longer be bei (compassion).

We all know that compassion comes from cultivation and is not something that we can achieve through physical efforts. As attachments are eliminated, compassion will naturally emerge. That is a part of cultivation. Some western friends of my husband and me asked us several times, "What is the purpose of cultivating yourself?" At first we tried to explain it to them using many words, but the effect was not good. At the end, we simply told them, "While cultivating oneself, one is constantly getting rid of many bad human feelings such as jealousy, zealotry and so on." They understood what it meant right away.

To explain the purpose of cultivation is so easy, but the process of cultivation is quite difficult. One's life from birth is saturated in sentimentality. All human feelings come from sentimentality. When people tell me that I am capable and good, I become happy, self-satisfied and irrational in my zealotry. If people tell me that I am not so good, I feel pain, resentment, and jealousy. If people tell me that I am helpful, compassionate and better than others and have cultivated well, I become so happy. Why do I not realize that it shows that I still have a lot of attachments? Wanting to hear praise from others is a human feeling. As long as there is a human feeling, there is a human attachment. If practitioners cannot get rid of deeply rooted sentimentalities, they can only be human beings with human feelings, not enlightened beings.

Since ancient times, cultivation has been difficult. Many people throughout history had tried very hard to find the meaning of life. While attending college, I often recited words from famous ancient sages such as "one shouldn't be happy for possessing material possessions and one shouldn't feel sad when something bad happens" or "show concern for the world ahead of everyone and enjoy happiness after everyone." When I read those famous words, I felt my realm was elevating. But then I felt insignificant and helpless because I didn't know how to truly change myself so I could be like the ancient sages. It wasn't until I obtained the Fa many years later on that I discovered the meanings of cultivation, compassion, returning to one's original, true self, cultivating one's heart, getting rid of attachments, and upgrading levels.

Although I understand how I should cultivate in principle, it is not easy to do. I feel pained when I am unable to completely get rid of my human feelings. However, the pain that I experience is completely different from the helplessness I felt before because I practice Falun Dafa and Falun Dafa has a clear standard for its practitioners. Practitioners have righteous thoughts and righteous beliefs. That is the huge difference between practitioners and everyday people. Moreover, just because we feel pain, it doesn't mean that we are improving ourselves, and the only way we can improve ourselves is to be more diligent cultivators. I once heard a very touching story: when a practitioner encountered a xinxing tribulation with a fellow practitioner, he clearly saw his own strong jealousy. In order to get rid of this mentality, he copied the section "Jealousy" from Zhuan Falun. The jealousy gradually diminished as he continued to copy this section. Eventually he was filled with righteous thoughts. He felt deep compassion for his fellow practitioner and in his heart there was no longer any room for jealousy.

I recall Master's Hongyin Volume II: "Take a short break to reflect on yourself and strengthen righteous thoughts; analyze your shortcomings and advance with more diligence." (Unofficial translation) As practitioners, we shouldn't be afraid of having human feelings. As long as we strive forward in our cultivation, we will be able to achieve the state where we have no sense of self or selfishness and we are genuinely compassionate.

Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2004/9/16/29151.html

1. Translator's note: These two sentences are a sort of play on words. The Chinese character "bei" consists of two parts, one that can be understood as "nothing" and the other as "feeling."

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