Not Moving One's Heart and Righteous Thoughts

Mei Yu

PureInsight | December 27, 2004

[] I came across a situation in the early days of my cultivation: During a group sharing session, one practitioner pointed out the shortcomings of another practitioner, who then instinctively defended herself with angry words. A young female practitioner sitting next to me whispered to me: "See, her heart moved." I wasn't aware of the deeper meaning of those words at the time. But as my cultivation progressed, those words echoed again and again in my mind.

As I made progress with my cultivation, I gradually came to see that everything we encounter is a cultivator's xinxing test. When one's heart moves in a conflict, he is in the wrong no matter whether he was responsible for starting the conflict in the first place. When something happens to a person that appears to be unjust according to the reasoning of ordinary people, it is actually a very good thing for a cultivator. It is because the goal of cultivation is to let go of all kinds of human sentiments and desires. In the end, one should reach the state where no matter what happens, he is able to maintain a tranquil and calm heart.

The "not moving of one's heart" means not reacting to earthly things. It's completely different from cold indifference and self-centeredness. After ordinary human attachments are eliminated in cultivation, the righteous thoughts of benevolence and forbearance are born in their places. Such righteous thoughts bring a lot of benefits not only to ourselves but also to other sentient beings. Ordinary human thoughts come from attachments and originate from selfishness and sense of self. Under such a mindset, it is difficult to see the essence of matters clearly, and the resulting words and actions lack rationality and wisdom. When a cultivator gradually lets go of ordinary human attachments, he is able to view things truly from the outside looking in and can see the essence of the matter with just one glance. The resulting words and actions are filled with rationality and wisdom and are void of bursts of emotion. Under such a state, what he says is much easier for others to accept.

Letting go of the attachments of an everyday person is a slow process and can only be accomplished a little at a time. No matter what we encounter, we should not just look at how they appear on the surface. We should think about the reasons why the events take place and ask ourselves the following, "In which areas should I make improvements since this event has taken place? What is the underlying attachment that makes me unable to accept it lightly? What self-serving attachment do I have that makes me unable to develop righteous thoughts of benevolence and tolerance?" If we are able to examine ourselves every single time and develop it into a habit, the progress we make in our cultivation will surely be very fast. If we get stuck at the level of the ordinary people and think we ourselves are right no matter which way we look at things, we will remain at the same level. As a result, our righteous thoughts will become weaker and weaker, and the evil will take advantage of it and cause interference. If such a situation is allowed to continue, it brings benefits neither to ourselves nor to others.

Lately, when I tried to memorize "Further Understanding" by Teacher, I realized that the process of cultivation is the process of removing our demon-nature and expanding our Buddha-nature. Strong attachments come from our demon-nature. Dealing everything with the righteous thought based on "Truthfulness Compassion Forbearance" comes from our Buddha-nature. Each time, when we allow ourselves to develop the notions of everyday person, we are actually allowing our demon-nature to emerge and regrettably missing out another opportunity for cultivation. If one does not eliminate one's demon-nature completely, it is hard to become a Buddha, let alone save sentient beings.

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