PureInsight | October 17, 2005
In the process of cultivation I think that it is inevitable for there to be many subtle notions that influence our thinking. These things are in my experience, the trickiest, most deceptive, and convoluted issues to deal with.
From what I have learned in the process of cultivating, these things come in countless forms. I have noticed some practitioners who have developed notions regarding self-interest. The bottom line for them is what they want, and they will do anything to get what they want. Some practitioners have notions regarding receiving approval from a social group; they will do whatever it takes to "fit in" for the purpose of receiving praise and or acceptance from others. I have also seen practitioners who have notions regarding showing off; they are always thinking about making themselves appear to be special or better than others.
The thing that makes these notions the most difficult, from what I've found, is that a person's notions form the foundation of every aspect of his thinking. Most practitioners go for very long stretches of time without even beginning to notice their notions.
I have come to a realization regarding the roots of these things, though of course it is limited by my personal understanding of the Fa. What I see is that it all started with selfishness; that is, when selfishness started to worm its way into the nature of sentient beings. Selfishness can only lead to self-destruction; that is, as a being gradually begins to become more and more selfish it invariably begins to head toward it's own demise. Every being fears its own death, or, in other words, extinction of body and soul, and as I see it, that is where all fear comes from. I call this primordial fear.
To face the reality of one's own demise is immensely terrifying to say the least, so terrifying that it is far easier to delude oneself than face it. The way in which most sentient beings delude themselves is to create diversions to distract themselves from facing the truth. In human terms, who has time to think about one's inevitable demise when one is too busy fulfilling one's own self-interests, receiving praise from his friends, and showing off how capable he is?
All of these things are self-delusions, self-fabricated illusions crafted to take one's mind off the truth of one's own selfishness, that it only leads to death, both in human terms and ultimately in terms of the death of ones own body and soul. Thus it so happens that the more people pursue these self-delusions, the more they gratify themselves, and the safer they feel, the less likely they will be to face up to the truth of their own selfishness.
Since one's notions form the very bedrock of one's self-gratifying self-delusions, abandoning one's notions would unravel the whole framework that allows one to escape the terror of death. This is most especially true in the old cosmos, where the ultimate fate of every single sentient being was destruction. So, in fact, this whole process has been progressing for countless ages and sentient beings have been deluding themselves for almost eternity.
This vicious cycle of self-delusion to escape the terror of death has been reinforced to an enormous extent. Only now there is a solution to this problem: Master has spread the Dafa, the fundamental, all-encompassing truth of all creation, everywhere. The Great Law that is all-harmonizing, all-rectifying, that can transform the very worst things into the very best things. There is now a way to relinquish ones selfishness by harmonizing with Zhen, Shan, Ren; thus undoing the shackles of selfishness that lead to the ultimate extinction of body and soul.
I realized, starting last night, and in the midst of difficulties, that
I had been accepting some wrong notions. One, fundamentally - about as fundamental as it gets - is that I had allowed, over time, the notion to very quietly and subtly grow, that I might not be able to succeed in cultivation, but that even still, I would always do my best to save beings and never stop my efforts to do that. Developing that notion was not a clear, conscious thought process, but it was an acceptance of the possibility of not making it through. The determination to save beings is good, but it is actually undermined in certain regards by my own acceptance of the idea that I might not make it through.
Ultimately, I think it was a resistance to change, a resistance to
letting go of notions built over many lifetimes as a human being. These notions are alive and they don't want to be eliminated through the process of letting them go and learning the real Truth of things. I think that those notions had worked their way into having me acknowledge the idea of not, well, basically, not cultivating. Really cultivating. Really letting these things go. Letting these notions go.
Teacher's article talked about avoiding suffering. I think that was
also a part of my (well, see, again, I was going to say "my"
acceptance, but it's not), or rather THE acceptance of the phantom thought that I may not make it through. So then the True Belief is not there. There is belief, but it is not complete. I realize that this is a process and belief deepens through the process, but it is fundamental that I believe that I can make it through. I was accepting this phantom belief that I would not, and so this negatively affected cultivation.
I once heard a practitioner say that even if he doesn't succeed in
cultivation he will still continue to save beings, but this thinking
is an incorrect notion - it is wrong thinking. This is fundamentally
wrong. We cannot allow those thoughts to take hold. Of course, without question, we must save beings and that is as fundamental as our own cultivation and is actually, in my understanding, the same as our own cultivation and without doing so (saving beings) we will still not complete our own cultivation. But these notions can creep in and take effect. I thought there was something noble in this thought, but we are still not being responsible to saving beings if we do not have faith in our own cultivation and have belief that we can succeed in our own cultivation.
Connected to this notion was another notion that reading Zhuan Falun was really hard. I had developed the notion that it was difficult to read the Book. This was a notion, a wrong thought, nonsense, no doubt about it. If there is interference when reading it is because of a gap in myself. But if I have the notion that reading Zhuan Falun is just
automatically difficult and will be a major challenge each time, then
it will be more difficult. This is also these notions influencing me as
they try to survive.
This is only my opinion own based on my limited understanding of the Fa.