PureInsight | August 5, 2002
Giving up Oneself, and Marching Towards the Realm of Selflessness
I had a big breakthrough in my cultivation a few months ago. I came to a true realization of the root cause of my selfish notions and actions.
Why are selfish thoughts hard to give up? Because they have become part of a complete system of how we survive in this human world, a world full of hardships where we naturally learn to protect ourselves first before considering others. This selfishness somewhat originates at an extremely minute level of our life, far beyond what we can superficially see and sense.
Why do I say that it is a complete system? To give an example, in the past in order to protect myself from getting reprimanded by others, I developed a system that kept me protected in whatever I did. So natural was this system that I didn't even sense its existence, as it most probably was in-born for a long long time. Since I am not used to coming up with my own ideas, I would get used to using other people's opinions instead of my own, appearing somewhat weak minded. When this opinion resulted in a problem, I would automatically be protected since this opinion belonged to others. I stupidly endured any complaints based on my natural instinct of wanting to be compassionate and tolerant. People would see that it was not my fault and would give up complaining about me, and would instead commend me for my endurance. This seemed so perfect yet it was not perfect. This is how I would protect myself in this human world. My life was like a fish in the ocean, given everything I need to survive, but was based on a selfish nature. My life was destined to go through formation, settlement, degeneration, and then eventually destruction. As I cultivate Dafa and assimilate to it, my life has started to change at the fundamental basic matter of life, giving rise to a new life that can live in the ocean, live on the land, and even transmigrate across different dimensions. To jump out of selfishness is like a little fish jumping out onto land, as it is an extremely frightening experience, simply because the fish has no means to survive in this new environment.
I believe many of us in cultivation have encountered problems in our lives that are seemingly hard to resolve, causing obstructions to our cultivation, and causing us to be very concerned and attached. How we've wished this problem would just go away, but no matter how hard we try our actions and ideas are selfish, and this selfishness causes the matter to become worst. The biggest mind-block I believe we may encounter is to think of others first, but when we do that, we will have no time to study the Fa, and no time to participate in Dafa activities, etc. After much thought, maybe we can still think of others some times, but other times, we still find it hard to give up our own "self".
After a time I clearly saw that the Dafa work I was doing always contained a "save me first then consider others" mentality, resulting in many problems and causing other practitioners to be greatly hurt. I wanted to change, but just couldn't. I asked for Teacher's help sincerely with my heart as I just couldn't live like that any longer, always hurting others in whatever I did. One day, I started to see miracles in Zhuan Falun. I discovered Zhuan Falun contained a magnificent huge system expounding how a life should live in complete selfless ways. It is really magnificent, so great that I really felt I could easily give up my selfish past and completely assimilate to Dafa's selfless, benevolent system. I discovered when one really cares completely for others, one will have enough time to study the Fa. We just cannot gauge the future world of selflessness with our current selfish way of life. It is like the story of using ancient Chinese medicine to pull one's teeth versus using the modern high-tech dental machinery to achieve the same goal, as described in Zhuan Falun. Below is a quote from Zhuan Falun in the same section of this story, "Someone has said: 'Would we have cars and trains if we followed ancient Chinese science? Would we have today's modernization?' I would say that you could not understand another circumstance from the perspective of this environment. There should be a revolution in your thinking."
I have come to realize that I have no more concerns and worries when giving up my selfish thoughts, as Zhuan Falun has given me a brand new system that I can live my life by. If we cultivators find it hard to give up one's selfish thoughts, I would recommend observing one's way of life, and then one will discover it is an incomplete system from the old cosmos. Identify it clearly, pin it down and bravely give it up completely. You can do it because our Teacher is giving us something that is so much more magnificent and better than our old one. For details on how great this new world is, read Zhuan Falun with your heart, follow what it says, practice it in your everyday life, and then you will see the marvels.
My changes were also observed from the outside. My family had not been happy with the way I had changed since cultivation, as I appeared to not have the same language to communicate with them anymore. The problem with me was that I was afraid to socialize with my family as it would seem that I was not a cultivator anymore, hence I would treat all the things my family would love and care about as attachments. When sharing these experiences with other cultivators, they also had the same attachments. I then discovered I can naturally think about others, and if I encounter anyone with inappropriate thoughts I am totally capable of guiding them to think the right way, eventually introducing them to Dafa.
For example instead of sending emails to let my sister know about the truth of Dafa, I sent her an email asking how her application for citizenship was coming along. In her reply, I sensed her surprise and questioning of my motive. You can see how full of motives my actions were in the past, as even my sister, who is not cultivating, can sense it. I replied joyfully and my heart felt at peace that I learned how to truly care about others. I thanked her and my family for being tolerant of me in the past, and said I'm starting to be able to know how to treat others with my heart. Later, I attached two web links to Minghui's (Chinese version of Clearwisdom) flash cartoon movies, and it was too late when I realized my sister didn't like me to talk about Dafa, as every time I talk, it is always about Dafa and nothing that she cared about. However, this time I knew I was not forcing my sister to like what I like and that hidden motive was gone. It was an action completely out of my warm wish for her and my family to share the joy I had gained from Dafa. True enough my sister didn't get angry, but instead she was glad that I'd changed for the better. More to my surprise, she started addressing me and that was a big change, considering the heated email communication we had not long ago. Not long after, I had a chance to visit her, and this time my sister was able to talk to me about her concerns and problems, and I was able to listen attentively and care about her problems too. In our conversation, I discovered her application for citizenship was lacking a birth certificate from our younger brother and somehow he kept delaying. I smiled and suggested she call him up and help him find the information she needs. From our brother's perspective, this may have been the first time for digging through his own documents and he may be at a loss as to what to do. By considering others, it is actually helping ourselves too. From this experience, I discovered no more personal motives, but instead truly caring for others, as whatever we say we will naturally be within the realms of Dafa. Naturally, we will also be validating Dafa in the process, and rectifying any anomalies in our environment.
I would also like to share with everyone what our Teacher said in "Clear-headedness" from Essentials for Further Advancement : "I often say that if all a person wants is the well-being of others and if this is without the slightest personal motivation or personal understanding, what he says will move the listener to tears. I have not only taught you Dafa, but have also left you my demeanor. While working, your tone of voice, your kindheartedness, and your reasoning can change a person's heart, whereas commands never could! If others are not convinced deep down inside but only superficially comply, they will still conduct themselves according to their own will when no one is around to see them. "
As my selfishness diminishes, I discover the obstructions to my Fa-study diminish significantly, my awareness of the problems in my surroundings becomes significantly clearer, and everything around me and within me is changing together.
Clarifying the Truth to My Co-Workers Overseas
Recently I was sent to Singapore for an on-site consulting job, and was caught in the conflict between our Singapore and North American staff. Due to my cultivation of Falun Dafa, I could easily see that the cause of the problem was simply cultural differences, and each side not understanding the other side. It is not easy being involved in these types of conflicts, but since I encountered it and I was within the realm of being responsible to it, I had to face it. Thinking righteously, I knew what I needed to do. On the one hand, I wanted to understand our customer's needs and expectations, and on the other hand I went on to explain the cultural background and current customer's situation to our North American staff, gaining their proactive support in the process. From yet another angle, I explained to our Singapore staff there that the Asian sense of urgency in a typical Asian competitive environment is hard to be understood to an American where they are brought up in a less competitive and carefree environment where resources are abundant. Not like Singapore where resources are scarce, and there is an issue of survival of the fittest, and there may be cultural differences that we need to accommodate between one another. As all of us got to a better understanding of one another, we were able to work together towards a common goal, and the problem quickly became resolved.
Everyone was very happy, the Singapore staff commended me for being able to stay calm and patient under great pressure, and yet still be firm with pushing ahead with what we need to do. I explained that was because of my cultivation of Falun Dafa. This immediately shocked them. They had heard bad stories from newspapers and local media about Falun Dafa, and I told them that all of those which I know of are lies, as we people in the U.S. have access to both sides of the stories and we know what is the truth, especially since I'm a cultivator myself. The most sensitive question touched upon was the issue of us practitioners getting involved in politics. I smiled and calmly ask the question, "what is politics". Do we treat people who communicate with their government as politicians too? Growing up in Singapore, I know Singaporeans work closely or get closely in touch one way or another with the government in many ways and many services like public transportation and utilities are government-owned as well. In that case, should we consider all Singaporeans as dealing with politics? I myself truly don't understand politics, and why some people with ulterior motives like to use the term "politics" to describe others. However, one thing I know for sure is Falun Dafa is good, as I myself have benefited a lot since I began learning and practicing it, and most importantly, I know what Falun Dafa is like and feels like. Later I told my Singapore co-workers stories from ancient China, which we are all familiar with such as the story of a general named Yue Fei who is known for his patriotism for his country. The word "patriot" took the lifetime of Yue Fei and his story to let the public see what a Chinese "patriot" truly is like, and there are other moral values whose inner meanings can only be clearly understood through stories of the past, without which we would have no idea what they mean. By mentioning these, my purpose was to point out we should not easily get influenced by newspaper or TV reports, instead whenever we hear anything, we should judge them with our clear consciousness. I then followed up with my own story of why and how I got to know Falun Dafa, and how I benefit from it. In the end, one of my co-workers said, "It is only now that we get a chance to know what Falun Dafa truly is like".
Through this oversees trip, I didn't aim at resolving any problem, instead I only hoped that all parties involved in this incident could benefit in one way or another by getting all of us to work together. The quick resolution of the problem got me to validate and got a deeper understanding of "wuwei" (non-action; without intention - you should not do something just because you want to) that our Teacher taught us in the book Zhuan Falun. Although the problem was resolved, one of the Singapore co-workers was concerned that his six months of sales efforts to close this deal might be futile. I didn't know what would happen to the deal, but I understand him, and said when I first arrived in Singapore a few days ago I was very concerned too, as I don't know how to resolve the problem, especially when the company paid so much for my airfare. However, I told myself that it did not matter whether the problem could be resolved or not, as long as we all gained something in return from this experience. Sometimes we gain from a successful experience, sometimes we learn from our failures to allow us to do better next time. At that time, my heart suddenly felt very calm, which allowed me to work without any interference. If I had been so concerned during the past few days, it would have affected the overall progress of the work we needed to do. When I finished, I could see that he was then truly able to relax. I felt he was now comfortable to have found an answer to all the great efforts he had put into this project. He smiled back in gratitude.
When I returned to the U.S., I overheard some comments about our Singapore staff's "bad temper" which had, a number of times, caused many misunderstandings. I felt as a friend, I should let my Singapore co-workers know of their problem, as oftentimes it is hard for ourselves to see our problems. I knew they had a good impression of my being able to stay calm and patient, yet be firm with pursuing the right thing I believed in. So I used this as my basis to suggest to them how we can be firm and yet not get angry with others, and the power of patience in our compassion would be more powerful and effective in achieving what we want. I wrote the email using the Asian mindset which my Singapore co-workers could understand. I quickly got a reply expressing how happy they were that they had benefited so much through interacting with me, and they thanked me sincerely. Actually I myself also benefited tremendously, as all of us, whether we are cultivators or non-cultivators, are all targets of Fa-rectification. When we assimilate closer to the characteristics of Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance, we will all benefit and progress together into the future.
Through this incident, I learned that when clarifying the truth to others, the most important thing is to base our heart on compassion for the good of the other party. No matter what we do, whether it is telling the truth or sending forth righteous thoughts, if we can truly be benevolent and compassionate, we may discover our heart to be very peaceful, as if it is in resonance with our grand wish to save everyone, and also in resonance to the great mission Dafa has bestowed on us. When we truly care about others, without our own hidden motives, and in a natural way, whatever we do and say will be validating Dafa and clarifying the truth to save sentient beings.
Having Tolerance and Compassionate Understanding to Help Our Surrounding Environment Catch Up with Fa-Rectification.
I realized that one's understanding of the Fa-rectification process is very important. When we are conscious of the progress of Fa-rectification, and conscious that we are also the targets of Fa-rectification, then we will be able to position ourselves well and help everyone around us catch up with the Fa-rectification process. We will then be able to take the initiative to bear responsibility, give suggestions, and contribute our part as a Dafa disciple to our surroundings, and do what a Dafa disciple is supposed to do now.
In conclusion, I would like to share with everyone, our Teacher's recent poem:
He comes with the Truth, which gives him full control
And travels the four seas with a free and easy spirit
Spreading the Fa's principles throughout the secular world
Loaded full with sentient beings, his Fa Boat sets sail
Presented at the 2002 Washington, D.C. Fa-conference.