Some Thoughts On the Saying, “The Appearance Stems From the Mind”

Wen Yu

PureInsight | March 1, 2010

[] One day back during the Song Dynasty, Dongpo Su and a Buddhist monk named Foyin came to Jingshan Temple to meditate together. Dongpo Su felt extremely solid both physically and mentally. Then he asked the respectful monk: “Dear monk, what do you think about my meditation position?” Monk Foyin said: “Very dignified, just like a Buddha!” Dongpo Su was quite happy. Foyin asked him: “What do think about me?” Dongpo Su liked joking and was unable to resist the urge to tease him: “Like a pile of bull leather!” When monk Foyin heard his reply, he was not angry at him and remained silent. Dongpo Su was cheerful inside his heart and later told everyone he met: “I won today!”

This news was passed to Dongpo Su’s younger sister Xiaomei Su. She wanted to know what exactly happened, so she asked her brother. Dongpo Su was very excited and described the whole thing carefully with a joyful spirit. Xiaomei Su was a gifted person and her talents were outstanding. After she heard Dongpo Su’s story, she said gently: “Brother, you lost! The monk’s heart is like a Buddha, so he saw you as if you were a Buddha. In contrast, your heart is like leather, so you saw the respectful monk like a pile of leather.”

Dongpo Su fell silent. He now knew that his meditation state was far lower than Monk Foyin’s. Because Dongpo Su was considered gifted in his literary ability and knowledge, he tended to be proud and arrogant. In fact, people who are arrogant do not understand the virtue of modesty, and most of the time their minds are narrow. Therefore, it is easy for them to make wild statements.

Dongpo Su’s “pile of leather mentality” and the respectful monk’s calm mindset will both often show up in our cultivation. Recently, because of some work, I had a misunderstanding with a fellow practitioner who I had collaborated with for many years. I did not control my xinxing (mind-nature) well and forgot about what Master has told us on how to handle things when encountering difficulty. I was fooled by the false images which seemed to be real. I was very angry and thought that it was unacceptable for the other practitioner to be like that. So I started to complain to this practitioner and became more and more emotional. The more I said, the more I felt I was right and the other practitioner was wrong. I even felt that no matter how much I talked about his shortcomings, he would never change.

The next day, I went to communicate with him (I say communicate, but it was actually more like questioning him). I raised my doubts and asked him why he wanted to do things a certain way and why he did not discuss it with me ahead of time or inform me afterward, causing such a big misunderstanding to form between us. He said calmly that he realized that I couldn’t accomplish so many things in our region all by myself, so he wanted to help. According to his perception of my past behavior, he thought that I would not agree with his approach so he did not bother to tell me. I listened carefully and truly understood his difficulty and his heart for validating the Fa. The situation was indeed like he described. Through this incident, I found many of my human attachments as well as the intention of validating myself. I changed my view of this fellow practitioner and eliminated the barrier between us.

From this experience, I realized that when your heart cannot settle down and your demon nature takes control, your entire surrounding dimension becomes filled with bad matter. Everything that enters your dimension will change according to what you think. The more you think in a certain way, the more it will look like that. When you think that a fellow practitioner is not right, your perception of them will change accordingly, and the more you are attached to it, the more the evil factors will amplify the bad things that the practitioner did.

In Zhuan Falun, Master said:

“For example, once a person develops a bad thought, it is very dangerous. One day his Celestial Eye is opened, and he can see things quite clearly. He thinks: ‘At this exercise site, only my Celestial Eye is opened very well. Am I perhaps an unusual person? I was able to learn Teacher Li’s Falun Dafa and have studied it so well, better than all the others. Perhaps I’m also not an ordinary person.’ This thought is already not right. He will wonder: ‘Maybe I’m a Buddha as well. Well, let me take a look at myself.’ When he looks at himself, he will find himself indeed a Buddha. Why is it? This is because everything within the dimensional field around his body will transform according to his thoughts, which is called ‘transformation follows mind-intent.’” (Zhuan Falun, Lecture Six, “Demonic Interference From One’s Own Mind”)

When I calmed down and looked inward according to Master’s Fa, I found so many good things from this fellow practitioner and could not think of anything bad. I also felt more peaceful myself. In one day my entire perception of this practitioner had changed. In fact, this practitioner is very diligent.

The appearance of things we encounter and the environment around us are controlled by our mind! Actually, the negative things in our surrounding environment are all caused by impurities in our own dimension, which are then reflected through other people. This happens in order for us to see it and to get rid of it via cultivation. Master has taught us to search inside ourselves when we see other’s shortcomings. When your mind is pure and is in the Fa, even those bad things will be corrected and you will not feel them. In addition, many of these things are false appearances to provide opportunities for you to improve. I hope we can all purify our mindsets and treat everything around us better. We should immediately eliminate our loopholes when we identify them.

Because my understanding is limited, please kindly point out any shortcomings you see!

Originally published in Chinese on Nov. 9, 2009

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