Change From Frustration to Gratitude

A Dafa Disciple

PureInsight | May 20, 2013

[] At the end of last year, our Fa study group conducted an annual status meeting. I prepared to talk about five major issues regarding myself. When I was talking about the third issue, a fellow practitioner interrupted me. I was severely criticized; some of the remarks from the practitioner were very sharp and I felt deeply hurt. The practitioner said that I had always liked to give my own definitions of the Fa and that I had used my own words to explain the Fa. The practitioner listed quite lot of examples. I tried very hard to defend myself and to find various reasons why I had done so in those examples.

Just then, another fellow practitioner reminded me of one particular sentence that I had uttered about five or six years ago. I felt very uncomfortable in my heart after I heard that once again.
Even though I expressed my willingness to accept those criticisms, deep in my heart, I felt I had been unfairly treated. I was filled with complaints and was frustrated.

Throughout last year, our Fa study group had studied all the scriptures that Master Li had published in 2012. We also studied more than 200 poems from Hong Yin I, II, and III. When we were studying the scriptures or the poems, I would often offer my own personal understandings. I would usually ask the group to offer their comments but no one would volunteer. Now, at this year-end status meeting it seemed that everyone had had enough of me and begun to rant at me. I said to myself that I would never again speak during the Fa study sessions.

I was uneasy after the status meeting and skipped the next two Fa study sessions. I had developed some kind of group avoidance mentality.

Nonetheless, I began to ponder and wonder why there were so many fellow practitioners who had decided to criticize me. Actually, I had been receiving similar criticisms every now and then. Why? Where had I been wrong?

Master Li says in Zhuan Falun – Lecture 6: “But there’s one thing: in a lot of the scriptures there are some things that weren’t translated accurately in the first place, and on top of that, a lot of scriptures have been interpreted with understandings at different levels, and they’ve casually defined things. This has damaged the Law. Some people who’ve recklessly interpreted the scriptures are just so far from the realms of Buddhas, they have just no clue about their true meaning, and that’s why their understandings are different.”…“If you make Dafa secondary and your divine powers primary, or now that you’re Enlightened you think that some understanding or other of yours is correct, or if you even think you’re so great you’ve gone beyond Dafa, I’d say you’ve started to fall, and you’re at risk, and you’re getting worse and worse.”

I felt frightened for myself after reading those words. Looking back, I realized I had uttered many wrong words while studying the Fa and I had developed many improper thoughts in my mind. For instance, when a particular sentence was too long, I would suggest breaking the sentences up and said that it would help understanding it. Sometimes, I would analyze the sentences and break them into subject or object parts. I had also written some poems based upon some of the examples that Master Li mentions in Zhuan Falun. I would like to break Master Li’s lectures into different segments and was very eager to give my own summary on each segment. In all, I was behaving like a Chinese language teacher, offering my own analytical comments on the particular sentences in the scriptures. Why had I made such a mistake?

I graduated from college in the early 1960s with a major in Chinese language. I then taught Chinese in a middle school for more than 10 years. After that I was reassigned to a job in an institution where I taught writing traditional and contemporary Chinese. Throughout my teaching career, I had developed this habit of language analysis when dealing with any written paper. Master Li has already made it very clear to break this habit when studying the Fa: “On the surface, Zhuan Falun is not elegant in terms of language. It might even not comply with modern grammar. If I were to use modern grammar to organize this book of Dafa, however, a serious problem would arise wherein though the structure of the book’s language might be standard and elegant, it would not encompass a more profound and higher content. This is because modern, standardized terminology cannot express the guidance of Dafa at different high levels and the manifestation of the Fa at each level; neither is it able to bring about practitioners’ transformation of benti and gong, or other such fundamental changes” (Zhuan Falun). Obviously, I had knowingly made these mistakes!

I had received many awards and prizes during my teaching career and as a result I had gradually developed a somewhat arrogant mentality, thinking that I was superior to others. I would always like to lecture others; I was conceited and didn’t want to hear any negative comments from other people.

I began to re-read Master Li’s lecture “Fa Teaching Given in Manhattan:” “Others can’t say a critical word about him, he can’t take any criticism, and even if he does something wrong he won’t hear a word of it. How could that work, though?”…“As gods see it, for a cultivator to be right or wrong in the human world is not important in the least, whereas eliminating the attachments that come from human thinking is important, and it is precisely your managing to eliminate those attachments rooted in your human thinking as you cultivate that counts as important.”…“If you can manage to handle things calmly no matter how wronged you may feel, if you can remain unmoved and not try to come up with some kind of excuse for yourself, then with many things you won’t even need to argue. That’s because on your path of cultivation there is nothing that is by chance. So, when you get into a heated exchange and it stirs things up in you, or you get into a conflict over something that concerns your vital interests, perhaps the factors behind it were put there by Master. Maybe you only get upset when it’s a case of someone saying something that really provokes you or hits a sore spot. And maybe the person really did treat you wrongfully. But, those words weren’t necessarily said by that person. Perhaps they were said by me. (Everyone laughs) I want to see how you handle things at the time. When you butt heads with that person, it actually equates to butting heads with me.” Every single word from this passage touched my heart.

While I was looking inward, I also noticed that I had many other attachments such as a show-off mentality, seeking fame and profit, complacency, aggression, fear, complaining and frustration over apparently unfair treatment, and so on. I tried very hard to root out those attachments; I wanted to eliminate those attachments completely. In the end, I found that it was my ego that was at the very bottom of all my attachments. However, ego was a little bit too general, too abstract. What was it that had taken control over me?

One morning, I came across the section on “Reverse Cultivation and Gong Borrowing” from Zhuan Falun: “If somebody said something bad about him he’d get upset. His attachments to fame and profit all ballooned, and he thought he was smarter than other people and just something else.” Especially the last sentence caught my eyes; I was fixated on those words as if I was afraid they would fly away. I couldn’t read on anymore. Each and every word was like an electric wave, shocking the inner most part of me and touching my soul. My mind stopped thinking at that very moment. Without any reason, tears appeared in my eyes and I could not help crying. It was just like what the ancient Chinese poem referenced at the end of Zhuan Falun illustrated: “At the very end of the world, just when one starts to doubt there is no way out, suddenly, there is a village with willow trees and blossoms everywhere.” I felt like I had suddenly opened up my mind and I had just come to understand the meaning. This was what I had been searching for, what I had been seeking even in my dreams. Wasn’t it a hint from Master?

My heart couldn’t calm down for quite a while after that. Once I realized my fundamental attachment, I began to dig out many other related problems within myself. Due to my mentality of feeling superior, I would always give lengthy talks during Fa study as if I were lecturing to my students. I would also like to tell the story about my own life history where I had accumulated so many prizes and awards. I would only like to hear praise and would be condescending to everyone around me. Modesty was not a concern of mine, and everyone around me was treated like some kind of inferior species. I would like to compare my accomplishments with the weaknesses of others. Whenever I performed some good deed, I would not hesitate to make it known to everyone. Whenever I ran into difficulties, I would start complaining about this and that. I didn’t want to look inward and I always wanted to find excuses for what went wrong and try to defend myself.

Prior to this recent year-end status meeting incident, for a very long period of time whenever I was doing the sitting meditation or the standing stance exercise, many memories would keep popping up in my mind. For example, in 1984, I refused to take the position of the education department director. I didn’t go to work for 3 months; I would rather receive the punitive actions. Also, in 1987, I was personally asked by the county director to take the position of the minister for the communications department, yet I refused. There was also this memory that continuously appeared in my mind: Once, I was giving a lecture in a big auditorium to a group of students on the topic of moral cultivation of college students. When the class was dismissed, all the students stood up and gave me a huge applause. I then told the students one more story, and the students still stood applauding me. I went on to tell yet another story and the students still hung on so I had to tell a third story. I felt very good about myself. Also, in August 2002 when the evil Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was holding its sixteenth congressional meeting, I was coerced by the CCP to stay in a hotel under house arrest. During that particular period of time, I was under constant verbal attack from people hired by the government. Those people had given up their practice of Falun Dafa and now they were helping the government to try to bring more Dafa practitioners down. However, I didn’t pay any attention to them, and in the end, I simply said to them: “I am sorry, but I am hungry, I need to go back home to eat now.” I stood up calmly and left them alone. They just stood there, obviously feeling very embarrassed.

All such memories would keep popping up in my mind. No matter how hard I tried to suppress them, I simply couldn’t do it. I knew it was out of my attachments to fame and profit and my show-off mentality that there was such strong interference, disturbing my mind. Right after the status meeting, all these memories suddenly disappeared completely. That dirty stuff had obviously been disintegrated. The frustration and complaints within my heart had changed to happiness and gratitude. I began to burst into laughter. I felt very fortunate to have attended the status meeting to receive those criticisms from others. I felt I was the one who had benefitted the most from that meeting.

From this incident, I have realized that we must study the Fa seriously. We must try to improve ourselves with help from the Fa. We must always remember what Master has told us: “Be considerate of others when you do things, and look at yourself when you get into disagreements.”…“For a cultivator, looking within is a magical tool” (“Fa Teaching at the 2009 Washington DC International Fa Conference”).

Secondly, when fellow practitioners give us warnings, comments, or criticisms, we should humbly and patiently listen. No matter how harsh and how sharp such exchanges might turn out, we should refrain from arguing and presenting excuses. We should not be afraid of possible unfair treatment. All such exchanges are good things.

Thirdly, whenever we feel difficultly understanding something, it’s always better to communicate with fellow practitioners. Do not hide our grudges deep in our hearts and do not resort to passiveness—it will only hurt others as well as ourselves.

Fourthly, do not stop digging further and further for our attachments. We must look deeper and deeper within our hearts to try to root out every attachment. This is the best way to improve ourselves.

Finally, I’d also like to mention that whenever we offer our comments to fellow practitioners, we should be compassionate and show our warm hearts and sincerity at the same time. We should try our best to be objective and complete in our assessment of the situation. We should not treat fellow practitioners unfairly; we should not be too harsh with others. For some particular issues, it is always better to discuss the problems with the individual practitioner rather than in a group meeting.

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