Look Inward to Eliminate Notions; Cultivate Diligently and Genuinely
Dear fellow practitioners,
A few months ago a fellow practitioner shared with me how one of his basic attachments (that also many of us have, that is lust) had lost its power, he couldn’t even realize how, but he felt this thing didn’t bother him anymore. Thinking about this I remembered that during our previous Greek conference he talked openly about this attachment and exhibited it. Attachments fear light. Their mask is our face and survive in the darkness of ignorance and illusion over here. The same applies for our ideas concept and notions that are based on attachments. Master said in Zhuan Falun (Volume II), “A notion, once formed, will control you for the duration of your life, influencing your thinking and even the full gamut of emotions, such as your happiness, anger, sorrow, and joy. It is formed postnatally. If this thing persists for some time, it will become part of a person’s thinking, melding into the brain of that person’s true self, at which point it will shape his temperament.
The notions that are developed will obstruct and control a person for the remainder of his life. A human notion is usually selfish—or worse—and thus generates thought karma which, in turn, controls the person. A human being is to be governed by his master soul (zhu yuan-shen). When your master soul becomes lax and is replaced by notions, you have unconditionally surrendered, and your life is now under their control.”
So I will follow the example of this fellow practitioner exposing one attachment that I really want to get rid of.
No attachment is unserious, no attachment is funny.
4 years ago I went with two fellow practitioners in Germany and on the way back I shared a very strong experience which happened before I came across Dafa. It was in 2000, two days before the elections in Germany and along with a friend we watched on TV a politician giving speech from a balcony and underneath the crowd cheering and waving plastic flags. Then the friend turned to me and said, “Hey, look at all this, doesn’t seem so utterly fake? Like completely ridiculous?” Right at that moment it was as if something turned in my head and someone tore the curtain of this reality that we live in and showed me the truth. That moment I felt I went to the other side. I clearly felt how all this is a dream and an illusion. And people are like hypnotized walking virtually with eyes closed like robots. They hit upon one another and change direction blindly. Sometimes they insist hitting again and again until they pass or fall. They came here to play a role like in the theater, and they took their role so seriously that they forgot who they are. I saw and felt all that so vividly. I was also feeling inside an incredible compassion. I wanted to go out and shout to the people, Hey don’t worry and don’t be afraid, none of this here is true. Don’t take them so seriously. Take it easy. Relax."
I don’t recall the exact duration but less than a minute, and I started thinking that if I were to stay in this state more time, then I couldn’t communicate with people anymore. They will think I am crazy. They will talk to me and I would laugh, because I couldn’t take seriously what they tell me. I thought that I must think of something to get me down, to ground me. And do you know what the first word was? I would like you not to laugh, but most probably you will laugh. It was “Paok”. For those who do not know, this is a football team. Yes, so ridiculous as it may seem this is the truth. When I shared this for the first time with the two fellow practitioners returning from Germany, we laughed together and one said to me, you still have to look it seriously. Yes, certainly it’s no coincidence when the first thing that comes in mind is "Paok", that means that there is something there and is very serious. And needless to say that that word worked. It grounded me. Looked like I could not stand the truth. I was not at that level. Years later when reading Zhuan Falun I realized that that was a kind of "qigong state", and a temporary enlightenment at some higher level, like somebody pushed me and said, "Now you look, come see the truth if you can endure it."
So this word worked and showed a strong attachment of me, my involvement in sports, especially football. May be at first sight it seems innocent or even silly, to some of you, or so obvious that it’s easy for someone to let it go, but it is not so because several times I tried in the past to stop entering in sport web sites, stop watching football matches (the truth is especially after defeats, that was easier for me), but still I didn’t manage to break away. Many times the so-called "ridiculous" attachments or those that we don’t give much importance to them because we consider them easy to let go, those are the most insidious. They also cover other larger attachments that hide back there. I remember many times arranging experience sharing meetings at times that will not have matches; or when sometimes there was a critical match I didn’t answer the phone. I still remember cases when we read Fa Wednesdays and at the same time there was a football match of my favourite team. I could not concentrate. I was thinking about the match. Once it was a very important game and because of the heat and the good weather the windows were open and I was hearing the cheers and the voices from people that were watching the match outside. I remember how my heart was stirring and I really suffered. I was telling to myself, “Oh what torture is this.” Please think, instead of thinking about how disrespectful that was, instead reading the Fa to think about all this, I was thinking what torture is this and how could be possible to see the match even a little. It was such an attachment, I want to apologize for the disrespect. Finally I remember that after much struggling I managed to concentrate but I suffered tremendously. The same with the exercises, sometimes I was leaving hurriedly after exercises to see a match in time.
If you think about it, that is so stupid, but which attachment is not if seen from a higher level? But that just seems stupid even at human level if you see it logically. There were times I said I need to get rid of this and wondered, "What is it that I win?" "What’s that that gives me?" "What is hidden behind there?" It's like a religion. It has fanaticism inside. Blind faith. You support something, you become one with something, something that you don’t control and you let yourself depend on that, for as long as the game lasts, but even more after that. You are happy, you are sad, full of emotion, qing. You want to feel emotions. But there is more. There is competitiveness. That is a team and a team plays to win, we won them, we crushed them, who did you win? Who won? You didn’t even move your little finger. How did you won? Others did, why are you happy? And why not the other win? No loss, no gain. Is it no good for others to be happy? Shouldn’t we think of others? Where is compassion? You cannot find it when you are in the attachment. Instead there is the “We're better”. And you must fight, to defeat the other to prove it.
There is the need of confirmation through the defeat of the other. And that never ends. When is there the need of confirmation? It is when we do not believe in us and we feel powerless. Or it is when our value is in doubt and we want to prove it.
Master said in Zhuan Falun, “ ‘A man has to struggle to prove his worth’—those are ordinary people’s words. Think about it, everybody, isn’t life exhausting then? Isn’t that a pain? Is it worth it?"
All these people who follow blindly one team and scream and shout at stadiums have these elements…, those are competitiveness, the need to validate themselves even through the winning of somebody that they support and the need for strong emotions. Now I see that in one degree or another I have them too, otherwise I would not be so attached at that. It is my attachments that are being satisfied through that. Surely there is more inside.
During the last month my interest became very weak (maybe it was because the team I support lost continually). Recently there was a European match and I didn’t see the 1st half, and I really enjoyed the calm. I felt that if I saw it, I would lose the time for work. Out of curiosity I turned on TV to see the second half and I was quickly stacked. When I realized that I told myself: “Turn it off and go away, it’s now or never”, and I shut it down. If I didn’t shut it down, I don’t think I would be able to write about it because I would felt completely ridiculous, although I know that's an attachment. I still don’t feel too easy talking about that because I didn’t let it go completely. But I want truly to get rid of that and certainly Master will help me in this. When an attachment is eradicated, it is like a small death. But that’s the death of the "self". When people say they fear death, it is the "self" that speaks. And what is the "self"? The total of our attachments, that is. Yes, Master will help me and already this sharing is part of it.
In July we made a big activity in Thessaloniki for the 17 years of the persecution. It was the first time we decided to do something bigger and different. It was the first time we had electricity from the municipality. And that was very positive for the entire city. I was usually worried more than necessary, for the things we organize, but this time there were so many that I quickly let go of that thought. I kept my mind to the role assigned to me by the team to introduce the exercises and make clarification about the persecution and organ harvest of Falun Gong practitioners in China to the crowd. I really showed trust to my fellow practitioners. The result was in every way very good despite all the technical weaknesses. All this helped me to understand that doing just the best of what is entrusted to us by the group or by the coordinator and showing true trust in fellow practitioners are among the most essential things for success in any project.
Humility and compassion
Recently I was in Hungary for work in an architectural company of an old friend of mine. A strong experience I had was when she was complaining and criticizing me badly for the job, because I did not understand some things. This was done 5-6 times and in some of these times she cried because of her tension and nerves. At the first time, I tried to justify myself and at the times she cried I didn’t know how to handle. I was feeling that I was bringing her in very difficult situation without wanting it and I was feeling very sad. One time, 20 minutes after this happened, and while I was very sad and stressed, she came to me smiling to ask me for something, like nothing had happened. I didn't know what to say. I couldn't understand it. This ups and down emotions got me so tired inside. Sometimes I thought to take my things and leave, like what am I doing here, but from the other side I knew that this was a test, a good test. Finally, the last time that this thing happened, I saw it from the beginning as a practitioner and I passed through it patiently and quietly, throughout the whole test. I didn't answer her criticizing at all and on the contrary I was feeling humility and calm inside me and compassion for her.
Even when she started to cry my heart remained unmoved. After a while she stopped. Later that night during meditation, I felt deep inside me how people are living inside an ocean of suffering. Tears came into my eyes and I was all the time feeling deeply moved. All these beings were Divine beings coming to this mud pit to obtain the Fa.
The above is my understanding at my level, please correct me if anything incorrect and inconsistent with the Fa.
Thank you our compassionate Teacher,
Thank you fellow practitioners.
Chinese translation: http://www.zhengjian.org/node/156308