Transcending Oneself

Hail Lian

PureInsight | March 25, 2002

"Different levels have different Fa." (From Lecture One of Zhuan Falun)

Cultivation practice is a process of breaking through different levels and transcending them. Then how do we transcend ourselves? The answer lies in the story of how Sakyamuni upgraded himself. Master Li states, "Whenever he upgraded himself to a higher level, he looked back and realized that the Dharma he just taught was all wrong." Master further explained, "He constantly made such progress during his entire forty-nine years." At last, Sakyamuni stated, "No Dharma is definitive." (From Lecture One, Zhuan Falun)

What is described here is the process of how a cultivator goes beyond himself. It is also the process of his cultivation. A distinct characteristic of Sakyamuni's story is that when he took a look back at the Fa that he had taught before, he realized that it was all wrong. The Fa he taught came from his own mouth and incorporated his enlightenment. It was what he was the most familiar with. To put it in the words of everyday people, it was the reflection of his achievements. However, he was able to admit without any hesitation, that what he had taught before was totally wrong. He did not try to justify or preserve even a little bit of it.

Any attachment to a Fa principle in one's own realm will become an obstacle on the way of 'transcending oneself.' A recent experience illustrated this to me and prompted the writing of this article.

I developed a small Internet truth-clarification project. I first tried it out myself and found it worked very well. I wanted to share this project with those practitioners who might have some spare time. I knew that, at this current Fa-rectification period, everybody is very busy. In addition, I did not want to come across that my own project was the most important nor force it upon others. This might disrupt other practitioners' plans. I had examined myself thoroughly and believed that I did not have the attachment of placing too much emphasis on my own project. It was being offered to anyone interested and so more people could get involved in the work. (Later, I realized that I had become attached to not developing an attachment, which became another attachment in itself.)

I ended up sending a modestly worded email to people inviting those who were interested in the project to contact me. Not a single person responded. This lack of response corresponded well with the principle that I was attached to, namely to not put too much importance on my own project. I thought to myself, "As I had notified everyone by email already, I can do nothing more about the situation. It is not my fault that nobody responded. I can't send out a second email. If I bother everyone again with another email, wouldn't people think that I think too highly of myself?"

Then I began working on the project by myself. Although it went very well, I had the inexplicable feeling that something was missing, and that it could be better with more people joining in the effort. I thought to myself, "Why didn't other practitioners want to participate in this project?" Nearly 20 days later, I suddenly received many responses from other practitioners volunteering to join in the work. I felt it very strange that it took everyone so long to respond to my email and discovered that everyone had just received my original email.

I do not want to discuss the surface reason why it had taken over 20 days for my email to get delivered. From the point of view of a practitioner, I realized that my own understanding of the Fa had constrained me and in turn my email. When I had not received a response back from my email, I did not try to find out the real reason why no one had contacted me. I just assumed that everybody was busy. I told myself that there was nothing more I could do, otherwise it would appear as if I was placing too much importance on myself, and I should not develop that attachment. The truth is that I had been confined by principles in my own realm and could not go beyond it. Everything just moved around in that realm in accordance with the principles on that level. In addition, I could justify my own action very well using the principles in my realm, and there was also the appearance of harmony.

I did not realize what had happened until I mentioned the email incident to another practitioner and his simple response instantly broke the principle I was holding onto. He said, "This is Fa-rectification work! If there was no response, why didn't you send it again?" I suddenly realized my attachment. I responded, "Yeah, this is Fa-rectification!" I had been doing the work all by myself, and delayed other practitioners' participation in this work. Confined in my attachment to this little principle, I had really been restricted by it!

When I had gone beyond my previous understanding and realm, in retrospect, I realized that what appeared previously to not be my responsibility regarding the outcome, was actually my own problems. In fact, the principles themselves are neither right nor wrong. Instead, they evolve with one's realms. When we get attached to certain principles, regardless of whether they are right or wrong, and ignore the necessity to transcend our own realms, those principles will restrict and confine us into the realms that they correspond to.

Master said, "You must be a Dafa disciple doing Dafa work…." (From 'Teaching the Fa at the Washington, D.C. International Fa Conference' in Guiding the Voyage)

The meaning of "doing Dafa work" is very profound. How should we go about doing it? Should we do so at levels even lower than our own realms or at just our own present realms? Or should we try to constantly transcend ourselves? The only thing that an everyday person has to worry about is to do his job well. But, to a practitioner, it is not just a matter of doing it well, but also to transcend oneself in the process of doing the work. The emphasis should not be on how to better execute the work itself, instead it should be on how to improve our own understandings of the Fa principles in the process. In other words, when we look back, we should find the principles that we once believed in are no longer right. That means that our realms have been upgraded.

Translated from:

Add new comment