PureInsight | February 23, 2004
[PureInsight.org] Several months ago, a fellow practitioner pointed out to me that I had two attachments that were causing me much unnecessary suffering. Those attachments were that I thought too highly of myself and I displayed "show off" mentality. He was right.
I had seen these attachments surface before as a form of defense when another person's behavior would come across as if I do not matter to them. They often would interpret me or act as if they could care less about what I had to say, and then proceed to tell me how I should act. Rather than hold myself to a practitioner's higher set of standards I then would say nothing and be frustrated with this disrespectful behavior on the part of the other person. Or, I would defend myself with an air of "But I am important or I do matter…as I have had this experience."
Why do you encounter these problems? They are all caused by your own karma. We have already eliminated for you many, numerous pieces of it, leaving only that tiny bit which is divided into tribulations at different levels for upgrading our xinxing, tempering your mind, and removing your different attachments.
(From Lecture Four of Zhuan Falun)
I kept asking myself, "Why are these attachments lingering on?" I should have been able to release them long ago when I first recognized them. Maybe I need to go deeper but how? What does it mean to get to the root of the attachment in this case? After a few weeks and many righteous thoughts later, I began to sees the "notions" behind the attachments.
Master Li said:
The most difficult things for people to abandon are their notions...Yet notions are themselves acquired postnatally. People always believe that these unshakable ideas—ideas which can make them pay any price without a second thought–are their own thoughts. Even when they see the truth they reject it. In fact, other than a person's innate purity and innocence, all notions are acquired postnatally and are not a person's actual self.
(From "For Whom do You Exist?" in Essentials for Further Advancement)
First, I held that these interactions in and of themselves caused me to suffer. My notions further defined them as exchanges of men who disrespected women, or women who only respected the opinion of men, and so on. Most importantly, I saw myself as a victim to this person, be it a male or female, who acted this way. I came to understand that since these ideas are only postnatally acquired notions they do not mean or describe anything at all. How liberating! It is almost like notions are some scenario we make up to describe what we think is taking place when in reality it is not that at all. The interaction is really based on attachments, karma, and xinxing tests, as described by the Fa. However, I soon forgot all about these insights.
A few months later, I was one of the organizers of an event. A practitioner did something that I thought was disrespectful of me as an organizer of the event. I looked within and saw I was not being tolerant to another. But his behavior still bothered me. So I proceeded to have a verbal encounter with this practitioner. My comments were at an everyday person's level so the issue did not have a good resolution to it.
I went back to my chair and while replaying in my mind what just transpired between me and the other practitioner I rediscovered the previous series of notions. I had projected what I thought was going on by those specific notions. I said to myself, "I can let these notions go now."
To my amazement, for the rest of the afternoon, ever so gently, one by one each of these notions came up in the interactions with various practitioners when I was facilitating different parts of the event. I was being tested. Ever time I felt defensive I could see another notion surfacing and I would say, "You are only a notion. I am a practitioner. I am letting you go as there is nothing to defend."
In the process, I also released the sense of responsibility to help "defend others." At that moment I realized that each practitioner needed to find or not find in his or her heart the compassion to do what was needed to put others first in different situations rather than me as the group facilitator asking them to do a specific thing that would be considerate of another.
During the interactions of the day, a deeper understanding about karma emerged. The notions I held showed me that there was karmic retribution going on with several of the practitioners. By seeing it as such I was then able to take responsibility for my debts and thus remove the notions of victimization.
There was a big change in group dynamics that day with all of the practitioners.
This is only my understanding and may any errors be pointed out by other practitioners.