PureInsight | April 26, 2004
[PureInsight.org] A month after 2004 New York Falun Dafa Cultivation Experience Conference, I felt differently about fellow Chinese practitioners' lack of manners than I did in the past. Since I have recently learned that fellow Chinese practitioners' lack of manners, especially at the Fa conferences, bothers many practitioners, I decided to share my humble understanding on this subject in the hope it might be of some help.
Fellow Chinese practitioners' lack of manners used to bother me a great deal. In fact, I didn't attend the 2003 Atlanta Fa Conference because I could not tolerate their lack of manners any more. But it bothered me even more that I was so disturbed by their lack of manners that I could not concentrate when Teacher was giving Fa lectures or when fellow practitioners were sharing their cultivation experiences. What was wrong with me? No one would be able to bother me if I were a cultivator with a truly tranquil mind. Finally I realized that, if their behavior bothers me, it must be because my heart secretly desires the same benefits that they fight for as well.
So I decided I would stop attending the Fa conference altogether until I was not bothered by anyone's lack of manners and I was no longer interested in those petty benefits many other practitioners fought for, such as fighting for better seats and fighting to purchase books at the Fa conference. But when I found out Teacher gave a Fa lecture and answered practitioners' questions at the 2003 Atlantic Fa Conference for several hours, I felt it was foolish to pass on the opportunity that countless Chinese practitioners incarcerated in the forced labor camps in China had been craving.
When I attended the 2004 Western U.S. Fa Conference, I was only able to physically retrain myself from fighting for better seats by purposely arriving at the Fa conference location late, but in my heart I felt unjust and stupid to be selfless and altruistic. I wanted to ask Teacher when he was giving the Fa lecture on stage. "Why haven't your disciples improved their manners after years of cultivation practice?" Yet at the same time, I discovered, surprisingly, that I was able to concentrate better when I sat in the back of the conference room. I quickly realized that I hadn't removed my attachments in this regard at all. I was merely trying to wear out my attachment slowly by taking the seats in the back, similar to the hideaway approach that those
"...people practicing cultivation in remote mountains and deep forests."
(From "Consecration" in Lecture Five of Zhuan Falun) resorted to.
My experience at the 2004 New York Fa conference was a complete surprise. I didn't know I was going to attend the Fa conference until 1:00 AM on the day of the Fa conference. I ended up driving to the New York Fa conference with three other local practitioners. Perhaps because we had been listening to Teacher's Fa lectures on the way driving to New York with virtually no one talking, I felt rather peaceful when I arrived at the Fa conference location.
As soon as we arrived, someone that I haven't seen for almost a year gave me a ticket to the Fa conference and asked me to hurry to get in line. Our local coordinator had not arrived, so no one else had tickets. I didn't want to desert the three practitioners traveling with me and I was already determined to sit in the back at the Fa conference, so I waited patiently with the three fellow practitioners on the second floor for them to get their tickets.
When our local coordinator finally arrived, practitioners from our area were almost the last ones to get in the line. I smiled to myself, "The Fa is truly just. Dafa practitioners in our area hurried to get in line to fight for better seats at the 2004 Western U.S. Fa Conference, and this time we will have to sit in the back rows. The Fa is truly just."
Then the four of us broke into small groups. When Andrea (pseudonym) and I entered the conference room, only the seats in the back rows were available. Andrea and I spotted two seats together, but when we sat down, we realized that two giant supporting beams were blocking our view of the podium and the desk on the stage. There were two western practitioners sitting to my right, and there were two other seats to their right. Andrea and I then decided to move to their right. But it turned out that the view from these two seats wasn't any better than that of our previous seats. Andrea and I quickly exchanged thoughts and we agreed that we should settle for these two seats and that we should not try to find better seats because, otherwise, two other practitioners would have to take these two seats with bad views. We shouldn't let others forbear what we are unwilling to forbear. Besides, it cost a lot of money to rent this conference hall and those local practitioners who shared the cost might not even get a chance to sit down. Many of them might even have to stand and run around for various tasks for the Fa conference. How would they feel if we complained about the seats?
Andrea and I both felt that we would feel more at peace when we knew we obeyed our consciences and followed Teacher's teaching on being selfless and altruistic. We felt that our consciences would have kept haunting us if we had violated Teacher's teaching and done something that we shouldn't be doing. Therefore, we'd rather be sitting peacefully in the back row knowing that we have not failed Teacher's teaching and expectations. At a minimum, we'd be able to sleep better at night.
Then I tilted my head a little to the left to check the view of the two Western practitioners sitting to my left. My goodness! Their view was even worse than mine. The giant columns blocked 90% of the view of our previous and current seats, but they blocked their view entirely. What on earth were they thinking to take the worst seats in this row? When we asked the person on my left, he replied, "Oh, I saw many practitioners running around trying to find better seats. I didn't want to do that, so I just took the first available seat I saw."
I thought, "Kindred spirits aren't as scarce as I once thought." I also started to feel it was not stupid to follow Teacher's teaching and to be selfless and altruistic. For the first time in my cultivation history, I felt truly peaceful and serene during the Fa conference.
Then suddenly many practitioners sitting in the back rose from their seats and ran toward the front and then upstairs. It turned out that the door to upstairs had been opened so many practitioners ran upstairs quickly to fight for better seats. Andrea heard a dialogue between two western practitioners to her right. One of them said, "Why don't you go find a better seat upstairs?" The other answered, "This is a xinxing test." Both of them stayed put and didn't intend to go find better seats upstairs at all.
It was until the Fa conference started that Andrea and I noticed that there was a giant projection screen right in front of us. We didn't lose anything at all by taking these seats without a view. Teacher is so right.
This was the most amazing Fa conference I have ever attended. All the practitioners sitting in my row sat with their back perfectly straight throughout the entire Fa conference. I am not exaggerating at all. As far as my eyes could see, everyone in my row was sitting with his/her back perfectly straight. They really showed respect towards their fellow practitioners' speeches and Teacher's Fa lecture like the Confucian scholar in a PureInsight.org article titled, "In a Few Words: Study the Fa with Respect." I didn't see anyone in my neighborhood changing to better seats (or stealing other people seats) after the lunch break either. When I returned from lunch, I didn't see many Chinese practitioners fighting to purchase Dafa books. Then when I returned to my seat, several practitioners in my row had started to study the Fa during the remaining noon break. Their diligence reminded me that this was a "Fa" conference, so I quickly sat down and started to study the Fa as well. All the practitioners in my neighborhood rarely left their seats during the Fa conference, and no one went outside for chatting after Teacher finished the Fa lecture.
This was truly the most amazing Fa conference I have ever attended. Because my heart was more peaceful this time, I was able to concentrate better and learned more about fellow practitioners' valuable cultivation experiences that they obviously had put a lot of thought and spent quite some time preparing to communicate to us. Because my heart was more peaceful this time, I was able to ponder some of the issues I hadn't thought about before. Then I came to some conclusions.
1. Don't Repeat Lesson One
I cannot deny the fact that some Chinese practitioners continued to display bad manners at the 2004 New York Fa Conference, but does that mean they are worse practitioners than those practitioners sitting with their backs perfectly straight throughout the Fa conference? Of course not.
Then why wasn't I able to see past their lack of manners in the past? I think it is because of a notion that I have acquired from my culture. In my culture, we regard manners highly and it becomes a notion that I use to judge people. (Compared with other people from my culture, I have no manners at all.) The principles of Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance absolutely do not just mean good manners and good breeding, but I used to be strongly attached to my acquired notion. I thought, therefore, that one was not qualified to be a Falun Dafa cultivator unless one had proven one's grasp of the elements of good breeding first. Now I have realized that that is no more than a notion that I have acquired from my culture. When I use my notion to judge other people, at that moment I actually believe in my acquired notion and not Falun Dafa. When I say Falun Dafa is beautiful, I actually think of people with good manners and good breeding. When I could not see past a practitioner's lack of good manners, and decided that he was not a genuine practitioners, I was actually protecting my acquired notion using Falun Dafa as an excuse. I think Teacher has put it very succinctly in an article titled, "Dafa Cannot Be Used." Teacher said:
Their purpose for learning Dafa is to use it to protect things deep down inside that they cannot let go of...
(From "Dafa Cannot Be Used" in Essentials for Further Advancement )
One may ask, "Does it mean then we should abandon our good manners?" Of course I don't mean that. It is good to have good manners but I don't think one should compare elementary good breeding with the most fundamental Fa of the universe, or think one must have good manners first before he is qualified to cultivate in the magnificent Falun Dafa.
A notion must be something we think highly of. It is the necessary element of a demonic illusion in the human world; otherwise we wouldn't be attached to it. But when I carefully examine each of my acquired notions (that I have discovered), I quickly realized that they were no more than the earliest concepts I was exposed to after I was born, and I have enlightened along an evil path to keep pulling back my fellow practitioners and obstructing them from continuing their cultivation because I think they lack what my notion believes to be "the most fundamental requirement" of cultivation: good manners.
Allow me to illustrate my point further. If an elementary school student didn't score an A for the test on lesson one, would you make him repeat learning lesson one until he got an A before you would allow him to progress to lesson two? Take myself for an example, I did not score an A in each and every test or exam during my elementary school education, but I went to high school, college and even graduate school anyway. But I daresay I now know every lesson in the elementary school's teaching materials. If my parents had made me repeat my elementary school education because I didn't get an A in every single lesson, I might probably be still attending elementary school now and have missed my graduate school education.
What is "Lesson One?" It is the earliest notion(s) that each of us was exposed to in our respective cultures. In my culture, it is extremely important to have good manners and to display good breeding, so the "lesson one" in my culture is "good manners." When I detest some of my fellow Chinese practitioners for their lack of good manners, it was like I was making them keep repeating lesson one. Did Teacher descend to the human realm to teach us good manners? Of course not. There are far more important lessons to be learned. But this does not mean that lesson one is not important. It just means when they have progressed to an advanced degree, they will know lesson one perfectly well. Perhaps this explains why I have displayed better manners and didn't see many fellow practitioners displaying ill manners at the 2004 New York Fa Conference. Perhaps many fellow Chinese practitioners have now progressed to an advanced degree. Or perhaps when we attain a higher level of cultivation, our eyes will be made of finer particles and thus our eyes will see only see "finer" things. Or perhaps the world is truly full of demonic illusions. When we surpass a certain cultivation level, we will no longer see them. Teacher said:
Yet it is also an indication of a certain level. After a period of time, this phenomenon will no longer be allowed to exist. In other words, after these debts are worn out, they will not be allowed to come and interfere again.
(From "Demonic Interference in Cultivation" in Lecture Six of Zhuan Falun)
The Fa is harmonious throughout all levels. I am sure that you will find many different passages of the Fa that will explain the many positive sides I have "seen" in fellow practitioners at the 2004 New York Fa Conference, so I will not waste your precious time listing every single passage of the Fa I can remember that explains the "specific phenomena of the Buddha Fa" that I witnessed at the 2004 New York Fa Conference. My main point is: Have you thought about what might be the notion, or "Lesson One" in your culture, that has been preventing you from seeing past Chinese practitioners' lack of manners at the Fa conference?
Please do not quit attending Fa conferences because of some Chinese practitioners' lack of manners there. Teacher said:
Some people cannot practice qigong and become frightened simply for this reason...If one sees a person standing before one's eyes who looks half-ghost and half-human...
(From "Demonic Interference in Cultivation" in Lecture Six of Zhuan Falun) (or the metaphor for the lack of manners), I believe it might be just representation of your acquired notion in this dimension. It will soon pass when you bravely face your notions and actively try to eliminate them. Teacher said:
This is because those who practice cultivation in our Falun Dafa make rapid progress, and they also make quick breakthroughs in their levels.
(From "Demonic Interference in Cultivation" in Lecture Six of Zhuan Falun) In other words, those practitioners devoid of good manners or those practitioners attached to the notion of one must first have good manners to be called a genuine practitioner will soon move on to college or even graduate school if they continue to cultivation.
Don't take a detour when you run into difficulties.
(From "Teaching the Fa at the Washington, D.C. Fa Conference")
2. Believe in the Fa's Power to "Harmonize Everything and Remain Invincible"
When I realized that I had been sticking to my Lesson One, I also realized that I could easily draw a parallel between the old forces and me in this regard.
What has been the old forces' persistent excuse to create interference and exploit Dafa practitioners' loopholes? Isn't it due to the reason I mentioned? They have tried to make us repeat Lesson One until we score an A or even worse --- 100 out of 100 points according to the Chinese scoring system. Do you know that some perverted teachers in Asia give half points? It means that a student could get 99.5 points out of 100 sometimes. Does it make sense that an elementary school student has to score 100 points in every single lesson to progress to high school?
Then why don't the old forces believe that we will know the elementary school materials when we progress to graduate school? I imagine that only those who have written and designed elementary school teaching materials would be attached to those materials and force their students to repeat a grade until they score 100 points in each lesson, precisely because they worked so hard on designing and writing them. Failing a student when he repeatedly scores a D, or less than 60 points, is reasonable, but as we all can see, what is really happening right now is that the old forces and their dark minions have been preventing us from moving on to a higher degree when we have scored high but less than 100 points in a single test or subject.
The old forces' defense or excuse might be: What will become of the new universe if you don't score 100 points on each and every lesson? I think this reasoning is just as weak as that of those perverted teachers who prevent students from progressing to advanced degrees because they haven't scored 100 full points in each subject. In the old forces' school system, there would not be a new universe because very few people would be able to progress to advanced degrees. Strictly speaking, the new universe the old forces are trying to create would be very bleak and would have only a handful of people who had "graduated" with only an elementary school diploma. Indeed, "What will become of the new universe?" if we allow the old forces to run their perverted school system?
Please kindly correct me if I am wrong, but it seems to me that the new universe will not become perfect because it is full of students who score 100 full points from elementary schools. The new universe will become perfect because all of the less-than-perfect students will be working cohesively and altruistically to make the new universe perfect. I believe that there is a magnificent force that drives everyone to harmonize the new universe, and that invisible yet magnificent force is Teacher's Fa. It is based on selflessness and altruism. It is just the old forces do not believe that and do not see past the students' performance on lesson one.
Dafa can rectify the universe, so it certainly has the Fa's power to repress evil, eliminate disorder, harmonize everything, and remain invincible.
(From "Definitive Conclusion" in Essentials for Further Advancement)
I believe that the new universe may not be perfect at all times, but Teacher's Fa is capable of "repress evil, eliminate disorder, and harmonize everything" if something goes wrong in the new universe. This is my humble understanding of how the new universe is invincible. It is capable of self-repairing because everyone graduated from Teacher's school system might not have scored the full 100 points, but everyone has been taught consistently to be selfless and altruistic. When something goes wrong, everyone will pitch in and help it become perfect again instead of solving the problem in the old forces' way: pointing fingers, removing the ones creating the problems and destroying anything that is a problem.
In fact, I can verify, even from my limited perception and experiences, that this passage of the Fa is absolutely true. I have difficulty understanding or explaining an abstract concept unless I can think of a tangible example, so here is one that will hopefully illustrate my humble understanding of Teacher's Fa.
I will use the translation work for an example. I used to check the final version of each translated work in this fashion. I would find my own edits [corrections] and then read each of the edits on top of my edits to see if the new edits were better than mine. In other words, I would measure the quality of the final version by looking at each individual edit. I used to think that most of the edits weren't "improvement edits" but "preference edits" and brooded over those changes that I considered to be "preference edits." One day I suddenly got sick of looking at every person's edits marked in various colors, and I unchecked the box for "highlight changes on screen." For those of you who are not familiar with Microsoft Word's Track Changes function, it means that I wanted to see the final version of the translation without any hints of who has made what changes to which line.
Guess what? The entire article read perfectly and smoothly. That was when I realized one thing: If the old forces are truly making us score 100 out of 100 points before they let us move on to the next lesson, they are absolutely wrong. I saw it with my own eyes that making every individual sentence perfect does not make one perfect article. Similarly, making every Dafa practitioner score perfectly in each cultivation level does not guarantee a perfect new universe. It is something else that will make the new universe perfect. It is Teacher's Fa.
Dafa can rectify the universe, so it certainly has the Fa's power to repress evil, eliminate disorder, harmonize everything, and remain invincible.
(From "Definitive Conclusion" in Essentials for Further Advancement )
Our individual edits aren't perfect, but in the end, with everyone's selfless contribution, the final version of a translation work becomes perfect. Dafa can harmonize everything eventually; Dafa can repress evil that might occur during the process; Dafa can eliminate disorder during the process; and most importantly, Dafa is invincible.
You might argue that certain practitioners or certain Fa-rectification projects have been less than satisfactory for some time, or that not every final version of translation work is perfect. I think that depends on how one perceives time or defines what constitutes "one complete period." I don't think we should evaluate whether Dafa is capable of harmonizing everything based on one translation work, one Dafa activity, one year of truth-clarification newsletters, or one lifetime. Didn't Teacher inspire us to think again about time when he said (I cannot remember in which lecture) that gods didn't think of one incarnation as one lifetime? I believe that's where the old forces are wrong. I do believe that by the end of the Fa-rectification we will validate the passage quoted above of Teacher's Fa. I also believe that near the end of the Fa-rectification we will continue to see some flaws in fellow practitioners or ourselves; otherwise, there would not be any illusions to test our faith.
But Teacher has let us see some truth that helps reinforce our faith in Dafa. For example, if we look back on the path we have walked, isn't it obvious that we have made quite some progress? Take another example. I have truly seen many improvements in my fellow practitioners in the recent 2004 New York Fa Conference. In contrast, where are the old forces now? They have already perished, just like a good school will fire those perverted teachers who refuse to let students advance to a higher grade because they failed to score 100 points in every test, exam and in every subject. The old forces were putting the entire education system in peril when the schools were full of the old forces and dark minions masquerading as perverted faculty. In contrast, the students of Falun Dafa continue to improve and move towards advanced degrees according to better teaching materials and under the guidance of the best and only Teacher.
Teacher has put it perfectly clearly:
I'll have him do things over tomorrow, and definitely have him do them well! (Applause) Hasn't what's happened proven that Dafa disciples have become more and more rational, become more and more clearheaded, and done better and better? Aren't they more and more determined?!
(From "Explaining the Fa During the 2003 Lantern Festival at the U.S. West Fa Conference")
This might be a rather crude way to put it, but it really proves that Teacher's teaching materials are the best materials and we should believe that everyone who is willing to put himself under Teacher's guidance will advance towards higher degrees and be a positive influence in the new universe.
This concludes my limited understanding on the subject. Please kindly point out anything inappropriate.