Greetings fellow cultivators,
I have been practicing since 2010 and have experienced a very peculiar feeling throughout the years. It is no more than a simple feeling. The best way I can describe this feeling is... it is like a “wave” and with this wave a group of attachments come to the surface and they must be eliminated. I feel it is a requirement of sorts. But a requirement to what - I do not know. Sometimes I feel like all Dafa disciples are going through this, but this could be just my imagination, since I am very focused on this particular attachment and therefore that attachment is extremely noticeable. I see it everywhere, inside myself, as well in everyone I meet. In the past a thought crossed my mind that perhaps this feeling I have could be related to the Fa rectification, but I am unable to verify it.
One of those feelings is also happening right now. Although throughout the years I have eliminated different layers of this attachment, now it has come in the form of that ‘wave’ that I am feeling.
The attachment to competition
I came to an understanding that some attachments are connected and I envision it like a tree or a pyramid. On one particular branch, I have seen at the top sits jealousy, followed by competition, showing off, saving face, arrogance, zealotry and more. I regard this branch of attachments as the most dangerous and most destructive of all. And the wave I am feeling right now is connected with the attachment to competition.
I found a hint for me in the following lines in “Loss and Gain” in Lecture Four of Zhuan Falun:
“As practitioners, in the course of cultivation there are so many attachments to be relinquished, such as the mentality of showing off, jealousy, the competitive mentality, and zealotry.”
When I share about the attachment to competition I find that the surface meaning of the word – competition - does not cover all the nuances of the attachment that I see. Some of the nuances that I see are when one behaves in an arrogant manner; when one tries to dominate someone; when one wants things to go the way one says and other people have different views; when one schemes; when one has excessive pride in oneself, haughtiness, conceit, extreme self-importance, pomposity, vanity, and many more.
In the past when I have looked within, examined myself and asked myself why I am behaving the way I do in the situations where I am competing - I have found that I want to appear more in front of others and myself. Another way to put it is an exaggerated sense of my own value or importance. And this that I am referring to is not the same as showing off. Or perhaps showing off is a part of the competition I am thinking about.
And when I have thought more on the matter I came to some conclusions. The ‘to appear more’ I found is actually one's intrinsic value. This intrinsic value can also be referred perhaps as one’s level. To picture it even better I see the value as a number. So that number is something that simply is. That is the reality of things. And one can’t really bend the reality of things. This in itself is based on Zhen as I see it.
So this value, like a number is the reality and if I would like to change it, what do I do? I have seen two paths. The first one is to change my behavior in this reality. And if this behavior is more righteous than my current one, my value will increase, and if it is less righteous it will drop. The second path is to... lie about it.
Why would I choose the second path - to lie? I have seen two main reasons to do that. One is that it is faster. To truly increase my value, I have to put in some effort and it will take time to manifest. While if I lie, my value is instantly greater. The second reason is the effort itself. To truly increase my value I have to put in effort, to improve my xinxing, to eliminate attachments and sometimes this is accompanied by hardship, pain and sacrifice. While if I choose to lie - there’s none of these things. So on one hand I have to put in real effort, to endure hardships, and it will take quite some time, and on the other hand, I get there instantly and there’s zero effort and hardships.
With time I came to see that roughly 90% of all interpersonal conflicts are connected with this branch of attachments. The consequences of choosing the easy path is that one views everyone as someone to compete with. The reason being is that one has to maintain and increase the value that he has lied about. And he has to do it in front of everyone. All the time. To show off, to scheme, to dominate and so on, that on itself becomes a very difficult and bitter life. Competition leads inevitably to jealousy. Jealousy gives birth to hatred and from there everyone becomes an enemy. And this world view I believe is in the opposite direction of the characteristic of the Cosmos – Zhen, Shan, Ren. I believe this makes one completely unable to cultivate and apply compassion to oneself and to others.
I have seen this in the following lines in “Jealousy” in Lecture Seven from Zhuan Falun: “This also occurs among true practitioners, for mutual disrespect and not eliminating the attachment to competition can both easily lead to jealousy.”
And a poem from HongYin pictures this even more for me:
“An Upright Person
He who acts for his name,
a life of anger and hate is his;
He who acts for profit,
cold is he, knowing not his kin;
He who acts for emotion,
many are the troubles he brings himself;
Bitter, fighting away,
he makes karma all his life.
Not seeking a name,
life is carefree and content;
Not set on profit,
one is known as humane and righteous;
Not stirred by emotion,
the mind is quiet, desires few;
Kind, cultivating himself,
he builds up virtue all his years.”
I will try to give a very simple example to picture this. At work I don’t have a boss. I can go to the office whenever I want and if I want to I can even not go at all. And there’s no one that can tell me anything! One day to put it simply I overslept, and I was rushing to the office and while I was commuting a thought arose in me, a thought that I don’t think was mine. It was telling me something along the lines of: “Hey, what should we tell the people in the office!” and I thought: “How absurd that is. There’s no one higher than me in the hierarchy at work. I don’t need to answer to anyone.” And while those thoughts were racing, another one came forward and said: “Tell them that you had a rough night... or that you had an important meeting before going to the office!”. Luckily for me I was a bit concentrated in this particular moment and I thought: “..but this is a blatant lie!”
But on the other hand, although I didn’t account to anyone, I wanted people to think that I am very capable, hardworking and without any omissions. I didn’t want them to think that I am a lazy and irresponsible person. I wanted to lie that I am something more, that I have more value than I actually do.
The way I view things is that the attachments are not really me. They are completely different entities. All they do is knock on the door, while they promise things. But in the end I am the door keeper. And I get to decide if I want to invite them in or not. And if I do invite them, I can’t then tell that the attachments did it. It was me who invited them. So we become one. And I am the one who is truly responsible.
Loss and gain
When I got to the office, I had a small talk with the people there. And I could have lied, or even not said anything at all, as no one questioned me. But in the small talk I said simply: “Man, I am such a lazy person”. I told things as they truly are. My actions are of a lazy and irresponsible person. So I am one. This is the truth. This is my true intrinsic value. This is Zhen!
And I saw that the people, instead of thinking – “You are so bad. You are such a loser.” They had respect for me, as I was unafraid to tell the truth, to tell exactly where I stand, and what I do, which leaves me vulnerable for them to attack or disrespect me in any sort of way. I came to the conclusion that one must be strong and brave to tell exactly where he stands in the world, to tell exactly what he has done and exactly how much value he holds. And this strength and braveness is actually respectable.
So in actuality, not only did I not lose, but I gained. People had more respect for me. And I see that this is fair. Although I am a lazy person, I am also a truthful, strong and brave person, at least in this situation.
A sentence from “Loss and Gain” in Lecture Four of Zhuan Falun comes to mind when I think about this:
“What we lose is actually something bad.”
I personally see this branch of attachments as the most dangerous on my path to Godhood. And also the most destructive to my mission to assist Master in the Fa-rectification and in saving sentient beings.
If I don’t keep those attachments in check I literally can not imagine how I will be able to cooperate with others and how my work can be effective.
I came to see that the most efficient way to eliminate this branch of attachments is through Zhen. I simply have to look at the reality of things without lying. Without imagining things, without wishing for things. Just simply observe the reality of things without adding anything to it. And I will see my true value and if I want to increase it I have to pay the price. This is the only true way. No loss, no gain.
This is my limited level and understanding.
Please help me and point out if something is not in line with the Fa.
Thank you Master,
Thank you fellow cultivators.
(Submitted to the European Fa-conference 2023 in Paris)
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