Gaining A Better Understanding of Altruism: Treating Others the Way I Treat Myself
(Minghui.org) I know cultivators should attain the righteous enlightenment of selflessness and altruism during cultivation. However, after so many years of cultivation, I often unconsciously protected myself and looked inward based on selfishness. I could only identify some superficial problems but could not truly figure out my attachments and postnatal notions.
In my cultivation, I always met with interference. It seemed that I was far, far away from Master's requirements and the profound Fa principles. Though I do the three things well, I’m eloquent while sharing Fa principles with other practitioners, and I work on Dafa projects attentively, I know clearly from the bottom of my heart that I am far away from the realm of selflessness and altruism.
One day, I read an article on the Minghui website titled “Great Changes Take Place Once We Change Notions and Base Ourselves on Correct Points.” The article had this paragraph:
I need to zero in on my previous selfishness. From today onward, I am an altruistic being. If I am not able to make it today, I will just regard myself as a newborn baby from an altruistic realm in the new universe. I know nothing, but I am going to learn and grow up in this altruistic realm...... Today I will pull myself out of my previous notions and stand at the point of 'for others.'
That article ignited a light in the darkness for me. Even so, I wondered: How to learn? How to grow? How to pull myself out of my previous notions? How to achieve selflessness and assimilate myself to Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance?
I pondered these questions and tried to figure out the answers. During Fa study, Master enlightened me to the following.
Not Carrying Personal Notions to Judge Others
“In dealing with relevant, important matters, if a life can really assess things without any preconceived notions, then this person is truly able to take charge of himself. This clearheadedness is wisdom, and it is different from what average people call 'intelligence.'” (“For Whom do You Exist?” from Falun Dafa Essentials for Further Advancement)
A practitioner once shared his understanding about one thing, and two practitioners had different responses after the meeting.
Practitioner A questioned, “Why didn't he believe others?”Practitioner B wondered, “Aren't they getting along well with each other?”
From the response of these two practitioners, I realized the practitioner just shared his personal understanding–that's all. We shouldn't be moved or develop our own thoughts about it. Those thoughts are all our postnatal notions.
Look Inward Without Finding Fault with Others
“Whenever you encounter problems you should each look inward to search for the cause within, regardless of whether you’re to blame or not. Remember my words: Regardless of whether the problem is your fault or not, you should look inside yourself, and you will find a problem.” (Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Europe)
This is how I looked inward to identify my problems. I had been cooperating with one practitioner on a Dafa project for a long time. As time went by, we found fault with each other. I wanted to resolve the conflict, but that practitioner always avoided it. When we had a conflict, I got angry and complained in my heart. “Why is it always me who apologizes? Are you always correct?”
I looked inward, but I was stuck at a certain level, so the conflicts continued. I thought it would be better just to quit the project.
One day, Practitioner A shared with me that “it's not a solution if you just quit.”
Practitioner B also persuaded me to look inside. “If your heart is moved, it means you still have shortcomings. When you look inside, you should only look inside yourself and not find fault with others.”
I looked inside again and identified my sentimentality toward him. I used my own standards to judge him. When I communicated with him, I talked about my own understandings and always figured out his shortcomings. I didn't consider his personal situation and cared only about our project.
When I looked inside again, his facial expression of impatience surfaced in my mind. I caught this wrong thought immediately and continued digging inside. Finally, I found my concerns towards him. I worried that he was not doing enough in clarifying the truth. I took how much truth clarification activity a practitioner participated in as the standard necessary to reach consummation. It was an attachment of pursuit and selfishness.
Treating Others as I Treat Myself
One practitioner shared his understanding about how to follow the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance during a cultivation sharing.
Truthfulness: How does one practice truthfulness? The first person you should treat truthfully is yourself. Truthfulness starts from your inner heart, so treat yourself truthfully first. Treat yourself honestly, tell true words and do true things on all occasions. Gradually, it will become a habit, and you start treating others the same way. You compassion will appear naturally once you can truly treat others sincerely.
Compassion: Treat yourself compassionately. Do not beat yourself down. Never blame or belittle yourself. Do not feel inferior. Treat yourself with truthfulness and compassion from the bottom of your heart. Then, treat others the way you treat yourself. When others hurt your feeling or harm your personal interests, forgive them. If you cannot forgive others, you are not able to be compassionate. If you can truly forgive others, you are able to truly practice compassion.
Compassion includes forgiving others. If you can forgive others, compassion follows. Because you can forgive others, you can easily be compassionate at any time, on any occasion, and to anyone.
“They are in a state of immense tolerance, of mercy toward all beings, and of being able to understand everything with kindness. To put it in human terms, they're always able to be understanding of others.” (“Teaching the Fa at the 2002 Fa Conference in Boston,” from Teaching the Fa at the Conference II)
Forbearance: How does one practice forbearance? If you are able to be honest and tolerant, always consider others first, look inside during conflicts and cultivate yourself, then it's as easy as walking upon flat ground to practice forbearance because nothing can move your heart, nothing can irritate you, nothing can test you, and nothing can challenge your xinxing.
You are able to understand with kindness whenever others hurt you. If you can tolerate pain, you can forgive others in every situation. What are you not able to tolerate? You can tolerate anything.
“The cosmos in the past was based on selfishness. Let's take man as an example: when it came to crucial moments he truly couldn't care less about others. When I started Fa-rectification, some gods said to me, "You're the only one who gets involved in others' business." I know, you find this hard to believe, because you are altruistic beings created by Dafa that have roles in Fa-rectification and that have truly enlightened. If I didn't do that, with the end of history all lives would end. When a being is considerate of others in doing things and displays tolerance in the process, it's because his starting point is selfless.” (Teaching the Fa at the 2004 International Fa Conference in New York)
Once I came to realize this, I reset myself to zero. I told myself to start learning to be “selfless,” to follow the Fa as my master and eventually live a life of true selflessness.