“Dignity” is such an important value in human life that some people view it as essential. Especially for Dafa practitioners, shouldn't we emphasize our dignity besides valuing the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance? How should we view practitioners’ dignity? I would like to share my viewpoint through several examples.
Example one: When I was persecuted in a forced labour camp, one day I was transferred from a small cell to a large one. When a guard entered, everyone immediately stood up. Not knowing what was happening, I stood up, too. I saw that over ten Dafa practitioners had stood up to “welcome” this female guard who had just entered to chat with an inmate. Not only that, everyone was standing at attention! I asked a fellow practitioner about it. She told me that this was the rule – if they didn’t allow us to sit, we had to stand for a long time. Hearing this, I felt a strong sense of humiliation and shame. I immediately sat down. The guard said angrily, “Don’t you see that all of them are standing?” I said, “That’s because they are all wrong.” She ordered me to stand up, but I refused. She came over and tried to pull me up. I fought back. Seeing that I wouldn’t give in, she reported me to the director. The director asked me why I refused to stand up. I said that she had insulted us on purpose. The guard shouted, “That’s right. I meant to insult you!” This made me more determined to protect practitioners’ dignity. I said, “From now on, I will never stand up for you!” The director scolded the guard and she ran out of the room crying.
The next day, the same guard came to our room with two other guards to retaliate. They asked me repeatedly why I didn’t stand up. They wouldn’t leave me alone unless I gave them an answer. My heart ached because practitioners had been humiliated. I looked them in the eye and said firmly, “Because I don’t stand up! Do you understand?” They left without saying any more. That same day, the director held a meeting with all the guards and told them that they were not allowed to enter our room at will in the future. That was how she indirectly exempted us from standing up. From that day on, when the guards needed to talk to us, they would talk from the doorway and didn’t dare to enter. Dafa practitioners no longer needed to stand up. Other criminal offenders still had to stand up as before.
Later the director came to talk to me. She asked me why I insisted on not standing up. I said, “All Dafa practitioners are kind and good. Being good doesn’t mean we can be bullied. Good people have dignity. Bad people commit wrongdoings when they bully others. If they infringe on practitioners’ dignity, aren’t they shortening their own lives? That is why we don’t stand up for you!” The director smiled.
Example two: One day last year, the parent of a student called me after hearing that I was very dedicated to teaching. She wanted me to tutor her son in English. We live very close to each other. However, she didn’t want her son to come to my home, because she didn’t want him to climb the stairs. Instead she wanted me to come to her home. In other words, she wanted me to be a personal tutor. I refused. She said, “I will pay you. I promise I will pay you more!” I still firmly refused. Seeing that I was very determined, she doubled the payment. I told her, “It is not about the money. I just don’t want to go to a student’s home. If he wants to learn, he needs to come to my home.” She muttered something like, “Nowadays people will do anything for money.” She then hung up.
This is my understanding regarding this issue: Nowadays morality is on a downslide. If I go to a student’s home to be his personal tutor, it is as if I am a paid servant. Psychologically, the student and his parents are in the higher position and the teacher is inferior to them. Even ordinary people have dignity, let alone a Dafa practitioner. In my opinion, a student first needs to have a right attitude in order to study well. He needs to take the initiative to go to the teacher’s home, not pay the teacher to come to his home. Measured with the standard of Dafa, “home tutoring” is a deviated notion that goes against the traditional moral philosophy. But people nowadays are accustomed to such an idea and no one thinks it is bad. I think that once the human culture and morality return to the righteous way, “home tutoring” will no longer exist.
Several days later, I learned that the parent paid someone else to be a home tutor. However, the student was very hard to please and picked on the tutor. Very soon he fired the tutor. After hearing this, I was more confident that my decision was right. Ordinary people do things out of self interest. He could fire someone he had hired. However, we Dafa practitioners have our dignity. How can we be bossed around? Later the parent brought the student to my home. He didn’t have an arrogant attitude and was very sincere. I then accepted him as my student.
Through this incident, I came to enlighten to the following: There is a saying in ordinary society, “Money talks,” meaning that, if you have money, you can ask for any service. Especially in today's society, adults and children all believe that money is omnipotent. However, we know that it is not true for Dafa practitioners. We can’t be bossed around by money. In addition, Dafa practitioners are good people following a high standard. Good people deserve respect and dignity. Thus, we have the right to maintain our dignity.
Example three: My friend’s husband fell into a coma after a sudden illness. Many of his friends and colleagues went to visit him. I also went. When he was in the hospital, his bedpan had to be emptied over ten times a day. Many of his friends, family members, and colleagues volunteered to do it. However, I only helped to do other chores and never emptied the bedpan for him. In the eyes of my friend, I knew that she truly hoped that I would do it just once. I never did. Later she told me that she could understand, because all Dafa practitioners had high moral standards. How could she ask a good person to empty the bedpan?
In my opinion, we should not do it either from the perspective of individual cultivation or cultivation in the Fa rectification period. In the past, as soon as a person decided to cultivate, he was regarded as a half-god. How could a human being ask a god to empty a bedpan? It is not respectful for the god. Human beings don’t know that they are committing a crime. We are Dafa practitioners. What a big sin that person commits. From another perspective, Dafa practitioners have dignity. How can we damage our image as a Dafa disciple? If we need to help our family members, it is our responsibility to do it. We live in society, so we need to maintain the principle in this human society. It is also harmonizing the lowest principle in our human society.
Example four: A fellow practitioner is a sewage worker. He lives near where he works, so he smells bad all year round. Wherever he goes, one can smell him first. When he came to our group study, fellow practitioners tried not to cover their noses out of consideration for his feelings. This practitioner didn’t think there was anything wrong with his job. His reasoning was that Teacher said, “All the professions out there should exist.” (Zhuan Falun)
In addition, his boss tried to keep him by delaying his wages, indicating that his supervisor had a good impression of him. Dafa practitioners need to be kind in any environment. With this thought, he has been doing the same job for many years.
I personally think that a good person is not like this. Being a good person doesn’t mean doing whatever others ask you to do. Dafa practitioners can’t work as sewage workers. We should not do this kind of job just from the standpoint of the dignity of a Dafa practitioner. Although we don’t discriminate against a fellow practitioner because of his profession, ordinary people will. Then how can he clarify the truth to others face to face? We should not do this type of work from the perspective of practitioners as a whole. What we do today will be the example for people in the future. What does this practitioner leave for the future? How to be a good sewage worker? How to read Dafa books in a stinky environment? Isn’t it disrespectful to the Buddhas, Taos, gods, and even Teacher? There are so many different kinds of professions in the human world. Although not every practitioner can do a high level job, we should not take on professions that may impact how ordinary people view us. We should consider this issue seriously out of consideration of our dignity.
Many practitioners don’t pay much attention to the issue of dignity as a Dafa practitioner. They think that as long as we are good and other people think that we are kind, we can do anything. They don’t consider whether it will damage practitioners’ dignity. In fact, these practitioners make a lot of sacrifices in ordinary society but are not appreciated. The effect of truth-clarification is not great. Some people even take advantage of our kindness and get us to do this or that, thus intentionally or unintentionally damaging a practitioner's dignity. However, some practitioners take it lightly. For example, some senior practitioners take over all the housework for their children, including cooking and taking care of grandchildren. They are busy all day long. At mealtime, their children and grandchildren don’t care whether they eat or not and only care about themselves. After they finish eating, they push the dishes aside and leave the table. Senior practitioners eat the leftovers and still need to do the dishes. Practitioners don’t think there is anything wrong with that and even feel happy when they mention this to others, thinking that they are truly good people. I worry about them. This is not being a good person, and our next generation won’t respect us. Aren’t we harming them?
The dignity of Dafa practitioners manifests in many aspects, from our professions and our manners to how we dress. If we speak loudly regardless of the setting, will people respect us? Will they listen to our truth clarification? If we wear wrinkled and dirty clothes, will people even consider our dignity? Our emphasizing the dignity of practitioners is also respecting others. In addition, it contains the component of saving sentient beings. Strictly speaking, it encompasses being compassionate to sentient beings.
Dafa practitioners need to be kind, but we also need to maintain our dignity. A good person follows the universal principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. Naturally he is a person with a high moral standard. Even an ordinary person regards dignity highly, let alone practitioners who are compassionate and tolerant. An ordinary person will benefit from respecting practitioners. If we don’t pay attention to the issue of our dignity, ordinary people won’t respect us and will even discriminate against us. Then aren’t we doing something bad to them? Meanwhile, we need to bear in mind that practitioners’ dignity is not “reputation” in ordinary society, but rather is the natural manifestation of the mighty power of Dafa. The mighty power of Dafa is inviolable. Thus our dignity is also very important. Maintaining our dignity is also one aspect of validating and safeguarding the Fa. If we pay attention to this issue, ordinary people will not look down on us. If practitioners are highly respected by ordinary people, it is the best manifestation of Dafa’s compassion and mighty power.
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