There is a line in the poem "Solid Cultivation" from Master's Hong Yin,
"Study Fa, obtain Fa, Compare in studying, compare in cultivating"
I could always recite it, but in the past my understanding of this line has always been to compare myself with fellow practitioners on studying the Fa and cultivating and to look for gaps between myself and other practitioners. However, recently in cultivation I have had a different understanding.
I have encountered several things. I would often become upset with other practitioners and feel that they were wrong but they were actually merely against my notions. Once another practitioner and I were working together at a scenic spot to talk to Chinese tourists about the persecution. The other practitioner held a display board while I distributed newspapers. There was a little rest period between bursts of tour buses, and the other practitioner found a cool spot close by, opened up a big rubber mat and lied down (she does this a lot).
I smiled. Though I thought it was not that great, it was not a big deal since most people who came here enjoyed a rest in the pleasant surroundings.
After a while, another group of tourists arrived. My fellow practitioner did not get up, so I held the board and still distributed newspapers at the same time. In the beginning I did not care too much, but after a little bit I felt it was too troublesome. If I paid more attention to holding the board well, then I could not distribute newspapers. On the other hand, if I tried to distribute newspapers, then I could not hold the board straight.
I got irritated and began to complain in my mind, "Can't she see how busy I am? How comfortable you are sleeping there! How can you not hurry up and get up to help me? How can you be like this as a cultivator?" I began to compare us and felt that I was the one who was suffering. I thought, "Both of us are practitioners and both are Master's disciples. How can you just not do anything?" I began to get angry and felt unfairly treated.
But once I felt angry, I remembered that I am a practitioner. Master has told us that practitioners should never get angry. Master told us to "look inward". I immediately looked inside and immediately found my attachment of comparing. In clarifying the truth I often look at others, and feel unsettled if others fail to follow my notions, or if I happen to put in a little more effort than others. There also seems to be the attachment of jealousy. I did not compare my own thoughts against the standard of the Fa. Once I thought about these things, I immediately realized that compared with the standard set by the Fa, I still have a long way to go and I am not above others enough to become upset. Other people do not equal the Fa. How does it benefit me to compare myself with others? Isn't this exposing my attachment to improvement?
I thought about some practitioners who do not like each other, and some even have big conflicts. Most of these come from comparing themselves with others. For example, someone might feel that although they were all Master's disciples and were doing a project together, that person has done more than others, he has suffered more than others, and he did not receive good comments while following the Fa, while others who did not follow the Fa received good comments. After comparing he would feel things were unfair, get upset, and even privately say bad things about other practitioners.
For "Compare in Studying, Compare in Cultivating" in "Solid Cultivation" in Hong Yin, my understanding now is that Master did not intend for us to compare ourselves with others and end up feeling things were unfair. Instead, Master wants us to compare ourselves with the Fa and this way we can assimilate and improve with the Fa faster and consummate earlier.
In fact immediately after I realized this, the other practitioner came over to hold the board. I smiled. After that group of tourists left, she suddenly realized that the mat that she slept on was gone. She looked around and could not find it. Someone must have taken it. I said, "Auntie, maybe you should try to enlighten to something. Why did the mat disappear?" Auntie thought about it for a little, and said, "Master gave me a hint. I'm too lazy and I must give up this attachment of laziness." We both laughed. With Master's arrangement and care, both she and I improved that evening.
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