Transcend Self, Truly Cultivate in Dafa

I started practising Falun Gong on April 25, 1996. I borrowed a copy of Zhuan Falun from a colleague that day. My third eye had been open since I was very young, even my greater meridians were opened before I attained the Fa. I had a traffic related accident when I was young, where I was hit by a car and thrown more than ten meters. My bicycle was destroyed. However, I saw a pair of huge hands that held me and gently lowered me to the ground. I did not suffer any injury at all. I knew then that there must be cultivation out there, and I had always sought after the great Fa for genuine cultivation.

It was close to midnight when I started reading Zhuan Falun. Just after reading the first paragraph in the first chapter and seeing Teacher's picture, I understood what it meant to be holding this book. I started to cry. This was the great Fa that I had been seeking all my life. This was the destiny of my life.

A lot of tribulations and tests were easily overcome after obtaining the Fa. After July 20, 1999, I told other fellow practitioners, "There is nothing for us to be scared about. They only have a limited number of tricks: coercion and threats, money, women and using our families against us. Don't be afraid. They cannot touch us."

I had no fear and appeared to cultivate well. But for a long time I could not rid the deeply rooted attachments of egotism and selfishness. It appeared because I never looked within myself, but let others seek from within themselves and used the words of Dafa and Teacher to cover myself. This selfish substance had a tight grip on me. I was unable to strive forward diligently, and this caused me to run into obstacles. The old forces were exploiting me.

After I attained the Fa, I was full of confidence in my cultivation and myself. I was feeling complacent. I thought I was good and determined. I thought I was perfect. I was so stubborn that I could not listen to other practitioners' advice. When others pointed out my shortcomings, I would recite statements from Dafa to attack their words, "Why can you see my shortcomings? Why is it you and not someone else? You better think carefully about yourself. How can you criticise me if you did not do well? Could it be your biased opinion that made my good points look bad? Perhaps if you were without those deficient areas then my true colour would shine through to you!"

It was quite obvious that I was at fault, but I put the blame on others. Even though I could detect the selfishness in me through such incidents, I still thought I was terrific. Others took the opportunity to cultivate, but I pushed away all the opportunities to raise my level.

Teacher said in Teaching the Fa at the 2003 Atlanta Fa Conference:

"Having said that, another thing occurred to me, and that is, you shouldn't look at things in absolute terms. And that's especially true when it comes to those crooked principles that the evil in China promulgates. For example, they spread "if you want others to do well, you have to do well yourself first." Think about it everybody, is that saying right? Many people hold onto that saying and use it to hide their own mistakes that they don't want to correct. And that's especially so in the case of those who have problems, they take it as the truth and won't let go. I can tell you, though, that this is absolutely wrong. Can't a person who isn't perfect tell you to do well? Can't a person who's made mistakes tell others to do well? What kind of logic is that? How many people have thought this over carefully?

The evil regime's propaganda has twisted that principle into this: if you want others to behave well, you have to behave well yourself. It's a very evil saying. It looks like, "Oh, it's true. The saying makes a lot of sense." But it doesn't make one bit of sense, and it can only play a negative role. Who can behave so well? Where can you find a perfect human being? Even with a cultivator who's reached the last step in his cultivation and just not yet completely shed his human body, he still has sins and karma, and he still has attachments. But, when he reaches that step in cultivation he has far surpassed ordinary human beings. If we go by that saying, nobody can tell anybody else to behave well. Wouldn't society be done for?

Dafa disciples have attachments, ordinary human attachments that they have yet to eliminate by cultivating, and they have areas in which they fall short. But that doesn't mean a Dafa disciple is completely no good, it doesn't mean this being isn't up to par, and it doesn't mean this Dafa disciple hasn't cultivated himself well. In many, many areas he has cultivated very well. He makes mistakes because he still has attachments that need to be revealed so that he can realise his own inadequacies, and that's why they manifest. It's only possible to cultivate them when they manifest themselves. If things stay hidden and aren't displayed it's rather hard to remove them with cultivation, and if even he himself doesn't realise they exist, then it's really hard to cultivate."

I was just like what Teacher pointed out back then, using this notion to cover my own faults without the will to correct it. Teacher was speaking about me, and I was every bit like what Teacher stated. If things stay hidden and aren't displayed, it's rather hard to remove them with cultivation, and if the practitioner doesn't realise they exist, then it's really hard to cultivate. And I thought I was an ardent practitioner and had a good understanding of Dafa.

There were two more questions answered by Teacher in Teaching the Fa at the 2003 Atlanta Fa Conference:

"Question: Only after having cultivated this long have I realised what my fundamental attachment is, which is the attachment to my self.

Teacher: Yes. To put it plainly, that's the fundamental factor of beings of the past. In the past, when it came to this, you all had it, and many people couldn't recognise it in fact. As you improve as a whole it isn't that pronounced anymore.

Question: When we were validating Dafa before, although things were done to validate Dafa, looking at them today they were done on a selfish, self-affirming basis. Our question is: why did we become aware of this so late?

Teacher: Validating the Fa is also cultivation. The cultivation process is one of continually recognising your own shortcomings and then disposing of them. It's only that the earlier a lot of fundamental attachments are recognised the better. Recognising them is, in itself, improvement. Being able to eliminate it, or overcome it, weaken it, and in the end completely eliminate it, that process is one of constantly improving, and it's the fundamental transformation of a being."

I behaved exactly the way Teacher pointed out in answering those two questions. I had a strong attachment to my ego and myself, using Dafa to show off my own uniqueness. I hung on to this selfishness and egotism tightly, and still felt proud and complacent about myself! I had caused significant damage to Dafa. Everything started to go against me at work, at home and even among fellow practitioners. People whom I had admonished before now told me, "You better look for your own problems! We wouldn't be so critical about you if you were truly that good. You better find out your fundamental attachment. Are you sure you know how to cultivate?"

The situation turned for the worse and I started to realise that I must change for the better. Yet I still did not recognise just how serious my problem was, and how critical everything in my life was. I thought it was just an attachment.

One day an indescribable energy overwhelmingly broke into my head and my whole body reverberated with this energy. I did not know what came about, but I suddenly recalled a lesson that I learned when I was in elementary school. It was a story called "Zhou Chu Eradicated Three Calamities." The story was about how a folk hero, Zhou Chu, dived into a river to kill a menacing dragon, and then went deep into the mountains to kill a man-eating tiger. Yet people were still not happy about what he did and no one treated him as a hero. Later Zhou Chu realised that the dragon and tiger were really not the most terrible in the eyes of people. In fact people considered Zhou Chu himself the worst calamity. Zhou Chu was so ashamed of himself. He thought he was a folk hero, yet he did not realise that he was even more hideous than the monsters as seen by others. He finally made up his mind to totally change himself for the better. He went away seeking the best teacher, and studied ethics and etiquette. He eventually became a true leader who brought good things to people.

I suddenly understood from this story: Even though on the surface I appeared to study Dafa and had gotten rid of many attachments based on fame, gain, and sentimentality, essentially I was no different from the old forces--we were all sentient beings in the old universe, and we all had unrecognised selfishness buried deeply in our minds. Why could the old forces not recognise that they were undermining Dafa, but thought they were helping Teacher? Why did their smooth and evasive nature on the surface make them impervious to their self-oriented mentality? Why could they not recognise their attachment amid the actions they had taken? They felt Teacher should reward them by satisfying all their demands since they were involved. They were seeking the results from their undertaking. When Teacher pointed out their shortcomings, the old forces still insisted, "We have been helping you all along" in order to cover up their selfishness and pursuit.

Looking back at myself after I looked at the old forces, I was frightened, with a cold sweat breaking out on my back. I had all the factors from the old forces in my body. It was futile for me to destroy all of the old forces and evil. All of my own degenerated factors would undermine the Fa-rectification just the same. The old forces were like the menacing dragon and tiger, but I was Zhou Chu. I also realised that if I did not possess such thoughts, then the old forces could not be so hideous. My degenerated mentality fostered the old forces action.

My mind was shaken. I realised that it would be a major test in cultivation whether I could recognise and eradicate this most fundamental attachment of selfishness and egotism. I finally walked this most difficult path. This was very difficult. It was difficult because I could not recognise it. It was difficult because I did not want to find out myself when I was nursing my grievance. It was difficult because I still did not want to get rid of this fundamental attachment, even after I identified it. Finally it passed and my life ascended with the Fa-rectification. I had transcended myself and truly started cultivating in Dafa. From the perspective of "Whereas everything forged by Dafa is not attached to self" [Teaching the Fa at the 2003 Atlanta Fa Conference], the highest order of the old cosmos could not compare with the lowest order of the new universe. It would not even come close, just like the difference between dirt and gold. It was not merely the changes on the surface, but the uplifting and ascension of our nature and essence.

Dafa is so magnificent and can transform all that is bad to good. Now I can see that some practitioners still have not changed their fundamentally self-oriented nature, even though they are involved with the Fa-rectification and efforts of saving sentient beings. Because their true nature has not changed, they are in fact undermining from within. I know Teacher treasures them and continues to provide opportunities for them to rise by pointing out their shortcomings. I also believe that by truly following Teacher's mandate to study the Fa, they will see their own deficiencies. I have faith that Dafa will fundamentally transform them, provided that they truly are willing to transform themselves.

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