Fundamentally Eliminating Our Attachments

Everyone who truly practices cultivation in Dafa surely remember Master's teaching: "To tell you the truth, the entire cultivation process for a practitioner is one of constantly giving up human attachments." (Zhuan Falun) Practitioners are cultivating and improving themselves during the process of eliminating attachments.

I sometimes viewed some attachments as being a rope that kept me tied up or as dirty clothing that I could throw off by using just a little more effort. However, for other attachments, even though it seems that I'm always trying to get rid of them, I haven't yet succeeded. In fact, some of those attachments have even become worse. Some attachments were so deep-rooted that I always seemed to be fighting with them, but they still stuck with me. Just like the people who try to give up smoking: they constantly say they are quitting, but they still smoke every day. It's very agonizing.

As an impatient and bad tempered person, I always wanted other people to follow my ideas. This problem was not so evident before I began cultivating, because as an ordinary person, one is mindful of self-restraint and covering up. Although I was aware that I was hasty and impatient, I basically knew how to behave in public. After I became a practitioner, this problem became obvious. Last year my temper became really bad, and I was becoming even more impatient towards others. Everything about my husband (a non-practitioner) didn't seem right to me, and I was also often exasperated with my daughter's (a 12-year-old fellow practitioner) failure to make good. I often got angry with her and scolded her, but regretted my actions later. Finally, I even became reluctant to look at Master's photo and would swear not to get angry any more. I also apologized to the people I offended and promised it would not happen again. At this point, fellow practitioners began to seriously point out that I had gone too far. They said I was acting even worse than an everyday person. With "determination" and "effort," I could "be good" for quite a while, but eventually it would happen again. So, once again I would regret and apologize, until the next eruption took place. Recently the situation became worse. I started having hysterical fits in front of my child whenever I became angry. I yelled at anyone that challenged me. I was exhausted, and my behaviour was affecting Dafa's image and my doing the three things well.

A few days ago, I was checking my daughter's homework during breakfast. She had gotten three questions out of four wrong, a result of her carelessness. But she would not admit her mistake and kept arguing with me by saying that she had been doing it this way for five years, so why was I getting on her case with her on this day? The way she was acting made me remember what happened when I checked her exam paper the night before. From just looking at the paper, I could see how careless and restless she was. When I pointed this out to her, she gave a long series of excuses for her mistakes. I talked to her, mentioning that as practitioners, arguing and shifting responsibility are not the way we should act. We had to look inside. She agreed with me, but then she turned around and started making excuses for herself again. As I recalled this last incident, I began to lose control again. I yelled at her, and even attempted to slap her, but my husband stopped me. Later on I shouted at her, using a lot of bad words that I should not have said. My husband was very unhappy with me. He reminded me that cultivation requires being in a state of tranquillity, but where was my tranquillity now? I felt very ashamed of how I had acted and could not stop thinking about it for the rest of the day. After my daughter returned from school, we studied the Fa together, and then I told her that I would not treat her like that again. I thought that this time everything was going to be OK; I would be able to keep my word. That night, she made the same mistake, but this time it was a lot worse than before, and she did not seem to care about making the mistake. After making a series unreasonable excuses, she started to act completely indifferent towards me. Once again, I erupted and shouted at her. I realized that my temper problems caused me to drop in levels and negatively affected the image of cultivators, but I just could not control myself.

After this incident, I was so regretful that I could not even forgive myself. I was shocked to think how badly I had acted. I also realized that it was the old forces taking advantage of my loophole and enlarging my attachments. But how were the old forces always able to take advantage of me? How could I get rid of this "stubborn" attachment? I clearly realized how dangerous this attachment was for me. I did not try hard enough to forbear. My forbearance was barely at the level of an everyday person, and of course I was giving my daughter a bad example. Although her attachments were being suppressed by my anger, she did not really get rid of them based on her understanding of the Fa. Instead, my bad temper was making her more defensive. A peaceful, nice child was becoming impulsive. I was already too ashamed to ask Master to help me get rid of this attachment. I must eliminate it by myself. While I was sitting on the mat in the lotus position, fully filled with embarrassment, shame and regret, I felt that Master was reminding me: Even though I had fallen down so hard, I still had to get back on my feet, pronto! Okay, I decided, I am going to eliminate this attachment. I realized that I had never found the real cause of this attachment, that I had yet to uproot it. That is why the old forces were able to keep feeding this attachment at it roots, making it thrive.

I realized that many times I was enraged whenever I was challenged, even though I still pointed out other people's shortcomings for their benefit. Why did I get mad when other people refused to take my advice or correct their mistakes? Then I associated this with what happened when I started to try to persuade people to quit the Chinese Communist Party. Some people would ridicule and insult me, and I would get upset and be full of rage. Later on I realized that it was because it was an issue of my self-esteem and my benefits (time, money)--actually it was selfishness. After I got rid of this selfishness, I did not lose my temper when I ran into the same situation. In the other case, whenever I got mad at family or friends, besides the attachment to sentimentality that I had identified before, was I also angry because they had touched on my selfishness? But every time, wasn't it for their benefit? Hold on, there was something hiding behind that mindset. When my daughter made careless mistakes, wasn't I worried that I might lose face if she could not get into a good middle school? (Sometimes I used the excuse that she should not let Dafa down.) When my husband refused to hand over his salary saying he was afraid that I would spend the money to make informational materials, didn't I think that he was challenging my status in the family? (I used the excuse of maintaining Dafa's dignity to cover this attachment.) When my friend came to me looking for consolation after she ran into trouble, didn't I resent her taking up my precious time for Fa study? (I used the excuse that she was too selfish, and could not get along with anybody.)

Looking more deeply inward, there was a "self" hiding there when I thought what I was doing was "for others." When people acted even worse and worse, when I got mad over and over again, wasn't that Master trying to expose my dirty "self?" I was just too stubborn to realize it and I was allowing the old forces to enlarge my attachment over and over again. I felt so regretful that I did not realize Master's arrangement, and instead I had hurt other people!

After I found out the root relationship between my attachment to selfishness and my bad temper, I suddenly felt very clear on this point. The bad energy cluster that had surrounded me and given me headaches was instantly dissolved! I was suddenly relieved. I had finally discovered the root, and I would pull it out, no matter how firmly entrenched it was.

In the next few days, my daughter repeated the same mistake, and my husband still avoided talking to me. But this time I realized that I had my own problems. Although I had found the attachment and uprooted it, the bad energy field was still there. I still needed to clean it out. The previous morning, I kept thinking that I should just hold my temper, just hang in there when I felt like I was about to erupt. And then I realized that I was still trying to use the same method to solve the problem. Instead, what I should do is to clean out the field, not just ignore my temper and grit my teeth, but truly eliminate my selfishness.

I also realized that I did not fully appreciate the seriousness of cultivation. For some attachments, I had just rubbed them off superficially and did not want to dig more deeply. Some stubborn attachments need to be eliminated with steadfast determination. Although I was always "busy getting rid of them," I did not want to suffer through the bitterness, and my attempts to get rid of them ended up in vain. Those stubborn attachments and notions--do I really want to take them with me to heaven?

As I write this article, I am also concerned about several fellow practitioners who may have the same problem as badly as I did. There was one practitioner who often got angry with her husband who was not that diligent. They quarrelled a lot. At that time we had just started cultivating and did not know how to share experiences based on our understanding of the Fa. She said that she also had deep regrets after losing her temper, but she still could not seem to act any better. I hope that by now she has eliminated this attachment and she can understand that if she does not get rid of her attachments, she may also be obstructing other people in eliminating theirs. There was another practitioner who seemed to be impatient and somehow self-centred. This attachment had been with him for a very long time and caused him a lot of conflicts and obstacles. He was frequently distracted. I sincerely hope that we can all find the essence of our attachments and uproot them!

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