Every weekend during the school year I have been going to my older sister's home to study the Fa, do the exercises, and share insights and experiences. My sister usually gives me a bag full of food to take with me when I go back to school, and I made a habit of sharing the food with my roommates. After a while they seemed to take it for granted that whenever I went to see my sister, I would bring back food and share it with them. If I didn't have food to share they thought something was wrong with me.
As time went by, conflicts surfaced. When my xinxing (heart and mind nature), was lacking I thought, "You treat me like this after eating so much of my food. How generous were you when you ate my food? You are stingy and mean." However, I reluctantly continued sharing my food with them. The situation remained this way until one day, with Teacher's help, I suddenly realized, "They are like a mirror that reflects my image. Their greed for food just reflects my stinginess and attachment of selfishness. Their behaviour is just something that Teacher wants to show me so that I can recognize my own attachments. In reality, they may not behave that way because,
"The form that material things exist in is one way, while the form they manifest in, it turns out, is different." (Zhuan Falun)
The fault lies within me when I feel bad. It indicates that it's time for me to cultivate myself and let go of my attachments. When I did all I could on my own, my schoolmates treated me badly. Teacher is so benevolent. He knew that I was not looking inward and arranged for the people around me to serve as a mirror to reflect my attachments. Sometimes when we see someone's obvious shortcoming (possibly a fellow practitioner's) and feel so angry at it, most probably we have a similar shortcoming.
In my understanding, this is why Teacher keeps reminding us to look inside whenever conflicts surface. Whenever we see anything wrong with others, the first thing we should do is to search inward. Teacher is so compassionate to have arranged the cultivation path for us and to have told us the way to upgrade ourselves. As an example, a teacher designed a test for his students and showed his students how to solve the problems. Then the students were required to solve the specific problems on the test paper. The students' performances depended upon how well they had mastered what the teacher had taught. So it works with us practitioners. Whether we can seize every chance to upgrade ourselves depends on how well we study the Fa and how much we understand the Fa. We should cherish all the opportunities to improve ourselves, as the chances are becoming fewer and fewer. We should truly grasp each and every opportunity, large or small. Even if it is only one gesture or a facial expression, it is likely an opportunity for us to look inward. In this case, for a practitioner there is no difference between big events and trivial happenings, because they all are important as we walk the cultivation path that Teacher has arranged for us. No matter how insignificant one thing appears to be, it is a good time for us to improve. For example, if one glare from another bothers us and we search inward and eliminate that attachment, then a dramatic change takes place in the corresponding dimension. In another dimension it is not an issue of just a glare.
What may appear insignificant to a practitioner turns out to be far-reaching. In the Fa-rectification period so many practitioners will reach a very high level. It isn't possible for each of us to experience unusual and extraordinary events. Some practitioners take cultivation seriously, and along their cultivation path everything seems so common, down to earth, and ordinary. Most probably they have cultivated very well, they are cautious and conscientious, and they rectify each and every thought with the Fa. This definitely also reflects how well one studies the Fa.
In my personal understanding, only by studying the Fa well can we assimilate ourselves little by little into the Fa and be able to rectify our every thought in accordance to the Fa. Otherwise, when distracting thoughts emerge, we will be unable even to distinguish "true self" from "false self," let alone to negate the "false self." Hereby, I'd like to remind all practitioners (definitely including myself) to please cherish the limited time left when we can stay together with Teacher in the Fa rectification period.
The above are just some of my understandings. Please kindly point out anything that is inappropriate.
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