Greetings Master, greetings fellow practitioners,
When I visited my home town recently for the Chinese New Year Spectacular, my mother took me clothes shopping. At the store, I saw a blue cashmere sweater that I really liked. Since the color popped, I knew I’d get a lot of compliments on it, similar to Master’s description of people seeing someone driving a nice car:
“Nowadays, when people see someone driving a nice car they say, ‘Wow, what a great car, what a prized steed (audience laughs, Teacher laughs), that car is gorgeous.’ ” (“Teaching the Fa in the City of Los Angeles”)
I bought the blue sweater along with a number of other nice looking clothes.
Soon thereafter, I had a dream where I was at the airport to catch my flight back to L.A. I was running late, and I wasn’t able to go directly to the gate because I had two extra bags. The bags contained the good-looking clothes I bought, including the sweater.
Since I couldn’t make it on the plane via the check-in, a porter told me he’d take my bags and he’d take me to the plane via a shortcut. But he led me astray and took me to the train station instead. My train was leaving as we neared. One of the train cars said ‘Falun Dafa’ on it, but I couldn’t make it to the train in time because there were some cars in the way and because of all the baggage I was carrying.
After waking up, I realized that I needed to discard the baggage that I had. Not coincidentally, within a day or so, I read Master’s teaching that pinpointed my attachment:
“From my perspective, being your master, I think your improvement is the most important, but that doesn’t mean that as you improve a smooth path is in store for you. Say you went up to the heavens with a lot of karma and were hauling along a huge load of baggage, how could that be permitted? I have to set up certain tests for you and have you let go of those attachments of yours, have you get rid of all that baggage.” (“Teaching the Fa in Canada, 2006”)
From Master’s teaching, it became very clear that I needed to let go of my baggage, if I wanted to make it to heaven. I understood that it wasn’t the clothes themselves that were the problem, but the attachments behind them, just like it not mattering what our house is made of.
Master says, “If you are extremely rich and your house is even built with bricks of gold, and yet you don’t hold it dear in your heart but instead take it lightly, then I would say that it’s a case of having no attachment to material wealth” (“Teaching the Fa at the Fa Conference in Australia”).
In my understanding, we could have the most beautiful clothes in the world, as long as we weren’t attached to them.
Furthermore, as a practitioner reminded me later, we do need to dress appropriately in different occasions. Master says, “A Dafa disciple should be a role model for others and look like a dignified human being” (“Teaching the Fa at the 2004 International Fa Conference in New York”).
But my motivations weren’t as pure. I wanted nice clothes because I liked people complimenting me, which came from vanity.
A student once asked Master, “Could you tell us the root cause of our vanity?”
Master answered: “Emotion. You like it when other people say that you’re good. You like it when other people praise and flatter you. You like it when other people respect you. And you are afraid of anything that damages your image. All of which is developing the mentality that is vanity. It’s an attachment. The human desire to save face is very strong. In fact, when you set your mind at ease and don’t carry so much baggage, you will cultivate faster” (“Teaching the Fa at the Fa Conference in Australia”).
Because of my emotion, I liked it when others said that I looked good or looked nice. This was my baggage.
But ‘looking good’ superficially wasn’t the same as ‘being good.’ To be good, I needed to get rid of my bad human thoughts.
Master says, “You want to ascend to the heavens with your big load of baggage? Isn’t that in essence what you want to do? You have to let go of all bad, human thoughts and every type of attachment you have” (“Teaching the Fa in Canada, 2006”).
For the next few days, along with studying Fa, I sent righteous thoughts a lot, almost every hour, and during the five minutes of cleansing, I thought about my emotion dying. By the time I left for LA, I felt lighter. I did make my plane. While I still had the clothes with me, I wasn’t as attached to them as before.
Or so I thought.
On my first day after getting back to LA, I was told that all LA practitioners were taking a picture to wish Master, “Happy Chinese New Year” and we needed to dress up. I thought, “What an opportunity to wear my new clothes.”
So I opened up my bags and got out my blue cashmere sweater along with the rest of the outfit I bought—the matching pants and shoes. After I put on the outfit, the practitioner with me told me it looked very nice and it was a good color combination, which made me feel good because I knew he had worked in men’s retail.
Since it took me a bit to get dressed and even clean off some stuff on my shoes, we ended up leaving at the time when we were supposed to arrive. At that moment, I thought of my dream. There I was carrying my baggage with me.
Nonetheless, we made pretty good time all the way until the exit that the GPS told us to get off at. At that point, we were only 10 minutes away. But the other practitioner didn’t know where that exit went. Though I was familiar with that exit, I didn’t make it clear enough that I knew the way. So we continued on to the way he knew.
Immediately after we passed that exit, I began to feel nauseous and faint and had sudden fear that I was going to have a heart attack. It was the same feeling that I had a few days earlier when I watched a movie about a wrestler who vomited and then had a heart attack after fighting in a match for the glory of the crowd, against the advice of his doctor.
While I knew that the sensations were all creations of my mind, I had to fight to push them away and just listen to the Fa playing on the CD player. Looking back, I was just like the wrestler wanting the glory of the crowd of the other practitioners complimenting me on how I looked.
Meanwhile, the freeway we exited onto was bumper to bumper traffic. By the time we made it off that freeway 20 minutes later, I’d managed to eliminate my paranoia. We drove to the picture location, and saw the other practitioners standing together getting their picture taken 100 feet ahead.
As we got out of the car, I heard them say in Chinese, “Happy New Year, Master.” Then they disbanded. We literally got there a minute too late.
I walked up to them and a practitioner pointed to a truck that had “Falun Dafa” written above the windshield. I was reminded of the train car in my dream that had Falun Dafa written in the same size.
I was disappointed that I had missed the event, but even more so, I was disappointed that I hadn’t taken the dream as enough of a hint to discard my baggage at that time. The similarities to my dream were eerie. In the dream too, I was running late, had gone the wrong way at the last minute, had been obstructed by cars, had seen a big ‘Falun Dafa’ sign but couldn’t reach it in time, and missed everything.
Master says, “Right now every minute and every second is crucial. If you miss out during this period of time, you miss out on everything. History won’t recur” (“Teaching the Fa at the 2003 Atlanta Fa Conference”).
I had indeed missed out on everything in this event, and this was a big hint to me to fundamentally change how I was looking at things, or I would be missing out on so much more.
I’m reminded of Master’s discussion of clairvoyance in Lecture 2 of Zhuan Falun: “With In-Triple-World-Fa cultivation, what is the supernormal ability of clairvoyance all about? I am going to explain it for everyone. Within this field, there is a mirror in one’s forehead. A non-practitioner’s mirror faces toward himself, but a practitioner’s mirror turns over.”
I realized that the difference between a non-practitioner and a practitioner is the way the mirror faces. A non-practitioner can only see himself, because that is all the mirror can reflect. When a mirror faces you, what do you see? You see yourself - your looks, your ideas, and your desires. Getting ready for the picture, I just saw myself in the mirror.
It’s the difference between validating oneself and validating the Fa. If the mirror only faces inward, I can only validate myself, because that’s all I can see. But if it turns, I can validate the Fa because I can see what is in my dimension.
Master says, “It lets you see what is reflected within your own dimensional field, and it corresponds to what is in the large universe” (Zhuan Falun, Lecture 2, “The Supernormal Ability of Clairvoyance”).
Later, I saw the greeting to Master broadcast on New Tang Dynasty TV. I saw how the practitioners were validating the Fa by showing sentient beings so many people who had been rescued by Dafa.
Fundamentally, it doesn’t matter how intelligent I may sound or how polished I may look; what matters is my heart—and whether or not it is focused on saving sentient beings or not. The missed picture was a reminder to stay focused on my mission and let go of what was obstructing me from my mission.
Master says, “I have to set up certain tests for you and have you let go of those attachments of yours, have you get rid of all that baggage” (“Teaching the Fa in Canada, 2006”).
Since I didn’t get in the picture at all, I was forced to let go of my emotional baggage.
The other night, I dreamed that I finally made it on the ‘Falun Dafa’ bus. It looked like the buses that the Divine Performing Arts group used, except this bus was covered on the side with drawings of fairies, like the pictures in Hong Yin. I felt very lucky to get on that bus. In order to make it on the bus in time, I didn’t take any of my baggage.
I guess since the missed picture, I have put down some of my human heart. But I see that I still hadn’t fundamentally let my baggage go, because while the bus drove away, I was still initially trying to call someone to bring it on for me later. Fortunately, the reception was too poor to reach anyone, so I had to stop.
Why am I still holding on? We can’t take any of this with us. We can’t take the material objects; we can’t take feelings, we can’t take the relationships, or attachments. I hope in this righteous field I can drop all this baggage.
If we can drop all of that, the only thing that we can take with us is the virtue we’ve accumulated, the Fa that is in our hearts, and the sentient beings that we save. And that’s
all that’s important.
Thank you teacher,
Thank you my fellow practitioners.
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