The Importance of Proper Behavior between the Sexes
(Minghui.org) A male and a female practitioner in my local region worked together alone distributing Dafa materials, and on other Dafa projects, for a long time. As mutual admiration and romantic feelings arose between them, fellow practitioners warned them and shared understandings with them multiple times, but to no avail.
They later became romantically involved and both admitted their mistakes. Despite their expressed willingness to rectify the situation, and fellow practitioners' warnings, they continued to do things together alone on a daily basis, and insisted that they did nothing wrong.
There have been more than just a few such instances of a male and female practitioner working alone on projects in my area, and many have led to inappropriate outcomes. When the practitioners involved insisted that they were collaborating to save people more efficiently, their fellow practitioners started to become unsure of their judgment.
I have discovered that I lacked a clear understanding of this issue myself, because I had room for improvement in my own cultivation related to the issue. I looked up relevant Minghui articles and read them again, and realized that in order to rectify the situation, practitioners must adhere to certain concrete rules of conduct in addition to ridding ourselves of the attachment to lust.
Master Li told us, “...he is full of great aspirations while minding minor details.” (“Sage,” Essentials for Further Advancement)
Everyday people also believe in keeping a proper distance between the opposite sexes.
We all live and cultivate in the three realms, which are filled with lust and emotions. As long as we are still cultivating, we all have human attachments and thus the long-term close contact with the opposite sex tends to allow our human emotions to run unfettered. If we don’t conduct ourselves based on a high standard regarding contact between the opposite sex, we will leave a loophole for the evil to take advantage of.
Some of the practitioners I am referring to argued that the relationship between them was pure and that nothing inappropriate would happen. I now think that notion was, in fact, similar to the irrational behavior described in Zhuan Falun of a man holding up the Dafa book and not fearing being hit by a car.
Taking a step back, even if the practitioners don’t develop a romantic relationship, their long term close contact alone could lead to everyday people’s criticism and unrest in their respective families. From the perspective of everyday people, it is not normal for two persons of the opposite sex to stay in close quarters for a long time alone. Such behavior would lead to distrust and disruption in families. As Dafa practitioners, we must hold ourselves to an even higher standard, as our paths are meant to be examples for future people to follow.
Master said, “They are thus far nobler than the heroes of everyday people.” (Zhuan Falun, 2014 translation)
As Dafa practitioners, our standards are far higher than those of everyday people. How can we lower ourselves to the level of today’s degraded ordinary society, and sometimes even worse? We cannot lower our standards of conduct with the excuse that we are doing Dafa-related activities.
I now have a deeper understanding of Master’s Fa in Teaching the Fa in the City of Los Angeles:
“I have talked before about the old forces’ interference. Have you thought about the following? [Sexual desire] is one of the factors [they use] to hold you back! What do the old forces and the old cosmos see as the gravest thing? Lust, [in the form of] sexual activity outside of marriage. That’s what they see as the most serious of things.”
“In other words, these things are extremely serious to them. So the old forces and all of the gods in that cosmos will not defend anyone who violates the prohibition on this, anyone who doesn't do well in this regard; in fact they will push you downwards.”
“And you know, that is what they have done. Do you think all those who have "enlightened" along an evil path really wanted to go toward evilness? There are reasons behind all of that.”
Fellow practitioners pointed out that Master had told us to follow Minghui’s guideline regarding major issues, and that many Minghui articles had emphasized the seriousness of the issue. However, the two practitioners involved argued, “The Fa has many different levels. Minghui articles are merely practitioners sharing their personal understandings. They are not the Fa. Everyone is at their individual levels. Which part of the Fa says we cannot work together alone?”
My thinking is that if Master has spelled out each and every thing we can or cannot do in our cultivation, there would be nothing left for us to cultivate and enlighten to.
Propriety was an integral part of traditional Chinese culture. Observing the proprieties is the foundation for being a noble person in society and for maintaining harmony in one's family. For example, according to tradition, men and women should not hand things to each other directly; rather, they should use a utensil. It was meant to prevent potential bodily contact.
According to other teachings, men and women should not sleep in the same room or sit at the same table, which helped to keep necessary distance between the two sexes. These conventions can foster a proper sense of honor and shame in the society.
Unfortunately, very few people nowadays, and even some practitioners, adhere to these standards of decorum. Some practitioners deem it acceptable and some even feel proud of their conduct as long as they have not gone so far as to have sexual intercourse. Why do people think this way? Because such notions were developed after the degeneration of the society’s morality and we are comparing ourselves to those of everyday people rather than to the high standards of traditional Chinese culture. If we do not measure up to the standards of the original traditions, how can we further improve ourselves to the level required by Dafa?
Although we live in different times, the traditions and rules passed down to humans by divine beings have not changed. Upright people with a strong sense of honor and shame in today's society pay a great deal of attention to traditional values, and keep a proper distance between men and women. Excess or improper personal contact violates the ethics handed to mankind by the divine beings and is bound to foment lust and improper emotions between men and women, eventually leading to deviant behaviors facilitated by the demon of lust.
Conforming to tradition can ensure the stability of the family and society. On the other hand, ignoring tradition or taking it lightly will lead to broken family values and instability in the society. As Dafa practitioners, if we don’t conduct ourselves properly in this regard, our effort to save more sentient beings will be negatively impacted, and less powerful and efficient.
Another noteworthy tradition is that even between husband and wife, proper distance should be maintained in public. Tradition states that in a public setting, husband and wife should not directly hand things to each other. For example, when passing a drink container, the husband is supposed to hold the upper portion of the handle while the wife takes the lower portion so that their hands do not to touch.
My wife and I are both practitioners and we sometimes held hands in public without even noticing it. That would be considered normal in everyday people’s eyes. But when I took a step back and reflected on it seriously, I realized that such behavior would create a field filled with human emotions and even lust in the eyes of the beholders, and such a field is not righteous in my opinion.