Looking Inward but Failing to Find the Attachment
A Dafa disciple has to look inward whenever problems are encountered, because as long as cultivation has not yet been completed, there is the matter of individual cultivation. No matter how sacred and important the Dafa work we are doing, no matter what level we are at in our cultivation, and no matter what understandings we have of the Fa, it is impossible for us to have clear sailing in everything during cultivation--and it is even harder for everything to be in accordance with our current understanding of the Fa. If this were not the case, the impurities in our lives could not be cleansed and corrected, nor could we make further progress in our understanding of the Fa.
When as practitioners we encounter problems in cultivation, it indicates that there is a gap between us and the criteria of "Truth, Compassion and Tolerance." As we need to catch up rapidly in this aspect, this is a good thing. A strong determination in Dafa, studying the Fa and looking inward--all these are the ABC's of cultivation. However, during the course of a tribulation, whenever we find we have certain attachments, it is because we are unwilling to follow the basic requirements of cultivation with respect to that matter.
Generally speaking, overseas disciples obtained the Fa relatively late, yet they started to carry out their arduous and complicated Fa-rectification duties even when some aspects of their individual cultivation were not solid. When they encountered conflicts during cultivation--especially those who were very accomplished--they tended to resort to a variety of everyday strategies, instead of calming down and looking inward. In fact, under such circumstances, we can very likely open ourselves to karma and notions. If we can truly consider ourselves as practitioners and be strict with ourselves at all times and under all circumstances, even a god will be amazed at the rapidity with which we ascend in Fa-rectification cultivation.
There is another situation that we often see, which is that despite looking inward upon encountering a conflict, due to busy schedules and an unwillingness to really calm down and study the Fa, nothing is found. Very often, it is then cast aside until the completion of the task at hand. I used to do this myself; however, the same problem would recur because I still held on to the attachment that should have been abandoned. And since Teacher is taking care of us, he wouldn't just let us do the work without helping us reach Consummation. Whenever a conflict surfaces, it always directly targets our attachments. Thus, if we can truly look inward without reservation or excuses, the attachments can always be discovered. In addition, Teacher will likely give a number of hints, depending on our enlightenment quality.
After cultivating for a few years, most (Dafa) students have a deep understanding of the Fa; therefore, they are unperturbed by many things. However, when a conflict suddenly surfaces and all we see are others' shortcomings, some students can no longer keep their hearts unmoved. This has become the kind of test we often come across during cultivation. When noticing others' shortcoming, we are still hesitant to look inward ourselves, thinking that if others do not change, the conflict will still remain. This reluctance to look inward is tantamount to not accepting Teacher's guidance in the cultivation process. As Teacher pointed out in A Brief Explanation of Shan, "With regard to Shan alone, when it manifests in human society some everyday people who are attached to everyday people's society might raise an ordinary human social question: 'If everyone learned Dafa and practiced Shan, how would we handle foreign invasions or wars against us?'" To have a clear answer, we have to transcend the level of everyday people's mindsets. Of course, when a problem comes to someone, without exception it is something that we need to cultivate. Therefore, we need to remind them with compassion, and ask them to also study the Fa, look inward, and not miss the good opportunity to improve during cultivation.
Sometimes, I notice that, during the current Fa-rectification period, it seems difficult to tell the difference between an individual improvement opportunity and interference from the evil. As a Dafa disciple mentioned in a recent article: "For cultivators, external interference is in essence directly related to the internal, and is comprised of attachments, karma, notions, etc. With respect to the origin of a life, these things belong to the external; thus, looking within in cultivation practice is actually looking for these 'external' things that exist internally and eliminating them completely. If a Dafa disciple has become pure and upright on the inside, then all external interference will cease to exist." Looking back on my own cultivation, I realize this is indeed so. No matter if it is interference from outside evils or not, looking inward and purifying ourselves is always a process of eliminating outside interference or demonic hindrance. When we become purer by looking inward during tribulations, the righteous thoughts we send forth can effectively eliminate the evil influences behind the problems. At the same time, our pure energy fields will automatically transform the surrounding environment with compassion. In contrast, if this basic requirement of "looking inward" is ignored for a long time, and external resources are utilized to solve the problems, it will usually waste a lot more time, and at some stage, become impossible to proceed. This is because we will have reached the limits of our capacity, making it impossible to overcome greater external interference without further assimilating to Dafa.
By studying the Fa more, and being strict with ourselves according to the requirements of Dafa, all problems and tribulations will become improvement opportunities during cultivation. Meanwhile, only by making continual breakthroughs can we keep up with the Fa-rectification.
Above are my personal understandings. Please kindly point out anything improper.