(Shared at 2001 Chicago Conference)

Greetings Master Li and fellow Falun Dafa practitioners. My name is Jared Madsen and I began practicing Falun Dafa over 5 years ago in Beijing, China.

When I first started to cultivate Dafa, it was purely self-cultivation. I would simply read the books, practice the exercises, and do my best to require myself with the standard of a Falun Dafa practitioner. After the crackdown in China began though, many changes began to occur, and all of us practitioners had new roles and more responsibility we needed to take on. We had to protect this great Fa that had given us so much. How would we do this though while still maintaining a practitioner's standard? In what ways would we protect Dafa? These were questions that we were all trying to figure out by relying on our enlightenment. Gradually after we started to figure out what we needed to do, I found that I was being put into positions that I never had been in before. I needed to do work that I had little or no experience in. The amount of work that I had to handle was piling up. It finally then reached a point that I thought I wouldn't be able to handle it. All this work and all these situations, it was both mentally and physically taxing. I felt I couldn't think straight and my body was getting more and more tired. I then realized that I needed to increase my container size, that's to say that I needed to break through and rise up out of the level of feeling restricted. It was all my human side that was restricting me, telling me that I needed more sleep, it was too difficult, and that I wouldn't be able to do all of this. After I calmed down and put down these human notions, I noticed that these things really weren't that complicated after all. As long as I could use my wisdom accumulated through cultivation of Dafa, none of these things were that difficult, and I felt I could handle more and more work. I could think through more problems, but my mind would be calm and clear. Of course it wasn't that easy all of the time, there were still countless attachments that rose up, but this is cultivation. I knew that I needed to continuously increase the size of my container and continually get rid of attachments so that I could do more and better work. Though it felt painful and stressful at the time, looking back it wasn't anything, just my attachments.

One lesson I have learned recently and continue to work on is using rationality and compassion not just when introducing the Fa to ordinary people, but also when working with other practitioners. In the past I would organize a hongfa event or project and expect that everyone would understand why I would want to do it this way or that way. I would expect practitioners to just help out without thinking about it too much. Without clearly and rationally explaining how I had enlightened and why I thought this activity was important, some practitioners would not be willing to help out. In the article "Clearheadedness" the Teacher says, "While working, your tone of voice, your kindheartedness, and your reasoning can change a person's heart, whereas commands never could! If others are not convinced deep down inside but only superficially comply, they will still conduct themselves according to their own will when no one is around to see them." Actually, it was myself not taking responsibility. Responsibility is not just willing to do some work and then following through with it; one also needs to use their rationality and wisdom attained through Dafa. I understand taking responsibility to mean to help everyone play their part to the fullest in Fa-rectification. It is not just the individual will to do something, but it is including everyone and helping to create an environment in which all practitioners can play a great role, while improving and learning within the process.

Sometimes I may find myself alone working on a project and feel frustrated that others didn't come to help. One aspect may be that this work is something that I have to do and should put down all attachments. Another aspect may be that I did not fully play my part in explaining to others what I realized on this project, and did not open it up for discussion thereby creating an environment that we can all take part in and all improve. Instead, I may have just expected people to help, even though they did not understand because I did not explain it clearly. In a case like this, I may have actually dug a hole for myself that is difficult to get out of.

Each practitioner enlightens to different parts and to different degrees of this great Dafa. I have found that cultivation during Fa-rectification is not just doing work, but being able to rationally understand from the point of Fa why this work is done. This touches on the question of doing Dafa work without understanding why this work should be done. If one practitioner just tells another practitioner to do something, and that practitioner doesn't think about or understand the importance of it, the results may not be as good, not to mention that this practitioner has not improved, but just done some work. The practitioner that is organizing an event should take the responsibility to explain how they enlightened to doing this job, and those working on the job should also treat this as their cultivation, and enlighten to just why this is so important. Zhuan Falun states, "In fact, it does not matter who the person is--there is only one Fa. Only by observing this Dafa can one meet the genuine standard." I understand this to mean that it doesn't matter who tells us to do what, we need to understand it and do the work from the point of Dafa, only then can we truly reach a Dafa disciples standard. In "Cautionary Advise" the Teacher said, "If every one of you can understand the Fa from the depths of your mind, that will truly be the manifestation of the Fa whose power knows no boundary--the reappearance of the mighty Buddha Fa in the human world!"

We have all seen that Fa-Rectification is rapidly changing seemingly daily if not faster. My understanding is that as Dafa disciples we are not passively standing around waiting for consummation, but that we are actively stepping forward and the Teacher is leading us to be true gods. If we are to be the greatest enlightened beings, then don't we need to be able to deal with our own problems and protect all that is good within the universe? The Teacher has said that his Fashen will protect us up until we can protect ourselves. At the recent Canada conference the Teacher told us to clear our own bad notions and karma, and also to clear the evil of the Three Realms. Isn't this a big step towards an enlightened being to be responsible for themselves? The Teacher has already eliminated much of our karma and has given us everything needed to cultivate to high levels, I understand that now we are in the necessary stage of learning how to use what we have cultivated out to deal with problems. This is similar to the growth of a child, first their parents give them everything and are always there watching over and protecting them. They will then go off to school where they meet with all kinds of troubling situations, but they can still come home every night to the protection of their parents. After reaching a certain age, the child is expected to take care of themselves; their parents will be watching in the background giving a few words of advise every now and then, until the child has grown up and is able to use their knowledge and experiences to completely take care of themselves and be a responsible member of society.

After a being has reaches consummation, would they still rely on their Master to help them any time a problem arises? The way I see it, the Teacher is guiding us to not only be able to take care of ourselves, but also to take care of the universe. Not to mention that after we reach consummation, we will not be ordinary gods, we will be gods that have cultivated the Dafa of the universe.

In Zhuan Falun the Teacher said, "There was an elderly woman in the past who had her feet bound to make them smaller, but she could still jump effortlessly over a wall of two or more meters. When her family saw that she was insane and always ran out of the house, they would lock her up in the house. Once her family members left the house, she would unlock the door just by pointing her fingers at the lock. Then she would run off. Later, they would restrain her with iron chains. When everyone left home, she would shake off the chains with ease. It was impossible to restrain her." On Clearwisdom Net we have seen many practitioners that have been able to jump out of buildings and over walls; open handcuffs, prison cell doors, and other locks. All of these were obstacles set by the evil forces to keep these practitioners from going out and doing work for Fa-rectification. With a clear understanding of the Fa and maintaining righteous thoughts, these practitioners escaped with ease; it was impossible to restrain them. Outside of China, though we don't usually have the need to jump over walls or unlock doors, the evil forces have still set up many obstacles and other "locks" that we need to get through. Often times though, we might not see that the obstacle was placed by the evil forces. The evil forces will find attachments of ours, and then try to take advantage of that by setting up an obstacle. Due to our attachment and not being able to see that it is the evil forces taking advantage of this attachment to stop us from doing Fa-rectification work, we may use human notions to recognize this problem, therefore being trapped by our own attachment. Once we are able to recognize our attachment that the evil forces are using to block us from doing what we need to do, often we can easily open this lock, and it will be impossible to restrain us. This makes me think of one day when we were going to have a group practice in the park. I looked outside and saw that it had started to rain. My first thought was, "Oh no, if it is raining, even if we do go and practice, no one will be outside to see us, and we will not be able to hongfa." I then thought, "This is the evil forces trying to stop our practice and hongfa efforts. They know that by making it rain they can take advantage of some practitioners' attachments of not wanting to practice in the rain, and therefore not so many people will come out and practice. At the same time, ordinary people will not go out to the parks if it is raining, and they won't be able to see our righteous practice." I was recognizing this obstacle more clearly and thinking of ways to deal with it. "Didn't the Teacher say that 'Dafa Disciples Righteous Thoughts are Powerful'? Don't we all have capabilities?" After that thought, I knew needed to use my capabilities to stop the rain that is preventing us from doing what we are supposed to be doing. Not long after, the rain stopped, the sun came out, and we had a great afternoon of hongfa and group practice.

Through this experience, I have come to realize more clearly that everything that happens around us has to do with our cultivation in Fa-rectification. Even things that may seem to be natural like rain. The Teacher's article "Expounding on the Fa" said, "You should also be clear that 'natural' does not exist, and 'the inevitable' has reasons behind it. In fact, 'natural' is irresponsibly used by everyday people to make excuses for themselves when they are unable to explain the phenomena of the universe, life, and matter. They cannot imagine what 'nature' itself is. Under the influence of this kind of notion you think that all these tribulations are inevitable and that this is just the way it is, thereby developing a passive and pessimistic attitude. So your human side must stay aware. More importantly, your side that has attained the Fa must be clear." If the Fa of the universe is being rectified, wouldn't that include the Fa of the earth? In this Fa-rectification process, doesn't everything that happens have a reason, and is in some way connected to Fa-rectification? Even things that seem out of our control, aren't they all within Fa-rectification and therefore within our control? If we can recognize the real factors behind everything that happens, then wouldn't we be able to recognize the parts that are not in sync with or have deviated from the Fa? Once we recognize the situation, isn't it our jobs as Dafa disciples to not develop a passive and pessimistic attitude, but to rectify the situation, thereby achieving one more step in the Fa-rectification?

This makes me think of how we use righteous thoughts when dealing with evil. If every time we meet with a troubling situation, we just sit back and say, "I will send forth righteous thoughts to deal with this situation." Then we are not really improving ourselves within this problem, and we are not closing this loophole that the evil has exploited, we are just looking and trying to solve the problem externally, without a clear understanding of the situation. On the other hand, if we meet with a situation and just sit back and think what we have done wrong and passively tolerate, then we won't be playing a complete role of a Dafa disciple during Fa-rectification; we won't be eliminating the evil, we won't be stopping it from poisoning others. The Teacher has been teaching us how to clear evil, but has also said "Dafa Disciples Righteous Thoughts are Powerful." If we have a good understanding of the Fa and can clearly see why the evil is evil, and why Dafa is good, and how we should handle the evil as a Dafa disciple, then we are not just righteous, we are gods that have enlightened to this great Dafa.

One test that I have felt within this process of sending forth righteous thoughts and using capabilities is not just when and how to use them, but a fundamental question of "Will it really work? Do I really have capabilities?" I see this as a fundamental question of ones true faith within Dafa. We all know Dafa is good and we all want the world to see and understand the truth, but can we truly step out of our human mindset and treat ourselves as gods? Can we come to the realization that we are Dafa particles; we have given up everything to come to this most vile place of the universe to help the Teacher in Fa-rectification all the while completely filling ourselves with the fundamental Dafa of the universe? We are different from all other beings in the universe because we have a direct connection to Dafa. Since we are linked to the Fa, then shouldn't we be able to use all that is within the Fa? To put it a different way, don't we possess and have access to everything, from the highest level to the lowest? If the particles of the Dafa of the universe command that all the evil be eliminated, then won't all the evil be eliminated? If we have doubts, then isn't that just the same as saying, "I don't believe I'm a particle of Dafa." If you don't treat yourself as a particle of Dafa, then who will. If your heart doesn't change, then everything else won't count for anything. The Teacher is giving us the greatest opportunity of all the lives in the universe, but if we can't take this opportunity and truly fulfill this responsibility by changing our heart to understand this, then I say we are not worthy of the title of Dafa particle. If I can't make this fundamental change in my heart, then I won't be worthy of being a Dafa disciple, and I'd be washed away with all the other useless trash of the universe. On the other hand, if I can make this fundamental change and step out of the human mindset and become one that truly is fulfilling the greatest responsibility given to any being in the universe, then won't this life truly have value and be worthy of being called a Dafa particle?

In Zhuan Falun it says, "Those with superb inborn quality are usually here on a mission and come from high levels." And in the recent Canada lecture the Teacher said, "So, as Dafa disciples, you have been entrusted with a great historic mission." In Zhuan Falun it also states, "Because she suffered much and quite harshly, she would soon repay the debts from her wrongdoing. It would take three years at most, and usually only one or two years, as that suffering was quite tremendous. Afterwards, she would understand at once what had transpired. Because she completed her cultivation, she would have her gong unlocked right away with a variety of divine powers emerging." I understand that this passage can be related to our situation now. It has been two years of tremendous suffering, and the Teacher at the recent Canada conference said, "The connecting and opening up of the Great Heavenly Circuit is a manifestation at this level. But students have long since passed this level, only they're locked. From now on, one after another our students will experience different states in cultivation." Isn't it time now for us to unlock these locks and let our divine powers emerge. The Teacher has already talked about using our capabilities that all disciples have. The Teacher's picture has even been posted on Clearwisdom showing us the hand positions for using our capabilities and the Teacher has given us two verses to use. Now it's just a matter of breaking through the locks of human mentality with righteous thoughts, and letting our divine side truly shine forth.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you Master Li, and thank you Dafa particles.