Clearheadedly and Rationally Choosing the Right Path
Through Fa-study, I have come to realize that there are two paths for practitioners to take. The old forces created one path, and have been trying to force us to take it. Teacher created the other path. It is the most righteous and the best. Falun Dafa practitioners should completely deny the old forces' arrangements and assist Teacher in rectifying the Fa. I would like to share my personal understanding and raise some questions, so that we can discuss them and improve together.
1. Which path did the old forces arrange?
Teacher said, "To do well is to not walk down the path arranged by the old forces; the goal is to not allow the old forces to take advantage of your gaps." (From Teaching the Fa at the Washington, D.C. Fa Conference) Then how do we identify the path that was arranged by the old forces? My understanding is that the old forces have only one goal: to use the Fa-rectification to get what they want. Their actions essentially interfere with and undermine the Fa-rectification. Thus, the old forces arranged all things that interfere with the Fa-rectification.
On the surface, the old forces' arrangements manifest as slander against the Fa and Teacher, the persecution of Falun Dafa practitioners, and the destruction of sentient beings in the cosmos. However, there are some arrangements that are harder to detect, because they reside within the practitioners. During the past thousands of years, the old forces have systematically arranged Falun Dafa practitioners' reasoning and style of logic. Of course, what they arranged, and what they wanted to achieve fall short of the standards of the righteous Fa.
Layer upon layer of their external as well as internal thorough arrangements during the Fa-rectification had the purpose of "self-saving." However, all their requirements actually undermine the righteous Fa.
2. What should we do in order to avoid the path arranged by the old forces?
Teacher told us in Touring North America to Teach the Fa, "So in other words, no matter how the old forces went about arranging things, I let them arrange them, but in the end this undertaking absolutely can't be done according to their requirements." Then, as Fa-rectification disciples, what should we do in order to avoid the path arranged by the old forces?
My understanding is that, although the old forces have systematically arranged everything during the past thousands of years, it is still up to us, as Falun Dafa practitioners, to decide whether to take the path arranged by the old forces. No matter how much effort they put into their arrangements, during the current Fa-rectification period, if Falun Dafa practitioners do not choose their path, and do not recognize it, then all of the things the old forces arranged will not occur. Thus wouldn't their arrangements be denied?1) It is of vital importance that Falun Dafa practitioners eliminate the thoughts planted in our minds by the old forces.
We need to constantly pay close attention to our thoughts. If they are not good for Fa-rectification, they are the arrangements of the old forces, and we should eliminate them. Such thoughts include, "Am I going to be arrested?" and "I will be safe if I do not clarify the facts." These thoughts are not good for the Fa, for our fellow practitioners, or for sentient beings assimilating to the Fa. We should be clear that such thoughts are not from ourselves. They are the arrangements of the old forces. We need to send forth righteous thoughts to eradicate them completely!
Although the old forces have arranged practitioners' reasoning and style of logic, as well as our thoughts, notions, and everyday person's attachments, there is a principle in this cosmos, which is that it is up to us, ourselves, to decide what we want. If practitioners allow those things to exist in their minds, or believe that those thoughts are their own, and listen to them, the old forces will control them. However, if they can "resist it with very strong thoughts from themselves (a strong Main Consciousness)" (From Zhuan Falun, Lecture Six) then "good or evil comes from that instant thought." (From Zhuan Falun, Lecture Four) "Once it transpires, one will be tested to see if one can overcome such bad thoughts on one's own. If one is determined, the karma can be eliminated." (From Zhuan Falun, Lecture Six)
2) We should dig out the root causes of those attachments of ours that go along with the old forces' notions.
Sometimes, when some thoughts come out, we cannot immediately know where they came from. Therefore, we need to look inside in order to dig out the root causes of such thoughts. For example, we can examine what these thoughts are based on. If they are not good for Fa-rectification, they are definitely arranged by the old forces.
When a fellow practitioner was released from prison, he told us how determined he was in refusing to write the "three letters" (documents that denounce Dafa) in the face of brutal torture. He sighed and said, "It was such a critical moment!" However, if we think about what he said, we realize that his thought was that only by going through the cruel torture could the greatness and the determination of practitioners be truly manifested. Also, it seemed that he appreciated the torture arranged by the old forces because it was a good opportunity to establish his mighty virtue. Let's think about it. Isn't that acknowledging the old forces? The old forces have been trying to get involved in the Fa-rectification by using destructive means to test practitioners.
A fellow practitioner was detained before the "16th Party Congress in China." After she was released, we helped her search for the reason that this happened to her. Finally she dug out an unrighteous thought. Before she was detained, she had the thought that the situation would get worse before the "16th Party Congress in China," and that the police would arrest practitioners on a large-scale, just as they did in 1999. The old forces have been closely monitoring our hearts. If our hearts were driven by the serious environment arranged by the old forces, we were actually acknowledging their arrangements. If we acknowledged the old forces, we might be faced with their tests or troubles. However, those tests were not from the Fa. Instead, they came because of our unrighteous thoughts.
When some malicious people in the countryside chased a practitioner, he hid in a pile of firewood in someone's yard. It was freezing. When another practitioner heard this, he gasped in admiration, "Wow, see the hardships that he has borne. How great his mighty virtue is!" But is it true that Falun Dafa practitioners' mighty virtue was established by going through this evil persecution? Or should their mighty virtue be established by breaking through the evil persecution? Should we bear the hardships that the evil tries to impose on us? Should the crucifixion of Jesus be the measure of his greatness? We really need to dig out the root causes of our thoughts to find out what those thoughts were based on. Were they based on the Fa, and on the good of saving sentient beings? Or did we unintentionally follow the old forces' arrangement, which is not good for Fa-rectification?
3. We should take the path arranged by Teacher by breaking through the arrangements of the old forces.
This April, the evil started arresting of Falun Dafa practitioners on a large scale. A fellow practitioner of mine was arrested. Under brutal torture, she reported on me. When another practitioner told me this, I was shocked, "What should I do? Should I leave home and hide somewhere?" Worrying about what to do, I went back home. After I calmed down a bit, a thought came to my mind, "I am a disciple of Teacher Li Hongzhi. I am assisting Teacher in rectifying the Fa. No beings in the cosmos are allowed to interfere with this. They can only assimilate to the Fa. Those evil beings are not qualified to test me. My cultivation path can only be arranged by Teacher." I kept sending forth righteous thoughts to constantly eliminate the evil elements that undermined the Fa-rectification in other dimensions. I kept eradicating those bad elements. At last, my whole body and mind were focused on one thought, that "I firmly believe in Teacher."
"The best way to deal with this situation is for Dafa disciples to walk their paths righteously, to try their best not to let the evil or the old forces take advantage of their gaps, and to solidify their righteous thoughts." (From Teaching the Fa at the 2002 Fa Conference in Boston)
With this personal experience of successfully denying the old forces' arrangements, I have become more determined in solidifying righteous thoughts. I more firmly believe in Teacher, and I have become more confident that I have all the abilities needed to eradicate the evil that is in my Fa-rectification cultivation path.
About one year ago, I clarified the facts at a party. Later, somebody reported me to the authorities, and I had a lot of trouble as a result. A few days ago, we, the same group of people, gathered again. I took the opportunity to clarify the facts to each of them. After that, I started to discuss the issue of Falun Gong with all of them very openly. After I returned home, I became very anxious, "The person who reported me to the authorities last year was there tonight. Is he going to report me again?" I immediately realized that it was not a righteous thought, so I started to send forth righteous thoughts. Many thoughts ran through my mind, "How can I think of him reporting me? Why did I push sentient beings towards the side that undermines the Fa? Why haven't I gotten rid of the notion of self from the bottom of my heart when facing what happened in the past? Why couldn't I compassionately and tolerantly save him? Why couldn't I harmonize the bad predestined relationships built in the past through clarifying the truth during the current Fa-rectification period?" I became more and more clear-headed. However, since I was hurt once, it was very hard to get rid of my fear. I was quite disturbed by my openly clarifying the facts to all those people at the party. I became jumpy whenever the phone rang. I kept eliminating those bad thoughts. I didn't rest well because I couldn't help worrying from time to time. I felt tired. The next morning when I woke up, the Fa principles that I just studied the night before suddenly came to my mind -- "transformation follows mind-intent" and "demonic interference from one's own mind." (From Zhuan Falun, Lecture Six)
Then I realized that all the arrangements by the old forces actually depend on my heart to carry them out. After I realized this, I completely got rid of my attachment of fear.
Teacher said, "The old forces don't dare to oppose our clarifying the truth or saving sentient beings. What's key is to not let them take advantage of the gaps in your state of mind when you do things." (From Teaching the Fa at the 2002 Fa Conference in Boston) Then how do the old forces take advantage of us? My understanding is that the old forces always try to impose on our minds the thoughts that are bad for the Fa, bad for our fellow practitioners, and bad for ourselves. In my case, they tried to plant the thought that "the police are coming to get me" in my mind. They try to drive our hearts with such thoughts and to make us anxious. If we acknowledge those thoughts, persecution will be the result.
4. Which path did Teacher arrange?
My understanding is that saving sentient beings while completely denying the old forces' arrangements is the path arranged by Teacher. In other words, during the current Fa-rectification, Teacher arranged all the things that are good for the Fa, which are good for our fellow practitioners, and which help sentient beings assimilate to the Fa.
- In order to deny the old forces' arrangements, practitioners need to completely deny the arrangements planted within us by the old forces. Only through working inside on ourselves, can we completely deny the external evil environment. That is, we need to break through the barriers within our hearts, so that we can clarify the facts, and save the sentient beings to the maximum extent. Denying the thoughts that conform to the old forces' notions is essential to denying the evil. As Falun Dafa practitioners, we need to constantly look inside ourselves to dig out the thoughts that go along with the old forces.
- Another thing that we need to remember clearly is that we should not just deny the old forces' undermining the Fa. If we simply focus on how to deny the persecution, we would actually overemphasize the old forces' arrangements. We would overestimate the old forces while ignoring our true responsibility, which is to assist Teacher with rectifying the Fa and saving sentient beings. Eliminating the evil is a part of our responsibility in rectifying the Fa, while saving sentient beings is the magnificent hope of Teacher and of Dafa practitioners.
- During the current stage, Teacher's arrangement for us is to do well in three things, Fa-study, sending forth righteous thoughts, and clarifying the truth. This is what should be the basis for our handling problems and of our looking inside.
Once my child felt sick. When looking inside, I realized that I had been too busy doing Dafa work, pursuing everyday people's comfort, and not studying the Fa enough. Thus, the sentient beings that I'm supposed to be responsible for were not given a chance to assimilate to the Fa and were persecuted by the old forces. So I started to strengthen my Fa-study. My child got well very quickly. He even started to study the Fa after that.
Another time my family encountered some problems. Some relatives became ill, and some conflicts developed. There seemed to be no direct relationship between those problems and me. However, I learned what those problems were. After looking inside, I realized that it had been a while since my last visit to my parents' home. I needed to further clarify the facts to them. After doing that, I achieved some major breakthroughs. A few family members started to send forth righteous thoughts to help me eliminate the evil elements residing in other dimensions. A relative who used to have some misunderstanding about Dafa also started to get interested in the Fa and in learning the facts about the persecution.
One morning, when I got up around 4 a.m. to go to the bathroom, I found that the valve hadn't been turned off tightly. Water had been dripping all night. After fixing the drip, I wondered whether I had any omissions. However, I did very well in those three things. After thinking about it for a while, Teacher gave me a hint because I'd been looking inside. I suddenly remembered that it was November 8 that day. It was the opening day of the "16th Party Congress in China." The evil was very active. It wasn't a Sunday, but Teacher made me realize that I should send forth righteous thoughts more frequently! So I sent forth righteous thoughts whenever I had time during the "16th Party Congress in China." I did so on the hour almost every hour.
Before I started to write this article, a few fellow practitioners were persecuted in varying degrees. We gathered together to share our understanding on this from the Fa and to help each other improve.
A few days later, we heard that several other practitioners from different areas were arrested. How come we kept hearing all this bad news? We gathered again to look inside together. We realized that the Fa-rectification has reached the final stage. The most important thing is for us to cooperate with each other and to improve together as a whole. First, we need to continue to do well in those three things: Fa-study, sending forth righteous thoughts, and clarifying the facts. We also need to communicate with our fellow practitioners, and share our understanding with each other. Together we need to understand the Fa from the Fa and to eliminate the evil persecution.
We need to break through such notions as, "My level is limited." "My understanding is shallow." "I'm unable to write a good article." etc. We should write articles to share our righteous insights from the Fa in order to restrain the persecution, and to reduce losses.
Why are we still being persecuted even after Teacher has explained so many high-level Fa principles to us, and given us the Fa-rectifying verses?
- First, we need to clearly understand that Teacher did not arrange the persecution. It is not from the Fa. It is happening because the old forces tried to get involved in the Fa-rectification by "testing" Dafa practitioners. We saw from these "tests" and from the persecution that we didn't completely follow the path that Teacher arranged for us, we didn't completely base our thoughts and actions on the Fa, and we didn't completely deny the old forces' arrangements.
- We were persecuted because some thoughts of ours went along with the old forces' arrangements. When worrying about whether we might be arrested or tortured, we were actually pursuing the persecution. Teacher has told us,
- The essential, direct, and major reason for our suffering the persecution is that we didn't do well in the three things that Teacher told us to do: Fa-study, sending forth righteous thoughts, and clarifying the truth.
"Some people will wonder: 'Why does Falun allow it to come? Don't we have Teacher's fashen to safeguard us?' There is a principle in our universe: Nobody will intervene if you want something yourself. As long as it is what you want, nobody will intervene. My fashen will stop you and give you hints. If it finds out that you are always like that, it will no longer take care of you. How can one be forced to practice cultivation? You cannot be made or forced to practice cultivation. It is up to you to truly make progress. No one can do anything about it if you do not wish to upgrade yourself. You have been taught the principles and the Fa. Who can you blame if you still don't want to upgrade yourself? With regard to what you want, both Falun and my fashen will not intervene--this is for sure." (From Zhuan Falun, Lecture Six, Your Mind Must Be Right)
- We have omissions in sending forth righteous thoughts. Teacher said,
- Because we didn't do well in those three things that Teacher told us, our dimension, and the dimensions that we are responsible for were full of evil. The evil was everywhere in those dimensions. Isn't that dangerous?
- Actually, our not doing well in those three things is a manifestation of following the old forces' arrangements, and it provided the evil with the opportunities to persecute us.
- Some fellow practitioners said, "I do not allow the evil to persecute me even if I have attachments." It appeared to be a statement that didn't provide the evil with any opportunities to carry out the persecution. However, there is a prerequisite condition to make it true, which is that we should take the path arranged by Teacher. We should do well in Fa-study, sending forth righteous thoughts, and clarifying the truth. Then our getting rid of our attachments when moving forward along the path arranged by Teacher would be a part of our Consummation process. Teacher arranged the path for us. So of course Teacher's fashen ("Law body;" a body made of gong and Fa) would be protecting us. How could we encounter any dangers? However, if we don't do well in the three things that Teacher told us, we are not walking down the path arranged by Teacher and we are not in the Fa. Then how can the enlightened being's fashen protect us if we are not following the Fa?
"Let me tell you, all those who remain and that can persecute Dafa and Dafa disciples are due to our students themselves. Students who haven't taken sending forth righteous thoughts seriously: the evil in the dimensions that you are supposed to shoulder and be responsible for has not been eliminated. That's the cause." (From Fa-Lecture at the Conference in Florida, U.S.A.) Teacher also said, "As you know, the persecution that Dafa disciples in Mainland China suffer is quite severe, so each student has to truly, clearly realize what his responsibility is, and when he sends forth righteous thoughts he has to be able to truly calm his mind and truly produce the effect of righteous thoughts. So this is something extremely critical, extremely important." (From Fa-Lecture at the Conference in Florida, U.S.A.)
"Can you be considered a Falun Dafa disciple if you just practice these few sets of exercises everyday? Not necessarily. This is because true cultivation practice must follow the requirements of the xinxing standard that we have established, and you have to truly upgrade your xinxing--then, it is true cultivation practice." (From Zhuan Falun, Lecture Three)
In another words, we are true Fa-rectification period Dafa disciples only if we do well in those three things that Teacher instructed us to do.
5. The issue of the attachment of fear.
The attachment of "fear" exists when we have some attachments that we can't let go of. When we have the attachment of fear, we are contributing to the evil's existence. For example, if all people refuse to use a product, the product will naturally die out. Similarly, if no practitioners fear the evil and if we don't acknowledge the evil in our minds, "evil will of itself no longer exist." (From Eliminate Your Last Attachment(s)) The current evil and this lasting persecution indicate that we have some omissions in this regard. Of course, it does not mean that only the practitioners who are suffering the persecution themselves need to improve, but that all practitioners as a whole have some problems. We need to improve together. Those practitioners' being arrested and being persecuted simply reveal our problems to us.
6. A bright and sacred path
Is the Dafa practitioners' mighty virtue established by going through the old forces' persecution, or by breaking through the old forces' persecution? If we are faced with the evil persecution, or we are suffering the evil persecution, does that mean we unintentionally took the path arranged by the old forces? Why did we take the path arranged by the old forces? Was it because we had some thoughts that went along with the old forces' notions or arrangements? Then didn't the persecution and the interference occur because we pursued them ourselves?
None of the current evil interference and persecution are from the Fa. They are not the tests for the Dafa practitioners arranged by Teacher. Teacher has arranged a bright and sacred path for his disciples. Our Fa-study, sending forth righteous thoughts, clarifying the truth, and denying our thoughts that go along with the old forces are a process of completely denying the old forces' interference and persecution, a process of assisting Teacher with Fa rectification, and a process of carrying out our sacred responsibility of saving sentient beings.
Finally, let's encourage each other with Teacher's words, "To reduce the losses, and to save sentient beings, put your Dafa disciples' powerful righteous thoughts to full use! Show your Mighty Virtue!" (From Righteous Thoughts)
The above is my personal understanding. Please correct me if I said anything inappropriate.