Look Inside Ourselves: How to Rectify Degeneration in Ourselves
1. Fa-Rectification Period Dafa Disciples' Relationship with the Old Forces
"Even each Dafa disciple's every move, every action, every word, and even the questions you ponder, none of it is that simple. In the future you'll see that everything was very carefully arranged. But it's not me who arranged this, it's the old forces who did." ("Fa-Lecture at the Conference in Florida, U.S.A.")
I had never been very clear about this point. I thought, isn't it Master who arranges Dafa disciples' cultivation path? Then how can it be that the old forces arranged Dafa disciples' every single word and action? What's the relationship between this and the cultivation path arranged for us by Master?
After a great amount of daily Fa-study with a calm mind, I suddenly understood.
Whether a practitioner can reach Consummation depends on his or her own arduous efforts.
"The enlightenment that we actually refer to is a matter of whether in the course of cultivation practice one can enlighten to and accept the Fa taught by the master or the Tao taught by the Taoist master, whether one can treat oneself as a practitioner upon encountering tribulations, and whether one can adhere to the Fa while practicing cultivation." (Zhuan Falun)
Master would NOT arrange a practitioner's every single word and action. We have to enlighten with a righteous mind and take righteous steps on our own path.
The old forces, with their degenerate notions, in order to achieve what they want, are the ones who have arranged every Dafa practitioner's every single word and action on their cultivation path, to protect what they cannot let go of, so that their interests and their arrangements would not be threatened.
In fact, they do not really care whether or not Dafa disciples can reach Consummation. All their arrangements were made out of consideration for protecting their self-interest. As Master said,
"They've done a lot of things very poorly throughout the process; they did some of the things intentionally, while with some other things, they couldn't even realize that those were bad things." (Touring North America to Teach the Fa)
In order to achieve their own purposes, the old forces gave no thoughts to whether or not Dafa disciples are able to endure the tribulation, they pushed all the evil in the cosmos toward the Three Realms. Master further explained this point,
"Yet they were also aware that with such a huge tribulation pressing down, human beings wouldn't be able to endure it and they'd be destroyed. They also knew that it would be very difficult for Dafa disciples to come through a tribulation like that. Still, they thought, 'Then let them be destroyed.'" ("Teaching the Fa at the Great Lakes Fa Conference in North America," Guiding the Voyage)
In the human world, although they clearly know that many practitioners might not be able to endure the brutal tortures, in order to protect the things they are attached to from what might endanger them in the future, the old forces still direct vicious thugs to brutally torture practitioners and have no regard for practitioners' lives at all. The old evil forces are the ones who arranged Dafa disciples' every single word and action, and they even carefully arranged every Dafa disciples' weaknesses and attachments during the long process of reincarnation. In today's Fa-rectification, they turn around and justify their arrangements by saying that the reason why Dafa disciples suffer persecution is because they have omissions and attachments!
Thus, when some practitioners fail to pass a test well during a tribulation, they not only show no sympathy for the practitioners; on the contrary, they say to Master with a sarcastic tone, "This is your disciple? Do you think he sees you as his Master? Has he regarded himself as a cultivator?" (Touring North America to Teach the Fa)
This is evil; this is serious degeneration! Master said,
"Yet the layers upon layers of beings in the immense cosmos can't perceive the horror of all these evils taking place. This is because all beings have been warped." ("Teaching the Fa at the Great Lakes Fa Conference in North America," Guiding the Voyage)
"You've not only been enduring tribulations created by human beings. Since parts of you have been fully cultivated, you are great Gods; and Gods at very, very high levels have been testing you. This is why what's happening today is unprecedented--a tribulation like this has never taken place in history." ("Teaching the Fa at the Western U.S. Fa Conference," Guiding the Voyage)
Master and Dafa disciples do not acknowledge any of the old forces' arrangements. Every one of our attachments and weaknesses, every one of our impure thoughts were arranged by them, so how is it that they can use our attachments arranged by them to persecute us? This is very similar to the evil beings that force us to write the so-called "guarantee statements" while they are violating the law themselves, and yet they force us to write statements to obey laws temporarily made to justify the evil persecution!
"Most fundamentally, you all still need to establish your great mighty virtue in the process of shattering the old forces' persecution." ("Fa-Rectification Period Dafa Disciples," Essentials for Further Advancement II)
Therefore, during Fa-rectification cultivation, only by truly and thoroughly recognizing the arrangements forced upon us by the old forces can Dafa disciples genuinely break away from their evil arrangements and take righteous steps on our own path; only then can we rectify ourselves on the cultivation path arranged by Master and assimilate into Dafa.
2. Look Inside Ourselves During Fa-Rectification Cultivation
"That's because all beings in the cosmos have degenerated, and even the original elements that make up their beings are no longer pure--even the elements of the elements are no longer pure. They can't detect this themselves, and no matter what they do, they won't be able to make themselves truly pure again." (Touring North America to Teach the Fa)
For the last two to three months I have had relatively big conflicts with fellow practitioners whom I work with. At the beginning I didn't know why I couldn't bear the way they did things that I thought were bad, but in cultivation I had always had clearly known that whenever I could not get through something, for whatever reason, it indicated that I had a problem myself. I worked very hard to look inside myself. I found their attachments to be unendurable, so I was attached to their attachments. Therefore, I tried very hard to take their attachments more lightly. I said to myself, "They are also cultivators, how can they not have any attachments?" Master said,
"If you are unable to love your enemies, then you cannot reach Consummation." (Unofficial translation, Lecture at the Australia Fa Conference in 1999)
I can look at those bad people without hatred, so why can't I treat fellow practitioners with tolerance? I spent almost two months trying to get rid of these attachments, and I felt the situation was much better.
When I met the practitioners again, it seemed as if I was not affected by their attachments, although I found I still didn't like to be with them. I agonized over this. I didn't understand why I still couldn't let go completely while being so strict with myself every day. I continued to look inside myself. Finally I realized that, although on the surface it seemed that I couldn't let go of their attachments, the real reason behind it was that their attachments touched my own attachments that were hidden deeply inside myself. I finally saw my own mentalities, such as strong ego, being sensitive about my reputation, being concerned about how other people think of me and so on so forth. I was very happy that I dug out the root cause of the attachments. Then I worked hard to get rid of them.
One month passed. I was very surprised to realize that no matter how hard I tried I simply couldn't fundamentally get rid of the root of the attachments. I didn't know what to do.
One morning I was reading Zhuan Falun. Suddenly I realized that my whole way of thinking was wrong. I was being controlled by the selfish mentalities that were embedded in my way of thinking, including ego, protecting myself from being misunderstood by others, the mentality of showing off, the competitive mentality and so on. When I found out that every thought of mine had come from these impure mentalities but not from myself at all, and I had been considering every issue by thinking in this way, the shock I felt in my heart was beyond words.
At last, I truly gained a clear understanding. The previous three months of looking inside myself was actually based on the impure way of thinking of the old forces. No matter how hard I tried, it could not change my fundamental degeneration. I thought of what Master said,
"the most fundamental reason for the Fa-rectification of the cosmos is that the immense beings at the more microcosmic levels of the cosmos have become warped." ("Fa-Lecture at the Conference in Florida, U.S.A.") "That's because all beings in the cosmos have degenerated, and even the original elements that make up their beings are no longer pure--even the elements of the elements are no longer pure. They can't detect this themselves, and no matter what they do, they won't be able to make themselves truly pure again." ( Touring North America to Teach the Fa)
The degenerated and impure matters (selfishness) permeate the way of thinking that is manifested through human beings all the time.
"Nevertheless, in this affair, they have also fully shown the positions of their xinxing after their deviation from the Fa and have fully revealed their impure side...this is quite similar to the display of our students' xinxing at present during their personal cultivation. All the sentient beings in the cosmos are amidst the Fa-rectification, and all the manifestations might appear in this human place." ("Teaching the Fa at the Western U.S. Fa Conference" in Guiding the Voyage)
The degeneration of the high levels beings of the cosmos is the fundamental reason for existence of attachments of every Dafa disciple. This is the fundamental reason why many practitioners at present find it more and more difficult to get rid of their own attachments and have to work on themselves a lot to do so. The only way that enables us to see our fundamental impurities clearly and to rectify ourselves is to truly study the Fa with a calm mind and truly look inside ourselves when encountering any conflicts. Only Master's Fa can enable us to truly look within ourselves. The Fa of the universe is the only criteria to judge right or wrong in the colossal firmament.
From this I have deepened my understanding regarding some arrangements of Fa-rectification by Master and why Master spreads the Fa of the universe to sentient beings. In the course of personal cultivation of Dafa disciples in this Fa-rectification period, how we rectify our own degeneration and how we use our purified side to safeguard Dafa and to perfect and harmonize with Dafa has a bearing on everything in the future cosmos.
"In different historic times of the future, if in the cosmos damage to Dafa occurs or when beings perform differently, how Dafa will rectify the Fa and make everything perfect and indestructible is extremely important." ("What Are Supernormal Abilities," in Essentials for Further Advancement II) "Everything of yours that is pure and righteous will be what ensures that the colossal firmament has formation and stasis, but not destruction." ("Congratulatory Statement to the New York Fa Conference")
The above are my personal understandings at present. Please kindly point out anything improper.