How Much Have We Rectified Ourselves in the Process of Sending Forth Righteous Thoughts?
A practitioner once raised an issue during an experience sharing. He said that his leg had been oozing pus for several years. At first he thought that he was eliminating karma so he didn't pay much attention to it. His condition persisted and after July 20th he started to send righteous thoughts, but it did not improve. He was puzzled.
Many practitioners who were detained in forced labor camps did not send righteous thoughts very often because they thought that it did not work, or they held a fatalistic attitude, thinking that they had no choice but to endure whatever tribulation came their way. Some only sent righteous thoughts when they had a specific goal. Other practitioners who had not been detained also had a similar way of thinking. When they experienced bodily discomfort or encountered various kinds of interference and tribulations on the path of validating the Fa, they sent righteous thoughts but did not see results. Some even had the thought that Dafa practitioners all over the world have been sending righteous thoughts to clean up the rotten demons that control Jiang Zemin for years, yet the evil is still active. Because of their way of thinking, they were confused, disappointed, and even depressed.
These situations have something to do with the degree of our faith in Dafa. They manifest because we let ourselves be controlled by some external things and attachments that we should have cultivated away. Today when we Dafa practitioners talk about sending righteous thoughts and having righteous actions, we need to truly cultivate to the requirements of different levels for them to have any effect.
As Fa-rectification period Dafa disciples, we all know that we should not acknowledge the old forces' arrangements when we encounter problems and that we should look inward and send righteous thoughts. However, when looking inward, we do not focus on looking for the real obstacle in our mind. When sending righteous thoughts, we do not focus on making sure that our mind is pure and clean. Instead, all we care about is the final result and whether things meet our expectations. If our problems are not resolved, we might feel disappointed. And if our problems persist, we might even start doubting Dafa's power.
In "Towards Consummation" Teacher says: "What's a fundamental attachment, then? Human beings acquire many notions in this world and are, as a consequence, driven by these notions to pursue what they yearn for. But when a person comes to this world, it is karmic arrangements that determine his course of life and what will be gained and lost in it. How could a person's notions determine each stage of his life? So those so-called 'beautiful dreams and wishes' become pursuits that can never be realized, despite painful attachments."(Essentials for Further Advancement II)
Actually, for those practitioners who are not able to let go of their fundamental attachments, their understanding of the inner meaning of cultivation is fundamentally insufficient. Deep down many of them hope that through cultivation they can make their lives in the human world happier and more satisfying. For example, the bottom line for someone might be that he wants to become a better person instead of completely returning to his original true self. Some probably consider the so-called reality in the human world more real than the future cultivation states that Teacher has pointed out to us in the Fa. Although some do believe in Teacher, their trust is conditional; that is, they will only believe something that they can understand and accept. They are not likely to believe something that is beyond their knowledge or level of understanding. They are not able to follow the Fa's requirements because they cannot let go of their attachments, and so they act on human thinking and ways of doing things. Then don't the old forces take advantage of this fatal weakness? This is the main reason why the evil repeatedly conducts brainwashing classes and why people who do not want to give up cultivation practice yield to the evil and betray Dafa.
Faith comes first in cultivation. If you have discounted faith in Dafa and Teacher, even if you study the Fa and practice the exercises everyday, you won't be able to see the more profound inner meaning in the Fa, and you won't be able to see the deepest truth beyond the superficial phenomenon of the human world. This is not because the Fa is denying you something, but because you are not willing and dare not completely give yourself to the Fa. The bottom line is still whether you have faith or not. Get rid of all distracting thoughts and follow Dafa and Teacher steadfastly. It does not matter what kind of ability you think you have, just follow Teacher's request to send righteous thoughts every day with a clear and pure mind. Meanwhile, when you encounter a problem, search inside and rectify yourself in a timely manner. Then you will understand what it is to gain without seeking and you'll see how Dafa's power manifests through you in the human world. In other words, this is how you truly play a role in validating the Fa.
In "Teaching the Fa at the Western U.S. Fa Conference" in Guiding the Voyage, Teacher says: "...what is a Buddha? "Tathagata" is what human beings call someone who's come with the truth and the power to do what he wants, whereas real Buddhas are guardians of the cosmos and are responsible for all righteous elements in the cosmos."
Accordingly, as righteous beings who are responsible for all righteous elements in the cosmos, we as Fa-rectification period Dafa disciples have been endowed with a sacred historical mission and we need to clearly understand the responsibility we carry. In terms of unrighteous elements, if they try to bring damage to the Fa-rectification process, we should completely eliminate them with righteous thoughts. When we are being persecuted, we should send righteous thoughts, not because we want to find relief from pain and suffering, but because when something happens that damages Dafa there has to be some evil elements, and if we don't eliminate those elements, they will not only persecute us, they will also interfere with and persecute other Dafa practitioners. Righteous beings naturally should clean up all unrighteous elements for the sake of the cosmos' and sentient beings' safety.
As Dafa practitioners, we should emphasize improving our character in every little aspect of our daily lives--this is most fundamental in cultivation. Therefore, whether the path of Fa-rectification is righteous or not depends on Dafa disciples' thoughts. Namely, no matter what you do, you should examine your thoughts.... When we send righteous thoughts we look the same on the surface, but the results are often different because the state of our minds is different. How is it that some practitioners' righteous thoughts are powerful while other practitioners fail to display their righteous thoughts' power? The key is the thought that the practitioner had.
"As I've said, everything that happens today in the ordinary society is the result of Dafa disciples' thoughts. Even though the old forces do exist, if you don't have those thoughts they can't do anything. When your righteous thoughts are strong enough the old forces can't do a thing." (from "Teaching the Fa at the 2002 Fa Conference in Philadelphia U.S.A.")
"Of course, sometimes you say that you've tried hard but still can't do it. Then with that effort you put in, were you trying to solve only that specific problem? Did the state of your cultivation really get to that point?" (from "Explaining the Fa During the 2003 Lantern Festival at the US West Fa Conference")
"Also, a lot of our students are concerned about many things, all kinds of stuff. In fact, once you think about those things your realm has dropped. Don't think about anything, and don't worry about anything." (from "Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Vancouver, Canada, in 2003")
"Get rid of any attachment you have, and don't think about anything. Just do everything a Dafa disciple should do, and everything will be covered." (from "Teaching the Fa at the Washington, D.C. International Fa Conference')
In "Teaching and Explaining the Fa at the Metropolitan New York Fa Conference," Teacher says:
"Question: I have been interfered with by illness karma for a long time, particularly when I meditate and send righteous thoughts--when I'm concentrating--it gets especially severe. Sometimes I have difficulty breathing or have pain.
Teacher: When teaching the Fa, Master can't direct it at an individual, and my words won't be entirely directed at your case. Some of our students have indeed experienced situations that aren't right. But I'll tell you, in most cases it can be attributed to two reasons. One has to do with new students: your cultivation process is merged with your Fa-validation process, and in order for you to catch up, your personal cultivation accompanies your validating the Fa, and both of them progress simultaneously. The other reason is that you're being interfered with. When you're interfered with you can't always think, 'I have to destroy whoever is interfering with me, no one can interfere with me.' Why don't you stop and think about it: Why is someone interfering with you? Why is it able to interfere with you? Is it because you have an attachment, or because you have something you can't let go of? Why don't you look at yourself? The true reason lies with you yourself, and that's the only reason it can exploit your gap! Don't you have Master watching over you? Even when an ordinary person shouts out 'Falun Dafa is good' today, Master will protect him, since he's shouted those words I can't not protect him amidst the evil. And how much more so am I protecting you cultivators! In some isolated cases some students really did come down with an incurable disease. But think about it, so many people who had severe health problems or incurable diseases before they learned the Fa became well after learning Dafa, so why is it that some students on the other hand can't make things work? Is it that Dafa makes distinctions among sentient beings? Is it that I, your Master, treat students differently? I really have to ask you: Are you truly cultivating? Have you truly followed Dafa's requirements? Are you clarifying the facts with the human mindset of disagreeing with the persecution of Falun Gong, or are you validating the Fa and saving sentient beings truly from the standpoint of a Dafa disciple? Yes, the old forces have arranged for some people to get in, but why is it that most people can handle things now but you can't? Haven't I taught the Fa to you?!
When problems arise, when something doesn't feel right, you have to look at yourself! Look at where you were wrong and allowed the evil to exploit your gaps. If you were wrong you should recognize it and do better. Don't forget, you are all Fa-rectification period Dafa disciples! You came to validate the Fa! Cultivation is hard, and the evil is more evil while you are validating Dafa. Those who can make it through are bound to be Kings of sentient beings."
"Question: Several disciples have been suffering from major tribulations of sickness karma, and for quite some time now. Is it OK for us to send righteous thoughts as a group and help them?
Teacher: Of course it's OK. I talked about this problem last time. But some students should look inside and think about how well they've really done. As a magnificent being during the Fa-rectification period, how well have you really done? Don't say, 'How could this thing happen to a Dafa disciple?' whenever a problem comes up.
For a long time now some students just haven't gotten rid of their fundamental attachments! And as things have piled up, at the end they aren't able to overcome them and their tribulations get big. When problems occur, instead of searching for problems in their xinxing, fundamentally improving themselves, or truly letting go of the matter and coming through in an open and dignified manner by another route, they focus on the thing at hand--'Goodness... why is it that I still can't overcome this thing? I've done better today, so it should have improved a little. Tomorrow I'll do even better and it should improve some more.' He can never let go of that thing. On the surface it appears that he's letting it go--'Look, I'm doing well now.' You're doing well now but you are doing well now for its sake. You aren't doing that for the purpose of doing what a true Dafa disciple should do!"
"As a matter of fact, for many students it's been so long now, and especially after going through July 20, 1999, you should really take a good look at a lot of things on a fundamental level. You should calm down and truly think things over. Don't think that "now that I'm a Dafa disciple I should have nothing bad happen to me. If anything happens then it's not right." And don't think that you should go through whatever other people go through. Each person's situation is different. The key is how well you yourself really do. What you're attached to in your mind all day long are all ordinary people's things, you're even befuddled head-over-heels by feelings, and yet when tribulations come you say, 'I'm a Dafa disciple who's suffered from tribulations for a long time.' (People laugh) (Sigh)... Sometimes I don't want my words to be too harsh, but if they're too soft you don't want to think it over and enlighten from it. It's about to end. You should think for yourselves now. Time waits for no one!"
When we deal with specific problems on the path of Fa-rectification, in terms of our thoughts and behavior, we should follow the requirements of Teacher's Fa-principles. For example, in the course of truth-clarification efforts, some practitioners often focus on whether a person's attitude toward Dafa has changed or not. Some practitioners feel good and talk more when they meet with people who are willing to listen to them as they clarify the truth. When they meet with someone who raises objections or doubts, they feel uncomfortable and are reluctant to talk. If a person raises a critical question, some practitioners might describe this person as unsavable. These practitioners don't work hard to expand their capacity to be compassionate and they fail to send out righteous thoughts from the bottom of their hearts. They treasure the lives of those beings that listen more than those who don't understand the facts. I have enlightened to the understanding that however strong a being's ability to be compassionate, that's how many beings he can accommodate.
Some practitioners fail to maintain a righteous mind during conflicts within the family. Members of their family do not change their attitude even after a long time and they become disheartened. The practitioner thinks: "He has his life and I have my life." Teacher says: "Buddha's light shines everywhere, propriety and righteousness harmonize everything." (Zhuan Falun) If we are pure and righteous, everything that is not righteous will melt in our field.
Some practitioners who were illegally detained did not cooperate with any request or order made by the evil and they used all sorts of ways to resist the evil's persecution. Some practitioners were able to use their righteous thoughts and actions to escape from the evil's lair, yet other practitioners were unable to. Of course, there are some complicated factors, some that we are not even aware of, but it remains that some practitioners' main purpose for resisting the persecution is to get out.
"An article published on the Minghui website described a student who told people the facts about Dafa and shouted 'Dafa is good' wherever she went. "No matter where they take me, I'll ignore everything the vicious policemen say, and no matter how violently you beat me or how terribly you swear at me, I'll remain just as I am." The labor camp was so scared that they sent her back in a hurry--'We don't want her.' It's because they figured, "We won't be able to convert her, and on top of that she'll influence a large number of people." (People laugh) And they won't be able to get a bonus, either. (Applause) They had no way to handle it--where could the local police station put her? They had no way to handle it, so they sent her home." ("Teaching and Explaining the Fa at the Metropolitan New York Fa Conference")
"That looks like human conduct, but in fact it's not. That was because she reached that point through cultivation and truly arrived at that realm--"Now that you've arrested me, I haven't thought at all about going back. Now that I've come here, I've come to validate the Fa." So the evil was scared. Also, the number of evil beings is quite small now. The more we eliminate them the less of them there are." ("Teaching and Explaining the Fa at the Metropolitan New York Fa Conference")
This practitioner was able to walk out of the evil's lair was because she was able to validate Dafa and save sentient beings by maintaining a Fa-rectification period Dafa disciple's strength of mind under any circumstance.
On the surface a practitioner seems to be following Teacher's requirement. As soon as there is a problem that damages Dafa, the person is aware that it is an old force arrangement. He then searches within himself and sends forth righteous thoughts. It is almost a routine and every practitioner who is able to keep up with the progress of Fa-rectification's does things the same way. However there is a big difference between their characters. When some practitioners experience bodily discomfort, face objections from family, or get arrested, they think that they completely reject the old forces arrangements. They recognize that there is some attachment that they still haven't let go of, but even if that is the case they won't allow the evil's interference. They search within and send righteous thoughts. However, they cannot let go of the matter, and think that since they have followed Teacher's Fa their problem should be solved by now. They send righteous thoughts, but don't see any effect. Again when they send righteous thoughts, they still don't see a change. After a while they feel disappointed with themselves. In the worst case, a practitioner blames Teacher, thinking that Teacher has not taught him some special tricks. Actually, what he is doing is pursuing an outcome, not following the Fa's requirements to improve his character solidly and steadily. He wants to use the supernormal abilities given by Dafa to solve the problems he encounters. Supernormal abilities only manifest when a cultivator's character reaches a certain level. They are a natural manifestation of Dafa's power and not something that can be pursued.
Why do some practitioners remain so calm and unaffected when they face tribulations? I know one practitioner who had been pampered since childhood. He was never denied anything in his life. His mother would even peel the apples he ate. However, on his path of Fa-validation he encountered very dangerous situations and experienced very cruel persecution. Some practitioners thought that his ability to endure was especially strong and that no one could compare with him. As a matter of fact, he did not focus on the pain at all. There was no hint of selfishness in his actions. He truly reached the state of Wuwei [inaction; doing things naturally].
"Things that are shown as commonplace in the ordinary people's world, might be truly in a heroic and grand manner in the dimension of your cultivation." (from Falun Dafa - Lecture at the Conference of Changchun Assistants). Perhaps on the surface in the human world it appears that we have not made any special contribution to the Fa-rectification and our actions have not been ones that are heroic and grand. (How do we remain unshaken and solid like diamond when we are faced with persecution? How do we remain solid and steady when we are faced with brutal torture methods?) Our path of Fa-validation is pure and righteous and will be a reference for beings of the future as they face similar situations. Doesn't the key to cultivation depend on our thoughts?
Therefore, as Dafa practitioners we should not pay too much attention to what manifests on the surface in this human world, instead we should look at how much we have rectified ourselves during this process.
The above is just my personal understanding. Please kindly correct me if there is anything improper.