My Understanding of When Practitioners Cultivate Diligently Yet Are Persecuted
On August 9, 2004, the news of Tianjin City Falun Dafa practitioner Mr. Tang Jian being tortured to death was reported on Minghui.org [Chinese version of Clearwisdom.net]. Since Tang Jian first faced the persecution, he has exhibited a thorough and steadfast resistance. From the information we have, it can be seen that he was abducted and taken to Tianjin City's Shuangkou Forced Labor Camp at the end of summer 2000, and was transferred to the Fifth Team after 2001. Up until July 2002, when he was sent back home, Mr. Tang had staged a hunger strike for a whole year! Soon he was arrested again; this time the persecution against him lasted until he was tortured to death. Tang Jian's endurance was beyond imagination, and during his validation of Dafa, he has left behind many miraculous feats in that dark environment. These were backed by strong righteous thoughts. But why was he repeatedly persecuted, and even tortured to death in the end? Presented below is the understanding of a practitioner in the U.S. on this issue.
I don't think that cultivating diligently means that one would not be persecuted, nor do I think that because someone has been persecuted, that it can be concluded that they are not cultivating diligently. There is no such rule dictating a direct correlation.
The words "cultivating diligently" can be explained as follows: there is no ambiguity or room for bargaining with Master or Dafa, one is able to keep striving forward diligently as a cultivator, and can keep pace with the progress of Fa-rectification, and follow Master's words to do the three things well: studying the Fa, sending forth righteous thoughts and clarifying the truth of Falun Dafa and the persecution.
But usually when we regard a fellow practitioner as "cultivating very diligently," we often only see his diligence within the context of some particular period or situation, or some particular aspects. Such an understanding may not be that comprehensive or objective.
Cultivation is a path for a human being to achieve Godhood or Buddhahood. One's thoughts and the elements composing one's present being are very complex; the process for a being to become thoroughly purified is not one that others can see or understand clearly from the surface. For example:
- Some fellow practitioners are indeed very diligent on some aspects and have sacrificed a lot (such as on Dafa work), but in the area of cultivating some aspects of their xinxing [heart or mind nature, moral character], they have not made any progress for a long time, and have even indulged themselves.
- Some fellow practitioners understand some aspects of the Fa (1) very clearly, but on other aspects they've been looking at the Fa with human notions for a long time. They hide these in their hearts and it is not easy for others to see, but the evil in other dimensions see these notions very clearly.
- Some practitioners have yet to realize what Dafa and Dafa cultivation is, and do not believe the supernormal Fa principles that Master has taught. But out of their human thoughts, they also participated in the activities opposing the persecution and exposing the evil; sometimes they are quite active and even take the initiative to do Dafa work, but they might have done this with everyday people's intentions against the persecution and from their sense of justice.
- Some practitioners have long known that Dafa is good, and they also read the book [Zhuan Falun] and genuinely wish to cultivate, but for a long time they cannot cultivate according to Master's requirements. They do not understand what "understand the Fa from Fa principles" is; instead, they take others as their role models and are lazy in their own rational thinking. Whenever they see their "leaders" or "role models" do anything, they will simply follow along without thinking. At this time, it is actually their human side doing things, and when they encounter tribulations, it is hard for them to see the supernormal aspects of Dafa. When they insist on doing things in such a situation, usually trouble will arise in their lives; for example, their family members grow to misunderstand Dafa or no longer support Dafa practitioners due to the pressure of the persecution, hence affecting the salvation of their family members.
- In some regions, only a few practitioners have tried very hard to do the three things well that are required by Master, but quite a lot of practitioners -- under the difficult environment and due to their human notions -- are either practicing secretly at home [not stepping out and validating Falun Dafa], or have voluntarily given up the practice, or even turned against it. In such regions, because of these practitioners who did not do well, the local environment has become more complex and difficult. So the minority of practitioners who genuinely work very hard according to Master's requirement will become the target of the local perpetrators, and also the pressure on them will be increased. Under such circumstances, when there are few human resources and the pressure is great, diligent practitioners will be very easily subjected to persecution once they have any omissions in their own cultivation. Such persecution is not caused by their diligence in cultivation, but is exactly due to those who did not do well and unconsciously strengthened the evil locally.
The above are just several circumstances that I can think of at this moment, under which a diligent practitioner may be severely persecuted. If these issues remain unresolved, the evil will take advantage of them at a certain time, and specific practitioners will be subjected to persecution. When that occurs, those practitioners who normally regard them as cultivating very diligently will think, "He cultivates so well, why he is still persecuted?" Actually, the persecution in this case has nothing to do with "diligent cultivation" or not, but instead directly relates to those who did not cultivate diligently.
During the past few years, some Dafa practitioners who have done very well, though who also experienced frustrations and instability in their cultivation, have quickly gotten into the mode of clarifying the truth openly with dignity, and are indomitable. They are very rational and clear-minded, so they have long ago created the environment within their lives and work places, where they can freely clarify the truth and practice Falun Dafa. As for these practitioners, the evil dares not persecute them. From the perspective of this dimension, if the perpetrators dare to persecute them, their work unit will not allow it, their family members will not allow it, and even their neighbors will help defend them against the injustice. From the perspective of other dimensions, Master's Fashen [Law body] will not allow it, the Fa-guarding deities will not allow it, nor will the gods who uphold the Fa-rectification allow it. Then those who dare to try to persecute them will be eliminated immediately.
Looking at it from the surface, this level of diligent cultivation cannot even be mentioned or associated with some practitioners. Instead, some practitioners were not arrested or detained, because they have not reached the standard of a Fa-rectification period Dafa disciple in the first place. That is, they have already chosen to give up diligent practice -- this is also the objective of the evil forces' interference and persecution, to keep people from becoming Fa-rectification period Dafa disciples. So there is no need for the evil to forcefully attempt to get one to give up cultivation practice by the means of detention, torture and other methods. In fact, by undermining the external cultivation environment, whether to make you indulge in sentimentality, or to make you go after money, fame, everyday people's comfort, or be attached to worldly concerns, all these will play the role of making you slack off in studying the Fa and cultivating diligently. This itself is to persecute and ruin you, isn't it? This can happen because such practitioners are too attached and have too many human notions, and they cannot realize it.
This persecution is unprecedented, nothing like it has ever happened before in history, and it is extremely vicious. For practitioners who cultivate diligently, whatever your origin is, as each individuals' level of diligence varies, issues remain for each individual. Such issues include how deeply one understands Master's Fa, whether one is able to keep up with the progress of the Fa-rectification, and how much effort one dedicates to validating the Fa, eliminating the evil and saving sentient beings. One may still have human attachments that have not been let go of, one may still have a misunderstanding of the Fa-rectification, one may do Dafa work with human notions, and one may have major ups-and-downs in cultivation due to lack of Fa study, and so on. I think these can all create omissions that may subject us to the persecution.
At the same time, as our different karmic relationships in history and origins are quite different from each other's (some practitioners belong to the first category of practitioners who signed an agreement with Master long ago in history, while others belong to the other two categories), when the evil forces see the omissions, their degree of persecution is also different. The time it takes to step out from the persecution and the sacrifices each endures are also very different. This leads to the difference in each person's path toward Godhood. In particular, for those practitioners who belong to the third category and have not eliminated their karma systematically in history, or those who still have not improved their understanding of the Fa principles for a long time, the old forces insist on putting damaging tests to them, and do not allow them to do the three things required of Fa-rectification disciples until they eliminate their major karma or improve their understanding. If one fails to understand the situation clearly and falls into the trap of persecution, one usually suffers a lot. But this is not to say that practitioners of a specific category must be subjected to persecution. As for those who indeed do very well, the evil dares not touch them. If one can calm down very quickly during the tribulation, find one's fundamental attachment according to the Fa, and can be enlightened, the evil will no longer dare to continue the persecution, and thus our losses will be reduced.
Actually, even for practitioners who belong to the third category, it is already so precious that one can cultivate in such a short period to achieve Buddhahood, Godhood, or become a Dao, particularly in such an unprecedented period when Master is rectifying the Fa, a period which will never happen again in history. Master also taught that no matter how much suffering a being endures in ordinary human society, it is nothing compared to one's Attainment Status after reaching Consummation. Therefore, for these practitioners, even though they have suffered the cruel persecution that should not have happened, though it looks like they have endured a lot of tribulation in this life, it is still wonderful for a being to come to this human world, and their lives have been so worthwhile! The practitioners in the first category may not have suffered as much as those in the third category, but during the period when they were waiting for the Fa in each of their lives, the tribulations for them must not have been less than those of the third group, and it's possible they may have suffered even more. It is just a matter where one cannot see it at this moment. "No loss, no gain" -- this is an absolute principle of the universe.
A key issue arises from this discussion. That is, once we are persecuted, whether we can, from the perspective of a cultivator, understand it, resist it, eliminate it and validate the Fa, so as to reduce the persecution and save the sentient beings, all this still depends on our diligence in cultivation throughout the process. Under the main pre-requisite of firmly and unconditionally believing in Dafa and denying the arrangement of the old forces' persecution, we need to dedicate more effort in looking within ourselves and letting go of attachments, and strive forward in the Fa. As for those practitioners who are persecuted in the prisons and who are even persecuted to the extent that they leave the human world too early, it would be better if we do not unequivocally state that they did not cultivate diligently; this opinion is not fair or respectful to our fellow practitioners.
In summary, cultivating diligently certainly does not have to result in more severe persecution. Such a conclusion is reached when one does not clearly understand the Fa and the true meaning of cultivation, or when one even misunderstands the Fa principles that Master has taught. We also need to try to understand the family members of fellow practitioners who have been misled by such misconceptions, and we should righteously clarify the truth and the principles to them. Regardless, the persecution and the suffering of practitioners are ultimately caused by Jiang Zemin's faction. We are all the victims of it and together we should expose the persecution and step forward against the persecution. We should not blame the victims and certainly we should not blame the Fa. At the same time, we should really start to do well and pass through this tribulation together, and soon in the future, walk together toward the bright finale and the beginning of a magnificent future.
The above is my personal understanding, please point out anything improper.
(1) Fa: Law and principles; the teachings of Falun Dafa.