Being a Genuine Dafa Practitioner -- Regarding "Golden Buddha"
(Clearwisdom.net) After the article "Golden Buddha" (1) was published, Teacher suggested that all Dafa practitioners read it. Many practitioners were deeply moved after reading this article and started wondering if we are "genuinely cultivating from the bottom of our hearts" or "following external forms and pretending to cultivate." I feel that the discussions we have had so far all center around the first story in "Golden Buddha." I have not seen any discussion that refers to the second story or some other serious issues raised. In the following article, I would like to focus on the issue of suicide, which was also discussed in "Golden Buddha".
1. How a Cultivator Displays the "Best Thought" in His/Her Personal Cultivation
In the Fa-Lecture During the 2003 Lantern Festival at the U.S. West Fa Conference Teacher says:
"So for the beings of the old cosmos, and this includes all the elements of beings, when it comes to the Fa-rectification and what I choose, all beings' harmonizing and completing things according to my choices and contributing their best ideas and approaches--not to change what I want, but to harmonize and complete things according to what I've said--is the best thought a being in the cosmos could have."
Then, as Fa-rectification period Dafa disciples, as beings Teacher wants to save first, how do we display this "best thought" in our personal cultivation?
My understanding is that we should at least use righteous thoughts to understand and look at our cultivation, following Dafa's requirement, "Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance," in improving our character and realms, and succeed in cultivation and achieve Perfection by walking along the cultivation path that Teacher wants us to complete, until the Fa rectifies the human world. Of course, at the same time, as Fa-rectification period Dafa disciples, we have to meet an even higher standard. Namely, in addition to having good personal cultivation, we need to fulfill our special mission of saving sentient beings while doing well the three things Teacher stresses. When we are amidst tribulations, if we forget to harmonize Teacher's offering salvation to us and forget our responsibility to sentient beings, and resort to committing suicide or engaging in self-inflicted acts of bodily harm--as a form of protest and in order to escape further persecution--then, from the perspective of Fa-principles, shouldn't this be counted as voluntarily giving up being a Dafa disciple and expecting Dafa to make an exception for you? Teacher is compassionate and as long as the Fa's rectification of the human world has not yet begun, Teacher will give all sentient beings a chance to cultivate. However, Dafa has standards and Dafa is not biased towards any being. Otherwise, how could the new cosmos's absolute purity and righteousness be guaranteed.
2. In Order to Cultivate, We Need to Let Go of the Degenerated Moral Standard of the Ordinary World
In the article "Golden Buddha," the author wrote:
"When an everyday person commits suicide, it generates a great deal of karma and creates complicated consequences. However, when a cultivator commits suicide, he has committed the sin of killing a Buddha, and the consequences are even more complicated and severe.
"And this was just regarding a cultivator's own situation during the stage of personal cultivation. Speaking from another angle, Fa-rectification cultivation requires us to consider others first in every situation, and cultivate the righteous Enlightenment of being completely selfless and always placing others before ourselves. Furthermore, Fa-rectification disciples have special historic missions, so when we are enduring the suffering amidst tribulation, have we or have we not thought about Master's enduring, the pains Master has taken, and the sentient beings' waiting and longing?"
This refers to a cultivator's only caring about what is happening before his eyes at a certain instant, and resorting to committing sins against Dafa. Since this person has already cultivated to a very good realm (although it has not yet been reflected in this material dimension because he still needs to continue with his cultivation practice), if at some point he suddenly commits such a serious crime as this against Dafa, he might end up in hell. Then, if you put yourself in others' shoes and think from the perspective of Teacher's and the new cosmos's safety, how will you be positioned [in the new cosmos]?
Actually, in terms of the standard for handling oneself, during the period when human society's moral standards were pure and upright, ancient people in both the East and the West all revered Gods and were all content with their lot, understanding that people cannot commit suicide at will. People nowadays--because they live in an extremely selfish environment, where demonic nature prevails and atheism poisons people's minds--don't cherish life and dare to commit any kind of bad deed, including suicide. Because these people no longer have a basic knowledge of the principle that good and bad are rewarded and punished accordingly, and of the relationship between humans and Gods, some people committed suicide with a knife or gun, jumped off a building or jumped into a river, simply because they could not endure the pain they were facing at a certain moment in time, completely disregarding other people's feeling and how this was going to impact society. Then, as a cultivator, our cultivation goal is beyond ordinary people's realm. How can we use ordinary people's degenerated standard as a criteria for our behavior?
Even if only a very small portion of people commit this kind of damaging action, as long as a certain portion of practitioners do not have a clear understanding of this issue, this energy field will be taken advantage of by the evil. As a result, the incorrect actions of a very small number of people can affect people's understanding of Dafa in society.
3. Every Word and Action of a Fa-rectification Period Dafa Disciple Has Something to Do with Whether Sentient beings Can be Saved or Not
A. Whether You Can Validate Dafa or Not Lies in the Effect
Teacher says that "those who can undermine our Fa are none other than our own disciples." (Essentials for Further Advancement I, "Immutable") My understanding is that--with the excuse of "this persecution is just too brutal," the excuse of "shaking the evil," the excuse of "safeguarding Dafa with your life," and the excuse of "sacrificing one's own life to create a better environment for other practitioners"--those practitioners, who for a long time studied the Fa with human mentalities and notions, took drastic measures such as throwing themselves against a wall, committing other self-inflicted harm or committing suicide. This was all because they did not study the Fa deeply enough and they did not understand the true meaning of cultivation. They prided themselves on practicing genuine cultivation, yet they openly violated Dafa and committed sins against Dafa.
It's been over four years. Because a small portion of practitioners' understanding did not catch up, we have suffered many losses from these kinds of terrible lessons, and it's something that still happens.
(I) In 1999, a veteran practitioner participated in a press conference to expose the persecution and subsequently wrote an experience-sharing article that inspired and motivated many practitioners to step forward, earning numerous practitioners' respect. Meanwhile, quite a number of practitioners also developed strong sentimentality toward her and failed to see clearly the shortcomings in her cultivation. They did not remind her in time or help her correct her loopholes. On the contrary, when it was obvious that her actions had violated Dafa, they tried to defend her actions from the perspective of human sentimentality. As a result, the first time she started trying "death-defying" acts was in Guangzhou when she ran into a wall to cover other practitioners' retreat. Afterwards, many times, when she was tortured or abused, she tried this kind of "death-defying" act which was a drastic act, at the level of ordinary people's fighting. As a result, she was taken advantage by the old forces and received very brutal persecution. She died prematurely.
(II) There are also other practitioners who never thought about doing anything to damage Dafa's or Dafa practitioners' reputations, yet they didn't know how to look at a problem with a cultivator's righteous thoughts when they were in a tribulation. They took drastic measures. Aren't you persecuting me? Then, I'll run into the wall as soon as I get the chance, or I'll swallow something as soon as I lay my hands on something. They disregarded their own safety and tried death-defying acts. Even though their actions did not have any basis in Dafa, the public do not understand this because they don't study the Fa. All they know is that this person practices Falun Gong, therefore they think "how terrible it is when a person practices Falun Gong." Consequently, you are pushing ordinary people away from Dafa. Then, for this kind of practitioner, although they have endured tremendous hardship and they didn't mean to destroy everyday people's upright notions in the first place, their actions counteract those of other practitioners' validation of Dafa, and destroy people's upright thoughts towards Dafa.
(III) In some forced labor camps, some practitioners have also harmed themselves in order to create a less restrictive environment for other practitioners and in order to shake the evil. However, they ended up injuring themselves badly, and only in exchange for a temporary change in the environment. The large-scale persecution following this was usually even more brutal, which incurred even greater losses. It is because this persecution is beyond the ordinary. It is not a persecution of people against people, instead, it is controlled by the old forces. They can see clearly from another dimension what you are attached to, whether you are able to let go of humanness or whether you live up to a Fa-rectification period Dafa disciple's xinxing standard. If you are trapped in an impure state, how can you withstand the old forces' "testing" Dafa, unless you can rectify and purify yourself in a timely manner and truly become unshakable and solid like diamond, so that the evil won't dare to touch you.
B. Letting Go of Life and Death Doesn't Mean Looking to Die
The above are just a few examples. Although the number of practitioners who have done this is very small, the impact they have had has been big. Therefore, we should be alarmed and reflect on this: are we Dafa practitioners who are practicing cultivation and saving sentient beings? Or are we anti-persecution militants who are doing this in the ordinary world? Anti-persecution militants caught up in the struggles of the ordinary world probably only have to reach the specific goal of their battle, for example, being released or being allowed a less restrictive environment while in detention. However, because everyday people do not have cultivation principles of Dafa as their foundation and basic criteria, they have the saying "die a martyr for a noble cause." Nevertheless, there is a fundamental difference between a non-practitioner and a practitioner. Our standpoint, goal and mentality for stopping the persecution are all different. We absolutely forbid the form of killing a life.
When we say that a Dafa practitioner is not attached to life and death, it is simply an expression of the realm of a cultivator, seeing through all illusions in the ordinary world. It absolutely does not mean looking to die. Cultivation practice requires a human body and if you committed suicide and lost your mortal body, how then could you cultivate? Doesn't this defeat the purpose of cultivation? A Falun Dafa disciple who truly lets go of life and death is not afraid of enduring hardship, or afraid of the evil, and even less so should he become passive and pessimistic in the face of the evil's abuse of power.
While in forced labor camps some practitioners have written so-called "guarantee statements" (2), over and over again, betraying themselves and Dafa. They thought, "I did not do a good job this time but next time I'll definitely do better." Yet the next time, they still could not endure the persecution and they were "transformed" again. Actually, this is because they did not see the nature of the persecution clearly. The basic difference between a Dafa practitioner and an everyday person in this dimension can be seen in a practitioner's conduct. These practitioners have reservations when it comes to acceptance of the Fa and the degrees of their faith in the Fa. For example, they might follow Fa-principles that conform to their notions, and not believe or follow Fa-principles that don't conform to their notions. Instead, they would rather endure the persecution passively and just put up with it. The evil would then dare to abuse them. The persecution is beyond the ordinary. You are only a piece of impure material with impurities (human attachments and concepts), but you subjectively think for sure that you are pure and flawless. Then the old forces' dark minions see this clearly and the pressure they exert on you will be beyond the limitations of your material body. Therefore, if you stay in that impure state of yours, you will not be able to pass the tribulation. In order to break through this state, you must find out your attachments and remove them. You cannot just depend on recuperating your physical strength and recuperating your spiritual strength at your original level.
C. What Elements Lie Behind the Evil Propaganda and its Ability to Convince People?
Over the past four years, the evil's lies have been shattered over and over again, and then new lies have been fabricated over and over again. But the lies about the self-immolations and murders have been used for a very long time. Although practitioners all over the world have made a lot of effort to clarify the truth, these lies still poison people.
In June 2000, in the article "Towards Consummation," Teacher pointed out what a cultivator's "fundamental attachments" are:
"Do you know that one of the biggest excuses the old evil forces use at present to persecute Dafa is that your fundamental attachments remain concealed? So in order to identify those people, the tribulations have been made more severe. If you're attached to Dafa's consistency with humans' science, they manipulate wicked human beings to spread lies that Dafa is "superstitious"; if you're attached to Dafa's power to heal illness, they manipulate wicked human beings to spread lies that Dafa forbids people to take medicine and that this has led to 1,400 deaths; even if you say that Dafa isn't involved in politics, they have wicked human beings spread lies that Dafa and Li Hongzhi have foreign political forces behind them, and so forth; if you say that Dafa collects no fees, they say that Master has sought to accumulate wealth through dishonest means. Whatever you're attached to, they have evil ones concoct lies about that."
I think we should think clearly from the perspective of Fa-principles. Why is it that suicide and killing--which you cannot find even a hint of in any Dafa books or articles and which is a bunch of nonsense that has nothing to do with a cultivator--have been associated with Dafa practitioners like shadows for the past few years? What attachment of ours is the evil targeting? It's time that we dig out the roots.
In addition to clarifying the truth to the world's people, we also need to do some clarification among our own practitioners in order to eliminate deeply rooted and more fundamental causes. Otherwise, the evil's lies will still have an audience, and practitioners and sentient beings may still continue to suffer losses in this regard. As a matter of fact, in addition to suicide, all extreme conduct is not in line with Dafa's requirements for practitioners. Non-practitioners don't understand Dafa as practitioners do, so when they see you do something out of the ordinary, they won't say that you are going to the extreme, being irrational or not following the requirements of Dafa in your cultivation. Instead, influenced by the evil's lies, they would say it is because you practice Falun Dafa, thus creating a totally opposite effect to saving sentient beings.
Those who want to practice genuine cultivation, you must wake up as soon as possible. Study the Fa rationally. Be clear about what Dafa requires of a practitioner's xinxing in each and every aspect. Other practitioners also should treat these kinds of practitioners wisely and compassionately. We should not consider something we do as being truly compassionate to them when we base it on our own personal views or emotions. We should purely and cleanly play the role of genuine Dafa practitioners.
(2) "Guarantee statement": a statement to declare that one is remorseful for practicing Falun Gong and guarantees not to practice Falun Gong again, not to go to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong, and never again associate with any Falun Dafa practitioners.