Remaining Unaffected, Becoming Calmer, More Mature and Clearheaded While Striving Forward Together
"Under any difficult circumstance, everyone, remain calm in your hearts. Just by staying unaffected, you will be able to handle all situations." ["Lecture on the Fa at the U.S. Midwest Conference" June 26, 1999, Provisional translation]
Many practitioners have remembered this well by heart. Teacher told us about this at the Fa conference in Chicago when July 20, 1999, was approaching. Over the past five years of this persecution, we have all known not to compromise when faced with the evil and that under increasingly grueling environments we will still remain steadfast in our cultivation of Dafa to the very end. During this time many of our Dafa practitioners have handled these situations successfully, with a firm and strong convictions.
Recently I came to the sudden realization that the fact that I am "still cultivating in Dafa" does not mean that I have been cultivating everyday and that doing large amounts of Dafa work everyday does not mean that I have been "cultivating steadfastly." In addition to staying unaffected when faced with the test of cultivating or not cultivating, the Fa also measures and guides our day-to-day cultivation.
For example, many practitioners become quickly irritated when they see someone strongly attached to something or when they see someone's improper behavior. Even when the incident is over, their minds still remain uncomfortable and unsettled when they think about it. When you do this you are behaving like an everyday person, because at that moment your mind is greatly provoked by what you perceive as others' shortcomings, and you completely overlook the fact that you, yourself, are provoked. Even less do you think about looking inward to see why you are so disturbed in your heart. At that moment, your thoughts are not about treasuring this opportunity to cultivate yourself by eradicating your attachments created by this particular situation and thereby elevating your character. Instead, you are complying with everyday people's notions and thinking, seeing the situation as a problem or an obstacle to achieving your goal. You also forget what it means to be truly good or how to be truly benevolent to someone.
If you think it over calmly, others' attachments are not an excuse for not cultivating ourselves. Teacher told us that anything a cultivator encounters is not accidental and is, on the contrary, an opportunity for us to improve ourselves. It does not really matter whether it is the old forces taking advantage of our loopholes or self-imposed troubles arising from holding on to our attachments, these can all become stepping stones to elevating our character.
As a cultivator, there are so many areas to watch and be careful not to be affected by. For example, when your plans for Dafa work are disrupted; when you cannot meet a deadline; when you are criticized, reprimanded, wronged, or scorned by someone; when your mistakes are exposed before everyone; when you feel that others do not support or understand your work; when the temptations of everyday people's fame, gain and affection come along; when fellow practitioners, family members or friends praise you or do not understand you; when you clarify the truth and are met with people's rejection or unkind words; and so on. At moments like these, if you can truly consider yourself a Dafa disciple, then these are all stepping stones to improving ourselves in cultivation. In other words, cultivating oneself well and remaining truly unprovoked should be unconditional--it does not matter whether it is something big or trivial, whether it is an overwhelming, external evil pressure or a temptation or shockwave in your daily life that appears to be accidental. I don't know if this counts as one of the basics of cultivation, but it can clearly reveal a cultivator's demeanor.
Through cultivation I have come to understand that, before our cultivation is complete, because we still have human thoughts, there will still be moments when we will be provoked. However, the overall tendency is toward becoming more and more tranquil, peaceful, stable, and serene, and this should be the ideal state. Besides, in Fa-rectification cultivation, as soon as we are provoked we realize it, and as soon as we realize it we search within ourselves without reservation, and when we find our attachments, we send righteous thoughts to eliminate them. This means that our cultivation practice will be a rapid one. Historically we could not find any cultivation method as easy as this one, for Teacher has truly and surely given us everything and has done everything that can be done for us. What is left for us relies on a personal mentality that always remembers to cultivate, that wants to cultivate, and that genuinely cultivates with determination and righteous thoughts.
Meanwhile, it is only when we continue to improve our character and to cultivate to the high levels that Teacher intends for us to reach that we completely eliminate all the old forces' arrangements. It is only when we pay attention to cultivating our character that we can do the "three things" well: studying the Fa, clarifying the truth, and sending forth righteous thoughts. Otherwise, these activities turn into a routine formality or become a matter of "taking care of business" or something to "handle." Also, we may feel inadequate to accomplish what we want, that we have reached our limit, or that we want to indulge in an easy and comfortable life. After being provoked by fame, gain or affection we may even behave in ways that are not in line with the Fa-rectification's requirements. Any of these mindsets will definitely prevent us from accomplishing Dafa practitioners' historical mission. If we have a solid cultivation foundation, we will be calm and rational in the face of any grueling environment or conflict, and we definitely will not have any doubt or uncertainty about Dafa, because every moment we are cultivating in and are assimilated to Dafa. It is only by studying the Fa and cultivating our character that we are able to fundamentally break through all interference and obstacles in the course of doing the three things.
Of course, a Dafa practitioner's ability to stay unaffected and not be provoked by external factors is only achieved through cultivation and not by simply pretending to be undisturbed. You cannot just appear unaffected on the surface while your mind is in turmoil. Neither is it simply staying unaffected like a piece of wood without thoughts or personality; instead, it is true tolerance, open-mindedness and rationality. When a cultivator reaches such a state, he or she will truly be responsible to others and treat others benevolently from the bottom of his or her heart, possessing true calmness, rationality and wisdom, for this is the natural manifestation of a cultivator's nature, a manifestation of a god's nature.