Lessons from Sickness Tribulations
Recently two veteran practitioners, I will refer to them as E and F, who had practiced Falun Dafa since 1994, died from sickness tribulations within one week of each other, which, to a certain extent, reflects negatively on Falun Dafa. I was so upset over this that I was interfered with in the three things of Fa study, sending righteous thoughts and clarifying the truth. As I studied the Fa (1), my heart gradually calmed down. Here I would like to share with fellow practitioners some realizations.
E was 49 years old this year. He suffered infectious hepatitis 20 years ago and was treated in a hospital. Since he began practicing Falun Dafa in 1994, he hadn't seen a doctor or taken any medicine. He was always an assistant at our exercise site. All the practitioners who knew him thought E was very diligent, as did I. E respected Teacher and Dafa (2). During the period that police interfered with him, he hid Teacher's picture in the daytime and took it out at night.
Before the persecution began, we studied the Fa as a group once a week and went to the exercise site at 4 o'clock in the morning. He always got there first with the recorder, no matter how hot or cold the weather. He also cultivated his xinxing (3) very well. Once, when everything in his home was stolen, he said he was really not moved at all. By his own admission he had "let go of fame, self-interest, and emotion." Usually he also did everything very well and looked very peaceful, like a true Dafa practitioner. Many practitioners admired him. He also was present at the peaceful appeal on April 25, along with 10,000 other practitioners, and the appeal in Tiananmen Square. Together with all Teacher's disciples, he was bathed in the sunshine of Dafa.
After the persecution began, the exercise sites were damaged by the evil, and the situation became more and more dangerous. Fellow practitioners started their own paths. The local police and local "610 Office" harassed him repeatedly, and he became more and more fearful. Perhaps because he had always been the assistant and was acknowledged as a good veteran practitioner at the exercise site, E himself didn't admit his attachment of fear and tried to hide it. For example, after he wrote the "Guarantee Statement" (to renounce Falun Dafa), other practitioners suggested that he should publish a solemn declaration on the Minghui website negating his promise to the old forces. But he offered the explanation that, "Although I did sign my name on the Guarantee Statement, in my mind I circled it, which indicated that the signature was not written by me."
I think maybe this was the turning point when E started slowing down, getting in trouble, and finally staying at home.
E's wife was also a practitioner and insisted on studying the Fa, doing the exercises, and sending forth righteous thoughts. But because she couldn't let go of her attachments to sentimentality and was afraid for their child, she rarely clarified the truth and was also unwilling to encourage her husband to do Dafa work. From her words and deeds, sometimes I felt she was not really living according to Dafa but stayed at the level of doing good deeds and having Teacher's protection. E definitely knew it was correct to do Dafa work, but he didn't try to change his home environment.
Especially in recent years, E himself became less and less eager to read Minghui articles. He often behaved as if he did not care about them (except for Teacher's articles), which led to his not understanding the situation of Fa-rectification. In fact he had been far from the grand environment of group cultivation and unconsciously lived like ordinary people.
It was announced that the road in front of his home was going to be broadened. At the urgings of his wife and child, he behaved like an ordinary person and used all the space in their yard to enlarge their house in order to get more compensation for having to move. His home was not short of room, so he was adding on just for the economic compensation. Building six or seven rooms used up a lot of his energy. Isn't building just for economic compensation greed? "I'm a practitioner. How can I go for such a thing? How much de must I give away if I get something that isn't paid for?" (Zhuan Falun) "Don't forget, you are all Fa-rectification period Dafa disciples! You came to validate the Fa!" (Teaching and Explaining the Fa at the Metropolitan New York Fa Conference) If we cannot meet the basic requirements of personal cultivation, how can we have the heart to cultivate the righteous Fa?
Just after E finished his house, the symptoms of his liver disease reappeared. In the beginning, he had a bitter taste in his mouth and his limbs felt weak; then he had diarrhea for a month. He became dangerously thin. His wife called and invited other practitioners. All the practitioners came to his home to study the Fa, send forth righteous thoughts and share experiences. We found that E's ideas had deviated from Dafa. E maintained a formal study of Zhuan Falun, and he read one chapter every day. But at the very foundation, what are Dafa practitioners during the time of Fa-rectification? What are Teacher's requirements of Dafa practitioners during the Fa-rectification? Why we should study the Fa and how should we study the Fa? To what level we have finally cultivated? In a critical moment, these ideas are key.
After finishing his house, what E thought of was not how to make up the time lost for Fa-rectification, but that "from now on I will take a rest for one month," which maybe was a joke with his wife. In fact, E ended up with diarrhea for a month. Even though he rested, he felt very weak and couldn't do the exercises or anything else. Everyday, except for eating and sleeping, he "read books and studied the Fa." Did he look like a Dafa practitioner in Fa-rectification time?
When he had diarrhea, E thought, "I would like my spirit to bear less and my body to bear more." He didn't see clearly the nature of the old forces and passively endured the persecution. He also talked very confidently, as if he had no problem letting go of fame, interest and emotion. In fact, his situation became worse and worse. His body became bloated and he couldn't bear it any more.
Fellow practitioners pointed out that he did not have strong righteous thoughts, that he didn't view things from the standpoint of the Fa, that he didn't emerge from personal cultivation, and that he didn't follow the process of Fa-rectification. That is why he was taken advantage by evil demons and dark minions and couldn't reach the standard of a true Dafa practitioner during the Fa-rectification period.
"Clarifying the truth is something each and every one of you Dafa disciples must do. I'm telling you this again. Anyone who tries to make excuses for himself and who's never stepped forward is wrong."
(Teaching the Fa at the Washington, D.C. International Fa Conference)
Then E finally "enlightened" that he must start to "clarify the truth." It seems that he regarded truth clarifying as the last straw to grab onto.
Later on E was even unable to move or relieve himself on his own. His body was terribly weak. E said to his wife, "I should take some nutrients to build up my body." In this critical time, the difference in one thought was the distinction between a human being and being a god! Teacher wrote in Zhuan Falun,
"What else will you encounter? Our bodies may suddenly feel uncomfortable. This is because repaying the karma will be manifested in different ways. At a certain point in time, you will be made unable to discern clearly whether something is true, whether your gong exists, whether you can practice cultivation and make it, or whether there are Buddhas and if they are real. In the future, these situations will surface again to give you this false impression and make you feel as though they do not exist and are all false-it is to see whether you are determined."
Later on he was unable to sit up or hold a book. Then he was unable to see or hear anything. He lay in his wife's arms and died with his eyes open. It was less than three months from beginning to end.
F was 36 years old this year. When he was young, he suffered from severe depression He first learned about Dafa in 1995. Before beginning the practice, he was E's good friend. When he learned that E was seriously ill and went to visit E, he was frightened. "Even though E had studied the Fa very well," F thought, "look what has become of him. How can I succeed in cultivation?" He went home, got on his bicycle and started riding around. As soon as he saw anyone, he shouted, "Falun Dafa is good!" This did not produce a positive effect. Due to his extreme panic, he couldn't study the Fa, couldn't eat, and couldn't sleep, all the while expecting a miracle to happen for E. After finding out that E had died, F passed away three days later, one month from beginning to end after first seeing E's condition.
During the past three or four years, except for communicating with E once or twice, F actually belonged to those people who stay at home to practice. About this, Teacher has indicated,
"No matter how he 'persists in studying the Fa and doing the exercises' at home, he is being controlled by demons and is 'enlightening' along an evil path." (Minghui Editors "Serious Teachings")
We should watch out for these people and clarify the truth in time to reduce the losses to Falun Dafa.
In view of this, through studying the Fa, I have realized the seriousness of cultivating the righteous Fa, I have realized that cultivating the righteous Fa is not play, and I have realized that the path of cultivating the righteous Fa is very narrow, with no room for deviation. Let us cherish the invaluable chance to cultivate the righteous Fa that Teacher has given us, with righteous enlightening, righteous thoughts, and righteous actions. Let's become genuine Dafa disciples in the Fa-rectification period, following Teacher towards consummation.
About the special cases of practitioners in different periods, Teacher has addressed them in his Teachings. We should learn more. Let us study together Teacher's words so that they can inspire us.
From "Teaching the Fa at the 2002 Fa Conference in Philadelphia, U.S.A."
"Some students say with their lips, ¡®I reject the old forces' arrangements.' In key situations they can handle themselves quite well, but under normal circumstances they're likely to ease up their righteous thoughts, and when their righteous thoughts aren't adequate they're likely to have problems. Of course, I'm not talking about everyone. I'm talking about an extremely small number of folks--there are very few of them. So why does that happen? In history the old forces arranged many, many things, and they made extremely thorough and intricate arrangements. And to make sure that nothing would go wrong with what they arranged they did a practice run with the previous earth. Think about it--how could they not be attached to it? Could they possibly let go of what they wanted to do? But even so, if our righteous thoughts are very strong, then we're in line with a law in the cosmos, and this law holds in both the old cosmos and the new one: a being's choice is up to him, even if he made some kind of vow in history. At critical moments it's still up to him what he wants to do. And this goes for things that are positive and negative--it's the case for both."
"... from time to time some things happen among our Dafa disciples. The goal behind those problems is this: the old forces think that some students believe that once they cultivate Dafa they have nothing to worry about, ¡®As long as I'm a Dafa disciple I won't be in any kind of danger.' So they saw this and thought: ¡®We can't allow this. Isn't this like getting some kind of insurance? Once they learn Dafa they're not worried about anything. Isn't that a huge attachment in and of itself?' So those old forces caused trouble in Dafa. That's how these things came about. But when they caused trouble why didn't Master's countless Law Bodies and the countless righteous Gods who safeguard the Fa do anything about it? It's because some of our Dafa disciples signed some sort of pact with the old forces back in history, and so the old forces have latched onto this fact with a death grip and won't let go.
But it's not that you can't get rid of it. As I just said, even if sometime in history you did sign some kind of pact, if today your righteous thoughts are very strong, you don't recognize it, and you insist on not taking part in it, then you can in fact reject it. But this is a bit hard for you to handle in a case like this. What's hard is that the old forces won't let you go that easily, they'll try to take advantage of your gaps, and when you're just a little bit off they'll seize the opportunity. So when your righteous thoughts are very strong they can't take advantage of you, and this is because in Fa-rectification Dafa doesn't acknowledge the old forces' arrangements, and I, as your Master, don't acknowledge them either. Of course, each one of our Dafa disciples says that we don't recognize the old forces' arrangements, but that's not something you just say--you have to follow the requirements of Dafa and the Fa-rectification. ¡®I absolutely will not acknowledge any of those things you arranged in the past, old forces. I don't even acknowledge you.' When your righteous thoughts are very strong you can purge it and you can reject their arrangements. (Applause) And that's because we absolutely cannot acknowledge them."
(1)Fa - Law and principles of Falun Dafa
(2)Dafa: The great law or great way
(3)"xinxing:" heart or mind nature, moral character