(Clearwisdom.net) By learning from others' mistakes, each of us can be forewarned about possible pitfalls, and thus be more careful, and persevere in our cultivation.

On October 4, 2005, a fellow practitioner died in a hospital. According to his wife, who is not a practitioner, the practitioner had asked to go to the hospital because he did not want to die at home, which might be frightening to his wife and daughter. He had arranged for his funeral, and was waiting for his daughter, a Ph. D student attending school in another city, to come home. Only three days after his daughter arrived, he passed away.

I was shocked to hear this and could not believe that his attachment had been hidden so deeply. I had visited him in his home only a few days before this happened, and urged him not to have any concepts of death or his funeral because there are so many sentient beings waiting for us to save them, and we should stay until the day of Fa-rectification has arrived on earth. At that time, he was using oxygen to aid his breathing, but he was in good spirits when talking with us.

It's been two years since he became ill. Fellow practitioners who knew him would visit and send forth righteous thoughts for him. He said he should look inward and would also send forth righteous thoughts. But it's hard for me to believe that he had such strong attachments to his wife and daughter. Some fellow practitioners said that he did not come out to clarify the truth, not because of bad health, but because he worried that it might interfere with his daughter's studies.

I think that since we are all very busy now, if a practitioner does not speak up about the attachments deep in his heart, how can others offer any help?

From articles published on Minghui/Clearwisdom, we find similar instances of practitioners becoming ill in various places and affecting local practitioners. We practitioners, during the Fa-rectification period, do not accept persecution from the old forces. But things do not happen without reasons. Why do some fellow practitioners suffer such severe persecution through illness karma? How could I learn from these occurrences and upgrade myself in cultivation?

Some very good practitioners have passed away. Normally, that happens because some of the practitioners around them admired them with human mentalities. The old forces arranged for these practitioners to pass away with the excuse of "testing" them. If this is the case, practitioners in these areas need to look inside and rectify themselves. Only when we upgrade ourselves based on the Fa can we decrease losses due to persecution by the old forces. Some of the practitioners that died were far below the standards required to be a practitioner, and the old forces thought it was time to eliminate them. The old forces are using a disruptive approach. As Falun Dafa practitioners, only by diligently studying the Fa, can we destroy those evil arrangements.

Teacher has told us:

"Some students show their attachments, but some students don't, they keep them inside and they're incredibly attached, and in the end they can't let them go on their own. The evil will make you more and more abnormal, and make you fall hard-so hard you'll never forget it for the rest of your life." (Fa-Lecture During the 2003 Lantern Festival at the U.S. West Fa Conference)

Teacher said in a poem:

"Don't Be Sad

Your body lies in prison - don't be sorrowful, don't be sad

With righteous thoughts and righteous actions, Fa is here

Calmly reflect on how many attachments you have

As you get rid of human mentality, evil naturally disappears"

(Hong Yin II, Provisional translation)

If we understand the poem in a general way, we can see that it is not just talking about practitioners who are in jails and labor camps -- if we extend the meaning of the word "prison", aren't all practitioners in China living in a big prison when they the evil Chinese Communist Party (CCP) dictates to them?

In this case, we do need to look inward to find and get rid of our human mentalities and attachments. We do not accept the old forces, but Teacher has made use of the old forces arrangements to save us and all of the people in the world. So, we need to purify ourselves in the persecution, and not leave any loopholes for the old forces and evil to use. While validating Falun Dafa and saving sentient beings, we need to cultivate ourselves at all times, and get rid of loopholes when we find them. This way we can follow our Teacher to return to our true homes in full purity.

Looking at the situation of practitioners in China, "fear" is a major reason that many practitioners have not stepped forward. Our task is clear now: to help Teacher rectify the Fa and save sentient beings! But some fellow practitioners are still hiding in their homes because of their "fears." How can we save sentient beings in this way? In "My Version of a 'Stick Wake Up'" (October 11, 2004), Teacher said:

"Let me make this clear to you: the period before July 20, 1999, was one of personal cultivation and comprehending the Fa, and in the process of comprehending it one could arrive at Consummation, but that is not the end of a Dafa disciple's cultivation; in the ensuing five years, the situation has been reversed, who can truly make it and who cannot needs to be seen, those who are not truly cultivating are weeded out, and the five years have been a time when those Dafa disciples who truly cultivate establish their mighty virtue and save beings."

In "Study the Fa Well, and Getting Rid of Attachments is Not Hard" (July 20, 2005), Teacher told us:

"The fact is, those who can't step forward, regardless of the excuse, are concealing fear. Yet for cultivators, fear or lack thereof proves [one's] humanity or divinity, and it is what differentiates cultivators from ordinary people. It is something that a cultivator must face, and the biggest human attachment that a cultivator must remove."

In "Fa-Rectification Period Dafa Disciples," (August 18, 2001), Teacher told us:

"Did you know that Fa-rectification disciples who aren't able to come through the Fa-rectification period will not have another chance to cultivate, because throughout history you have already been given all the best things? Today you have barely had any hardship in your personal cultivation, and you haven't been asked to bear the enormous sins yourselves that you committed over your many lifetimes. Meanwhile, I have enabled you to raise your levels in the fastest way, kept everything good from your past, replenished things with what's better at every level for you, always given you in cultivation all the most magnificent things of every realm, and have made it possible for you to return after Consummation to your highest realm's position. These are the things that can be made known to you. There is more, which you can't know about at this time. Dafa disciples are magnificent because you are here at the same time as the period of Master's Fa-rectification and are able to safeguard and uphold Dafa. If what you do is no longer worthy of a Dafa disciple, think about it, if under the greatest mercy since the beginning of Heaven and Earth and under Buddha's infinite grace you still can't do well, how could there be another chance?"

Now you are afraid of evil that comes to arrest you, or monster spirits that come to persecute you. But should we ask ourselves: "Am I afraid of failing to fulfill my pledge? Afraid that the sentient beings I should save will be destroyed?" Fellow practitioners with fears should look inside, get rid of any "fears," and step forward openly to do the things that save sentient beings.

Hiding at home with fear and attachments in our hearts does not provide safety. One fellow practitioner said in an article published on the internet: "It's dangerous to come out of the home, but, it's more dangerous to stay home and hide. The only way to guarantee our safety is to be righteous!" So safe or not, the key is that we are on the righteous road. Among the arrested practitioners, some had been staying at home or had done things that damaged Falun Dafa. The Old Forces are testing such practitioners to see if they qualify as practitioners. Our Teacher is offering opportunities to let them prove that they are genuine practitioners. Teacher said in

Hong Yin II:

"What Is There to Be Afraid of

If you have fear, it will seize you;

As soon as your thoughts are righteous, the evil will collapse;

As a cultivator, bear the Fa in mind;

Send forth righteous thoughts, the rotten demons are blasted away;

The gods are in the human world, to validate the Fa."

(Provisional translation from Hong Yin II)

Practitioners who are suffering from illness karma persecution should really look inside now. Fear may not be the only attachment, but every case has reasons behind it.

Those practitioners persecuted by illness-karma have something in common. They do not like to, or dare not, look inward to find their problems (myself included) or just do it superficially. In many cases, they use a human mindset to cover up the attachments, which actually hurt themselves. When fellow practitioners point out the problems, they defend themselves instead of accepting the advice. For example, one female practitioner suffered for over six months with a disease that made her very thin and drastically changed her appearance. When asked if she had identified the reason for this, she said that the evil "muscular atrophy demon" was persecuting her. That reasoning had nothing to do with her attachments!

Another key point is that some practitioners are very protective of themselves. When fellow practitioners point out their loopholes or attachments, they do not acknowledge the problems, which allow the evil into the practitioner's fields. As the evil accumulates, the persecution becomes serious and might even take away that practitioner's life if he or she does not have strong righteous thoughts.

Some practitioners have cultivated seven to eight years, but will still become angry whenever someone points out his or her problems. In "Teaching the Fa at the 2004 Chicago Conference" (May 23, 2004), Teacher said:

"Have you noticed that a lot of our students can't take criticism from others? As soon as they are criticized they get mad and aren't able to take it. These things stick out pretty badly now. Think about it carefully. You can't even take criticism from me, your master. Today you all know that Master is truly doing things for your sake and has been speaking about the Fa to you with compassion. If I were to change my demeanor and talk to you bluntly, immediately you wouldn't be able to take it, really."

If all of us could look inward at all times, not be annoyed even when strongly criticized, and ask our fellow practitioners to help us, then even though we might have shortcomings, we could help the others and the evil won't find any weak spots to attack.

Cultivation is a very serious issue. Deceit and luck are not allowed here. During the final stage of cultivation, we should study the Fa, study the Fa, and study the Fa! While doing the three things Teacher asks of us, we should totally eliminate various desires and attachments, purify ourselves so we will be in line with the Fa, and be qualified practitioners. Only in this way can we fulfill our duties in saving sentient beings, and be worthy of Teacher's efforts to save and teach us.