On the Cultivation Path towards Godhood
(Clearwisdom.net) The past six years of my Fa-rectification period cultivation was a process of assimilating to the Fa, and of preparing myself from a life in the old universe to one in the new universe. The crucial factor lay in eliminating attachments and human notions through assimilation to the Fa.
"But a person always has to enlighten on his own to what he should do in the face of tribulations. Every time a person improves, the Attainment Status he has validated and enlightened to rises." ("Path", Essentials for Further Advancement II)
1. Righteous Thoughts and Actions, Cultivate Diligently
The greatest difficulty during cultivation is to enlighten to the Fa and achieve higher levels.
"The enlightenment that we actually refer to is a matter of whether in the course of cultivation practice one can enlighten to and accept the Fa taught by the master or the Tao taught by the Taoist master, whether one can treat oneself as a practitioner upon encountering tribulations, and whether one can adhere to the Fa while practicing cultivation." ("Enlightenment, Lecture 9," Zhuan Falun)
Enlightenment comes from studying the Fa. Whenever I am assimilated into the Fa, my way is straight and smooth, and when not, I will meander or swerve.
I attained the Fa in 1997 and felt that I had attained it rather late. Therefore, I was very diligent in studying the Fa. I did not look up to individuals or follow the crowd. I did whatever I enlightened to in the Fa. After the persecution began on July 20, 1999, I did not understand why the persecution did not come immediately to an end, even though so many practitioners had gone to Beijing to appeal. Except for looking within, I spent much of my time studying the Fa, day-in and day-out.
Gradually, my mind became clear. Remembering how Jesus was crucified on the cross, I understood why the persecution happened. I knew that Teacher was suffering for us. Thus, a practitioner must guard the Fa and expose the lies and slander of Teacher.
Despite my enlightenment, fear held me in its clutches. Letting go of life and death was one of my biggest challenges. It is a matter of achieving godhood or remaining human. Fear is the result of layers of human notions and attachments. Fear appeared at different times, but I did not try to sidestep or avoid it. I went forward head-on, spending much time on eliminating "fear." Fear did not hold me back. I cleansed myself while doing what I should do.
From July 20, 1999 to 2000, I went three times to appeal in Beijing, and opened Falun Dafa banners to validate the Fa. I also appealed to the local government, wrote open letters, practiced Falun Gong in a group setting, set up materials sites etc. It was by no means easy to let go of attachments and notions. But, being diligent in studying the Fa helped my mind become clear, and I cultivated determinedly. The Fa guided all that I did, at all times.
For example, at the end of 1999, I went to Tiananmen Square to validate the Fa. The local police wanted to take me to a forced labor camp. Though some practitioners thought that the labor camp and prisons were good cultivation places, based on my understanding of the Fa, I had no desire to be in a forced labor camp and refused to write any guarantees. I told Teacher in my mind, "I am not afraid of hardships. But in the camp, I cannot study the Fa or do the exercises. If I could not study the Fa and do the exercises, what's the use of suffering. With this thought, I negated the evil arrangement.
I noticed that fellow practitioners lost contact with each other and the Fa study environment and group practice were no longer available. Yet, Teacher remained silent. I realized that the evil began its campaign by stopping our Fa-study and group practice environment, because these were what it feared most. Therefore, we practitioners should excel in these aspects.
Yet, I still held fear. I realized that fear was the biggest stumbling block in validating the Fa. I believed that by diligently studying the Fa, I could eliminate fear at its root.
"If a piece of sawdust drops into a furnace of molten steel, it will vanish in a twinkling. It would be effortless for an immense Fa such as ours to assimilate a person like you, to eliminate your karma, to remove your improper thoughts, and so forth." ("Lecture at the First Conference in North America")
The key is that I assimilate to the Fa. I held constantly the thought that I would never just be someone looking at the Fa from the outside and I should study the Fa well. Thus, I had a good Fa-study environment at home, my work place and with fellow practitioners. Fa-study laid a good foundation for my future Fa-validation efforts.
In my understanding, "fear" is complex and is composed of attachments, notions, uncertainty and not fully understanding the Fa. Once one recognizes its nature, it is not that difficult to eliminate. This is also the process of achieving higher levels. At each stage, fear may trouble me again, but I use the Fa to discover and dissolve it. Thus, I was able to validate the Fa, and cleanse myself. Fear withered.
Though the environment was horrifying, I was diligent in doing what I should do. I invited fellow practitioners to my home to watch Teacher's lectures and share experiences, and practiced as a group the exercises at the District Government Square. Later many practitioners came out to practice and we had no trouble for a long time. If we were arrested, we did not cooperate with the evil. The detention center dared not take us because all of us knew why we were there and cooperated very well with each other.
Later Teacher told us to clarify the facts to all people. From that time on I began clarifying the facts to co-workers, relatives and friends. I also copied materials and sent them to people I knew. I also bought a computer and a printer to set up a material site.
In the process, human notions bothered me frequently. Sometimes I felt afraid after an event. On the surface, I even held greater fear than others. But since I was assimilated into the Fa and understood clearly what I was doing, I faced attachments head-on and eliminated them through cultivation and Fa-study. I firmly believe that by always following the Fa, we always know what to expect. This cleanses our minds and allows us to make progress.
Fa-validation is also a process of cleansing myself, looking within, breaking away from human notions, and letting go of attachments. This helped me realize that to sign documentation at the detention center is to cooperate with the evil. Therefore, when I was arrested after my second trip to Beijing, I refused to sign any paper, even a release notice. A police officer told me that other practitioners signed. I told him, "I am myself. I have not broken any laws and you should not detain me." The policeman consulted his leader and finally asked my husband to sign the release notice. I tried to stop my husband, but several police officers stopped me. I was unhappy that my husband signed. This incident made me realize that I had to let go of something, otherwise, my husband would not have signed. I wondered what my problem was?
Through Fa-study, I came to understand that I refused to sign from human notions and did not understand the meaning of the signature from the Fa perspective. I had to correct this mistake. The next morning, I told my husband that it was wrong of him to sign for me. I asked him to get the signed document so I could destroy it. My husband got the document from the police department. The police told my husband that they knew that I would not agree and that I was angry the day before.
I discussed this issue with fellow practitioners. They were shocked, as this had happened often to other practitioners. Actually, to sign these documents is wrong. Cultivation has to occur deep within and not on the surface. Everything depends on our thoughts. No matter where we are, we should do everything from within the Fa and be strict with ourselves. Whatever happens to us relates to our cultivation.
2. Learn Our Lesson and Take Responsibility
Before 2000, local practitioners paid great attention to Fa-study. After Teacher published "Towards Consummation," we were very diligent in studying the Fa. We would read the entire Zhuan Falun within two days. Every cell of mine became energetic and I began to see more truths of the Fa. Fa-study helped us correct mistakes quickly. Many practiced openly and created a relatively relaxed environment. After setting up a materials site, our truth clarification work also did not fall behind.
But problems began to appear. Some practitioners counted how many times one had gone to Beijing, had been jailed and suffered, and advocated going to Beijing in groups or go to jail by ourselves. Some felt that they had accumulated merit during the past year, and said that if a practitioner only became involved in Fa-validation work after Teacher's article, one would not consummate but could only accumulate "merit and virtue." Loopholes appeared among several good veteran practitioners. Practitioners were arrested on a large scale and material sites were destroyed. From the end of 2000 to May 2001, some fellow practitioners were "reformed." Several fellow practitioners who were coordinators or in charge of producing materials were imprisoned or sent to forced labor camps. Some even were brainwashed and helped "reform" others.
I was shocked by what happened. Though I saw problems in our groups, I could not imagine the persecution was so serious. I felt the solemnity of cultivation. Looking at practitioners' behavior, I believe that we did not understand that cultivation is the cleansing of our mind. Teacher pointed out in "Towards Consummation" that the persecution is a full-scale test. If one is not assimilated to the Fa, one might not be able to pass the test at a critical moment. I was not arrested or detained. Some said that I was lucky. Actually, the persecution was not something that could be avoided using human methods. The key is our ability to cleanse our thoughts and minds with the Fa.
During the ensuing five years, I experienced or heard of similar large-scale persecution in different areas. Many practitioners whom I believed to be very good or coordinators suffered under the persecution. Every time such persecution happened, I was shocked. I learned from these lessons. Though practitioners as a group have loopholes, local coordinators also need to accept fault.
I was also a coordinator. Why did those with leading roles or those who were "well-known" suffer more from the persecution? I think it happens because human notions are mixed in with our Fa-validation work. If we as a group cannot realize the problem, and accept the concepts of hero, leader, scholars, famous persons, etc, and apply those concepts to Fa-rectification cultivation, it simply does not work.
From lessons I learned, all practitioners are equal, although each one has different, special skills. We should not focus our attention or hopes on just a few coordinators or a few practitioners. This way we add invisible pressure on them. If pressure comes because of praise or admiration, it could bring mishaps to those practitioners.
Coordinators should pay more attention to self-cultivation. Just be part of the group and see yourself as a practitioner first, and share the work among practitioners. Do not use results or workload to judge yourself or other practitioners. Falun Dafa looks at people's mind directly. Do not leave loopholes, so the old force could find excuses to persecute us. Actually, no matter how much work and how big a task you do, if you do not focus on cultivating your mind, you cannot make progress in your cultivation.
Easier said than done! In the beginning of being a coordinator, I worked hard and cooperated well with fellow practitioners. The entire area was doing well. But, after some time, others learned to trust or even admire me, and I became "famous." During experience sharing, others might like to hear the "famous" ones talk, etc. This way, I became unintentionally important, felt that I had achieved status, and even looked down on others. Luckily, I continued to study the Fa, and stopped myself in time. Actually danger arises from such situation and creates a dangerous loophole.
I found such situations in different areas. I saw the danger of being "famous," and was vigilant. But the show-off mentality and selfishness showed up without being called. Since there was an opening, I might become confused. Therefore, I kept a diary with reminders to keep my guard up. Unfortunately, I got used to the environment, and accepted my special status. It was the beginning of a downward spiral. During that time, I became uncomfortable when somebody said something I did not want to hear. The rules in ordinary society are just the opposite of the righteous laws of the universe. It is most dangerous when all people treat you well. Then you must pay the greatest attention to your mind. If we forget that our ability comes from the Fa and our achievements are due to the arrangement by our Teacher, then we go wrong. Actually, most coordinators could realize this kind of mistake. But it exists at different levels, and comes at you at the most inopportune moments. Therefore, it is important for us to keep a clear mind at all times, although it is difficult.
Our attachments that formed over a long historical period are like mountains. We may not be able to remove them, but if we cultivate ourselves, the attachments lessen because Teacher will help us. At the beginning, I told fellow practitioners not to praise or admire me and told them my problems. But, later I found that I actually enjoyed praise and admiration. Having recognized this, I realized that this as an opportunity to let go of the attachment of "seeking fame" and cleanse my mind.
"From the perspective of a higher life, the development of human society progresses according to the specific law of development. Therefore, what one does in life is not arranged based on one's abilities. Buddhism believes in the principle of karmic retribution. One's life is arranged according to one's karma. No matter how capable you are, if you do not have de, perhaps you will have nothing in this life. You think that another person is good at nothing, but he has a lot of de. He could become a high-ranking official or make a big fortune. " ("Jealousy, lecture 7," Zhuan Falun)
These were my lessons and experiences when I was a coordinator. It helped me recognize what could also be a stumbling block for other coordinators.
A coordinator must discipline him/herself. When conflicts appear, he or she must look within for the problems and be compassionate to fellow practitioners, instead of complaining. Validating the Fa should always be the most important thing. We are not validating ourselves!
In the past years, I experienced many mental tribulations. Besides my regular coordinating work, I also was responsible for a special project, which had to be kept secret from others. This led to some misunderstanding and made my job difficult. Due to my problems and other issues, the evil caused damage three times and harmed this special project. Three times, some practitioners said that I was a special agent, or even alleged that I was damaging the Fa. Persecution in other dimensions and misunderstandings from fellow practitioners were difficult to overcome in the short time needed. But I knew that as a practitioner, I had to face problems or hardships head-on. Therefore, during difficult times, no matter what I thought at that particular moment, I looked within after the incident. I refused steadfastly to complain or find someone who might agree with me or show compassion towards me. Complaining calms your human mind for a short while, but it is not good and we should not wallow in it or be controlled by it.
On the surface, others might be wrong. But in any conflict, as long as we look within, we always find room to improve ourselves. Evil interruptions should be eliminated. But, cultivators must look within. Bad thoughts, attachments, and elements of the old forces are afraid when we look within. Only when we find and eliminate bad notions, attachments, and disturbances from the old forces can we save sentient beings successfully.
When we have raised our levels, tribulations will disappear automatically. In the process, I came to understand the deeper meaning of looking within. Why should we see other practitioners' jobs as being the same as ours? The reason is that this is the standard and prerequisite for a Falun Dafa practitioner in fulfilling his/her duties. This way, we become impartial, and thus become very considerate of others. We can see everything from other people's point of view. When we always consider others as more important, we can understand the significance of existing for others. We can feel the greatness and magnificence of being free of attachments and the significance of un-selfishness.
3. Study the Fa Well, and Negate the Arrangement by the Evil with Righteous Thoughts
Because of the persecution, I was forced to leave home. After Teacher's "To the Second Dafa Conference in Russia" was published, I read it over and over again. The next morning, I read it again and again while preparing truth clarification material with a fellow practitioner. I suddenly understood the deep meaning of Teacher's words. The feeling is beyond my ability to describe in human language. I understood many things, such as how local practitioners could form a unified body, my duties, what I should do, and even who I should see.
The next day, I found that practitioner that was in my mind. She had become a coordinator and needed help. Therefore, I began coordinating again. In the beginning, we did well. We coordinated an activity that took us to over ten counties. We shared experiences with fellow practitioners. This encouraged many practitioners to become active in Fa-rectification work. We had established two big material supply centers. Over 30 practitioners who left home because of the persecution downloaded, printed and delivered materials. We had a good beginning. We got up early in the morning, and sent forth righteous thoughts for one to two hours. But later, conflict began to appear. Much of the conflict originated from me. I looked within continuously, but still could not resolve some problems. Teacher had repeatedly reminded me not to stay at my parents' home, but I did not enlighten to it. In 2002, I was arrested and detained. I was released after one month due to my righteous thoughts.
In summarizing this event, I found that except for relaxing in a relatively safe environment, my cultivation level was not at the point that allowed me to accept certain responsibilities. On the surface, I worked hard at my cultivation, but it was erratic and I was not yet steady.
"Because many people could not maintain good xinxing in the past, many problems occurred. After their practice reached a certain level, they could not make further progress. Some people have a high xinxing level to begin with. Their Celestial Eye are opened at once with the practice and can reach a certain realm. Because this person has relatively good inborn quality and a high xinxing level, his gong increases rapidly. By the time the gong reaches his xinxing level, the gong has also increased up to that level. If he wants to continue increasing his gong, the conflict will also become very serious, as it requires him to keep upgrading xinxing. This is particularly true for a person with good inborn quality. He may think that his gong has been increasing well and the practice also goes very well. Why are there suddenly so many problems? Everything goes wrong. People mistreat him, and his boss also does not favor him. Even the situation at home becomes very tense. Why are there so many problems all of a sudden? This person himself might not get it. Because of his good inborn quality, he has reached a certain level that brings about this situation. Yet how can that be a practitioner's final criterion for completing cultivation? It is far from the end of cultivation practice! You must continue to upgrade yourself. Because of that little amount of your inborn quality you have reached this state. In order to ascend further, the standard must be raised as well." ("Upgrading Xinxing, Lecture 4," Zhuan Falun)
I discovered my problem! But, how could I upgrade myself? I began to recite Zhuan Falun. After reciting the book once, I learned a lot. But still, I could not enlighten to some aspects of it. I felt deep pain because I could not overcome this obstacle.
At the same time, I shared experience with two diligent practitioners. They helped me understand why we should study the Fa. We are Fa-rectification practitioners. To this day, Teacher's Fa is the sole source we can rely on. It is the Fa that empowers us with anything we need. Now I realized that although I was certain to have studied the Fa diligently, my attachments blocked my deep understanding of its wisdom. I understood that I had not been as diligent as I thought in my Fa-study.
After eliminating these notions, I made rapid progresses during my Fa-study. I could feel that I rose many levels each day. I realized that when we reach the level at a certain realm, we could destroy the arrangements by the old forces at that level, and our Fa-rectification work would be smooth or trouble-free. Otherwise, no matter how hard we work, it's just like ordinary people doing ordinary work. In Fa-study, we keep on eliminating our old notions because we constantly enlighten to the Fa. The mechanism of looking within is a powerful tool. It helps us improve in words and actions, and purify ourselves.
As my mind became clearer, the barriers blocking me from studying the Fa were broken through layer by layer. I began to recite all new articles Teacher published. I felt that every one of my cells was eager to recite the Fa. When I recited, my mind and soul could assimilate to the Fa. I felt that I melted more and more into the Fa. I experienced more of Teacher's compassion, and could rectify my thoughts instantly. After reciting each new article, I could feel a big change, and Teacher's Fa would direct me to do a good job in my Fa-rectification work.
In 2002, the brutal persecution escalated, because of the local TV interception effort by practitioners. We suffered heavy losses, but I was not discouraged. Instead, I felt that I should accept greater responsibility. I analyzed the reasons for the persecution and I found that deviated evil elements in other dimensions, and problems within us were at work. The major problem was that we were not sufficiently diligent in our Fa-study. We could not achieve the requirements at different levels.
Realizing that the persecution is by evil beings from other dimensions, I understood that we had to negate the arrangements of the old forces, and we had to rectify ourselves in other dimensions. We had to change from the micro level. Fa-study is the sole path that allows us to reach this goal. Though Fa-study and assimilating to the Fa, the huge colossal universes corresponding to us would refresh themselves. This way we could break through from the micro-level to the surface level, negate the arrangements by the old forces at all levels, refresh all old elements of the old universes, and save all sentient beings in various dimensions. In this human world, miracles would accompany our changes in the other dimensions and we would achieve good results.
Facing the cruel action of the evil and having to deal with interruptions in our associations, we began to rectify other dimensions, because things are arranged from smaller particles to larger particles, until we broke through to the surface. While studying the Fa diligently, we sent forth righteous thoughts. We asked all local practitioners, to eliminate all evil in other dimensions, which were disrupting the Fa locally. We used our combined power to re-establish new material production sites, and achieved cohesion among local practitioners. Now, it did not take us long to set up new materials sites. We also stopped plots that would have resulted in the abduction of practitioners, including brainwashing sessions, and photo exhibitions that slander the Fa, etc.
From that time onward, we achieved greater diligence in our Fa-study as a group. Therefore, during the past two years, our local area has become a relatively stable cultivation environment.
In 2004 and 2005, we suffered escalated persecution twice. The root cause is still that we did not study the Fa enough. In retrospect, we now know that the Fa is the sole source we must rely on. Our wisdom, our power, our successes, and our lives are all a gift from the Fa.
But why do we still fail at times, although we understand this? I think this is because we are still cultivating our human body. Human notions and concepts can disturb us if we are not diligent. So it's very important to keep strong righteous thoughts at all times. The other point is that the closer to the end, the more stringent the requirements are. So we should pay more attention to Fa-study, as it is the key to successful cultivation.
"In order to explore this domain, humankind must fundamentally change its conventional thinking." (Lunyu, Zhuan Falun)
As long as we are firmly rooted in the Fa, we will achieve godhood. This can be achieved by being a diligent Falun Dafa disciple.
(Articles from the Second Mainland China Internet Experience Sharing Conference)