Do the Three Things Well
Greetings Respected Master! Greetings fellow practitioners!
It is my honor to once again take part in the Mainland China Internet Experience Sharing Conference for Falun Dafa practitioners, because this opportunity is hard to come by. I would like to summarize some of my experiences and understandings while doing the three things well that Falun Dafa practitioners should do in this period. I hope we practitioners can learn from each other and improve together.
1. Studying the Fa, Practicing the Exercises and Cultivating Xinxing
Reciting the Fa
For one year now I have been reciting the Fa. Through recitation I have understood so much! I hope that fellow practitioners can also learn; it's completely different from reading. You can really notice a difference when you begin to recite the Fa. Reciting the Fa is also the best solution to overcoming interference from thought karma, because if you can't calm your mind, you can't recite the Fa at all. When you are able to recite peacefully and calmly, without other thoughts in mind, then you are truly reciting. While reciting, what is in your mind and coming out of your mouth is the Fa, and only the Fa. This state really meets the criterion that Master asks of us. Master has always stated that we should study the Fa with a peaceful mind. My understanding is that even if we study just a few paragraphs with a calm mind this is more beneficial than studying the entire book with a troubled mind. The process of reciting the Fa can enable us to reach a peaceful state of mind that is suitable for studying the Fa, and at the same time, reciting the Fa can guide our cultivation practice.
I hesitated for a long time while considering to begin reciting the Fa. I always felt that the Fa was too long to learn, or felt it would be a waste of time as it was not as fast and easy as reading the Fa. We can read many pages in the same amount of time it takes to learn to recite only a small amount. I also thought that I didn't know how to recite. My other concern was regarding time. I felt that maybe there wasn't enough time to learn to recite, and that maybe I should just keep reading.
I read an article from a fellow practitioner once in the Minghui Weekly (The Chinese language version of the Clearwisdom.net website, in digest format, available to Falun Gong practitioners in China) that described how to recite the Fa. Reading this article improved my understanding a great deal. I felt that the other practitioners' method was quite good and seemed well-suited for me. I have used the same method all along. Now I will detail this method for you, and anyone who would like to recite the Fa can refer to it. Just adopt it according to your own circumstances.
To begin with, I learned to recite paragraph by paragraph. I would read and memorize each sentence in the paragraph and then recite the entire paragraph. Once I knew it, I moved on to the next paragraph. You don't have to think about the previous paragraph over and over again once you can recite it. Don't try to recall it, just go on. This way after you've recited the whole book once, you will discover that some sentences you felt familiar with before when reading the Fa are not so familiar now. You may find that you used to constantly misread, add or omit words in your mind. For these types of mistakes, we must correct them one by one, and keep them in mind.
The next time you start reciting the book, you can take each section as one unit. Based on your ability to recite each paragraph well, link the content in each section together as you recite. It is a good idea to check back and forth to deepen your understanding of the connections between paragraphs. You may even take notes on the places that are not correctly recited or try to write from memory if taking notes doesn't work. In this way, recite the entire book section by section.
The third time you recite the book, take one lecture as a unit. Recite section by section, while linking the sections together from the beginning to the end within each lecture. Do not worry about being slow at this point. It is most important that you recite accurately. Each time it will become easier. It may take many tries to recite one section at first, but as you continue, you may find that it takes only two or three tries to recite the section accurately. Suddenly you will find that you can memorize the whole section, and it is getting easier and easier to link the sections together.
Do not worry about forgetting the previous part after you recite the current part, and don't try learning too much - too fast. Do not develop any human thoughts and don't set a quota for each day. Proceed naturally, quietly and peacefully; recite word by word, sentence by sentence, and assimilate to Dafa. Meanwhile, look for spare time to read Master's other lectures.
Practicing the Exercises
My state while practicing the exercises varies. Sometimes doing the sitting meditation for one hour can be very relaxing; my mind can also be peaceful, clean and clear. But I have not experienced a state of thoughtlessness or tranquility for very long. I can only say that I am able to limit my thoughts quite a bit. Sometimes there are thoughts, sometimes there are not. Those are the good times. But during bad times, the circumstances can be quite different from what I just described. Sometimes my legs will be hurting and I will have the thought to take my legs down (although I can still hold my legs until the end of the hour). Sometimes my legs don't hurt, but my mind will be troubled, and this feels very painful. During those times I am completely unable to calm my mind. Some other times I get so mentally fatigued it is as if I am sleeping. If this state gets too extreme my arms will suddenly feel like they are being pushed, or my body will shudder, and I will become more clear minded, but soon I might fall into that muddled state of mind again. This process could repeat several times.
During a certain period of time, the state of my practicing the exercises was bad and I almost could not finish all the five sets of exercises daily. At other times I didn't even do the exercises. Finally, one day I pledged to Master that I would do the exercises well. I noticed that I hesitated before the pledge. I was worried about what I would do if I didn't do well. But my next thought was, "If I don't even dare to make a pledge to Teacher, how can I call myself a Falun Dafa disciple?" Then I made up my mind to make a pledge to Teacher. From that day on I have kept doing the exercises in the middle of the night. Sometimes I do the fifth exercise at night, and then do 1-4 early the next morning. I have never stopped unless there is something special going on.
As a Dafa practitioner, I feel like my state of cultivation is still similar to when I had just started cultivation. That is to say, recently I realized that I have not been taking myself as a genuine practitioner for a long time now. I forgot to cultivate myself while validating the Fa, forgot to maintain my xinxing at a high level, and did not strictly adhere to the Fa.
After I started reciting the Fa, I noticed all kinds of degenerate human concepts and stubborn notions within my mind. They appeared as big as mountains and as solid as granite. While I clearly realized that I have to get rid of all of my attachments and assimilate to Dafa, I still could not control myself when my stubborn notions were hit apon.
Each day I kept telling myself to gaurd my xinxing and conduct myself strictly according to Dafa's requirements. But I still found that I could not maintain my xinxing when faced with certain situations. The situation I most frequently encountered was when I clearly knew that there was something that I should not do, but I would still do it, and do it in the worst way. Why couldn't I keep my xinxing up and do it right, especially when I knew the right path before I took the wrong road? We must get rid of those bad and dirty things! I understood the principle that
"Cultivation depends on one's own efforts, while the transformation of Gong is done by one's master," (from Zhuan Falun, March 2000 translation version)
but I ought to be able to achieve a higher standard. I knew that I could not become perfect all at once, but at least I should be able to prevent my xinxing from dropping. If I can't make it better, at least I can't make it worse.
But it was really hard to do. I didn't do well for a few days, always realizing my shortcoming too late. I could not control my mind in the face of the test. Why? I realized that I based things on the wrong foundation. I forgot what Master said in the Fa that,
"You must cultivate your inner self and not pursue things externally." (Zhuan Falun)
As a cultivator, we should cultivate ourselves, and look at ourselves. Of course we should look for what we did not do well. This is the side that I realized before. Now I realized the other side: we should keep a peaceful and harmonious mind, keep our thoughts compassionate, treat others with compassion, and tell ourselves to do everything right. We cultivators should require ourselves to do things well while trying to correct ourselves, which is equivalent to restraining ourselves and not doing bad things. In this way we can approach the point of doing things well.
Cultivation in fact is to cultivate one's self. We can't request this of other people, we can't look for bad things in other people, and we can't demand others to do things well. You saw and you thought of those bad things in others only because you yourself have bad thoughts. It is from your own bad thoughts that you became concerned about the weaknesses of others. A cultivator's tolerance is not that of an ordinary person understanding others. Instead, it is the grand manifestation of compassion that comes after rising in cultivation levels. Such greatness is different from the broad-mindedness of non-practitioners.
2. Sending Forth Righteous Thoughts
I read Master's lecture when He first introduced sending forth righteous thoughts, but after a long time when I read Master's lectures again, I found that my mind intent was incorrect when sending forth righteous thoughts and I had not followed Master's requirements. After I compared my mentality to the Fa and corrected it, when I sent forth righteous thoughts I could feel the Chinese character for "eliminate" ("mie") was sent out vertically in other dimensions. I was aware of the gong (a type of energy) through my celestial eye, as it dashed forward at an extremely fast speed, clearing away everything that was evil in its path. At the same time the gong seemed to be constantly enlarging its coverage. Sometimes I could see a big piece of black substance disappear instantaneously. At other times the gong would hit something hard and thick, like a wall, and occasionally even a building-like substance, and a huge explosion would occur. The obstacles would be thoroughly cleaned up. But sometimes I did not have enough power while sending forth righteous thoughts and a few explosions didn't move anything. I then asked for Master's strengthening. At the same time I focused all of my thoughts on reciting the character "mie." As a result, I eliminated the obstacles completely in a short time.
This kind of state would last for a while. One day when I sent forth righteous thoughts, the character "mie" appeared all of a sudden. The character was so huge. As it stood on the ground and reached up to the heavens it appeared as if enlarging according to the strongest of my mind intent. Layers and layers of the character "mie" appeared so huge, with one bigger than the next, until they filled up the whole cosmos. From that moment on, whenever I sent out righteous thoughts, the character "mie" would appear before my eyes.
But I often have too many confused things on my mind when sending forth righteous thoughts. For a long time I neglected to cleanse my mind before sending forth righteous thoughts. At the beginning I did not know how to purify my mind, even though I recited Master's Fa,
"...our students can quiet their minds for five minutes, sitting with their hands in Jieyin and thinking about eliminating the bad thoughts, karma, bad notions, and external interference in their minds. As you're like this, think that they die, and then they will be eliminated. Five minutes will do." ("Teaching the Fa at the 2001 Canada Fa Conference")
I didn't know if I should keep repeating the verses during the five minutes, or if I should "think that they die," or if I should neutralize my mind first according to the requirements of sending forth righteous thoughts. I didn't understand what I should do, so I sometimes didn't even bother to cleanse my mind. But I still sent forth righteous thoughts at the usual times.
Then I realized that I must do what Master requires. Thinking about what Master said in the Fa,
"Cultivation depends on one's own efforts, while the transformation of gong is done by one's master." (Zhuan Falun)
"You can only have such a wish and think about it like that, but it is the master who actually does these things." (Zhuan Falun)
Then I suddenly realized something: As long as I can recite the verses with a calm and peaceful mind, the five minutes without intent before sending forth righteous thoughts will do. This is my current understanding and way of doing it.
I feel that I could not always reach the point that Master required of us; (of course I sometimes reached the point of sending out strong and pure righteous thoughts and sensed the state of being embraced by the energy), but sometimes I experienced more or less all kinds of preoccupation with thoughts and sometimes my mind was not very clear and started to think of something else without noticing it while sending righteous thoughts. Not knowing what I was doing I would suddenly wake up and notice that my hands had fallen down. Then I realized that I was truly not diligent. I have to make best use of my cultivation time. Only if I truly improve myself can I then possess strong righteous thoughts and truly meet Master's requirements for sending forth righteous thoughts.
3. Clarifying the Truth, Saving People
Over the past few years I have done many things to save sentient beings, but I can seldom clarify the truth clearly. Initially I only went out to distribute truth clarification materials in a community or on the street. Normally I distributed flyers around a group of buildings. Afterwards I started to think of clarifying the truth to people close to me face to face.
On day as I got off work and returned home I thought while walking that I would clarify the truth face to face. I wanted to take this step and hoped that Master could help me. Coinciding with this thought, a clear white light appeared in my body, extending from the bottom of my feet to the top of my head. I knew that Master was encouraging me and supporting me to follow through on my wish. From that moment on I started to look for all kinds of opportunities to clarify the truth to my co-workers, but I wasn't able to reach everyone.
After that we also started to promote the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party and urged people to quit the Chinese Communist Party, the Chinese Communist Youth League and the Young Pioneers League. I watched a CD on the Nine Commentaries once carefully at first, but when it was time to talk to people, I felt that I didn't know how to, and always felt it was so difficult to open my mouth. I started to write down the gist of what I wanted to tell people and showed the notes to my co-workers, but the effect was not so good. Some accepted what I had to say, and some didn't. For those who did not accept it, I didn't say any more. I thought "Just let it be."
Then one day I read an article in Minghui Weekly where another practitioner related what he did to urge people to quit the Communist party. I felt very good about this practitioner's approach, so I copied it down. After reading it through and memorizing it, I adjusted it a little according to my situation, and then set up the whole plan of what I wanted to talk about. I gained some confidence from this, so I started to talk to my co-workers, urging them to quit. I didn't expect the first response I got to be, "I don't believe anything." After I talked to her, she said that she wanted to think it over. By the time I asked her again she simply accepted. This added to my confidence, and after that I talked to one person after another. I recalled those who didn't quit when I tried to approach them with my written notes and spoke with them again, face to face. As a result, those co-workers who didn't quit last time quit this time.
Looking back over my few years of Fa rectification cultivation, there is such a discrepancy between what I've done and what Master asks of us. Right now I just wanted to write this article. My mind was full of upsetting thoughts, thinking about the things that I didn't do well here and there. The whole idea of the article felt like self-criticism. I felt that I let Master down and that I didn't have the confidence to write. But afterwards, little by little, my reasoning took over, and I realized that Master arranged for students to have an experience sharing conference. It is a means to let students share with each other, learn from each other and improve together. Knowing that I am not doing well should make me more diligent, and I should keep trying to do well. I think such a conference is also for the purpose of our writing down those things in our cultivation practice that we think can help others. Together we need to do well the three things that Dafa practitioners should do. So, after correcting my thoughts, I wrote down what I improved on in my cultivation and those things that I think would be useful to others.