On the Path of Cultivation Practice in the Fa-Rectification Period
Greetings, honorable Teacher! Greetings, fellow practitioners!
It is because of Teacher's compassionate protection and the help of fellow Falun Gong practitioners that I was able to cultivate myself in the process of doing truth-clarification work during the past six years during the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) persecution against Falun Gong. It is selfish to receive so much help without giving anything in return. Therefore, I have decided to share my humble insights in my cultivation practice for the past nine years, although I feel I haven't been a good cultivator. Hopefully all my fellow practitioners would kindly point out my inadequacies.
Before the CCP began to persecute Falun Gong on July 20, 1999, we had lots of opportunities to study the Fa, practice the Falun Gong exercises and promote Falun Gong together. Back then we were truly living in heaven. We felt so lucky to have found the truth in Falun Gong that we could hardly express our feelings in words. When the persecution began to inundate China, I felt lost, not knowing what to do. In the past we knew only to strictly conduct ourselves according to the Fa and we remembered that we were cultivators at all times. At the time, we had only a very shallow understanding of Teacher's words:
"Fame, gain, emotion--cultivate each away,
And ascend to the Firmament at Consummation"
(From "Success at Consummation" from Hong Yin)
We didn't realize how much sacrifice we have to make or how much hardship we have to endure in order to reach Consummation.
After six years of cultivation practice in the Fa-rectification period, we have matured a lot. It is not enough for us to just return to our original places. We have an important mission to complete. In order to fulfill our mission, we have to apply the strictest standards on ourselves. We must be righteous in everything we do because we cannot afford to make any mistakes. Otherwise, countless lives would not be saved, which would defeat our purpose. To prevent such a tragedy, we have to cultivate ourselves well unconditionally, solidly and seriously. We have to keep upgrading our cultivation levels in order to complete such a crucial mission so as not to let down the sentient beings that have been waiting for Teacher's salvation and not to waste Teacher's compassionate salvation or infinite hardship He has endured for us.
In the past, I would immediately bicker with those who spoke ill of Falun Gong or said anything disrespectful about Teacher. Sometimes I would even be overcome with anger. Non-practitioners around me didn't understand why I was so serious about my cultivation practice. My relationship with my family members became tense. I experienced a lot of interference in my cultivation practice from my family. I felt bitter and painful as though someone was snatching my heart or drilling my bones. With the progression of the Fa-rectification, I studied Teacher's new Fa lectures more and more, began to understand better about cultivation practice, and to embark on my journey of cultivation in the Fa-rectification period. The two greatest benefits I have experienced are: 1) learning to search inward for my attachments and 2) the necessity of doing the three things well.
How I Learned to Search Inward
At first I failed to clarify the truth well to my old classmates, colleagues and neighbors. It was because I didn't know what to say, except that Falun Gong is good. I was told, "If you feel it is good, why don't you practice Falun Gong only at home? We won't report you to the police." Because the result wasn't good, I began to search inward. I discovered that I didn't really understand my mission from the bottom of my heart. The foundation of my truth-clarification efforts was not right. The result wasn't good because I acted as though I was trying to finish work.
In the past I thought I would do whatever Teacher told us to do. Now I understand and do it because it is something I should do. When I became convinced that I am supposed to be completely altruistic, I no longer tried to "display" what a wonderful person I was. I thought of only helping people understand the truth about Falun Gong so that they will be saved. When people said mean things to me, I would think, "Oh, it is because I failed to clarify the truth well." When the result wasn't good, I would try to take his thoughts into consideration and untie his misunderstandings in a way he could relate to. I would think, "It is because I have come for you. I must save you." Saving people's lives is the only meaning of my life. Thus the result gets better and better each time. Of course, I still haven't done a good job. It is because there are many parts of me that have not assimilated to the Fa. I must strive to completely assimilate to the Fa so that I will do a better job in clarifying the truth.
Teacher told us to establish truth-clarification material sites everywhere. I was delighted to hear that. Teacher also told us to follow the minghui.ca/Clearwisdom.net website's stance when it comes to important issues. Doesn't it mean that Teacher is next to me so that I am able to access minghui.ca/Clearwisdom.net directly?! I am an elderly woman without any special skills. Since I started practicing Falun Gong, I feel young and capable of learning anything. As long as my thoughts are righteous, Teacher will be able to help me in every aspect. While I was anxiously waiting to access minghui.ca/Clearwisdom.net, a fellow practitioner from out of town that I have never met brought me a computer and a printer. In five days I learned how to use the computer.
After I learned how to access minghui.ca/Clearwisdom.net, I realized that I had fallen behind a lot in the Fa-rectification. Since then, I read minghui.ca/Clearwisdom.net every day. Gradually I caught up with the Fa-rectification in my cultivation practice. I was overjoyed beyond words.
In the process of making truth-clarification materials, I discovered that some fellow practitioners didn't pay attention to other practitioners' safety. They thought of only their own safety, but not others'. I realized that I must have the same attachment when fellow practitioners' attachments were revealed to me. Indeed I had the same horrible attachment to selfishness. I was afraid of the risk of being traced, but I concealed my attachment in the excuse of guaranteeing the continuance of the truth-clarification work. For example, I wanted to download the materials on another practitioner's computer before I started printing or editing the materials. But when I tried to do so, his computer often became problematic or his family members would reproach me for no valid reason. Only then did I realize I was the root cause. There is a Chinese idiom: "A person should leave all the problems to himself and all the benefits to others." How could I be worthy of such a solemn job when I was behaving even worse than an everyday person? It was not so much the approach, but my heart was not righteous. Once I rectified my mentality, everything went well.
During the process of validating the Fa together, we have had conflicts. We bickered because we had different opinions. We accused each other of having strong attachments to fear. Eventually we refused to talk to each other. Then we began to study the Fa together. I took up responsibilities and tried to put myself in fellow practitioners' shoes. I thought, "Everyone has a different path of cultivation and different ways to eliminate their attachments. As long as we continue to purge our human thoughts, the old forces will have no excuse to persecute us." Through the continuous Fa study and truth-clarification work, these fellow practitioners have made a lot of progress in their cultivation practice. Those conflicts became very trivial and disappeared. Tolerance! Immense tolerance! It is something that a Falun Gong practitioner should have.
My family didn't approve of it when I first started making truth-clarification materials because they hadn't started practicing Falun Gong. In the past I would not think twice about bickering with my husband. However, I would not be able to save him if I had done so. Instead, I would have made him an enemy of Falun Gong. Teacher taught us to eliminate our attachment to sentimentality, so I began to treat him just like every other person. I clarified the truth to him in a slow pace and began to make small progress. Meanwhile, my lips are sealed when it comes to truth-clarification work that he is not supposed to know. For other truth-clarification work, I will tell him directly. I also conduct myself strictly according to the Fa in every aspect. I behave like a genuine Falun Gong practitioner in every respect. I never allow myself to be manipulated by sentimentality or to forget my manners. When I truly follow the Fa and do things well, things will turn out as Teacher has described,
"After passing the shady willow trees, there will be bright flowers and another village ahead!" (Zhuan Falun)
Later my husband even began to praise me in front of others, "My wife has improved her personality. She has become a wonderful person." Others replied, "It must be Falun Gong that changed her!" I was very delighted when I heard it because they have positioned themselves correctly and they will be saved.
My mother is also a Falun Gong practitioner. A conflict between my mother and me exposed my deviation from the Fa. My mother is nearly 90 years old. She has been very healthy because she practices Falun Gong. People usually think she is less than 70 years old. Last year she asked me to renovate her home. I was not pleased when she made the request. I thought, "You are already a Falun Gong practitioner. Why are you so attached to leading a comfortable life? Teacher has taught us that it is a good thing to endure hardship." Thus I refused to renovate her home. She was heartbroken and became less diligent in studying the Fa. I was very troubled. I searched inward and discovered that I was wrong because I had gone to an extreme. Teacher has taught us that one must not be too extreme. I studied "Take the Middle Way" again in which Teacher said,
"Because of disciples' differences in understanding, some disciples always go from one extreme to the other. Whenever they read the Fa I have written they take extreme actions, thereby causing new problems." ("Take the Middle Way" from Essentials for Further Advancement)
I told myself that going to extremes is the beginning of enlightening along the evil way. It is very dangerous. I searched inward again. A Falun Gong practitioner should be kind to others, especially her own mother. I identified my attachment to saving money and my unkind heart. How could I attain compassion when I was unkind? I have even tried to cover my attachment with the excuse of "saving money for Falun Gong's truth-clarification work."
Since we are cultivating in everyday people's society, we should cultivate ourselves while conforming to everyday people's states to the maximum. The process of validating the Fa is the process of reaching godhood. We are creating history for the future generations to follow. Although no Falun Gong practitioner should be attached to anything in the world, we should maintain normal lives. I have also realized that I should conduct myself according to the Fa instead of asking others to conduct themselves according to the Fa. I should not be attached to making others remove their attachments. It does not matter who is right or who is wrong. Eliminating our attachments is the only thing that matters.
After I realized my inadequacies, I renovated my mother's home and she became diligent in her Fa study again. Because of this experience, I could feel strongly that Teacher does not wish to leave any of his disciples behind. Teacher has already taught me how to respond to the conflict between my mother and me, but it would be very difficult to understand it without solid cultivation practice.
"Whenever there is interference of one kind or another in qigong practice, you should look for reasons within yourself and determine what you still have not let go." (Zhuan Falun)
There have been many similar things like this. In the process of validating the Fa, I have learned to cultivate myself and understood more about Teacher's elaborate and careful arrangements.
2. We Must Do the Three Things Well
The biggest difference between our cultivation practice before and after July 20, 1999 is that after July 20, 1999 the old forces arranged destructive tests for Falun Gong practitioners.
Teacher does not acknowledge any of them, so we must completely deny them and walk only on the path Teacher has arranged for us. But since the old forces have made their arrangements, we must use all opportunities to overcome their arrangements. Doesn't it manifest Falun Gong's magnificence and power that we are able to overcome their demonic tribulations and so-called tests? By doing so we will have validated the Fa. On the contrary, if we fail to do something well, the old forces arrangements will succeed! In order to walk our cultivation path well and righteously, we must do the three things well.
Studying the Fa will rectify our thoughts and behavior. In addition, the Fa is the true source of our energy. Teacher said,
"One's gong level is as high as one's xinxing level, and this is an absolute truth." (From "Why Doesn't Your Gong Increase with Your Practice?" in Lecture One of Zhuan Falun)
When we study the Fa well, the old forces will have no power over us because they will be unable to interfere with us. But we still have many human thoughts to be eliminated. The old forces tenaciously exploit our loopholes and create interference. The only way to deny them is to walk our paths righteously. Rectifying ourselves according to the Fa is the only way to walk our paths righteously.
That we are given opportunities to send righteous thoughts to eliminate internal and external interferences is a manifestation of Teacher's compassion. It is actually an opportunity for other lives to make the right choice. Teacher has taught us to cultivate clearheadedly. In order to save sentient beings, we must clarify the truth about Falun Gong to them in the human dimension. It is our mission to have sentient beings truly understand the truth and select a wonderful future. In the colossal engineering work of restructuring the entire universe, Teacher has made very detailed and complete arrangements beyond any of our imaginations. Only when we follow Teacher's guidance one step at a time will we be able to free ourselves from the old universe. The process of doing the three things is the process of assisting Teacher in the Fa-rectification and the process of cleansing ourselves and upgrading our cultivation practice. It is of supreme importance to do the three things well.