Walk the Path of Cultivation With a Pure Mind - Part I
(Clearwisdom.net) Esteemed Master, fellow practitioners around the world: greetings!
I began practicing Falun Dafa in 1998. It would take a voluminous book to record all of my cultivation experiences, which include the wonderful things Master gave his disciple, as well as the brutal persecution. It is difficult to for an outsider to comprehend the joys and tears from all these years.
Sometimes I did well and sometimes I didn't. Most of the time I didn't do well. When I look back, I see the times when I couldn't give up attachments were the times when I tripped. Master said,
For every one of you who makes up his mind to cultivate, you will be able to endure things, and when your personal welfare is on the line, you will be able to let go of your attachments, and you will be able to take those things lightly. As long as you can do that it's not hard, in fact. Now those people who say it's hard, it turns out, they just can't let go of those things. Doing the exercises isn't hard in its own right, and there's nothing hard about raising your level in and of itself. They only say it's hard because they can't let go of their human thoughts. The reason is, it's hard to let those things go when your personal welfare is on the line--that benefit is right there, in front of you, how can you let it go? When they think it's hard, we should know that that's the reason why it's hard.
---- The Ninth Talk, Zhuan Falun
When we can truly give up attachments, let go of our fears for about our livelihood as well as our fear of death, the path of Fa-rectification cultivation is in fact wide and straight, just as Master told us,
And with no attachment to living or dying
He walks his path of Fa-rectification openly and nobly
(Righteous Thoughts and Righteous Actions)
because if we can do this, we can keep in mind only sentient beings and not ourselves.
Due to the time constraints, I only picked a few stories during the past year of Fa rectification cultivation, and I want to report them to esteemed Master and to fellow practitioners.
Belief in Master and Dafa; break out of the den of evil with righteous thoughts
In November 2004, the local police again arrested me. From my words and actions, they thought I was a distinguished practitioner.
I am a Dafa practitioner and I would never acknowledge any of the persecution the old forces tried to impose on me. Master arranges my path, and I will not take the same detour as before, when I was held under criminal detention and was sent to labor camp.
Dafa practitioners shoulder tremendous historic responsibilities. During this Fa rectification period when the firmament is being renewed, a Dafa practitioner can do so many things and rescue so many people! How can we allow Dafa practitioners to be arrested or sent to labor camps? Although we validate Dafa and clarify the truth, even when we don't have personal freedom, the impact in a camp is quite limited and more importantly, we would be walking the path arranged by the old forces. We would be playing out a drama of persecution and anti-persecution before the world's people and leave them with the impression, "If you practice Dafa, you will go to prison." Several years ago I caused great losses to Dafa because I wasn't clear on Fa rectification cultivation and the principles of personal cultivation.
"I am a Fa rectification period Dafa disciple, I absolutely do not acknowledge all of the persecution imposed on Dafa and me by the old forces. I will only walk the path arranged by Master, and none of you can touch me." I quietly kept this thought and sent forth powerful righteous thoughts to eliminate all the evil and dark minions that arranged this persecution. What happened in this dimension as a consequence was that the head and deputy head of the police department didn't come to see me. They said they had to wait for the head of the National Security Division to personally deal with me. They sent one guard to bring me meat, vegetables and other food and he tried to brainwash me. I told him about the persecution I suffered in the past several years, and I told him that the authorities extorted money from me, detained me and held me in labor camp only because I was being a good person according to the principle of Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance. My family was evicted numerous times because of my belief. Although he had previously heard about the persecution, my story still shocked him. When I told him about the beauty of Dafa and the illegal ban imposed by the government, that Dafa practitioners are forced to clarify the truth because the ban is illegal, he was saddened but said he couldn't do anything about it.
Later, two guards monitored me. At first they were aggressive and repeated many Dafa-slandering things from the propaganda they had heard on TV. I clarified the issues they brought up, one by one, and one guard took notes. He later showed the notes to other guards. Some guards didn't say anything, but some sighed and said, "What kind of society is this? If everyone can be like them [Dafa practitioners], the world will be a better place. Nowadays it's really hard to be a good person." I asked the guard why he took notes, and he said he wanted to show them to the division head. I saw that he had bad intentions and I said to him, "We have a predestined relationship, which is why we met and talked for so long. I don't want anything from you and I've never done anything to hurt you. I only helped you learn the truth, yet you are treating me with such ill intentions. I don't care who you show it to, because I'll say the same thing anywhere, but if you do that, it's bad for you and it will cause you harm!" He looked at me and I looked at him. After a few minutes he tore up the notes, smiled and said, "Is that better?" I said, "Always remember: Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance is good. It will be very good for you!" He smiled. From the reaction of the guards, I deeply realized we had not clarified the truth in-depth before, and I always got angry when I saw police officers and guards. In fact, everyone is waiting to hear the truth, including the police.
When I was on my own, I quietly reflected on recent incidents. Half a month ago, two fellow practitioners were arrested when distributing truth clarification materials. I clarified the truth to the practitioners' families. We were planning to ask for the practitioners' release within a few days. On the surface we were negating the old forces' arrangements, but we were in fact using human ways of thinking and we didn't base ourselves on validating Dafa and clarifying the truth. I was arrested before I did anything. Although another practitioner didn't guard his xinxing and didn't cultivate speech and the evil took advantage of his omission, I must have also had great omissions.
I know my state of mind is crucial, so I discarded my anger toward the other practitioner and quietly corrected my mentality. I looked for omissions one by one. Now that I look back, I didn't look deep enough in that short period of time; I was looking at the surface and not at my fundamental attachments. When I look back at the path I took, I see Master's compassion and his protection of his disciples, and I became more determined in my belief in Dafa. I also became calmer. I felt sad, not for myself but for the world's people. After I purified myself, I knew what to do with a calm mind. Back at the camp in the evening, they acted as if they were confronting a mortal enemy. They sent ten guards. Five of them stood around me in the room, and five patrolled outside my door while I stayed in a corner.
I lay on the table in that corner. I thought of escaping the police department, and I suddenly remembered my wife, my child and my business. I asked myself, "Can you give up your attachment to them?" The answer is yes. I can give up anything for validating Dafa.
And when a person is born, his whole life already exists simultaneously in a special dimension where there's no concept of time, and for some people there's more than one life there... Some people say, "I'll make some more money and make sure my family's set for life. Then I won't have anything to worry about and I'll go to cultivate." I'd say you're dreaming. You can't interfere with other people's lives, you can't control their fates, be it your wife's, your kid's, your parents', or your sibling's. Is that something you decide?
--- Zhuan Falun
I thought about the years when I was being persecuted. I couldn't stay home long, but my family still lived well. On the days when I was home, I tried my best to carry out my responsibilities as a husband and a father. If I left home, I would be cut off from my family, but in fact I was able to sever my attachment to them amid the tribulation of the past several years. However, a terrifying thought emerged, "There are five gates here; will I be able to get out? Even if I can, where shall I go?" I lay on the table and repeatedly recited Hong Yin. I suddenly remembered Master said,
When I held classes in other regions some things happened all the time. There'd always be some people who felt awful, and they'd be sitting there bent over their seats, they wouldn't get up, and they'd just wait for me to come down off the stage to heal them. But I wouldn't heal them. You can't even clear that hurdle, and later on when you cultivate on your own you are going to have a lot of big tribulations, so if you can't even clear this one, tell me, how are you going to cultivate? You can't even overcome that little thing? You can all definitely overcome those things... The root of your health problem has been plucked out now, and only that little bit of black qi is left, coming out on its own, so that you have a little hardship and go through some difficulty. If you didn't bear anything it really wouldn't work... "Cultivation is up to you, gong is up to the master"--if you just have that wish you're all set. When it comes to who's actually doing it, it's the master. There's no way you could do that.
--- Zhuan Falun
One thought suddenly flashed across my mind: we use the Fa to guide us in everything we do; if we are clear on the Fa principles, everything will be within reach. Similar to purifying our bodies, Master has already removed all the bad things for us and taken away all the barriers, yet we lie there and refuse to get up. Master said,
Sometimes when you folks think about an issue you form a type of habit--"I want to do such and such thing... here's how I'm going to do this thing... here's how I'm going to do that thing." You ponder over it a lot and, well, to the point that you feel you've covered everything in a satisfactory way. But when you get down to doing that thing, the real, actual situations can vary in a lot of ways and your plan won't actually work (laughs). And when it doesn't work, you start to ponder it again. That's not how you should do things. Have righteous thoughts! However you think something should be handled, just go ahead and do it, and when you run into problems you will naturally know how to solve them. If your righteous thoughts are strong, everything will work out smoothly and it's guaranteed you'll do well.
--- "Teaching and Explaining the Fa at the Metropolitan New York Fa Conference"
As I became clear on the Fa principles I decided to leave. As for how many guards were waiting outside, and how many gates I had to get through, those were just surface phenomena.
This pair of eyes can fix the things in this material dimension so that they're in this state, but other than that they can't do much...So this pair of eyes can give you a false image.
The Second Talk, Zhuan Falun
The reason I saw these barriers was because the old forces were telling me, "You can't get out." They were false. Master guides Dafa practitioners, and only Master's words count. We should never let superficial phenomena deceive us.
When I was determined to leave, another thought came up, "You can't; they'll get you and beat you to death." Why did I have so many bad thoughts? I knew it was because I didn't take sending forth righteous thoughts seriously and had too many bad notions. Why did I have this thought? I asked myself, "Are you afraid of persecution? No." I'm not trying to avoid persecution by leaving, because I'm not afraid of persecution. I'm leaving because I want to continue doing what a Dafa practitioner is supposed to do. I want to validate Dafa, save the world's people and negate the old forces' arrangements. As these righteous thoughts came to mind, I immediately felt indestructible, like a diamond. I sent forth one thought, "Completely eliminate all the evil, dark minions and rotten demons that block me from leaving. Let the five guards sleep and that other five go home."
After quite some time, I could no longer hear the guards talking. I looked up and saw five guards sleeping. I told myself, "I already stood up, so I can't sit down again. There is only one path before me." When I stood up I saw the long, outstretched legs of a guard who was sleeping on the table; one guard was sleeping on the floor, and three other guards were outside the door. If I were to leave, I would have to crawl from underneath the first guard's legs. I thought, "I am a disciple of Dafa, a disciple of Master, how can I crawl under his legs? Isn't that disrespectful of Master and Dafa?" I decided to raise his legs, and he bent his legs before I could move them.
I left the police department in an open and dignified manner. Although all of the five gates had locks on them, none of them was locked.
The first thing I did after leaving the police department was to notify a fellow practitioner, because the police probably also looked for him in this large-scale arrest. He told me the area where he lived but I didn't know the exact number on the door. It was around midnight and it could be a nightmare if I knocked on the wrong door. I anxiously tried to find him, and I made the heshi gesture and asked Master for help. I thought, "I must find him." After going past several homes I knocked on a door. The person answering the door was the practitioner I was looking for. I was ecstatic beyond words. I briefly informed him about the current situation. He said he would leave home with me. He made some quick arrangements before we set off together.
It was pitch dark and we recited the Fa as we walked. When cars zoomed by us, we had to hide underneath the highway bridge. Once we didn't notice a deep ditch filled with water and both fell in it. The water was waist-deep and our shoes were stuck in the mud. We were completely soaked by the time we pulled our shoes from the mud. It was winter and our clothes soon froze solid. We felt water dripping down our legs. After walking for a while, our shoes were heavy like stones, and we dumped out the water inside before we continued. When we had almost left the area, police cars drove past us and set up barricades about 300 meters ahead of us. We had no choice but to take a detour through a cotton field. Later, we sat on a sand dune to watch the police check every passing car. It was almost dawn and it was no longer safe to walk on the road. We entered a desert area, but it was difficult to walk in the sand with our shoes and clothes. Nevertheless, the path ahead of us was bright.
When the sun rose above the horizon, we knelt on a high sand dune and made the heshi gesture to Master. Golden rays of light were before us, yet behind us was a dim gray morning mist where my family and longtime friends lived. My mind was empty.
Having gone through so many changes so that the grand wish is fulfilled
The years and months pass by in a single thought
(Provisional translation of "Solemn Vow, Great Wish" from Hong Yin II, a collection of Master's poems)
Turning back, my wish fulfilled,
I shall come again to help all return
("Visiting my Hometown" from Hong Yin)
I gained a deeper understanding of these poems in Hong Yin. In silence, I realized the reason that I took detours, and I also realized the right path to take from then on. When I stood up I truly felt I was completely changed.
Later when I recounted my experience to a fellow practitioner, she told me about a dream she had. In her dream she wanted to save people. She came to a large place with many metal cages on the ground. One person was locked in each cage. Some were sleeping and some were looking at her. Some of the cage doors were closed, some were half-locked, and some were locked. One person said to her, "If they are willing to leave with you, you can take them away." She shouted to those people, "Get out!" Some people stuck their heads out of the cage, some were still sleeping, some said, "We can't get out." She shouted, "The door is open, you can get out!" Some stuck their heads out and answered, "Even if we get out, we'll be put back in the cage. It's no use." She woke up.
After listening to her dream I remembered my time at the labor camp. If I had righteous thoughts as I did now, it would have been easy to get out of there. However, I had heavy human notions and half-heartedly took the path arranged by the old forces. Master said,
Older women had their feet bound in the past, but there was one who could easily scale a wall that's over two yards high. When this older lady's family saw that she'd gone insane and always ran outside, they locked her up indoors. But when her family went out she would just point her finger at the lock and it would open, and so she'd get out. "Then let's lock her up with steel chains." After her family headed out, she would undo the chains with a mere shake. It was impossible to restrain her.
The Sixth Talk, Zhuan Falun
This woman is an ordinary cultivator, and we are disciples of the Great Law; furthermore, we are Fa rectification period Dafa disciples who negate the arrangements of the old forces. We should do better than she. What is there to fear? We have Master and we have Dafa. The evil is afraid; we are not. As long as we have powerful righteous thoughts and are clear on the Fa principles, Master will help us. "When disciples' righteous thoughts are strong, Teacher's mighty power can help them do everything." (Provisional translation of "The Grace of Master and Disciples" from Hongyin II, a collection of Teacher's poems).
Master is watching us and he is hoping for us to do well!
Walk the path with a light heart and spread the truth widely
With help of fellow practitioner(s), I stayed in a certain city for over a month. During this period I calmed my mind and, besides clarifying the truth, mostly studied the Fa. I recited Zhuan Falun and learned from my mistakes. At this time, The Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party was published, and I read them overnight. I thought the commentaries were excellent. I could not clarify some issues before and I was anxious but couldn't help it. Some people said, "The government won't persecute you for no reason; there has to be something wrong with you. You are just a commoner and you don't know what the central government thinks about." On these occasions I felt powerless when clarifying the truth. Once I read the commentaries, I saw the true nature of the evil Party and also gained a deeper understanding of the principles of Dafa. I saw through the vile intentions of the old forces, and The Nine Commentaries served as a tool to save people. I also felt pressed for time to save people.
The Chinese New Year is a time when family and friends get together. To help predestined people learn the truth, I set off again before the Chinese New Year. I went to many places and met many predestined people. Although it was often dangerous, I was safe with Master's protection. While validating Dafa and clarifying the truth, sometimes I did well and sometimes I didn't do well. Some people learned the truth and started practicing Dafa, and some opposed Dafa and refused to learn the truth.
The train was the best place to clarify the truth, because the passengers came from all over the country and they were usually uninhibited in their conversation topics. I talked about the beauty of Dafa and the brutal persecution of Falun Gong by the evil Party from the perspective of a non-practitioner. Since I had read The Nine Commentaries several times, I had answers to lots of questions I previously didn't know how to respond to. I answered all of the people's questions with a sense of humor. The tourists were happy to talk with me and they were sorry to part ways.
In fact, Dafa gave me wisdom. As long as we have strong righteous thoughts, I think every Dafa practitioner is capable of clarifying the truth well. Each practitioner has personally experienced the wonders of Dafa and the evil Party's persecution, and we know the nature of the evil Party. I have used different approaches to clarify the truth to different people in different situations. Usually they accept the truth. In the end I give them the best gift in the world, "Always remember these most beautiful sentences, 'Falun Dafa is great,' 'Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance is great.'" I also asked them to remember a group of the most courageous and magnificent people in the world who fought "the evil dragon" with their bare hands, who resisted the most evil persecution in the world with their pure compassion, who changed the history of mankind. They are the disciples of Dafa. I think clarifying the truth from a third-person's perspective allows the listener to think for himself without any pressure, because I have the same perspective as they do.
While I was in a station waiting room, I saw five girls from outside China. I think it was not a coincidence that I met these foreign tourists. They will not forget their trip to China, and I wanted them to know about Dafa. I wanted them to bring to their country what they saw in China, and to lay a foundation for them to obtain Dafa and learn the truth in the future. I went over and offered to help them with their luggage, and they politely refused. I made a hand gesture and I looked for items with the words Falun Dafa on them. Unfortunately, I sewed the items inside my clothes and couldn't get them out. They didn't understand my gesture and went to the platform. They raised their thumbs at me on their way to the platform. I didn't have time to clarify the truth to them, but I truly hope they will have a bright future.
In some areas in Shandong Province, Hebei Province and Henan Province, the walls lining the streets in all the villages, towns and rural districts displayed evil slogans, "Oppose the evil cult. Uphold science;" "Falun Gong is [slanderous word omitted]." I planned to cover the word "science" with white paint and then write "Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance" with red paint, and I also wanted to change "xx" in "Falun Gong is xx" into "righteous," so the words would read, "Oppose the evil cult. Uphold Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance;" "Falun Gong is righteous." It's much faster than painting the whole sentence myself, and the words are also more uniform. To make the new words almost the same as the old words, I measured the size of the words. Unfortunately, I had to leave before I had time to carry out my plan.
I got in touch with a fellow practitioner while living with a relative. She broke out of a detention center after holding a hunger strike for seven days. I was truly happy for her. When she phoned me, I could tell she still had some fear. She eventually asked me if I had any plans. I was sad for her and quietly said,
"Bringing the true principles of [his] will, [he] comes
With a free and easy spirit, traversing the four seas"
(Provisional translation of "Tathagata" Hongyin II, a collection of Teacher's poems).
She didn't say anything and hung up after a long time. I set down the phone and tears streamed down my face.
I remember the detours I took and all the practitioners I knew who went astray. Why did we slack off after breaking free from the den of evildoers, although we had powerful righteous thoughts while being incarcerated? We were locked up in the cage of our own attachments without being aware of it. We forgot about Master's compassion and protection, and we forgot about our mission. I remember fellow practitioner Ms. Zhou. I thought maybe she would not have died if I had not been so despondent. For each practitioner who is not diligent, other practitioners have to take over his responsibilities. Through this phone conversation I saw my past and knew to value our precious freedom. The following day this practitioner arrived and we talked for a long time. Before I left her, she gave me some money to be used for Dafa work.
While in Shandong Province I met a few veteran practitioners who told me about Master's earlier classes in various parts of Shandong Province. Those stories of Master inspired me. I felt so close to Master and I was excited.
While staying with a Christian relative, one day a few ministers and elders came to his home. They were in charge of the regional church. At first I thought I should not discuss Dafa with them because I should keep to one cultivation way. Then I thought, "I have to clarify the truth to them!" I went inside and sat among them, and I told them cultivation stories and the crimes of the evil Party.
The next day, one of them came to me and I recited to him Master's poem,
So huge is the sky
there lies even more of it beyond,
Each with a sun and moon,
layers upon layers, they fill the Firmament;
So broad is the earth
it has both sky and ground,
Each breeding all things,
in turn, they populate the whole Cosmos.
--- "In Command of Heaven and Earth," Hong Yin
We exchanged some understandings. He asked me repeatedly, "How much do I have to believe to go to heaven?" He also asked some other questions about cultivation. I talked about the principles I enlightened to during cultivation.
(To be continued...)