Only by Cultivating Ourselves Well Will We Walk Straight on the Path of Fa-rectification Cultivation
(Clearwisdom.net) Esteemed Master: greetings!
Fellow practitioners: greetings!
Master told us at the beginning of the book Zhuan Falun,
"I'll tell you a truth: the whole process of cultivation is a process of constantly getting rid of human attachments."
Through years of cultivation, I experienced this profound truth. During the personal cultivation period and during Fa-rectification cultivation, we have constantly corrected ourselves and removed deeply hidden human attachments .
So how can we recognize our shortcomings and attachments? I have summarized my experience in a few points.
First, we should calmly study the Fa and unconditionally look inward on a timely basis. Master has told us,
"The Fa can break all attachments, the Fa can destroy all evil, the Fa can shatter all lies, and the Fa can strengthen righteous thoughts." ("Drive Out Interference" in Essentials for Further Advancement II)
If we can truly study the Fa well and conduct ourselves according to the Fa in everything we do when tribulations arise, all problems will be solved because the boundless power of Dafa will resolve everything for us.
When I first began Dafa practice, I didn't want to do the exercises. But I thought that Dafa is so wonderful and I read the Fa daily. One month later, I was free of all illnesses. After so powerfully experiencing the magnificence and supernatural power of Dafa, I resolutely chose the path of Dafa cultivation. During the past six years of brutal persecution, I realize that when I study the Fa with a calm mind, my righteous thoughts are strong. When I'm in a good frame of mind, everything runs smoothly. When my mind deviates from the Fa and the Fa does not enter my heart/mind, I encounter many difficulties, including big tribulations.
Equally important is unconditionally looking inward for attachments. Several years ago I had a vivid dream in which I experienced the tremendous changes brought about by looking inward. In my dream I fought with a black demon. We were in a stalemate. Slowly I became exhausted. I suddenly remembered Master telling us to look inward when any trouble arises. So I calmed my mind and thought, "How come I'm not defeating the demon?" I then realized that I was still afraid of the demon. I mustered some courage to fight it but was not sure I was going to win. I identified the fear. After I corrected my thinking, I was no longer afraid. Maybe I had found the actual attachment, because I suddenly became incredibly tall and the demon could no longer see me. It was looking down at my feet for me, but it could not see me. I destroyed the demon with much ease. This dream made me realize that when we identify our attachments, we are at a much higher realm than the evil, because the evil is in fact nothing.
Assimilating into Dafa, remove the fundamental attachment--selfishness-- and take the righteous path of Fa-rectification cultivation
"Question: only after having cultivated this long have I realized what my fundamental attachment is, which is the attachment to my self.
Teacher: Yes. To put it plainly, that's the fundamental factor of beings of the past. In the past, when it came to this, you all had it, and many people really couldn't realize it. With all of you improving as a whole, it isn't that pronounced anymore." ("Teaching the Fa at the 2003 Atlanta Fa Conference")
After one year of cultivation, I found my fundamental attachment and also saw many practitioners displaying the same fundamental attachment, the attachment to oneself. Each cultivator probably knows this, but this is the attachment that is the most difficult to detect. I want to talk about how I found mine.
In the past year, I often shared experiences with fellow practitioners in order to improve and make diligent progress as a whole. Inevitably, I heard both praise and criticism after talking to many practitioners.
"For a cultivator, all the frustrations he comes across among everyday people are trials, and all the compliments he receives are tests." ("A Cultivator is Naturally Part of It" in Essentials for Further Advancement)
Master is explicit on Fa principles. I often remind myself to do well and not become complacent when given praise and not develop ill feelings when being criticized. For a long time, however, I knew my cultivation state was not good. I felt mired in all kinds of conflicts. Sometimes I almost felt I could not stay with my family. My heart was entangled by anxiety and anguish. I knew this was not a good state and I wanted to break through it. I studied the Fa and looked inward, but I only found superficial attachments. I knew I had not found the fundamental attachment. As a result, I went through a lot of ups and downs. I was highly agitated.
Although I did not pass this one test, the next one came rolling along. The tribulations piled up and sometimes I felt I could not face them, so I tried to avoid them. I knew I should truly improve myself and break through tribulations. Just as Master told us,
"He feels that his gong is coming along nicely and his practice is going well. How come so much trouble suddenly comes up? How come everything goes sour? Everybody treats him badly, his boss looks down on him, and things at home get tense. How come so many problems suddenly come up? He still hasn't understood it yet. His base is good, and so he was able to reach a certain level, and now this kind of cultivation state appears. But how could that be the ultimate Perfection standard for a cultivator? His cultivation has still got a long way to go! You have to keep improving yourself." ("Improving Character" from The Fourth Talk in Zhuan Falun)
I continued to do the three things steadily. But when I truly could not resolve conflicts, I again avoided them. However, I knew this was not the way to go. Because this is cultivation, I have to pass the test whether I want to face it or not.
When tribulations piled up and I didn't find my attachments in time, my omissions would add up and the evil found an excuse to persecute me. I experienced severe headaches and ran a fever each day at around noon. I lived in pain constantly. Although I had attachments I had not yet discovered, I always firmly believed in Master and Dafa. On the one hand I asked Master for help and on the other hand I completely negated the persecution by the old forces. I persisted in Fa study and doing the exercises. I went out to clarify the truth and share experiences with fellow practitioners despite the horrible pain. One month later, my body became normal.
The physical persecution imposed on Dafa practitioners by the evil is also a severe test. They want to see if you still firmly believe in Master and Dafa while in chronic pain, if you can distinguish between persecution and sickness karma, if you would passively endure or completely negate it.
After I passed this test, I still did not realize what my fundamental attachment was. Following the agony of the symptoms of this sickness karma test, I was truly able to think from the perspective of other people and think by putting myself in their shoes. I realized that all Dafa practitioners have tests to pass, and that these tests directly target our attachments and are not easy to pass, but we cannot experience other practitioners' agony when they go through tests. We can truly help other practitioners only by discussing their attachments from the perspective of the Fa instead of picking on their faults.
From then on, I was able to think about my own problems while seeing other people's problems.
Master told us,
"When qi can't come down from the top of the head it's only a temporary state. Some people's qi can't come down for a long time, maybe even half a year. If it can't come down, a person can ask a true qigong master to guide it and then it can come down. Whenever we can't get through a pass in our practice, or whenever our qi isn't able to come down, we should check our character for the cause--"Have I lingered at that level for too long, and now it's time to improve my character?" When you truly improve your character you'll see that it comes right down." ("Qigong Psychosis" from The Sixth Talk in Zhuan Falun)
Perhaps I was gradually able to meet the standard of a Dafa practitioner by improving my xinxing. Master arranged for me to go to a village to share my experiences. From the problems other practitioners exhibited, I truly saw my most fundamental, long-existing attachment, which I had covered up and have never acknowledged. It was the attachment to the self. According to Fa principles, we know that selfishness is the biggest barrier that prevents beings in the old cosmos from being saved; as cultivators, we must eliminate that. Preoccupation with the self shows up in various forms during our cultivation. I know the following forms that it takes.
First, it is an attachment to a practitioner's own notions, including various notions formed over time in ordinary society. It is also attachment to a certain level of principles a practitioner has enlightened to in the boundless Dafa. For example, certain practitioners thought the results of clarifying the truth face-to-face are great, and other practitioners praised them. They began to get attached to these specific principles they enlightened to from Dafa. They tell other practitioners to step forward to clarify the truth face-to-face. Later, they even thought that distributing truth-clarification materials and putting up posters is an act done out of fear. They dropped in level when they become attached to their opinions and caused problems in their cultivation environment. They couldn't even live with their family, who are also Dafa practitioners.
The second form is the attachment to one's cultivation achievements. One practitioner stepped forward to safeguard the Fa when the persecution first began. She clarified the truth to people and kept up her personal cultivation. She recited the Fa daily. She could recite Zhuan Falun from cover to cover. She could sit and meditate for two hours and do the second set of exercise for 45 minutes. Other practitioners praised her. This practitioner was strong-willed to begin with and always had things go her way. She showed a strong attachment to herself and the praise from other practitioners made her complacent. She looked down on other practitioners, stopped validating Dafa and even thought clarifying the truth was opposing the government. She stopped reading articles on the Minghui/Clearwisdom website and stopped studying Master's new articles. She would glance through them and pass them along to other practitioners. She even told other practitioners, "You wait and see if I will cultivate to a high place or if those who are active outside will cultivate to a high place." She awakened after Master's article, "My Version of a 'Stick Wake-up'" was published, but she had fallen far behind those practitioners who had persistently validated Dafa through righteous thoughts and righteous actions.
The third manifestation of deep-rooted selfishness is the feeling of injustice and being attached to making too much personal sacrifice. Such practitioners are usually coordinators or in charge of producing truth-clarification materials. After long hours of work and for a great length of time, they cannot regard rescuing sentient beings as their mission that Master arranged for them; they fail realize that they do such things because they made vows for this eons ago. They have to understand this principle and adjust their mentality. It's easy to for them fall behind in Fa study and doing the exercises, and it's easy for them to feel unfulfilled through these lengthy, long hours of working. They may think they have sacrificed too much and are shouldering the major responsibilities while others are not doing much Dafa work. They silently complain.
Each one of our cultivators manifests self-absorption. The issue is whether we can catch it in time. Master said,
"There are cases where the conflicts last quite a long time, but sooner or later they will have to see where their problems lie. It's better to get rid of them sooner than later. No one should expect to achieve Consummation when they are still enmeshed in conflicts and attachments."("Teaching the Fa at the 2004 International Fa Conference in New York")
As beings of the old cosmos, with selfishness and selfish intentions as part of our fundamental nature, we exhibit manifestations of selfishness on various levels during the process of assimilating to the Fa and becoming selfless and altruistic beings in the new cosmos. These traits can lead to other attachments. Finding these attachments should not be frightening to us, because cultivation is to remove all attachments. We are practicing Falun Dafa, which directly targets our minds; this makes it possible for us to improve ourselves quickly. The key is to catch the attachments in time and find the fundamental attachment(s), so that we can take solid steps on the righteous cultivation path. In order to achieve this, we must calmly study the Fa as Master has told us, unconditionally look inward, clarify the truth well, send forth righteous thoughts and save sentient beings.
During Fa-rectification cultivation, our individual cultivation is incorporated in the three things Master requires of us - study the Fa, clarify the truth and send forth righteous thoughts. As long as we can do these three things well, we will be able to reach the finish line. We should doubly cherish each moment because we have waited for this period for tens of thousand of years. As Master told us, "This instant is precious beyond measure." ("Teaching the Fa in the City of Chicago")
There are many more things I want to say but I cannot express them clearly from the perspective of Fa principles. Please point out anything inappropriate and help correct it.