How I Responded to the Old Forces' Arrangements
(Clearwisdom.net) I started practicing Falun Gong in 1999 because of my parents. They kept prompting me to practice Falun Gong, so I finally decided to give it a try. My father used to suffer from many illnesses before he started practicing Falun Gong. After he practiced Falun Gong for a while, the illnesses disappeared without any medical treatment. He became perfectly healthy and energetic. After Jiang Zemin announced the ban of Falun Gong on July 20, 1999, my father was listed as one of the major targets and suffered from severe persecution. Later, he had no choice but to leave home and go into hiding to avoid further persecution. He died in 2002 after his health failed.
In the past, I always told people with pride that my parents had become perfectly healthy after practicing Falun Gong, but now I am afraid that I might be asked about him. This is not a good mentality to have. When people ask me about my father, I should tell them the truth in an honest and righteous manner: My father died as a result of Jiang Zemin's persecution! If it had not been for the persecution, my father would not have died!
Since the day following my father's death, my mother has been prompting us to continue studying the Fa and practicing the Falun Gong exercises. Despite my mother's efforts, I have not been very diligent in my cultivation in the past two years. Sometimes I would prompt myself to study the Fa, practice the exercises, send forth righteous thoughts and clarify the truth, but other times I didn't want to do any of those things. At first, I was very attached to the memory of my father after his death. Then I became very emotionally attached to my mother, children, husband and the rest of my family. Eventually I became consumed by sentimentality. To make matters worse, I became increasingly attached to fame and wealth. I knew my cultivation was in serious jeopardy, but I was unable to pull myself away from that pitiful state. In hindsight, I had passively accepted the old forces' arrangements. Sometimes I would imagine what a comfortable life I would have if I gave up cultivation. Sometimes I would even doubt if Teacher's words were true. I could feel the old forces dragging me down, but deep in my heart I knew they would never succeed. I knew I must return to my true home with Teacher, but I felt so helpless and lethargic. I passively struggled with the old forces for a long time. I knew the Fa-rectification was close to its completion and I had very little time left. It is unthinkable how much I would lose if I should continue with my foolishness.
Teacher's latest articles repeatedly reinforced my knowing side to prompt me to become diligent in my cultivation, but after picking it up, I would become apathetic about cultivation soon afterwards. "What should I do?" I asked myself. I have failed to do any of the three things Teacher requires of Falun Gong practitioners. "How do I truly return to my cultivation path? What has been obstructing me in my cultivation?" These were the problems that bothered me the most. My mother and sister repeatedly asked me to write down my problems in order to identify them, but I did not know where to begin or what to write. Finally, I decided to write down the attachments I had neglected to address. During the writing process, I became increasingly clearheaded. For the past two years, the old forces have created a net of multiple layers and trapped me inside. Each layer was made of my attachments to sentimentality, worldly thoughts, fame, wealth and many other things. The net was full of thorns. Each time I tried to get free, I would be stung by my own attachments. While I was a prisoner of my own attachments, I had very restricted freedom. For the past two years, the thorny prison grew thicker with the deepening of my attachments. The worst part was that I had no idea I was living inside the net made by the old forces. I thought I was denying the old forces' arrangements, but I didn't realize that the old forces had already trapped me in a net made of my own attachments. While inside the net, I could not tell Teacher's arrangements from the old forces' arrangements.
Once I identified the root cause, I felt I was immediately released from the net and in fact destroyed the net. I feel I have been able to negate the old forces' arrangements.
I. I should have helped my parents as a cultivator and not just as their daughter
In 2000, my father exercised his constitutional right to appeal on behalf of Falun Gong to the State Appeals Office in Beijing. He ended up being illegally incarcerated in Beijing for 15 days. After that, my father's work unit stopped paying him his salary. The staff members from my father's work unit, the local 610 Office, and our local police precinct constantly barged into our home and harassed, threatened and intimidated my father. They repeatedly threatened to arrest and imprison him again. In the end, my father had no choice but to leave home and go into hiding to avoid further persecution. The long periods of terror brought up my father's attachment to fear. At the time, my family and I did not help my father remove his attachment to fear. Instead, we tried our best to protect my father's safety like non-practitioners.
While my father was away from home, the local authorities did not stop their efforts to persecute him. My father's work unit, the local 610 Office, and the local police precinct kept looking for him. Later on he started to experience symptoms resembling sickness karma. Eventually my father passed away two hours after my elder brother and aunt brought him to a hospital. Although my father has passed away, I still remember him as a very healthy, happy and diligent cultivator before he had to go into hiding and before the persecution started. I was never able to accept my father's death.
After my father's death, my mother has lived by herself. Before my father passed away, he was not paid for over a year. My mother is a retired woman in her 60's and receives only 80 yuan of survivors' benefits. Therefore, I became very worried about my mother. I was also worried that my mother might feel terribly lonesome, so I brought my daughter along to spend time with my mother every day. I knew she did not have enough income, so I made sure she had enough money and took good care of her life.
I was completely overcome with my attachments to sentimentality, and failed to act like a cultivator. My efforts failed to satisfy my attachment or bring my mother a happy and worry-free life. Strangely, things always went wrong at my mother's. Things constantly broke down or needed repairs. There were always problems to be solved. As a result, I never had a moment of peace. I became terribly exhausted running two households. In the end, the age spots that had disappeared because of my practice of Falun Gong registered on my face again. I felt helpless but did not realize until recently that I had gone astray and stepped onto the path that the old forces had arranged for me. It was only recently that I improved my understanding of the Fa and let go of my attachment to sentimentality. As a daughter, I am supposed to pay filial piety to, care about, and look after my parents. Besides, as a cultivator, I am supposed to be kind to everyone. However, my parents are both cultivators and I need to treat them as fellow practitioners, even as I fulfill my filial duties. If I had helped my father as a fellow cultivator and clarified the truth to my relatives and friends about Jiang Zemin's persecution against my father, he might still be with us today. We truly need to become one body of cultivators to completely negate the old forces' arrangements so that the evil from other dimensions cannot find any loopholes in us to exploit.
II. Sending forth righteous thoughts to eliminate the bad thoughts in my mind and external interference
Each time I experienced symptoms resembling sickness karma, I persevered in my faith in Teacher and Falun Gong, and became well again after sending forth righteous thoughts. But when my daughter experienced symptoms resembling sickness karma, I was overcome with worry. Each time my daughter started to cough, she would keep coughing throughout the night and her face would turn red. She would even throw up in fits of coughing. Each time I had to bring her to the hospital or to a traditional Chinese medical doctor, and keep her on medication for days before she stopped coughing. Once I had to carry her to the emergency room in the middle of the night to get an infusion. I was terribly worried about her and feared for her health each time she coughed. I also felt very helpless. The more I was attached to my daughter, the more the evil exploited my attachment. As time progressed, my daughter caught colds even more often and coughed more frequently. I was completely consumed by my attachment to her. When my daughter stopped coughing for a while, an impure thought would often arise: "Why did she stop coughing? Good. The coughing has stopped momentarily." Just as the thought surfaced, my daughter started coughing again.
After my mother and sister learned of my attachment to my daughter, they pointed out the attachment and said, "How can you allow this to happen at your home, a cultivator's home?" I also realized it was time to remove the attachment to my daughter; otherwise, things would only get worse. It is easier said than done, however. Bad thoughts always popped up in my mind. Eventually I calmed down and asked myself, "Am I a Falun Gong disciple? Do I have steadfast belief in Teacher and Falun Gong?" I answered to myself, "I have a steadfast belief in Teacher and Falun Gong." At that moment, I began to feel that I must overcome each and every tribulation and test as if it was a matter of life or death. It is only then that our hearts will become perfectly pure and have the power to dissolve the evil. From then on, my daughter and I would send forth righteous thoughts together when she started coughing. Then the coughing would quickly stop.
III. Transcending my selfish love for my husband and attachment to my family
When my father was subjected to the persecution, my husband and I also became targets, probably because my father and I were both in the field of education. Each time the local leaders in the education system came to persecute my father, they would harass me as well. In addition, they often asked me to go "talk" to them during the school hours. They would even come and harass me at home when I was not working. They also spread lies about Falun Gong to the principal of my school, general secretary of the Communist Party at my school, and my husband. Once they even took local staff members from the education system that had persecuted my father to my home, banged on my front door until I opened it, and barged into my home. After the repeated harassment, my husband became furious and said they were way out of line. However, he also vented his anger on me. He said he felt embarrassed to be my husband and asked for a divorce.
After studying Teacher's new articles and Fa lectures, I saw through the old forces' scheme and negated their evil arrangement. From now on, I will conduct myself strictly according to Teacher's requirements for Falun Gong practitioners at all times. I will also follow Falun Gong's requirements at home. I will transcend my love for husband and attachment to my family to become compassionate to everyone. I will become a better cultivator, as well as a devoted family member. I will help my husband to start his cultivation as soon as possible.
IV. Eliminate my long-term attachment to fame and wealth
I had an opportunity to get a promotion in 1999. When Jiang Zemin's henchmen were persecuting my father, they offered me a chance for promotion in exchange for helping them persecute my father. When I firmly rejected their offer, they became furious. Later on I had a few more chances to get a promotion, but each time they denied me the chance based on the excuse that I had not complied with the CCP's order to eliminate Falun Gong. Because I missed the many opportunities for promotion, someone else had taken these opportunities and become a school principal. I became anxious for myself. Besides, my colleagues started to wonder why I hadn't gotten any promotions all these years. I began to feel embarrassed. I thought they would know I had been denied the chance for promotion because I practice Falun Gong. Thus I had silently agreed to accept the impure thought. Sometimes I thought about changing my profession to make more money, so that I could satisfy my attachment to fame and self-achievement. Other times I felt from the bottom of my heart that, as a cultivator, I had no interest in attaining a high position. I felt such a worldly pursuit would be very exhausting and would hinder my cultivation. Thus I was often torn between two opposing thoughts. Most of the time I thought I no longer had any attachment to fame, but I realized I had been hiding my attachment to fame and wealth.
I shared my long-term attachments that I had identified with some of my family members who are Falun Gong practitioners. During the sharing process, we came to the understanding that, as Falun Gong practitioners, we should become better people in all aspects and that we should have people around us witness and experience the beauty of Falun Gong through our benevolent thoughts and actions. I also realized that I should have gotten a promotion to be in a better position to validate Falun Gong and to offer Teacher's salvation to everyone. But I shouldn't actively pursue a promotion to satisfy my thirst for fame and wealth. Luckily I have looked inward before it is too late. I will rectify my words and actions. I refuse to accept anything unless it is compliant with the principles of Falun Gong. I will eliminate my attachment to fame and wealth. I won't allow the old forces to persecute me through my job or any aspect of my life.
I have been very passive about my cultivation practice. Now I realize that I understood Falun Gong only on the sentimental level and not on the rational level. It was not until now that I began to understand Falun Gong rationally. I knew I was stuck in a terrible cultivation state when I decided to write this article. I knew I was far from diligent in my cultivation practice, but it was during the writing process that I realized I was worse off than I had thought. I always avoided discussing my attachments in the past. During the writing process, I was interfered with by a bad thought, "Maybe I should skip a few attachments. It is extremely embarrassing to have anyone know there are such terrible Falun Gong practitioners as myself." I always tried to protect these notions that I should have eliminated. After completing this article, I began to truly understand the profound meaning of completely stepping forward for the Fa and negating the old forces.