Tempering Ourselves During Fa-rectification Work
(Clearwisdom.net) Practitioners often remind each other to keep up with the Fa-rectification process. As the workload increases, we ask ourselves to expand our capacity and participate in more Dafa related work. As the Fa-rectification is drawing to the end, are we really keeping up with it in our cultivation? After going through some tribulations and tests, I feel the need to take a look at my previous path of cultivation. I was moved by recent sharing with some practitioners. I looked at how others are cultivating and then reflected on how I have been doing it. I decided to write down my experience in Fa-study and cultivation to share with you. Please kindly point out any shortcomings.
Study the Fa with a Calm Mind
We all know the three things to do in this current stage and we all know the importance of Fa-study. Yet, how to study the Fa and really take the Fa into one's mind? A recent article on Clearwisdom.net, "Don't Let These Be Empty Words: 'Let Teacher be More Pleased and Worry Less'" (http://www.clearwisdom.net/emh/articles/2005/7/4/62544.html) says it clearly. It is because our problems in this respect are now more evident and we need to pay more attention. Especially when there are a lot of projects to work on and our minds are filled with thoughts of how to do the work well, we cannot concentrate on Fa-study. Often, after Fa-study, our minds are blank, not knowing what we've learned.
Teacher has told us,
"Since you are indeed busy these days, with many of you having volunteered to shoulder a lot of work, this makes it hard for you to focus when you do Fa-study. You're always thinking about Fa-rectification things and aren't able to quiet your mind when you study the Fa. Then you're actually studying in vain. If you can't study the Fa rationally and clearheadedly, you're studying in vain, and you're wasting your time. So you have to recognize this." ("Teaching the Fa at the 2002 Fa Conference in Boston,")
Now, in many group studies we discuss the work right after studying the Fa. We do not hear practitioners talk about how they improve their xinxing and get rid of their attachments any more. Our cultivation is reflected in the process of doing Fa-rectification work. Once we have unrighteous thoughts, there will be a problem. The process of looking within, getting rid of attachments, and displaying the great power of Dafa in the work we do to validate the Fa, is the most precious in our cultivation.
When we can really study the Fa with a calm mind, read it word by word and sentence by sentence, the Fa will generate righteous thoughts in us. We will be able to feel that we are gods standing between heaven and earth with immense bodies and power. Then we will eliminate the evil that's damaging the cosmos when we send forth righteous thoughts. In addition, we will have endless wisdom in clarifying the truth and hence, the sentient beings will be saved.
A veteran practitioner shared that whenever he reads Zhuan Falun, he reads it as if it were his first time reading the book. In fact, he might have read the book over a thousand times. His words touched me. When we are reading Zhuan Falun, we tend to read it fast, because we are already familiar with the content. As a result, we often do not know what we are reading. We should reset ourselves to zero and read the book with great attention, as if reading it for the first time. Think about how we were moved the first time when we read the book. If we read it with this mindset, it's not likely that we will let other thoughts go rampant. Only in this way are we studying the Fa with our heart. The gods in the book will reveal the meaning of the Fa behind the words, corresponding to our level. Besides, only when we study the Fa with a calm mind, are we paying respect to Master and the Fa.
Doing Dafa Work with a Pure Heart
In doing Dafa work, I always follow one principle, namely, that there is no one individual in Dafa work. Hence, I always remind myself in a conflict to keep Dafa as the priority. In the process of Fa-rectification in the cosmos, anything related to the individual becomes so trivial. So in any conflict, I look within and try to put myself aside. Although I might not be able to get rid of a specific attachment right away, and sometimes I might feel afflicted and uncomfortable, I will not let the conflict affect Dafa work.
Our assisting Master in the Fa-rectification and saving sentient beings is carrying out our divine vows. It is not helping anyone else. Therefore, we should do the Dafa work with the purest heart. In actual practice, are we really like that? When I feel I was wronged or when things do not go smoothly in the work, I may start to complain and blame it on others. Looking within, however, I realize that it is an attachment to showing off. In a word, I found I was doing the work to validate myself, not to validate Dafa. Such an attachment is hidden deep and cannot be easily discovered. However, cultivation is a serious issue. If one's individual cultivation cannot meet the standards, then that layer of cosmos cannot last long. Our doing Dafa work is to be responsible for the cosmos.
When doing work to validate the Fa, we always hold too many human notions and miss many opportunities to save sentient beings. If each and every one of the Dafa disciples can put their purest heart into the work they do, our righteous thoughts will have great power. Whether it is just pressing one button, saying one sentence or passing out one flyer, it will have great power.
When I couldn't maintain good xinxing, I thought about what Teacher says in Zhuan Falun,
"As you know, when a person reaches the Arhat level, in his heart he is not concerned about anything. He does not care at all in his heart for any ordinary human matter, and he will always be smiling and in good spirits. No matter how much loss he suffers, he will still be smiling and in good spirits without any concern. If you can really do this, you have already reached the entry-level Fruit Status of Arhatship."
I often think that Dafa disciples are to cultivate to an even higher level. An Arhat at the entry-level is not concerned about anything. He does not care at all in his heart for any ordinary human matters, and he will always be smiling and in good spirits. How far away from that we are! We should be cultivating towards the point where we are unmoved, yet we always blame it on outside factors or other people when there is a conflict. If we can calm down and examine each and every thought of ours, we will be surprised. How come I still have such bad thoughts? Why couldn't I get rid of these attachments?
Teacher makes arrangements for us to get rid of our attachments. It is not easy to pass the test every time. So when the capacity of the heart reaches its limit and needs to be enlarged, it is really challenging to add even a little more. At that moment, countless thoughts of self-reproach and depression pop up. I hate the "me" who cannot cultivate well, but this "me" just keeps following me around like a shadow. Every minute is a torture. However, Master is benevolently taking care of the disciples. When I was studying the Fa, I read the following:
"This is also to say that during your cultivation there will be conflicts and tests, and there will be things like ordinary human thoughts that you can't let go of. This is cultivation. Human thoughts are eliminated layer after layer in Dafa cultivation. You know that it's just like the skins of an onion being peeled off one by one until eventually the core is reached." ("Lecture at the Conference in New Zealand")
Everyone knows the pain of getting rid of attachments, especially the strong, deep-rooted attachments. They are even harder to get rid of, so they cause more pain. I have to keep reminding myself and telling myself that those notions are not mine. I do not want to think about them. I want to draw a distinct line separating me from them. In some of my experiences of getting rid of attachments, I can feel that it is benevolent Master who helps me to eliminate the mountain of attachments.
Sometimes it's after studying the Fa, sometimes it's after doing the exercises, that the wound in my heart which was afflicted from not giving up a certain attachment, will be healed. I feel no more pain at all and so light that I could float. I even forget what I was attached to.
"...There are many things that you can't do but that Master can. And so how does Master do them? It's not like as soon as we come into contact I'll remove them. When your righteous thoughts are firm and when you can repel those things, I remove them for you bit by bit; however much you can do, that's how much I remove for you and diminish for you. (Applause) But since you're a cultivator, you have to truly hold yourself to the requirements for a cultivator. Even though sometimes you still can't quite get there yet, you've got to at least have those righteous thoughts, and you've got to cultivate yourselves."
("Teaching the Fa at the 2004 Chicago Conference")
We are in the last phase of the Fa-rectification. It seems that everything is targeting our fundamental attachments. I found it was like that with other practitioners, too. Even some practitioners, who are unanimously recognized as cultivating well, have admitted that they have never encountered such conflicts in work and family life since they started cultivation. I have just walked through that process and I am fully aware of the suffering.
When I study the Fa more and have strong righteous thoughts, I feel that I have gotten over it. After some time, however, the conflicts come back again. Sometimes I feel I did not behave like a practitioner and dare not face Master.
"So in other words, cultivation practice must genuinely change a person's heart. If you want to reach high realms, if you want to reach the realm of a God, you must reach a God's realm of mind. If only your surface is changed while your nature remains the same, that's fake. At a certain time or at a critical moment, it will still show up. So if a person's heart isn't changed, that's just covering up with a false appearance. Changes must occur starting with your nature -- only that counts as genuinely changing yourself. In other words, you have to be responsible to yourself in cultivation, and you have to genuinely change yourself and let go of the bad things that you're attached to deep inside--only that is genuine letting go. If you seem to do everything right on the surface but deep inside you still guard and hold on to the things that you don't let go of, that's absolutely unacceptable." ("Lecture at the Western United States Fa Conference, Feb. 21 and 22. 1999, Los Angeles")
Indeed, it was because I didn't really change myself fundamentally. In order to do that, I have to assimilate to Dafa and rectify myself in the Fa.
View the Barriers in the Work from a Dafa Disciple's Perspective
Since we are Dafa disciples doing Dafa work, I remembered to treat the Dafa work with righteous thoughts when I first participated in Internet related Dafa work. At that time, I didn't know much about computers. I often contacted practitioners who are computer experts, to hear from them how the evil blocks the Internet and how they broke through. I tended to care more about the related technical information, forgetting that technology is nothing compared with Dafa disciples' righteous thoughts. Many practitioners who know the technology have been really working hard. They have spent a great amount of time and effort breaking through the Internet blockade, so that the precious Chinese people can know the truth about Dafa. Their efforts are certainly appreciated and they have helped save more sentient beings.
Recently, a practitioner reminded us, "There is no constraint between this qi and that qi."(Zhuan Falun) He asked us not to forget that we are Dafa disciples while doing the Internet related work. Whenever we encounter a problem, we cannot always look for technical ways to solve them. If we put all our attention into the technical stuff, we are fighting the evil with technology. Are we not on the same level as they are, then? If we focus on studying the techniques of technology and neglect Fa-study, this omission is very likely to be taken advantage of. As a result, it might affect Dafa work, as well as our saving sentient beings and our own cultivation.
I am not denying the efforts of practitioners who know computer technology. I just want to remind practitioners that whenever you encounter a technical problem, you might want to put the work aside for a while. No matter how urgent it is, you should study the Fa and it will give you wisdom.
The problems will soon be resolved, because "one's gong level is as high as one's xinxing level" and "cultivation depends on one's own efforts, while the transformation of gong is done by one's master." (Zhuan Falun). When your level is raised, the things you do will not be restricted to this human dimension and you are in a divine state, capable of anything. Who can stop you? If Dafa disciples remember to look within and put Fa-study and cultivation as the first priority, our righteous thoughts will display their power. Then we can really do things that non-practitioners cannot do.
It took me more than a week to write this article. I worked on it several times. It looks totally different from the first draft. The process of writing is indeed a process of cultivation, peeling off one shell after another. There is no specific theme in my article. It's just a collection of some of my understandings. Thank you.
Written on July 5,2005