My Understanding of Fear and Attachments
(Clearwisdom.net) When I was studying in college, I was fortunate to obtain the Fa with the help of my teachers and classmates. I had done some Dafa work in the past, but when I saw the group appeal incident at the State Appeals Bureau in Beijing on April 25, 1999 (1) and the "red terror" created by the nationwide mass persecution of Dafa, I was afraid and found it very hard to let go of various attachments. I have read many articles on the Clearwisdom website about practitioners' experiences doing Dafa work and their understandings. I would also like to share some of my understandings. Please point out anything incorrect.
1. About Fear
Some disciples do not have a clear understanding of the damage done by the old forces. They wrongly believe that "without fear" means they can do anything they want. In fact, "clarify the truth with wisdom" (Essentials for Further Advancement II, "Rationality") cannot be regarded simply as doing things "without fear." It is just like how being a vegetarian cannot replace Buddha cultivation. If we only emphasize letting go of the "attachment of fear," we will often create many other attachments, which will bring interference to our work and cultivation. We are often not willing to look inward, and instead we use "no fear" to cover up our other attachments. Human beings have too many attachments. The requirements of our doing Dafa work are not to simply let go of one or two attachments, but rather to rectify anything unrighteous, whether it's internal or external, through assimilating to the Fa.
Some disciples think that once they let go of fear, they will be brave. I do not believe so. My understanding is that a person who is without fear is rational, wise and compassionate. Fear is sentimentality and bravery is also sentimentality. The process of abandoning attachments is just like this. We need to upgrade our understanding of the Fa. We cannot use sentimentality and allow one side of our human notions to replace another.
Nonetheless, Teacher has mentioned many times to, "strive forward vigorously." My understanding is that if we can see our attachments while studying the Fa, we believe in the power of the Fa and we build up our righteous thoughts and abandon attachments, then it will be considered that we "strive forward vigorously." Teacher said in the section about "enlightenment" in Lecture Nine of Zhuan Falun,
"The enlightenment that we actually refer to is a matter of whether in the course of cultivation practice one can enlighten to and accept the Fa taught by the master or the Tao taught by the Taoist master, whether one can treat oneself as a practitioner upon encountering tribulations, and whether one can adhere to the Fa while practicing cultivation."
I understand that in any circumstance, we will be considered to "strive forward vigorously" if we can "adhere to the Fa."
Teacher also said in the article, "Path,"
"Cultivation is hard. It's hard in that even when a terrible calamity strikes, even when evil madly persecutes, and even when your life is at stake, you still have to be able to steadfastly continue on your path of cultivation without letting anything in human society interfere with the steps you take on your path of cultivation." ("Path" in Essentials for Further Advancement II)
I understand that no matter how hard the path of cultivation is, if we can take the Fa as our teacher, believe in Master and believe in the Fa and "steadfastly continue," this will mean that we "strive forward vigorously." To "strive forward vigorously" is a state of our diligently letting go of all attachments. It is not the same as acting "without fear."
2. How to correctly view our remaining attachments
The "attachment of fear" is only one attachment in cultivation. It's only one side of it. Every cultivator carries attachments. Then how can we do Dafa work well while carrying these attachments? My view is that we first need to realize that we have attachments and that we want to abandon these attachments. This is most important. The fundamental cause of various attachments is insufficient Fa study.
"When someone who's learned Dafa goes down the wrong path, it's because he has attachments that he hasn't been able to let go of. And these attachments are sure to be controlled and taken advantage of by the evil beings." ("Teaching the Fa at the Washington, D.C. International Fa Conference")
I understand that the "attachments that he hasn't been able to let go of," is the root. The old forces' motive is to take advantage of these attachments. We need to break through their evil arrangements.
So if we want to realize the real attachments and eventually abandon them, the only way is to study the Fa. As long as we want to let go of attachments and believe in the power of the Fa, we can definitely abandon these attachments. I believe that if we can recognize that "only by studying the Fa can we let go of attachments and as long as we study the Fa, we can definitely abandon the attachments." This is the most fundamental righteous faith of the Fa. But many people have neglected Fa study and reduced their Fa study. This is because the righteous faith in their hearts has consciously or unconsciously been shaken. I personally believe one-sidedly emphasizing "abandoning fear" or breaking through attachments using human methods cannot be called having righteous faith in the Fa.
My understanding is that we may have attachments, but as long as we believe in the Fa, assimilate to the Fa, affirm our righteous faith and abandon these attachments, we can also develop our abilities to our best potential and accomplish everything a Dafa disciple should accomplish in his or her Fa-rectification cultivation, even though we still carry attachments. Fa-rectification cultivation has validated that this can be achieved. This is fundamentally denying the fake principle "taking advantage of every attachment" of the old forces. It is validating Master's great compassion of "universal salvation." We may still have attachments, but we are magnificent as long as we can catch up with the Fa-rectification, and Master will still save us. We will be able to harmonize Master's great wish of "giving compassionate salvation to every being," because we can upgrade our levels without going through the persecution arranged by the evil, and sentient beings will not need to "build the most wicked relationship" with Dafa while being deceived. On the human level, we are saving deceived sentient beings through clarifying the truth to them, so they will not face a possible elimination ("destruction"). Perhaps this means that in the future, there will only be "formation-stasis-degeneration" and no more "destruction." This is the manifestation at the human level. We are creating history. From this perspective, the remaining attachments we have are in fact giving us a chance to validate Master's great compassion and Dafa's magnificence, to build up Dafa disciple's mighty virtue, and to consummate Dafa disciple's fruit status and paradise. But of course, the condition for this is that "righteous thoughts are absolutely unshakable." ("Dafa is Indestructible" in Essentials for Further Advancement II)
(1) In response to the unwarranted arrest of 45 practitioners in Tianjin, more than 10,000 practitioners went to the State Appeals Bureau in Beijing to appeal to the government to release them. Because of this gathering, Falun Gong began to receive international attention.