It Is Solid Cultivation, Not a Formality
(Clearwisdom.net) I am writing this article to discuss some of the problems I recently saw in myself and in other practitioners, with a view to collective improvement.
Group Fa-study is an environment Master created during the Fa-rectification period for us to improve and progress together through identifying, discussing, and resolving problems. Many such groups disappeared in China after the persecution of Dafa started. But now quite a few practitioners in my area have organized Fa-study groups, forming environments for practitioners to study the Fa together. This is a remarkable thing to do! But I saw a problem: some practitioners always came in and out of the group in a hurry, and never seemed to have time to sit down and talk about the problems we encountered in our cultivation. Some practitioners often made mistakes when they read the book. When asked how they were doing, they would reply that they were busy making money, doing household chores, and looking after their grandchildren. They were even heavily involved in ordinary people's matters, such as marriages and funerals. When finally they had time and came to the Fa-study group and read the Fa, their minds were somewhere else. When they were sending forth righteous thoughts, their hand signs were out of position, giving the impression that they were asleep. When other practitioners pointed it out for them, they justified their action by saying that Master has said we should conform to ordinary human society to cultivate. Some practitioners have even get into arguments over this matter.
Group Fa-study is an environment where practitioners can learn and cultivate together. In this environment, one can see how fellow practitioners are diligent in cultivation and see one's own shortcomings, so that one can improve faster. Master was very clear on this matter. Some practitioners do not have a clear understanding on this matter. "Since everyone comes, I'll come too," they thought, "because I can improve faster through group Fa-study." Why can they improve faster this way? They have never thought about it.
Knowing the effect without knowing the cause, they tend to pay attention to formalities, and thus they are unlikely to stick to it. Practitioners may be very busy, but no matter how busy we are, it won't affect our cultivation because our practice requires that we cultivate among ordinary people. The important thing is whether or not we have regarded ourselves as practitioners. In other words, where have we put our minds, what is the starting point when we view things, and have we genuinely cultivated ourselves or not? If we do not examine ourselves when we encounter problems or if we always try to avoid conflicts and are unwilling to let go of our attachments when facing conflicts, even if we sit there and study the Fa every day, it is no more than an everyday person reading a Dafa book, because we have not solidly cultivated ourselves. Master said that it is impossible for everyone to obtain the Dao and no one can improve without cultivating his heart. Why do we have to look inside of ourselves? Because in our practice we are cultivating ourselves. When we point out others' shortcomings we are being compassionate to others and doing it for the sake of others. That is why we should do so in a peaceful manner, rather than reasoning or even arguing with others as ordinary people do to find out who is right and who is wrong. If our heart is moved when we are doing this, we are not in the Fa anymore. When we all look inside, the Fa-study group becomes an environment for solid cultivation. Otherwise it is a meaningless formality that will not help to achieve the purpose of real improvement.
Some practitioners seldom read Clearwisdom Weekly or do not read it at all. They say that they do not have time for it. But Clearwisdom.net is a platform on which Dafa practitioners can share their experiences, which is a part of our cultivation. Master once told us to read the Clearwisdom website for positions on major issues. In the pure land of Clearwisdom, practitioners are constantly purifying their hearts, improving their character, and making faster progress on a righteous path through sharing with one another. So those who do not read Clearwisdom Weekly have given up such an environment and their improvement will thus become much slower. I still remember the earlier days when the persecution was the worst. The truth-clarification centers in our area were all sabotaged, so we had to risk our lives to get a copy of Clearwisdom Weekly from out of town. We did not just read it once and then pass it onto others, instead we copied it down after we read it, because we wanted to read it again later. My eyes always filled with tears whenever this was mentioned, for I know this is because the microscopic part of me has been moved by fellow practitioners' actions. Now the environment has become better and our truth-clarification centers are scattered everywhere, so we are able to read Clearwisdom Weekly in a timely fashion. And yet some of our practitioners started to show less care about reading it. There is a saying, "One will only treasure what's lost." As cultivators, we all know that the time for cultivation is limited and too many things in the process, once lost, will never be regained. We all know that Dafa is good; then why not take advantage of what we have and cultivate solidly?
There are also practitioners who critique the articles based on their own understandings, picking on the parts they don't like. They even casually discarded the truth-clarification materials on that account. To these practitioners, I want to ask: "Have you ever thought about how many practitioners have put in so much energy and time into producing the Weekly and truth-clarification materials? Why are they doing that? When the articles are not in line with your notions and ideas, you show disapproval, but have you ever asked yourself whether you are validating the Fa or yourself?" With due respect, I advise these practitioners to read Master's article "My Version of a Stick Wake-up" with a calm mind, to right their state of mind, to treat and deal with things they encounter with rationality, to truly cultivate themselves while doing the three things well, to work together to maintain our hard-won environment, and to save more sentient beings, so that they will not have too many regrets in the future.
The above is my personal understanding. Corrections from fellow practitioners are welcome.