Getting Out of the Shadow of the Old Forces
(Clearwisdom.net) I was imprisoned in a forced labor camp and was released in the spring of 2003. After I came home, I noticed that my state of mind was quite far from the Fa. I read the Fa-Lecturing During the 2003 Lantern Festival at the U.S. West Fa Conference, but found it difficult to understand.
For a while, I believed that the fellow practitioners imprisoned at forced labor camps had great virtue and were at high levels, and that they were better practitioners than those not imprisoned or those outside of China. Because I had written letters renouncing my faith under great pressure at the forced labor camp and I didn't cultivate based on the Fa, I admired those steadfast practitioners, many of whom would rather die than give in, and I was ashamed of myself for having been scared.
I spent two years at the forced labor camp, and as I recall, I did not make much progress during that time. In the following two years, I slowly realized my attachment: my purpose of cultivating Dafa was integrated with a selfish heart for my own consummation. That's why I couldn't make a big breakthrough in my cultivation.
This year I got into contact with a practitioner who was imprisoned twice for a total of five years. I was shocked upon learning that, and I also noticed that he wasn't clear about the real cause of his persecution. He confessed to me his betrayal of other practitioners in the past and wanted to apologize to them in his emails to me. He hardly talked about why he had been persecuted and how he understood this based on the Fa. If he doesn't have a clear understanding of these issues, doesn't he still live in the shadow of the old forces?
In the articles from Minghui Daily that I recently downloaded, I read about some fellow practitioners I had known during my imprisonment that had been arrested again, and what they did to protest in prison. I had even considered some of them to be more steadfast in the forced labor camp than I was. However, a few of them were tortured to death.
From the above, I realized that it is important to think rationally and to enlighten within the Fa. I didn't do well at the forced labor camp, but I looked within myself and recognized my deep attachments so that I could cultivate sincerely, examine my every thought rationally, and in turn, get out of the old forces' arrangements step by step. I did so badly at the forced labor camp that I was embarrassed to look at fellow practitioners who didn't renounce Falun Dafa. After I came out of there and got rid of my deep attachments, I was later reported to the police for doing Dafa work, but I resolved it quickly with strong righteous thoughts. I truly did not acknowledge the old forces in my mind.
I have encountered great tribulations in my individual cultivation, especially when I didn't do well in the forced labor camp. Steadfast fellow practitioners might even look down upon me. This made me think that my inborn quality wasn't good. However, my experience proved this was wrong. It is easy if we cultivate based on a correct understanding of the Fa. Otherwise, cultivation is very hard, if not impossible. Thus, I suggest that those practitioners who still acknowledge the old forces and who are still being persecuted really think carefully: cultivation is not difficult, but why can the old forces persecute us? We have Teacher and the Fa, and our inborn quality is not bad, so why can these kinds of things happen?
Upon writing this, I remember what Teacher said in "Cautionary Advice" (Essentials for Further Advancement):
In practicing cultivation, you are not making real, solid progress on your own, which would effect great, fundamental changes internally. Instead, you rely on my power and take advantage of powerful external factors. This can never transform your human nature into Buddha-nature. If every one of you can understand the Fa from the depths of your mind, that will truly be the manifestation of the Fa whose power knows no boundary--the reappearance of the mighty Buddha Fa in the human world! [official translation, 2001]
The above are my humble opinions, please point out anything not in line with the Fa.