Learning How to Truly Cultivate
(Clearwisdom.net) I had no clue what cultivation was in the past. The little I knew about it was from the fantasies in the movies or on TV. I had also been poisoned by the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) "atheism" and had never learned anything related to cultivation. When I was fortunate enough to learn Falun Dafa, I didnt know where to start in cultivating this Fa. Master encompasses everything in the book Zhuan Falun, but I was only reading and learning it as if I was reading a regular book or learning an everyday skill. Therefore, although I was "studying" Zhuan Falun, I was only learning things from the surface. Although I indeed felt different because Master treated me as a Dafa disciple, I didnt really know how to become a good disciple. I took many side roads instead of following the straight path.
Through reading fellow practitioners experience sharing articles and looking inward, I have gradually formed a holistic understanding of cultivation during the Fa-rectification period. I no longer treat matters as isolated occurrences. In fact, everything we encounter has something to do with cultivation. From then on, I felt that I truly knew what cultivation was and grasped the main direction. I no longer felt lost or far away from the cultivation track. If I swung away a little from the right path, I could feel it and correct it right away. This way, things wouldnt go too far and cause too much loss. I thought this might be the advantage of truly understanding how to cultivate. However, methodology can never replace ones true xinxing improvement. Studying the Fa well is the most important thing for Dafa disciples. I would like to share my cultivation experience in doing the three things.
1. Studying the Fa
(a) When things get busier in daily life or in validating the Fa, it impacts our improvement. If we think, "I will focus on cultivation after this is over," it wont be good because this kind of thinking will go on forever and just become more troublesome. One of the ways the evil persecutes us is to keep us away from the Fa. It makes illusions for us in the human world. One of them is to make us too "busy" at work so we are away from the Fa. This method is not very noticeable. If we dont recognize the evil factors behind the illusions and begin using human notions to view cultivation, we will be "busy" forever.
The longest period I was "busy" was one year due to my attachments to fame and money. What a big loss that was! Our mission here is to validate the Fa and save sentient beings. Nothing can prevent us from fulfilling our mission. Being "busy" at things is the interference. We cant surrender ourselves to it. No matter how busy we are, we cant let it affect our cultivation. It is just like what Master mentioned in Zhuan Falun about when we start practicing and things in our environment start to get annoying. Its all up to us whether we can persist or not. If the moment the environment becomes noisy we stop practicing, the environment will never be quiet. Similarly, if we stop practicing because we are "busy," we will always be interfered with.
Also, if we use human notions to put mental pressure on ourselves, we will be "busy" at a certain time, so lets "be prepared!" At that time, are we accepting this interference? If we accept and give up on our own and think, "At that time I will be too busy, studying the Fa and cultivating cannot be guaranteed," we would end up putting off cultivation for several days. This is exactly falling into the evils trap.
(b) There is a similar situation to the one above. This is whether we put our heart into Dafa to to deal with things in the human world or put our heart into the human world to deal with Dafas matters. In the past, I always tried to squeeze time from my daily life for cultivation. At that time, the hidden message was, "Business in the human world is more important. Cultivation is less important." Human beings usually put an important thing or event at the foremost position. After the important thing is fulfilled, we take care of other, not-very-important matters. For example, if within a day, we have to finish two thingsbuy a car and buy grocerieswe would spend as much time as we needed visiting all the car dealers. Then we would use the rest of the time to buy groceries. We would squeeze in time to buy groceries around the time to buy a car. Then when we are facing doing the three things versus our daily work, which one do we treat as buying a car, and which one do we consider as buying groceries?
(c) We will improve as long as we study the Fa. Reading Dafa books is part of cultivation. The meaning and function of reading the Dafa books are totally different from reading ordinary books. I remember I read an experience sharing article by a fellow practitioner. It stated by saying that if you consider the Fa principles in the Dafa books as goals brought up in ordinary books then, after you finish the book, you wouldnt want to read it again. Only when you feel you have reached the requirements on some level, as Master says in the book, would you go back and read it. Only then would you see more in-depth principles. In the past, I shared a similar, shallow understanding. I treated the Fa principles as goals I had to fulfill. Then I no longer read much. Would I, in fact, reach the goals? No. I had this wrong understanding for two years when I first obtained the Fa. During those two years, Dafa was not being publicly persecuted, but I didnt make much progress in my cultivation. I found many of my attachments, but I wasnt able to eliminate them. The truth is, without the Fa, if you only relies on your own strength, how can you eliminate substances that are as hard as rocks? Only with the Fa and through reading Dafa books consistently will you be able to do so. Its like making steel. If we always take the iron ore out as soon as it turns red, the iron will never turn into steel. This, in fact, also relates to my fourth issue.
(d) When we study the Fa, we need to stay focused. We need to dedicate our time and attention to it. When we study the Fa, our minds have to be very calm and we cannot think about different other things.
We cant treat studying the Fa as tasks. We have to really use our hearts. For about one year, I knew that Master asked us to focus on studying the Fa. Therefore, every day I "squeezed" in time to study the Fa, but I wasnt focused enough. Every day I read several pages. As I was reading, I was thinking about many thingsattachments to fame, money, or sentiments. After I was done reading several pages, I even felt, "I studied the Fa today." I told myself, "That is one thing out of the three things I did today." It was as if I had finished some task. First I didnt recognize the importance of studying the Fa. Secondly, I didnt know what was considered truly "studying" the Fa.
Later, I read some experience sharing articles by fellow practitioners. I felt that I didnt study enough. I couldnt finish reading two chapters, so I tried hard to finish one chapter. Then I strictly separated the time between studying the Fa and my daily work. When I went home, it was time for me to study the Fa and do the three things. When I went to work, it was time for me to consider my work more. I could take some of the work time to do the three things, such as sending forth righteous thoughts and clarifying the truth, but I tried not to take any work home. This is what I mentioned above on how to treat cultivation and work. Only in this way would the effect of studying the Fa be guaranteed. In addition, I prepared a notebook to record my understandings and "xinxing" issues every day. If I dont have any new understanding for several days, that means Im either slacking off on studying the Fa or there are issues somewhere that I need to identify. I feel this is very effective. I think fellow practitioners should give this a try. If a certain experience sharing article is good, you can send it to the Minghui/Clearwisdom website to share with everyone.
(e) One has to be clear-minded. What do we "believe in?" If we dont have a true belief in Dafa and Master, then its not true cultivation.
In fact, this issue becomes a problem because our "belief" is not enough. In the past, I felt I "believed" in Master and "believed" in Dafa. But in fact I didnt believe enough. My heart was as if it was hidden in a box. It was labeled "believing" on the box. But upon opening the box, it showed "half believing, half suspecting." Therefore, this requires us to find a time to think and see how much we believe in Masters Fa or whether we believe Masters law body is actually nearby us. Do we believe in the gods and Buddhas? Only when we finish thinking, eliminate the mindset of suspicion, and firmly believe in what Master teaches us will we be able to continue cultivating. When our hearts are not pure enough, we will be easily following the path the old forces arranged for us.
Regarding this "belief," we should think about all the Fa principles Master teaches us. This kind of "belief" is thinking rationally instead of blindly. Through deep thinking and studying the Fa, I think we should have a very clear understanding: What Master teaches is truly the truth. Its definitely not wrong. We should completely and firmly believe in Dafa, accept Dafa, and not hold back anything from Dafa. Only in this way will we be able to have a foundation of cultivation and advance steadily!
(f) In general, the direction of our fundamental understanding about cultivation must be right. Otherwise, we will be on the path arranged by the old forces. Furthermore, this will cause us to be persecuted by the old forces. Only by changing our fundamental understanding can we eliminate, thoroughly, all varieties of persecution.
Since July 20, 1999, many practitioners have been persecuted to differing degrees. In my opinion, it is not easy to understand this persecution correctly. In fact, it highlights the main difference between the new universe and the old universe. Due to this difference it is very important to understand the persecution correctly. If we understand it falsely we will be taking the path arranged by the old forces and cultivating according to the old way. As a result, we will achieve nothing. Therefore, we should not leave any loopholes for the unreasonable persecution, and this includes not leaving any loopholes for persecution when considering something. For example, "If someone persecutes me how would I deal with it?" I think we should deny it thoroughly. If we meet some danger related to a persons safety, we could consider how to avoid some obvious danger. We should not have the thought that, "Once I suffer persecution I will know how to deal with it." If we do so, we leave loopholes for this persecution and permit it to stay in our field of influence. Isnt that dangerous? In fact, this thought has already acknowledged the old forces, and we would be on the path arranged by the old forces in whatever we did, which is very awful. So we should know how to understand it in a general sense. Otherwise, we will meet with many dangers.
For example, when I began to validate Dafa, due to the persecution arranged by the old forces, I didnt change the cultivation environment step by step in my home area. To deal with it I chose the easy way of being homeless. Later on I went astray. Afterwards, when I was asked to continue going to work, I refused and chose to seek another job because I had the attachment of fear, of losing face, and felt ashamed to Master. This choice only glossed over the conflict, which made me go on the path arranged by the old forces. As a result, my income declined year after year, and sometimes I could not find a job, or I found only a poor job. Even the people around me thought it was strange that they could find a job with more than 1,000 yuan salary without a diploma, but I could not, even with a diploma. The situation resulted in a lot of losses for Fa-validation work. I began to do the three things asked of practitioners in 2004. Obviously it was very late. In addition, I had been homeless for two years, therefore I lost a lot of precious time. It was a big lesson! The reason was that my mindset was incorrect, and I had been on the path arranged by the old forces, not on the path arranged by Master.
By early 2006 I had read Masters recent writings and speeches. Eventually I realized that I was wrong, and I could understand why things were so hard on my cultivation path and why I met so much economic interference that was not related to cultivation. The interference nearly led to my familys breakup and I had to sell my house to pay the debts. I realized that my fundamental direction was incorrect. Dafa cultivation depends on xinxing improvement. Therefore, if we have not improved our xinxing and cannot realize these kinds of big problems, we will be on the path arranged by the old forces. As a result the path will become more difficult. So I suggest to fellow practitioners who are in a big tribulation to look at the motives behind their choices and decide whether they are on the path arranged by Master. I dont think that they have to do this just on the basis of one thought in mind. They should also check their thoughts after letting go of their attachments, such as the attachments of fame and gain, fear of losing face, and sentimentality. If we find that we are not on the path arranged by Master, we should correct our path and return to the path arranged by Master.
Previously, when I chose to find a job, I had the attachment of fear of losing face and the attachment of fame and gain. In addition, I wanted to go to work in the developed area and gave up the environment of family. In fact, the path that I walked was not right because the local evildoers didnt pay much attention to me. All of the above attachments resulted in my resigning. So could the path I chose be correct? How could I avoid the persecution and interference arranged by the old forces? After finding my loophole, I decided to return to my home to do the three things. I prepared for a while and everything went well. During this period, I clearly felt Masters encouragement and help several times. As long as disciples are on the right path, Master can help us at any time.
(g) The biggest advantage in cultivating Dafa is that we can decide to act correctly by ourselves. However, we sometimes have not decided this by ourselves, but instead have been controlled by human notions and the old forces. Through cultivation our thoughts will be changed into a deitys thoughts. After cultivating, we should understand everything at a high level. In this way we can calm ourselves and not be influenced by anything. We can do what we want to do and not be influenced by interference from ordinary peoples society.
(h) In the process of cultivating, if we have improved our xinxing, we will do everything quickly and successfully. Otherwise, we will encounter a lot of problems and even cause incomparable loss. During this special period the old forces are watching our every thought, and they will take advantage of our gaps. Therefore, we should pay attention and not leave any loopholes that can be taken advantage of by these evil factors.
I find that every time I do important things, especially those related to cultivation, I come across a test. When I do something and my xinxing doesnt meet Dafas requirement, it will cause me to pay attention to it. If I have improved my xinxing, I can do it successfully. Otherwise I will encounter interference and even loss. I have encountered this type of situation more than once. Sometimes when I do something, my family or others quarrel with me. If I dont improve my xinxing and quarrel with them, terrible problems crop up, which nearly causes failure. If I improve my xinxing, on the other hand, the matter will be all right.
As a Dafa disciple, we should improve our xinxing through studying the Fa and not be influenced by the old forces. The old forces have no qualifications to participate in our cultivation. If we dont do something well, our Master will help us, but not the old forces. Therefore, we firmly refute the interference and damage caused by the old forces. It doesnt mean that if we have done something poorly, that damage caused by the old forces should be regarded as reasonable. However, once we have done something poorly, it is possible to incur damage from the old forces. Because there are some problems in our xinxing, it is not easy to avoid the damage of the old forces, and it may even cause some unnecessary loss. As for looking inside ourselves, we should try to understand clearly what happened.
2. Sending Forth Righteous Thoughts
If we meet some problems, sending forth righteous thoughts will contribute to solving the problems. On the other hand, we must improve our xinxing, which is the basis of solving all kinds of problems, because problems in our xinxing is the origin of all kinds of tribulations and persecution. With the process of Fa-rectification, through fellow practitioners sending forth righteous thoughts, the situation can be immediately changed, because interference by the old forces is not acknowledged by Master. However, if we have some problems in our xinxing, sending forth righteous thoughts alone cannot eliminate the evil.
When I began to validate Dafa, the evil factors used a variety of ways to interfere with me. At that time I had the attachment of fear. However, I did not emphasize it enough. I thought that I could send forth righteous thoughts to eliminate the tribulation and persecution. However, my attachment of fear still existed. Therefore, the result was not good. Just like one experience sharing article mentioned, a young Dafa disciple told his family that sending forth righteous thoughts alone could not solve the problem because his attachment of fear was not eliminated.
3. Clarifying the Truth
I do not clarify the truth very well and have done very little. Mostly I have distributed materials about ways to break through the Internet blockade. In this aspect I have little experience. However, I have found that when I do something for a long time I develop the feeling of accomplishing my task. If one day I don't clarify the truth adequately, I feel that I have not finished something. However, we should identify with our so-called duty. We should consider the impact of not clarifying the truth. There would be many people who lose the chance to be saved. We should not think about unfinished tasks. Clarifying the truth is a part of cultivation, not a task of the ordinary society. If we treat a supernormal thing as a normal thing, our xinxing will be at the level of the ordinary society. As a result, we will encounter a lot of interference. The goal of clarifying the truth is to save the sentient beings, not to finish our tasks.
The above is my understanding of cultivation. I have not done well, but I will try my best to do well, so that Master will not be disappointed with me. This is my personal understanding. If there is anything improper, please kindly point it out.