Study the Fa, Look Inside
Respected Master, greetings! Fellow practitioners, greetings!
Today I report to respected Master and share with everyone a bit of my personal cultivation process. Please correct me with compassion if there are shortcomings.
I began “Fa” study in April 1999 and realized the most difficult things to deal with would be ridding myself of attachments. The things I noticed outwardly were my notions of competition and showing off. They were my biggest attachments. It was difficult to find what other attachments hid below these. Even though I knew I had these attachments, I often made mistakes; that is, I made them knowingly. I often felt regretful and I asked myself, “Why do I have to be like this? Is it that difficult to not think like this, do it like this, and to get rid of these attachments?”
Master said, “The Fa can break all attachments.” (Essentials for Further Advancement II, “Drive out Interference”) Master especially emphasizes studying the Fa, studying the Fa, studying the Fa well. I also read the book (“Zhuan Falun”), but how come I was still like this? Why did I have to argue with fellow practitioners? Why couldn’t I listen to other people’s ideas? I told myself to keep silent when the next argument happened, no matter what. But it did not work. For a long period of time, I didn’t put my heart into Fa study. I did not make any progress. I was merely reading the Fa mechanically every day. I felt a need to change my own state, so I started to memorize the Fa. Although I was slow, I again felt the joy of studying the Fa as I memorized it. I felt many of my attachments really weaken.
When I started to memorize the Fa a second time over, I thought it would be faster than the first time, but the more I memorized, the more difficult it became. So, I again switched to reading. I was surprised that after memorizing the Fa, reading was really different. I could often get insights into deeper principles of the Fa. After persisting for a while like this, again it didn’t work, and once again I didn't grow in my understandings. I thought: Should I start to memorize the Fa? But, I ran into difficulty memorizing it. Why? How could I study the Fa well? Every day I read Master’s words, which I had read countless times before, but my thoughts always wandered, and even less did I enlighten to anything. I felt anxious.
Recently a fellow practitioner in our area died. It shook me greatly. Whenever I thought about it, I would feel grief and couldn’t control my tears. However, I had never talked to this practitioner before. I always thought that he had cultivated extremely well, and at the same time he worked on a very important Dafa project. How could a fellow practitioner like this pass away? He had attachments, but who doesn’t have attachments?
Initially I found this difficult to understand. I couldn’t understand it, no matter how I thought about it. My mood was in a mess. I felt I had a serious problem. I was very scared; I was afraid to think further. Just then, a fellow practitioner shared her experience with me. She told me something that suddenly woke me up. I cannot remember her exact words, but she said that any Dafa disciple leaving the human world during the Fa-rectification period is a test for the other Dafa disciples. This moved me. I suddenly became aware of a principle and it frightened me—I found a bigger attachment. I discovered that the reason I couldn’t understand it was because of a deeply buried human notion: Those practitioners who have cultivated well and who are doing important work may get more protection from Master. Although there were practitioners who had died, I felt that it was because those practitioners had this or that attachment or that they weren’t diligent enough, so there were reasons for their passing away. But this practitioner was so diligent. I thought he shouldn’t have passed away.
I discovered another attachment I had never realized—I felt that the more I joined in projects that validated Dafa, the more protection I could get. I finally understood this point. This is actually a selfish mindset.
“They don’t realize it at all; their intentions are deeply concealed. Nowadays people have become very crafty. People today know how to hide their attachments. And then they hide the hiding of their attachments.” (“Teaching the Fa at the Assistants’ Fa Conference in Changchun”)
My mind finally settled down, because I had found the root cause of my problem. At the same time I also felt the joy of looking within. That is, when I couldn’t understand something, my first thought was righteous: I told myself that it must be my problem and that I needed to look within and listen to what Master has said. Therefore, Master gave me hints and helped me find the root cause.
However, I still had other attachments that I hadn’t dug out. How could I find them? As I thought about it, it was as if I had broken through a layer of shell. I began to smile. I thought: Those practitioners whom I usually couldn’t get along with and the problems I had with them—these are good places to start looking for attachments. I began to thank those practitioners from my heart, and at that moment I really had no anger toward them.
When I had arguments with other practitioners in the past I always looked at their attachments. But now I would force myself to think: “Which of my attachments is responsible for this? Why am I so upset?” I learned to look within unconditionally. At the same time I started to study the Fa.
In the first lecture of Zhuan Falun Teacher states,
“ 'When one’s Buddha-nature emerges, it will shake “the world of ten directions.”' Whoever sees it will come to give a hand and help this person out unconditionally.”
I found that as long as I hold onto the thought to look within, cultivate myself, and treat myself as a cultivator in the midst of conflicts, Master will help me. Then every sentence of Master’s Fa hits my attachments; every word displays its new meaning.
Now I often smile as I read the Fa. I think: “Master, it turns out that this sentence also has this meaning. No wonder I couldn’t see it in the past when I was in that state.”
It seems that looking within is really a Fa treasure. I have just experienced it. In the past I had also looked within, but after looking for a long time, I would instead find other people’s faults in the end. Now when I look within, I do it unconditionally.
Master said in Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Europe,
“Whenever you encounter problems you should each look inwardto search for the cause within, regardless of whether you’re to blame or not. Remember my words: Regardless of whether the problem is your fault or not, you should look inside yourself, and you will find a problem. If the matter has absolutely nothing to do with you or doesn’t involve any of the attachments you should break, then that thing would rarely happen to you. If you didn’t have an attachment the problem wouldn’t have come about. I have to be responsible foryour cultivation.Any problem that happens to you, around you, or among you is most likely related to you, and there is something for you to get rid of. No matter whether it’s your fault or not, when my Law Bodies are having you remove your attachment, they don’t care whether it’s your fault or another person’s. As long as you have an attachment, they will try everything to have you run into problems and have you recognize the attachment that makes you fall short. Yet you’re still looking around, 'This isn’t my fault,' or you’re still thinking, 'I’m protecting the Fa.' Meanwhile, the other person is thinking, 'I’m protecting the Fa.' In fact, the conflict occurs because you probably each have faults of your own.”
In the process of joining Dafa projects there will be conflicts among practitioners. Perhaps practitioners’ backgrounds, social strata, family situations, and other things are different; therefore their understanding of the Fa is also different. But I have discovered that when a conflict occurs, the heart-wrenching and agonizing torment is actually a good opportunity to find and rid oneself of attachments and upgrade one's “xinxing”. How can we casually give up this good opportunity? You won’t be able to find it elsewhere even if you looked.
Take our Bay Area cultivation environment for example. There are many capable practitioners here. However, the human experiences we have accumulated and the technical skills we have learned can also become baggage and obstacles in our cultivation. When there are different opinions and when conflicts arise, we should think of related Fa principles that Master has expounded on, calm ourselves, take a step back, look within, and use this opportunity to upgrade our xinxing.
Master mentioned in Zhuan Falun the two reasons why gong doesn’t increase with practice,
“Without knowing the Fa at high levels, one cannot practice cultivation. Without cultivating one’s inner self and one’s xinxing, one cannot increase gong. These are the two reasons.” (“Lecture One” in Zhuan Falun)
In the past I have understood these two reasons separately. Now I am clearly aware that they need to be addressed simultaneously. While studying the Fa, one has to look within at the same time. Otherwise, there will not be improvements.