To Clarify the Truth Well, We Must Cultivate Ourselves Well First
(Clearwisdom.net) I started practicing Falun Gong in 1999, not long before the persecution of Falun Gong began. Since personal cultivation was merged with Fa-rectification for me, I understood that without solidly cultivating myself and continuously eliminating my attachments and desires, I could not validate the Fa well. I have broken through many obstacles with righteous thoughts, but only when I truly follow what Teacher said:
"In genuine cultivation practice one must cultivate one's own heart and inner self. One should search inside oneself rather than outside." ("Zhuan Falun," 2000 version)
For a period of time, I had to look for a job and felt intense pressure. I got busy and felt tired every day and thus spent very little time studying the Fa. It was rare for me to look inward and cultivate myself. I even believed that the most important task for me under that circumstance was to only clarify the truth to people and save sentiment beings. Everything that got in the way of fulfilling that task well could only be interference, so I neglected to look inward. Then one day I developed a bad cough. I thought, "I'm a Falun Dafa practitioner. My old illnesses, which the doctor told me were not curable, disappeared after I practiced Falun Gong. This condition should not be a problem for me at all and I will be well in a couple of days." But I didn't cultivate myself and the cough got worse. I decided to spend a whole day studying the Fa and tried to write down my understandings.
When I tried to write down my understandings, many thoughts came up at once and I didn't know where to start. I realized I hadn't cultivated well for a long time and all the interference was due to my own attachments. I had fallen far behind in the progress of Fa-rectification.
"In qigong practice, those of you whose qi cannot go through a pass or come down should look for reasons within your xinxing to determine if you are stuck at that level for too long and whether you should upgrade your xinxing!" (Zhuan Falun, 2000 version) I had only been seeing others' problems, but not my own. As a result, how could I improve my xinxing? I started to really look inward. I then realized how much I fell short. When I really treat myself as a practitioner, I can calm down. When I sent forth righteous thoughts, I suddenly saw a black mass inside my windpipe and knew why I had sickness karma.
Teacher mentions in Zhuan Falun (2000 version):
"Why do people get sick? The fundamental cause of one's being ill and all of one's misfortune is karma and the black substance's karmic field. It is something negative and bad. Those evil beings are also something negative, and they are all black. Thus, they can come because this environment suits them. This is the fundamental cause of one's being ill; it is the most principal source of illnesses."
So, what was that black matter? I examined my cultivation status. Although I was doing the three things Teacher asked us to do, I had put more effort into my job. As a manager, I assign work to people and find their problems every day. I behaved more like an everyday person with a short temper and didn't try to cultivate myself. Gradually, I fostered my demon nature, which gave the evil beings a suitable environment. So the old forces took advantage of my loophole and caused interference. After I realized this, I sent forth righteous thoughts, "I'm a Falun Dafa practitioner. For attachments I haven't cultivated away, I will cultivate myself by following the Fa and will not allow the old forces to interfere with me!" In about ten minutes, the illness symptom which had bothered me for a week disappeared and I felt well again.
"Once you truly upgrade your xinxing, you will find that qi coming down. You cannot only pursue transformation of gong in the physical body without emphasizing improvement of your xinxing. It is waiting for you to upgrade your xinxing--only then will you make a holistic change." (Zhuan Falun, Lecture Six, 2000 version)
After my xinxing improved, the problem that had bothered me for so long was resolved in just a second. I felt Teacher's compassion and the mighty power of the Fa. Through my own experience, I realized that I should never neglect cultivating myself while clarifying the truth. Otherwise, the evil will take the advantage of our human attachments and interfere with our efforts in clarifying the truth. If we don't follow the Fa or cultivate our attachments away, then we are just ordinary people. Only when we act according to the principles of Falun Dafa and keep strong righteous thoughts can Teacher help us and not allow the evil to interfere.
This same type of problem not only manifested in my own cultivation, but also in the relationships among practitioners. My husband is also a practitioner. For a long time, our relationship was very intense. We were both doing the "three things" and everything seemed all right. However, I felt that I could not clearly understand the Fa. I felt doing the three things seemed like work and not cultivating. I felt my heart was empty but couldn't find the reason.
Once when my in-laws came to visit, I told myself to treat them well to make up for any bad impressions that they might still have had about me. In actuality, I wanted to show off by demonstrating to them how nice a person I was. That morning, when I was supposed to pick them up, I was so busy at work that I couldn't leave. My husband didn't wait for me, and after he went to pick up his parents, he took them directly to some scenic sites. I was so angry that I couldn't calm down to look inward. That night, once I stepped inside the house, I showed him how angry I was. That evening I had planned to learn how to print the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party from him, but I was too angry. I wanted to share with him, but he was busy printing the Nine Commentaries. In the end, I couldn't endure and had a fight with him. I later realized that we needed to print many of copies of the Nine Commentaries that night. The evil Communist spirit saw my attachment and took advantage of it and tried to stop us from printing the books.
"If you want to achieve tranquility through some techniques or methods, I would call this searching for external help. In qigong practice, however, going awry and following an evil way simply refer to people searching for external help." (Lecture 9, Zhuan Falun, 2000 version)
During the Fa-rectification period, the old forces can interfere because I have attachments. We are fellow practitioners. People who know us, all admire us. No matter where we go, we make truth-clarification materials while still going to work, studying the Fa, and doing the exercises with fellow practitioners. We help each other and improve together. That is just what the evil is afraid of. When we have a conflict, that is what the evil likes to see.
I felt ashamed of myself because Teacher has taught us so clearly:
"At that moment you should think, 'Why am I unhappy? When others criticize me, I become unhappy--aren't I pursuing something?' But while wanting everyone to be nice to you and to live a pleasant life among ordinary people, how are you going to improve? Without letting go of any human things, how can you improve and elevate? For exactly that reason you cannot improve and elevate. You have to truly let go of these things--attachments that humans cannot let go of." ("Teaching the Fa at the Fa Conference in Australia," 1999)
I didn't look inward and try to understand the Fa until the conflict happened.
With the past couple events, I have realized that I can't clarify the truth and validate the Fa without looking inward and cultivating myself. While writing this paper, I can clearly see my attachments. Although the overall situation right now is much better, I had been looking inward less and less. The standard of cultivation has never been lowered and the Fa's standard for us has always been high. If we cannot cultivate ourselves by following a high standard, we will lag behind.
"People take actively doing things to be cultivation, and they take preserving religious formats to be cultivation. Actually, gods don't place any importance on those things. They only consider the improvement of people's minds important, for that is true improvement." ("Teaching the Fa at the Fa Conference at the U.S. Capital")
Through studying the Fa and looking inward, we have a clearer understanding of the Fa and understand why conflicts exist. When we do things by following the Fa, then we will feel more confident and melt into the Fa again.
The above are some of my personal understandings. Only when I follow the Fa will what I do be right.