(Clearwisdom.net) I started practicing Falun Gong before 1999 and once considered myself to be very diligent in my cultivation. However, my diligence wavered due to the persecution by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) since July 20, 1999. For nearly five years, my cultivation practice was in an on and off mode and I felt muddle-headed. I did very little to clarify the truth about Falun Gong. When I actually did clarify the truth, I did it for a selfish reason. I wanted to reach Consummation. Teacher compassionately gave me hints and arranged fellow Falun Gong practitioners to awaken me. In February 2004, I finally stepped resolutely back on my cultivation path and cultivated diligently. I genuinely elevated my cultivation level. I would like to share selected incidences from my cultivation path of the past two years with fellow practitioners.

1. Benefiting Greatly from Group Fa Study

Studying the Fa and practicing the Falun Gong exercises in a group is the very form of cultivation that Teacher gave to those practicing Falun Gong. I feel strongly now about the importance of this type of cultivation practice. Living in today's society, everyone without exception has become unconsciously tainted by many acquired notions. Teacher said,

"If these acquired notions become too strong, their role will reverse by dictating a person's true thinking and behavior. At this point, that person might still think that they are his own ideas." ("For Whom do You Exist?" in Essentials for Further Advancement)

Studying the Fa is the only way for a cultivator to purge these acquired notions. An environment is most pure and tranquil and most capable of tampering a cultivator when there is a group of cultivators. A group cultivation environment is also most effective in preserving the quality of our Fa study. In addition, we have more opportunities to improve ourselves when we learn from each other and exchange different understandings of the Fa. In short, the group environment prompts us to stay diligent in cultivation practice.

When I think back, studying the Fa came second to my daily human activities in the past. Consequently, I often did not have time to study the Fa. When I studied the Fa, I couldn't concentrate. I swore to memorize the Fa repeatedly, but I never really started. When I studied the Fa in a group environment, fellow practitioners showed me that the root cause was my attachment to comfort. I was attached to living a comfortable life with my family. Put simply, I was very attached to human thoughts. But cultivation is about transcending humanness through studying the Fa. Teacher said,

"[...] gradually getting rid of your human thoughts, and truly stepping forward from humanness." ("Fa-Rectification Period Dafa Disciples" in Essentials for Further Advancement II)

Today, studying the Fa daily has become the focal point of my life and I have to thank my local Fa study group for that.

Practitioners in our small Fa study group encourage each other to memorize the Fa. We agreed to help each other overcome our fear to memorizing Zhuan Falun. Even though we may not be able to memorize Zhuan Falun as quickly as some fellow practitioners, we must persevere, even if it is just one page a day or if it will take us a year. We pledged not to give up on memorizing Zhuan Falun. We also encourage each other to memorize Teacher's articles. After each group Fa study, we chose one to two articles to memorize and then we take turns reciting the articles during the next group Fa study and make sure that there are no mistakes when reciting the material.

During our group Fa study, we also exchange our understanding when we encounter important issues. When I fail to do things according to the Fa, fellow practitioners will point out where I went wrong. When trying to accomplish an important task, we will cooperate with each other, form one-body and assure we do truth-clarification work according to the Fa.

2. Truly Improving While Memorizing the Fa

In the process of memorizing the Fa, I have become a genuine practitioner.

I used to feel that the Fa did not really speak to me or I would forget what I studied quickly. Because of memorizing the Fa, I feel that my cultivation state has never been better. I have truly experienced what Teacher suggested:

"Those who learn it will change automatically" ("Seeking Discipleship with Teacher" in Essentials for Further Advancement)

I used to study the Fa often, but during xinxing tests I reverted back to a non-cultivator stage. Often, I didn't realize that it I wasn't acting according to the Fa until too late or until I studied the Fa. It goes without saying that I had failed many xinxing tests. Since I started to memorize the Fa diligently, I have a better understanding of the Fa and know to respond to situations or challenges from within the Fa. Teacher's words will pop into my mind on time, so I will know how to react as a cultivator. Sometimes human notions will enter my mind, but I am now able to detect and purge them quickly.

A few days ago, my older sister, who is also a practitioner, faced some problems with her husband. From a non-cultivator's standard, it is a huge understatement to say that my brother-in-law is really not good enough for my sister. When I look at it, he treats my sister unfairly. It was a huge xinxing test. I am very close to my sister, because of sentimentality. It is obvious that my sister was struggling under the continuous xinxing tests with her husband, but I had never tried to truly help her improve according to the Fa. Instead, I always found faults with my brother-in-law. I hated and despised my brother-in-law for what he had done to my sister. I only tried to "help" my sister by analyzing the situation and coming up with solutions like an ordinary sister. This time I was fairly calm when my sister told me about the latest conflict with her husband. At first, I felt it was unfair and I wanted to help her solve the problem with an ordinary frame of mind, but I quickly realized that it is wrong. Teacher said,

"Whatever you experience during your cultivation--whether good or bad--is good, for it comes about only because you are cultivating. A cultivator cannot achieve Consummation when laden with human thoughts, laden with karmic debts, or laden with attachments." ("To the Chicago Fa Conference")

"For a cultivator, all the frustrations he comes across among everyday people are trials, and all the compliments he receives are tests." ("A Cultivator Is Naturally Part of It" in Essentials for Further Advancement)

Isn't this a test that my sister has to pass? Isn't this an excellent opportunity for my sister to elevate her level? Because my sister had failed previous tests concerning this issue, the test had become bigger and more challenging. If she failed this test again, evil beings from other dimension are bound to continue such tests until she completely abandons her cultivation practice. It's frightening. On the other hand, this is also a test for me. Aren't those evil beings using these tests to make me eliminate my sentimentality towards my sister?

When I returned home that day, I memorized the Fa as usual. That day I was memorizing "Fa-Rectification Period Dafa Disciples." Each and every word in the article spoke to my heart. I thought, what is cultivation? This question had never come to my mind, but now I realized that cultivating is doing everything according to the Fa and every thought had to be based on the Fa. Teacher said,

"In dealing with relevant, important matters, if a life can really assess things without any preconceived notions, then this person is truly able to take charge of himself." ("For Whom do You Exist?" in Essentials for Further Advancement)

I realized that cultivating is about discovering my attachments and suppressing and purging bad and wrong thoughts and notions. It's about making myself follow the Fa. I must never allow myself to give way to or to be taken over by human notions. As time goes by, my mind will be transformed for the better and my thoughts will be elevated. Then, some of my humanness will be removed. During the Fa-rectification, Teacher has given us the best. There is nothing we cannot let go? I made up my mind to pass the test and help my sister to pass the test as well.

The following day while I shared with my sister my understanding of this test based on the Fa, I kept remembering Teacher's words, which guided me throughout the discussion. My sister commented, "Memorizing the Fa is truly beneficial to us. We are undergoing transformations before we realize it!" During the discussion, my sister admitted to her deeply hidden instinct to be in control for the sake of saving face. She also found her attachments to fame and self-interest. I, too, admitted to my strong attachment to sentimentality. This was the beginning for me to treat my sister and mother as fellow practitioners instead of family.

3. Memorizing the Fa Helps me Eliminate Attachments to Fame and Self-interest

I used to be completely consumed by fame and self-interest, especially fame. Before I started to practice Falun Gong, I was widely regarded as a good person. After studying the Fa for a while, I realized that there are a lot of differences between a non-cultivator and a cultivator. A cultivator is driven by different reasons for being good. Before I started practicing Falun Gong, it was all hidden. I competed for people's affection. Since I started practicing Falun Gong, I began to realize that a cultivator focuses on improving his/her mind and is truly good to other people from the bottom of his/her heart without seeking anything in return.

Once, I felt I had almost eliminated all my attachments to fame and self-interest I discovered during the process of memorizing the Fa that my attachment to fame was deeply hidden. I may not seek recognition among non-cultivators, but I seek recognition from fellow practitioners. I wanted fellow practitioners to shower me with praise, telling me that I cultivate well, study the Fa well or memorize the Fa well. The truth is that I have not eliminated my attachment to fame!

I recall that, when I first began to memorize the Fa, I managed to memorize one page of Zhuan Falun a day for the sake of saving face. I thought it'd be embarrassing if I should fall behind fellow practitioners. I may have kept up with fellow practitioners on memorizing the Fa, but I had neglected truth-clarification work. I didn't read minghui.ca. I didn't even read our truth-clarification materials before I distributed them. Producing truth-clarification materials became an excuse to justify my negligence. When our Fa study group started to memorize articles, I stopped memorizing Zhuan Falun and memorized only the selected articles. After all, we were expected to recite only those articles at the group Fa study. My goal was to win praise from fellow practitioners for memorizing the articles well. When I did win recognition at the group Fa study, I was pleased with myself. Because of my impure motivation, I forgot what I had memorized within a few days though I recited them well in front of the group. I failed to understand their profound message although I had memorized the articles. One day, while fellow practitioners were exchanging understandings of the Fa, I suddenly realized that I was still settled with the attachment to fame! It had never stopped interfering with my cultivation! Once I identified the fundamental problem, I decided to eliminate this attachment. Once I was motivated by the right reason to memorize the Fa, everything improved. I finally understood what Teacher said:

"A person who truly cultivates will gain things naturally without pursuing them."("Seeking Discipleship with Teacher" in Essentials for Further Advancement)

Now, I feel increasingly stronger about the changes in me from group Fa study and memorizing the Fa. I have prevailed despite the evil persecution in my area and am doing my best to do the Three Things well.

Let's all cherish this opportunity that will never come again. Let's all cultivate ourselves according to the Fa so we do not to leave any regret or have remorse in the future. Let's all follow Teacher closely during His Fa-rectification efforts. Let's all strive to remain diligent in our cultivation practice until we reach Consummation!