Studying the Fa Well is Fundamental for Validating Dafa and Saving Sentient Beings
(Clearwisdom.net) I learned Falun Dafa in 1998. Since then, for the past eight years, sometimes I have been diligent and sometimes I have been hesitant. I also have taken detours and had regrets, as well as the joy of being reborn into a new life. Even with Teachers' protection and hints, and with other practitioners' help, I sometimes stumble on my path. I often feel that I have not done well in cultivation and that I am far behind those practitioners who cultivate well, and even further behind the requirements of Dafa. I feel unworthy of Teacher's benevolence. However, during my cultivation, from time to time I have had some enlightenment. I can feel Teacher's boundless mercy and the wonderfulness of melting into Dafa. Many times I have wanted to write my experience sharing, but I did not do it. Now, I would like to share some of my understandings.
1. Studying the Fa is Fundamental for Cultivating One's Self, Validating Dafa and Saving Sentient Beings
Teacher stressed the importance of studying the Fa in various lectures, repeatedly telling practitioners to study the Fa more and study the Fa well. Teacher said,
"No matter how difficult your environment is, no matter how busy you get, you cannot forget to study the Fa. You must study the Fa, because it is the absolute, most fundamental guarantee of your improvement." ("Fa-Lecture at the Conference in Florida, U.S.A.")
During the eight years of my cultivation, at different stages, I have had different attitudes towards and understandings of studying the Fa, and my cultivation state has been different too. At the beginning, through reading Zhuan Falun, I understood a lot of questions that I had not been able to find answers to for many years. I felt that this Fa was very good and I was very excited, thinking, "This is what I was looking for." At the beginning, I took the initiative to study the Fa, and the more I read Zhuan Falun, the more I wanted to read. Once at midnight, I woke up and saw a purple Falun rotating very fast. I saw it clearly and it continued the rotation for a little while. I was very excited. This was encouragement from Teacher to give me confidence. While studying the Fa diligently, I did the exercises diligently too. Initially, it was very painful for me to put my legs in the lotus position. I often had tears in my eyes when I tried to hold the position. Sometimes my hands and legs shook, and I sweat due to the pain. I knew this was to eliminate karma, to eliminate debts that I owed from life after life, so I wanted to break through it. Once, I held the double lotus position for more than 45 minutes, and suddenly I felt light all over my body. I felt as if I was very huge. My two hands in jie-yin position were almost as big as the sky and earth. It took me about a month to be able to keep the double lotus position for one hour. At that time, I often read the Fa and did the exercises. I felt very happy inside. Not only did I feel energetic, but I also was much more open-minded when dealing with others. My family members also saw the changes in me.
However, soon after that I felt that I already understood everything in Zhuan Falun. Gradually I read the book less. I thought that I already knew all of it. Slowly, I slacked off. I did the exercises less, and I could not deal well with ordinary things. Some practitioners suggested that I read the Fa again, so, I read the Fa again, and I experienced changes again. Thus it repeated. I studied the Fa to solve my issues, and I did the exercises to have a better state. So, I was in a semi-cultivation state, but I could not maintain the diligence that I had in the beginning of my cultivation. It was difficult to do things well in this semi-cultivation state.
A little more than one year after I obtained the Fa, in July 1999, Jiang Zemin and his followers launched the persecution against Falun Gong. For a while I could not understand why. I was perplexed and hesitant, and I struggled in my heart. After sharing with a few practitioners, I realized that Teacher is righteous and that it is not wrong to cultivate Truthfulness, Benevolence, Forbearance. So, I decided to continue my cultivation. In that period of time, I read Teacher's lectures. At the same time, I could feel the terror due to the media's evil propaganda. I felt pressure both mentally and physically, and I understood the seriousness of cultivation. Witnessing Dafa being attacked and compassionate practitioners suffering persecution, I felt that I had the responsibility to stand up for justice. However, at that time, I had strong human notions. In addition, I had not studied the Fa well. My understanding of the Fa was limited and not solid. Many of my understandings were still on an emotional level. I often felt that I didn't have enough righteous thoughts.
In November 2000, I went to Beijing to appeal. I was arrested and sentenced to one year in a forced labor camp. During that time I was tortured with such methods as sleep deprivation, prolonged standing, sitting on a board, and squatting. The labor camp guards used electric batons to shock me, and they slapped me. In the winter, I was forced to stand in a windy place wearing only thin clothes. About six or seven guards wearing shoes with pointed toes kicked my body everywhere. I had black and purple bruises all over my body. The guards called two strong people to cover my mouth and twist my neck while they held me down. One person stepped on my head while one knelt on my chest. I was not able to breathe and almost suffocated. Whenever anyone protested, the guards tortured them and incited hatred. Then they asked the prisoners to torture me. All of these methods were used to try to force me to give up Dafa cultivation. However, I had the Fa in my heart. When they would not let me move or speak, I recited the Fa silently. Although I lived a life with no human dignity at all, even worse than the life of dog, I did not feel the pain. When they used electric batons to shock me, I heard the noise, but I did not feel the pain. When they slapped me, I felt that my face was warm, but not in pain. On snowy days while wearing thin clothes, I did not feel cold. I knew Teacher was beside me.
At the time, I regretted very much that I had not studied the Fa enough and could only recite a limited portion of the Fa. So, I made up my mind that once I got out of the labor camp, I would study the Fa more and study the Fa well. Later the guards at the forced labor camp prevented Falun Gong practitioners from talking to each other or exchanging ideas. Gradually, I could remember less and less of the Fa teachings.
When a fellow practitioner walked away from Dafa under coercion and torture, the officials would come in, but I refused to listen to or look at any of their evil propaganda. I also refused to listen to questions from a former practitioner who used to be very diligent but had been forcibly "transformed." This practitioner was a university professor. She had gone to Tiananmen Square twenty-nine times to validate Dafa. The skin on her forehead was broken open to the bone from torture in the labor camp. I admired her and thought that she had cultivated very well. But, why did she have doubts and walk away from Dafa? Shouldn't I also think about this? Thus I started to doubt my own thoughts about what was right and wrong. The evil had found a loophole. Afterwards, I was confused by guards who pretended to be nice. I developed the thought that I was not even as good as these guards. In addition I had many attachments and I could not eliminate many human notions. Step by step, I was taken down an evil path. With a strong attachment to showing off, I tried hard to show how my understanding was correct. The head guard saw this and wanted to train me to be a "transformation helper." Thankfully that was not achieved. Now when I look back, I realize that I was afraid at that time. I was in a very dangerous state.
Our righteous thoughts come from constant Fa study. Without righteous thoughts, there would be no righteous actions. After I left the forced labor camp, for more than six months I was in a state of confusion and frustration. With Teacher's hints and practitioners' help, slowly I woke up and returned to Dafa. During that time, I had a dream. A large playground was full of people, and I was among them. When I looked up at the sky, there were two very eye-catching words, "the hell." I was frightened. It was very scary. I came to understand that once more Teacher had scooped me out of hell. After this, besides feeling deep remorse and guilt, my strongest wish was to study the Fa as much as possible, and to make up for what I had left behind. For a while I tried to read three lectures from Zhuan Falun each day. However, the result was not good. I read over and over, but it seemed there was not much progress. I was really worried. In fact, it had become a strong attachment. I feared being left behind, and I thought that the amount of Fa that I studied was a measure of my diligence. I was seeking quantity of Fa study. Every day, I took Fa study as a job to finish, and I did not learn much. After I changed my attitude regarding Fa study, I sought quality instead of quantity, but I began studying using an intellectual method. I wanted to see more inner meaning and higher principles from the book, but the result was that I did not find anything. I knew that there was something wrong, but I did not know what. Later, after reading many of Teacher's lectures and other practitioners' sharing articles in "Minghui Weekly," finally I found that I had a greedy heart, the attachment of selfishness. With such a dirty notion, how could I see higher principles? It took me quite a long time to realize that I did not know how to study the Fa.
Through strengthening my Fa study and searching inward, I found the attachment I had when I obtained the Fa. I wanted to achieve my goals in life through Dafa. I thought that through Fa study and exercises, I would be able to obtain health, obtain a young and beautiful appearance, a noble and graceful bearing, obtain people's praise, benefit my family members, and enjoy the good life. Afterwards, with constant improvement in levels, I would reach a wonderful realm and Consummation. So, I wanted to use Dafa to achieve my own pursuit of a better life until I reached a god's world with unending happiness and comfort. Due to my not realizing this fundamental attachment, I walked staggeringly on my cultivation path. I felt very ashamed upon realizing this attachment.
Later, with the help of other practitioners, I started to memorize the Fa. After our small-scale Fa study group was resumed, my whole state changed. When I memorized the Fa, often I would suddenly realize some understanding or principle. I seldom felt this way while just reading the Fa. Sometimes during Fa study, I suddenly enlightened to how to do the things that I was anxious to do. But, if I wanted to find exactly which sentence gave me the hint, I could not find it. I thought it must be gods behind the words giving me hints. Thus, focusing on every word would not work. Sometimes when I was riding a bicycle I suddenly remembered Teacher's Fa, which was right to the point of my question or resolved something I was confused about. I truly feel Teacher is watching us, Teacher is beside us.
Through constant Fa study and understanding the Fa from a basis of rationality, I use the Fa to guide my actions. My state is naturally good, and things can be handled easily. I feel happy in my heart. That kind of wonderful feeling of melting into the Fa is beyond description. But because I still have many attachments, if I slack off a little or don't study the Fa enough, then I find myself out of the good state. It took me almost a year to finish memorizing Zhuan Falun. For the past few years, my cultivation state has been up and down and it seemed rather passive. The real root cause is still that I do not pay adequate attention to Fa study, do not have strict requirements for myself, and do not treasure this cultivation opportunity. When we find problems, we need to solve them. Attachments will show up from time to time, and when we do not pay attention, they can be quite severe. When this happens, we need to constantly eliminate them. They will then become weaker and weaker.
2. The Good or Poor State of our Cultivation and Thoughts Directly Impacts People Around Us
I experienced huge changes both physically and mentally during my initial cultivation. My husband witnessed this and supported my cultivation. After the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) started persecuting Falun Gong, my state of mind was not steady. I was hesitant, and my husband's attitude also changed. He did not allow me to contact other practitioners. Once, he came home and found another practitioner sharing with me. He acted out of character, accusing and cursing at the other practitioner.
In November 2000, I went to Beijing to appeal. I was illegally sent to a forced labor camp and then I was "transformed" after being brainwashed. My husband's life was a mess. Especially after his father died of illness, it seemed that he almost held hatred towards me and Dafa. He said some very bad things. Later, when I returned to cultivation, he was very scared. He strongly opposed it. I could only study the Fa when he wasn't looking. When facing his fierce objection, I argued with him. I felt that I had the truth with me and that it was he who did not know the facts. But often the arguments ended unhappily, and sending forth righteous thoughts did not seem to help. Sometimes I was upset that he was being utilized by the old forces to interfere with me. Sometimes I felt that he was beyond being saved. Sometimes I sighed that my cultivation environment was not good. There was a period of time when our conflict was quite severe, to the point where we could not live together.
I knew this was not good, but I did not know where the problem was or how to solve it. So I strengthened my Fa study and read Minghui Weekly. Teacher said,
"Only in the midst of conflicts can human attachments be eliminated, and only in the midst of conflicts can a person know where he went wrong. Whenever you get into a conflict with others, I guarantee that it is because your attachment has surfaced and is quite obvious. If you don't seize that moment and you stay bull-headed and argue your points, the process of your stubbornly arguing is none other than that attachment showing itself. If you can dig further to see what is behind it, the root of the attachment will be found." ("Teaching the Fa at the Western U.S. Fa Conference")
I searched inward. While arguing, I found that I had sentimentality, bad thoughts, human notions, and aggressiveness, and I looked down on people, was opinionated, and saw others' short-comings rather than searching inward. The real motive behind all this was not to safe-guard Dafa but to safe-guard myself. It was selfishness. I also found that I did not have firm enough belief in Teacher and Dafa, and I did not have enough confidence in cultivation.
When I cleansed myself, strengthened sending forth righteous thoughts, was constantly firm with myself and was determined in cultivation, my husband no longer opposed it. This was not the result of fighting, but was the result of xinxing improvement. I tried to do well. At the same time, I gradually talked to him about the wonderfulness of Dafa and practitioners, about my suffering in the forced labor camp, about the Chinese Communist Party's evilness and brutality, and about why we clarify the truth. He changed bit by bit, from not allowing me to study the Fa or do the exercises, to urging me to attend the group Fa study. He went from being scared of me going out to distribute the truth-clarification materials, to helping me distribute them. Every time he has a business trip, he takes with him some truth-clarification materials to distribute. He also clarifies the truth to his clients.
My husband has experienced dramatic changes in himself. It's almost as if he was two different people. But sometimes he has unexpectedly said some bad words, some words against Dafa. This surprised me a lot. If I do not search inward, and instead argue with him for the sake of safe-guarding Dafa, he says more bad words. But if I can calm down and search inward for my problem, I can easily find that his "unusual" behavior is for me, to help me find my own problem. Once I adjust it, he becomes good. The change in cultivation environment is not obtained by using human means. It changes according to our cultivation state, according to our heart.
I have a patient with a chronic disease. He often comes to see me for treatment. He felt uneasy about bothering me so often so he frequently brought me some gifts, but I did not accept any of them. I took the opportunity to clarify the truth to him. Initially he spoke in vague terms with me, but I did not give up on him. I was still very patient in treating his disease and answered many of his medical questions. At the same time, I told him the truth about Dafa, about the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party and about withdrawing from the Party. Recently he brought me a gift certificate with a large value. I again thanked him but refused to take it. This time he changed his attitude of being silent on Falun Gong issues. He said that cultivating Falun Gong was very good. He said, "I have seen many doctors, none are like you." He also agreed to withdraw from the CCP.
I have a friend whom I had not seen for a long time. When I saw him again, I told him that the CCP's propaganda about Falun Gong was not true. He immediately said, "I don't believe what they say, because I know you." Maybe his words were a little bit exaggerated, but I came to realize that when we do well in our daily lives, it is much more effective than saying a lot of words.
"In your efforts to save sentient beings you've labored so hard to allow people to have a new understanding of us. So when you don't do well, it's quite possible you are unwittingly undermining the efforts you've made and some of the things you plan to do. You are cultivators, whose conduct is [supposed to be] pure and righteous. There are so many people who think you're great just by having seen how you act. If we don't pay attention to our own behavior in our daily lives, everyday people will see our actions and, since they can't get to know you at a deep level such as by studying the Fa, they will just look at how you act. And it's possible that one sentence or one action of yours will make them unsavable or create a bad impression of Dafa. We need to think about these things." ("Teaching the Fa at the 2002 Fa Conference in Boston")
In the recent decade, it is very common in the Health Departments for doctors to accept rebates for the medicine they prescribe. This phenomenon is widespread and is one of the reasons that the price of drugs is so high and why ordinary people cannot afford to go to hospitals. It is also one of the reasons that the relationship between patients and doctors is deteriorating. Before I started practicing Falun Gong, I also took rebates, and it was a hidden policy in the medical system. Everyone was taking rebates, and it seemed natural. After I started to practice Falun Gong, using Dafa to measure it, I could easily see that it was not right to accept rebates. When we work, we expend effort. We have a salary and a bonus. That is the income we earn, and it is legitimate income. The "gray income" is done through the back door and cannot be seen by others. If you take something that you are not supposed to get, you will have to exchange your virtue for it. If there is gain, there will be loss. Cultivators all know this principle. But at that time, I did not study the Fa enough. I had a limited understanding of the Fa. I had the attachments of benefit and fame. So, although I knew that I should not take the rebates, I could not resist the attraction. I still accepted them. I used the excuse, "Everyone takes them, yet you do not take them. That would make your job hard to do. Others would be leery of you. Even if you do not take them, the hospital representative will take them, so the patient still has the same burden. I could use the rebates to do something good like help those who need it, or use the money for Dafa, etc."
However, I lost several bicycles one after another. I cannot remember how many bicycles I lost. I had the record of losing three bicycles in five days. When I mailed money to practitioners who needed it in other areas, my bicycle parked at the door was stolen again, and the practitioner did not receive the money I mailed. But, I still did not enlighten to it. Afterwards, I had two dreams. In one dream someone give me some things wrapped in newspaper. After I took the package, the newspaper fell apart and what came out was feces. In another dream I was pulling a bucket out of some water. But, what was inside the bucket was feces. The hint was so obvious in the dreams. I became determined to stop taking the rebates. It is unclean to do anything using unclean money, and we should especially not use it to do divine things. Ordinary people use ordinary principles to measure things. We cultivators should use Truthfulness, Benevolence, Forbearance as the universal law to judge things.
I was subject to a lot of pressure for not taking rebates. My co-workers did not understand me and said mocking words, regarding me as strange. They were afraid that I would report them to upper levels. Every time they took this type of money they had to hide it from me. My family members could not understand it, and thought that I was being silly. At that time, I had many conflicting feelings. I felt aggrieved, but I bore it. Judging from the Fa, I knew that I should do it this way, but it was not truly done from my heart, so I had conflicting feelings. After Fa study, reading other practitioners' cultivation sharing articles, searching inward for my own problems, and eliminating attachments, the issue of the rebates gradually went away. My co-workers no longer hide from me when they take the money. But I know that just being good myself is far from enough. Upon seeing so many co-workers harming themselves by accepting the rebates, if I do not care about it, that is selfishness. To let people know the truth about Dafa, withdraw from the CCP, and obey the moral standards that human beings should have, this is truly saving sentient beings. So I realized that I needed to talk to my co-workers about loss and gain, about why I didn't accept the rebates, and about what Dafa teaches me. Some people acknowledged it, some did not want to listen, some felt that the monetary benefit was more important. There are a lot of things I need to do. I feel that I have a large responsibility.
Due to my job, I meet all kinds of people every day. Some come to seek treatment, some seek counseling, etc. There are many opportunities to clarify the truth. But often when I face them, the content of our brief talk is all about the disease. I have a hard time finding a way to break through to clarify the truth during the short visit. Watching them leave, I really criticize myself for not being diligent. The reality is that protecting myself is an attachment of fear and selfishness. I am hindering myself. In fact, it is still due to not enough Fa study. I do not have strong righteous thoughts, thus clarifying the truth does not go smoothly. Only when we are persistent in Fa study, have firm belief in Teacher and Dafa, have solid righteous thoughts, and constantly correct ourselves, can we walk our paths righteously. We can then fulfill our great vows of assisting Teacher with Fa-rectification and saving sentient beings.
3. We Must Pay Attention to Sending Forth Righteous Thoughts
When I started sending forth righteous thoughts, I did not experience any feeling. I doubted whether my capability had an effect, and my mind often wandered while sending forth righteous thoughts, so I was not diligent in sending forth righteous thoughts. Once I had a dream. In the dream I had a plastic toy torpedo. I tried to eject the torpedo. One push on the remote control and a torpedo went up and bombed a building flat. Afterwards I saw two wounded, ugly people in front of the building. One was sitting on the ground, and one was lying on the ground. They both watched me with hatred. I thought I had done something really bad. I talked to another practitioner about this. The practitioner told me that maybe this was a hint to use my supernatural capabilities. Later I read Teacher's article "Dafa Disciples' Righteous Thoughts are Powerful," in Essentials for Further Advancement II,
"Actually, every Dafa disciple has abilities. It's just that the abilities do not manifest in the surface dimension, so they think that they don't have supernormal abilities. But regardless of whether they can manifest in the surface dimension or not, when a person's True Thoughts come forth they are very powerful."
Teacher said it so clearly in the lecture. Practitioners should unconditionally follow what Teacher says. I doubted my own capability of sending righteous thoughts. That indicated that I did not fully believe in Teacher and Dafa. After I enlightened to this, I frequently reminded myself that I do have the capability to send forth righteous thoughts. When I send righteous thoughts, if my thoughts are strong, sometimes I feel that my body is encircled by a kind of energy, and sometimes I feel that there is strong energy emitting from my fingertips and head. Although I cannot see anything, I believe it must have an effect.
When I study the Fa more and send forth righteous thoughts more, my cultivation is good. I remember one time I went out to distribute truth-clarifying materials. I posted the material on a telephone booth. Then I rode on my bicycle a few feet and saw a police car. A policeman sitting there was looking in my direction, but in the middle there was a small tree blocking his view. Once I was on a bus, and I sat down and sent righteous thoughts. Then two alarms suddenly sounded. One was just above my head. I had one thought, "Do not ring!" The alarm above my head stopped ringing. Sometimes when I go out to distribute truth-clarification materials, I can feel that a person walking down from upstairs is there to open the door for me or the security door is open waiting for me. Sometimes after I leave the truth-clarification materials and depart, the door opens. It seems so coincidental. But if I do not pay attention to Fa study and to sending righteous thoughts, if I carry with me an impure heart, then it will not work. For example, if I carry with me the attachment of fear or of finishing the task, then it does not go smoothly. For example, I was questioned and not allowed to enter a building, or I could not find a good place to put the truth-clarification materials, and other various interference. If we pay attention to sending forth righteous thoughts, constantly cleanse ourselves, and purify ourselves and the dimensions around us, this will be useful to calm us down to study the Fa and to clarify the truth.
I had a lot of interference when I wrote this article. Often some thoughts popped up in my mind, like, "I am not cultivating well, and my writing is not good. Stop writing immediately!" Several times I could no longer write. One day I had a dream, where someone notified me to quickly go to the emergency room because a patient was waiting for me to save him. I saw that it was almost time to start work, so I started to run, thinking that this was my job. I thought that if I do not cultivate well and have a limited xinxing level, what I write would be insipid. But still, it is my cultivation experience. I was never really able to write about this, but I knew I must write it down. This is also part of my job, and I should do it. The biggest feeling I have after this writing process is that writing my cultivation experience sharing is different from writing any other type of article. When I write with an attachment, I cannot write well, it is not smooth, and I cannot finish the writing.
Many things from the above may not be correct. Please point out anything improper.