From Being Computer Illiterate to Writing Software Programs
(Clearwisdom.net) I knew nothing about computers before I started practicing Falun Gong. By chance, I took some computer training classes. At that time I was still serving in the army, so I attended the class on the days when I was off duty. But I never had time to practice, so I still did not know how to use a computer. Before I left the army, some practitioners kept asking me to help them to resolve computer issues and create a CD with utility software. Finally, I learned the basic maintenance of computers and was able to help other practitioners.
When I first started to repair computers, I would leave right after I fixed the problem. I rarely spent time sharing xinxing issues with practitioners. When I recited the Fa in Zhuan Falun,
"Some people think that treating patients, curing their illnesses, and improving their health are good deeds. In my view, they have not really cured the illnesses. Instead of removing them, they have either postponed or transformed the illnesses. To really dispel such tribulations, karma must be eliminated."
"In the course of cultivation practice, a practitioner, out of his or her compassion, can do some good deeds by helping treat diseases and heal others' illnesses, or maintain their health--these are permitted. However, one cannot completely heal other people's illnesses."
I realized that if I just resolved the computer issue without exchanging with practitioners or if we did not enhance our xinxing on this issue, we just deferred the problem. Later the problem would still come back to us in a different form. So I started sharing with other practitioners when fixing their computers.
As I kept learning about computers, I gradually formed many concepts and often forgot to look inwards.
"Once humankind's conventional mentalities form a systematic way of working and thinking, new ideas are very difficult to accept. When the truth emerges, people do not dare to accept it and instinctively reject it." (from Zhuan Falun).
For example, if a practitioner told me that his computer ran slowly, I responded without thinking, "reinstalling everything will resolve it." When there were problems with my computer, my first thought was not to look inward but to restore the original setup. Later I realized that I needed to look inside.
"Everything you, a cultivator, encounters is related to your cultivation and Consummation, or else those things absolutely would not exist." ("Dafa Is All-Encompassing" from Essentials for Further Advancement II)
In most cases, a cultivator's situation is reflected in his Fa instruments. The practitioners doing network work will often see problems with their computers. Taking myself as an example, when I did not study the Fa well or had not raised my xinxing for a long while, my computer would show me an error such as "Not enough virtual memory or disk space." When I did not send forth righteous thoughts, the computer's fan got clogged with dust and I had to restart my computer continuously.
A short while ago, a practitioner asked me to set up a server and administer it. I thought it was an easy job, so I took it. However, that server was often down. When looking inward, I thought it was due to my greed and installing too much software. After removing that software, the server was still often down. Then I studied "Teaching the Fa at the Meeting with Asia-Pacific Students"
"There's something you must pay attention to: you are validating the Fa, not validating yourselves. A Dafa disciple's responsibility is to validate the Fa. Validating the Fa is cultivation, and what you remove in the cultivation process is none other than the attachment to self; you can't, instead, go and exacerbate the problem of validating oneself, even if you do it unwittingly."
Then I realized that it was due to my personal factors, and trying to validate myself, but not validating the Fa. After I realized this, the server started to work normally.
My Experience in Writing Software Programs
Three years ago, I attended an entry-level training regarding an automated tool for truth-clarification. But I didn't proceed with it because I could not read English and did not have time to try. Later, a practitioner asked me to build an auto-installation version for a program so that it could be installed after a couple of mouse clicks. I remembered a friend telling me that it can be done using zip software. So I went to the web and found a demo version, and then created an auto-installation program. At that time, I realized that Teacher had opened my path so that I could learn the automated truth-clarification tools. The next day when I listened to Teacher's lectures, I realized the meaning of the poem "Tai-chi" in Hong Yin. Then I started to ask the practitioner who wrote many programs basic questions. He told me to spend more time reading the user's manual and practice more.
However, I had the notion that "I cannot write programs if I cannot understand English and have no programming background," and this notion blocked me. Teacher arranged for me to find a Chinese version of the user's manual on the web. After a few months' practice, I was able to write a couple of programs.
Writing programs is also a cultivation process. My first challenge was that I could not concentrate on programing and did not have enough time. When I decided to write a program, I was often asked by other practitioners to repair computers or resolve computer related issues for them. Therefore, I progressed slowly. I could only practice programing once or twice a week, and sometimes had no time at all. After looking inward, I realized that this was caused by my attachments to fame and profit, showing off, and doing things. I then started to get rid of them. They are not completely gone yet, and occasionally still interfere with me.
My second challenge was my lack of having programing experience. Many times I tried very hard and stayed up late into the night, but still could not resolve the issue. I also received many calls from other practitioners with questions. I also experienced tests and interferences from lust, a sentimental mentality, and sleepiness. Once I was too tired to write a program, and I started reciting the Fa. When I recited "With the turning of Falun there is sure to be madness" from "Descending to the Earthly World" (Hong Yin II). I also remembered Teacher's Fa in "Teaching the Fa at the Fa Conference at the U.S. Capital,"
"This is not simply persecution against a group of people in ordinary human society, nor is it simply persecution against a group of cultivators. This is a showdown between good and evil in the universe, and it is a showdown between beings who have been impacted during the Fa-rectification process and who are selfish, who do things for the sake of themselves, and who have become deviant, and the Fa-rectification itself."
I immediately realized that this was not just simple exhaustion from writing the program or a simple interference from sleepiness. It's a fight between the righteous and the evil in the universe. A fight against the selfish and degenerated lives. When practitioners experienced difficulties during validating the Fa it was for the same reason. After understanding this Fa, I immediately awakened. I used to have a thought that if I could write programs, it would have a big impact and save a lot of sentient beings. This was my original motivation for learning programing. However, this thought contained a show off mentality and that I wanted to do some significant things. Teacher said in Zhuan Falun that
"Normally, supernormal abilities are more likely to develop for two groups of people: children and the elderly" and "Why is it difficult for young people to develop supernormal abilities? In particular, a young man still wants to strive to accomplish some objectives in ordinary human society!"
Recently I read in Zhuan Falun,
"This Buddha-body must all over again practice cultivation from the start and also re-develop supernormal abilities. Instead of being called "supernormal abilities," they are now called "the divine powers of the Buddha Fa." They are boundlessly powerful and can act on different dimensions, being something really effective. What's the use of your pursuing supernormal abilities? As for all those who go after supernormal abilities, aren't you planning to use them and show them off among everyday people? Otherwise, why would you want them?"
It made me understand that the skills of everyday people can only be effective among everyday people. What we are trying to do and what really saves people are righteous thoughts and the divine powers of the Buddha Fa that we obtain from cultivation. And that is really effective. What prevents sentient beings from being saved is the evil factors behind them. It is not the people, events, or subjects in the human world. Nor is it the so called Internet blockade. Understanding the Fa, I started to be more strict with myself and more attentive to sending forth righteous thoughts.
My Thoughts about the Internet Blockade
1. Everyday People's Technology Is Just to be Used but not to Be Relied Upon
Many practitioners working on Internet projects are using everyday people's computer skills and techniques to validate the Fa. In my case, once I use it for a while, I developed a reliance for the technology. Just as I have mentioned earlier, when there was an issue, my first thought was to look for a technical solution instead of looking inward and sending forth righteous thoughts.
Teacher said in Zhuan Falun,
"It is only that with the progress of human society, people focus more on the tangible things of our physical world, thus becoming more dependent upon our modern tools. Consequently, our human inborn capabilities are becoming more degenerated. In the end, they are made to disappear completely."
"Human society appears to be progressing, but in fact it is regressing and moving further away from the characteristic of the universe. The other day I mentioned that Zhang Guolao rode backward on a donkey, but people might not have understood what this meant. He discovered that going forward is moving backward, and that humankind has been moving further away from the characteristic of the universe."
I realized that if practitioners develop a dependency on technology and forget studying the Fa, sending forth righteous thoughts, clarifying the facts, looking inward, doing the exercises, and drifting away from Truthfulness, Benevolence, and Forbearance, the old forces could use technology as an excuse to interfere with practitioner's cultivation and create the Internet blockade.
Some practitioners were busy repairing computers and working on Fa validation projects, but they did not have enough time to study the Fa, do the exercises, or send forth righteous thoughts. Some practitioners only ran the automatic truth-clarification tools but did not clarify the truth themselves. Some practitioners ask for help when they run into computer problems, not realizing they should look inward, send forth righteous thoughts to clean up the factors that interfere with them, and improve on this issue. Won't all of this give the old forces an excuse to create an Internet blockade and generate more technical problems for us?
2. Do Well when Sending Forth Righteous Thoughts
I have mentioned the importance of sending forth righteous thoughts, but I often did not do it well myself. When looking inward, I realized that I did not clear away my attachments for seeking comfort and doing things. I often used the excuse that I would need do this and that afterwards, so I would stop after sending forth righteous thoughts. At that time, I did not reach the level as mentioned in the Fa, that at a minimum I should keep a clear, awakened and concentrated mind when sending forth righteous thoughts. If I did not do this well, I should extend the time to make up for it. Not to mention that I did not do what Teacher said, "Not only must you do your own part well, but you should help others, too." ("Teaching the Fa in the City of Los Angeles")
I have discussed this issue with other practitioners. Some were concerned that if we all did well when sending forth righteous thoughts, were we going to be so busy and have no time for Fa study and doing the exercises? The answer is obvious.
"But that said, when Dafa disciples around the world send righteous thoughts together at the same time, the power is boundless. So, if each person had been able to handle this matter with very strong righteous thoughts and been doing it very well from the beginning, then perhaps there would be no evil remaining now. It's precisely because many practitioners have been interfered with by one thing or another that it hasn't been done well." (from "Fa Teaching at the 2007 New York Fa Conference")
Teacher said in "Teaching the Fa in San Francisco, 2005" that
"But the evil elements arranged by the old forces are interfering, and they want to sustain the so-called conditions for testing Falun Dafa disciples. They won't consent to that many people quitting the Party all at once. The evil doesn't dare to interfere in this very weighty matter where people are making a choice that determines their survival or destruction, but the evil elements are interfering with message transmission and reception capacity."
From that I realized that when the number of people who quit the CCP does not increase dramatically, it is due to the fact that disciples as a whole do not realize the importance of doing the three things and that our xinxing has not reached the right level yet. So the evil has an excuse to test and disturb us. I hope when practitioners see that others are deviating from the Fa and are not doing the three things well, they will kindly point it out to them, so that we can achieve what Teacher in Zhuan Falun referred to as "holistic improvement and holistic upgrade."
The above is my current understanding. Please point out any shortcomings.