What Exactly Have the Old Forced Arranged?
"If you, as a student [of Dafa], do not follow Master's requirements, it is definitely no simple thing. The old forces have arranged for all Dafa disciples a set of their things, so if a Dafa disciple doesn't follow Master's requirements, he must be following the old forces' arrangements. The old forces are in essence gigantic trials and tribulations that accompany you at all times, focused on whether in Fa-rectification Dafa disciples are able to step forward." ("Be Clearheaded")
I know of a young practitioner whose husband has had extramarital affairs for many years and as a result, she has suffered tremendous emotional pain. She helplessly endures the agony, but does not know how to overcome the tribulation. When I told her that I believe the old forces have been manipulating her husband to distract her from saving sentient beings while destroying her husband, she asked incredulously, "Why are the old forces so wicked? What on earth is their agenda?"
In my experiences exchanging cultivation insights with fellow practitioners, I have seen many similar cases. Some practitioners don't even realize that it is the old forces' arrangements when they are trapped in demonic tribulations. Some practitioners know it perfectly well that they are walking the path arranged by the old forces, but they struggle painfully amidst tribulations because they do not know how to prevail over them. Some practitioners are so tempted by having a comfortable life that they have forgotten to save sentient beings. They do not realize that it is just another arrangement by the old forces.
Some practitioners have been trying to deny the old forces' arrangements, but it will take more than lip service to truly deny them. For example, you board the old forces' boat and you sail the boat while declaring at the same time, "I will not board your boat! I will not board your boat!" But you have already boarded the old forces' boat! Only when you open your eyes to see the deadly rocks and stormy tides ahead of you, jump off the boat, and swim to shore will you be free of the old forces' control and board Teacher's Fa boat again.
If a Falun Gong practitioner fails to understand important issues, such as eliminating fundamental attachments, balancing personal cultivation and Fa-rectification cultivation, or walking righteously on the path arranged by Teacher with a clear and rational mind and on the basis of the Fa-rectification cultivation practice, he will eventually put himself in danger and bring losses to the one-body of practitioners, even though he continues to do the Three Things.
What on earth have the old forces arranged? I would like to take this opportunity to share my insights on this subject for the purpose of improving together in our cultivation. Please kindly point out anything you find inappropriate in my understanding.
"[...] students' own karma, inadequate understanding of the Fa, inability to let go of attachments amidst tribulations, inability to deal with things using righteous thoughts amidst painful trials, and so on, are the main reasons behind evil's escalation of the persecution, and are the true fundamental excuses that the evil has used to damage the Fa." ("Eliminate Your Last Attachment(s)" in Essentials for Further Advancement II)
It became clear to me that these are the excuses the old forces have used to interfere with and persecute Falun Gong practitioners.
During the cruel persecution, the old forces have imprisoned those practitioners that have signed a prehistoric pact with Teacher to save sentient beings, tortured them brutally, and even murdered them by harvesting their organs. The old forces have shut off practitioners from their righteous side in order to exploit their remaining attachments and human notions and pressuring them to renounce Falun Gong in writing. By doing so, the old forces attempt to destroy practitioners' righteous faith and will. The old forces, with a death grip, latched onto the pact signed by deceived practitioners. They killed several such practitioners using the excuse that some of them thought they had some kind of insurance because they practiced Falun Gong. The old forces create disease symptoms in some practitioners for the purpose of testing whether practitioners around them will continue to practice. The old forces have arranged for special agents and spies among practitioners to create interference and damage within the cultivation community and to test practitioners and weed out those the forces do not think are genuinely cultivating themselves.
The old forces have arranged the wicked specter of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to suppress millions of people's righteous faith in Falun Gong. The old forces employ the most vicious, the most despicable and wicked persecution to interfere with Teacher's Fa-rectification and to suppress and persecute Falun Gong. The CCP staged the self-immolation act at Tiananmen Square to justify the persecution and harvested organs from live Falun Gong practitioners for profits. The old forces created the wicked specter of the CCP and the CCP culture that is against the universe, heaven, earth, and mankind.
The old forces are hidden in all kinds of human thoughts, notions and attachments. Sometimes they are deeply hidden, and sometimes they are extremely wicked, and other times they act kindly to deceive people. The old forces have set up many deadly trials and abominable tribulations on practitioners' paths of cultivation. Only when we treat the Fa as our Teacher will we be able to see through their ever-changing schemes. Only when we purge selfishness and eliminate human thoughts will we be able to step out of the old forces' arrangements and transcend the old universe.
1. The Old Forces Have Arranged Practitioners' Each and Every Thought
"This Fa-rectification was arranged as early as the time of the previous Earth, and it was given a trial run once before. So in other words, this has been systematically arranged even since a time that remote. Then think about it: could the human society, and everything that we can see, exist by chance? Even each Dafa disciple's every move, every action, every word, and even the questions you ponder, none of it is that simple. In the future you'll see that everything was very carefully arranged. But it's not me who arranged this, it's the old forces who did." ("Fa-Lecture at the Conference in Florida, U.S.A.")
The old forces' arrangements are carried out tangibly in our cultivation environment. If we examine our environment calmly, we will realize that they are everywhere and they are tangible yet difficult to detect. To deny the old forces is to constantly cultivate our each and every thought. We must differentiate thoughts Teacher has left us with to live normally in the secular society from those notions, human thoughts, and interferences that will obstruct us from saving sentient beings. We must drive out the latter with determination and deny and eliminate them with righteous thoughts in order to transcend the old forces' arrangements.
2. The Old Forces Persecute Practitioners with Inadequate Understanding of the Fa
When we face giant tribulations that we find difficult to overcome, it is likely that the old forces are targeting our fundamental problems in our cultivation practice. The fellow practitioner whose husband has had extramarital affairs for many years represents a cultivator with a fundamental attachment to a good life and to love. Due to her inadequate understanding of the old forces' persecution of Falun Gong, she cries over the pain her husband causes her, over her terrible emotional trauma, and over her inability to stop fighting with her husband. She has not realized that her tears may have been arranged by the old forces to destroy her will as a cultivator. She has to eliminate her attachment to her secular attachments so that she can prevail over the old forces' arrangements and genuinely cultivate.
"The form of our cultivation today is different from all of the ancient ones" ("Lecture at the First Conference in North America")
We are required to cultivate ourselves in modern society where temptations abound. We have to take "the great way without form" so that we can expand our contact with society and save all the sentient beings. If we selfishly wish for our own Consummation, then we are in line with selfishness, which is the fundamental nature of the old universe. This will be an excuse for the old forces to get a grip on us. Those practitioners who face sickness karma, who have an inappropriate sexual relationship, who often go to the extremes in their behaviors, and who use the money donated by practitioners for things other than truth-clarification have created excuses for the old forces to persecute them. They are likely to face imprisonment and torture, do the Three Things at a compromised quality, or even lose their lives. Due to their inadequate understanding of the Fa, they could go astray and lose their opportunity to cultivate. Meanwhile, they could cause danger to Fa-rectification. Such are the evil arrangements of the old forces!
3. The Old Forces Exploit Practitioners' Karma
I once had a dream where I saw one of my past lives. I was a prostitute that committed many sins and caused people a lot of emotional pain. When the mayor and the villagers were about to execute me, they found I was pregnant and spared me. Presently, I face a lot of interference in the form of thought karma because the old forces are exploiting my sins in that previous life. It has taken a severe toll on my current cultivation practice. I must completely deny the evil arrangements designed to interfere with my righteous thoughts. I think the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners is equal to the persecution of the Fa. No matter how many mistakes and sins practitioners have made in history, the Fa will rectify us during our cultivation practice in the Fa-rectification period. Those evil beings who interfere with our cultivation should not exist at the most fundamental level! I must not acknowledge the presence of the old forces, the demonic tribulations they have created, or their deadly struggles!
4. The Old Forces Exploit Practitioners' Attachments and Fear
A local practitioner used to be very emotionally attached to her son. Moreover, she was afraid of being arrested when she clarified the truth to people. Manipulated by the evil beings from another dimension, her son jumped off a building. He suffered from multiple complex fractures to his legs and had a mental collapse. She began to devote all of her time and heart to her son. She nearly had a nervous breakdown over her son. She heard an evil being manipulating her son from another dimension shouting, "You are done for! You are doomed!" This evil arrangement has prevented her from doing the Three Things and ruined her son. This is exactly what the old forces want--killing two birds with one stone.
A fellow practitioner once said to me, "Anything that obstructs you from doing the Three Things well is a demonic obstacle in your cultivation." We have come to the final stage of our cultivation. It is high time that we ask ourselves if we have completely followed the Fa's requirements and are doing the Three Things well with all our heart. All the notions and attachments that prevent us from saving sentient beings must be eliminated. We must seriously and solemnly face our cultivation. To slack off in our cultivation is to fail our responsibility to sentient beings and to create excuses for the old forces to persecute us.
All forms of persecution are easy to identify compared to the following form of demonic tribulation.
I know of a practitioner who babysits her grandson for her son. The little baby has good inborn quality. Since the age of two, he has been very interested in studying Falun Gong books. But she slacked off in her cultivation on account of her grandson. At nearly 6:00 a.m. every day, the baby wakes up and prevents her from sending forth righteous thoughts. During the day she has little time to study the Fa or do the Three Things because she is busy with the baby. But she doesn't realize it is a form of interference. In order to conform to everyday people's society, she continues to slack off in her cultivation.
But the old forces did not stop there. Since she did not identify her attachment, the old forces compounded the problem. Later on, her son sold his place and moved in with her. She now has even less time to study the Fa, practice the exercises, or clarify the truth.
She has fully accepted the role designed by the old forces. Isn't it the purpose of the old forces to destroy her by having her focus so much on enjoying quality time with her family? Her grandson has come to obtain the Fa, but now they are both missing the opportunity to cultivate because of her attachment. What kind of terrible sin has she created?
Despite of the varied, intricate arrangements, the old forces have but one purpose: destroy the lives of sentient beings! We must be clear about one thing: saving sentient beings is far more important than our personal cultivation. Teacher does not acknowledge any of the old forces' arrangements. In "Explaining the Fa During the 2003 Lantern Festival," Teacher told us what our mindset should be:
"'I'm Li Hongzhi's disciple, I don't want other arrangements or acknowledge them'--then they won't dare to do that. So it can all be resolved. When you can really do that, not just saying it but putting it into action, Master will definitely stand up for you." ("Explaining the Fa During the 2003 Lantern Festival at the U.S. West Fa Conference")
Focus on one thought: I shall walk on the path arranged by Teacher and do the Three Things well. I do not want other arrangements. We must deny all of the old forces' arrangements with our actions.
No matter what problems arise in our cultivation practice, we must not be overcome with the problems on the surface. We must let go of all human thoughts. Transcend the tribulations and evaluate them from the perspective of the Fa-rectification. Then you will be able to identify the old forces' purpose. The old forces should not outsmart any of us. All they have been doing is to exploit the loopholes they find in our cultivation practice. As long as we analyze the situation from the basis of the Fa, we will be able to see through the old forces' scheme. Then we should identify and eliminate our attachments from the basis of Fa-rectification. This way it will be easy to prevail over the old forces' plot to divide and conquer practitioners.
The closer to the end, the more difficult and critical the tests for us will become. It is a test of a cultivator to face all kinds of interference and persecution with a clear and rational mind and to deny all of the old forces' arrangements with our divine thoughts. Do not miss the cultivation opportunity that comes only once in eternity. I sincerely hope that fellow practitioners and I will become increasingly mature and steadfast in our faith and that we will journey towards our great Consummation while completely denying the old forces' arrangements!