The Importance of Group Fa Study
(Clearwisdom.net) Dafa practitioners are presently following Master to validate the Fa. We are also following our own unique cultivation paths and establishing our own mighty virtue. A few practitioners are not diligent, and their wrong notions hinder others. They are unable to do the three things effectively. We are all facing the same cultivation issue: how can we help each other and improve our cultivation level as a group, so that every one of us can effectively accomplish all three things? We realized that group study is the best way for all of us to improve and stay diligent. We would like to share experiences and understandings of practitioners in our area with all practitioners worldwide.
Restore Group Study; Bring Former Practitioners Back
I became a practitioner in late April 1997 and was one of the main coordinators in our town prior to July 20, 1999. After July 20, some coordinators were too fearful to continue practicing. As a result, most practitioners in our town lost contact with each other.
My employer repeatedly harassed me. The police arrested me several times. Because I refused to give up the practice, my company sent me home for extended sick leave without pay. Several years following, I lived in great fear. With double pressure from the society and my family, my life was difficult. Even under such tremendous pressure, I never stopped studying the Fa. One day during Fa study I came across the following paragraph in one of Master's articles, "The Fa can break all attachments, the Fa can destroy all evil, the Fa can shatter all lies, and the Fa can strengthen righteous thoughts." ("Drive Out Interference")
Indeed, as long as I make it a point to participate in group study and walk along the path that Master arranged for us, everything that stands in our way can be shoved aside.
I initiated a study group at my house. Every time we met we studied Zhuan Falun and Master's other lectures published after July 20, 1999. We also repeatedly read Master's short articles. On Mondays we studied the "Minghui Weekly" and had discussion. Everyone of us felt we were improving rapidly. The Minghui Weekly articles also shed light on our local cultivation.
Before July 20, 1999, our town's coordinator and assistant coordinator lived in the same village. After the persecution started, they stopped cultivation. Most of the practitioners in that village also stopped. Later on, other practitioners came to this village to try to persuade them to return to Dafa, but to no avail. In the winter of 2005 I met with three other practitioners and agreed we should establish a Fa study group in the village. We set up two study groups. From then on, no matter the weather, we always studied the Fa together and shared experiences with practitioners in this village. Gradually, the practitioners in this village began to have righteous thoughts. More and more practitioners joined us and began to do the three things.
This success was a great inspiration to us. In the past, we merely talked to these practitioners, but we never studied the Fa together. Each time we had a good discussion, the practitioners felt a need to improve but returned to their old ways a couple of days later. After looking inside for problems, we realized that we did not put our best effort into studying the Fa. Only the Fa can destroy all the evils and awaken the former practitioners' true nature. When we talked to them, we simply offered our advice and hoped they could treasure the cultivation opportunity. But some of them did not appreciate our intention, and their attitude disappointed us. We forgot to improve our own xinxing during these unpleasant encounters. Now we realized that we had wasted precious time. We hope other practitioners might learn from our experiences. The best way to bring them back to Dafa is to study the Fa together, stay with them for a while, and set up a regular Fa study group. If the practitioners participate in the group study, he or she can catch up with the rest of us. Master told us in Zhuan Falun,
"I am telling everyone that no matter how uncomfortable you are, you must continue to attend this class. Once you walk into the classroom, all of your symptoms will vanish and there will not be any danger. There is one point to make to everyone: No matter how much you suffer from the 'illness,' I hope that you will continue to come, because it is difficult to obtain the Fa."
The Fa has many levels of meaning. At my current level I realized that today's cultivation is different from other forms of personal cultivation in other times. Group study is the path arranged by Master. In this cultivation environment we can learn from each other and therefore improve rapidly. No matter what difficulties we encounter, we can overcome them all.
Group Study Rapidly Improves Everyone in the Group
Group study has made a big impact on our improvement. We made many breakthroughs together. A woman practitioner in her 50s fell behind in cultivation. She had heart surgery. Two years ago she again began to suffer from the heart symptoms. We started a study group at her house, during which no one mentioned her heart condition. We simply did not make that an issue. All we did was to study and invite her to look inside for problems. After repeated reading, we all had a clear understanding of Master's words, "A practitioner believes he should only focus on practicing, without paying attention to obtaining gong." (Zhuan Falun)
Every afternoon for a time we focused on reading Master's books and sending righteous thoughts at the top of each hour. After several days she began to see her own loopholes. She realized that her attachments to recognition, personal interests, and showing off were pretty strong, and she had done something a Dafa practitioner shouldn't have done. She also refused to listen to other practitioners' advice. As a result, she came to a huge rock in the road. She now realized her problem, saw clearly that her life has been extended, and she should use all her remaining time to validate Dafa. She has no right to waste any time on enjoying life. Now she is steadfast in doing the three things. The woman is especially good at face-to-face truth clarification and became a major local coordinator. Her story is a very good example to convince people of Dafa's power. Her family members are especially impressed with Dafa's mighty power. Her whole family began to get involved in offering people salvation.
This success story made us realize that our past efforts to help practitioners overcome illness karma had some drawbacks. In the past, when practitioners suffer physical illness karma, we went to their house and sent righteous thoughts. We also studied the Fa, but our purpose was clear: helping the practitioners to overcome their illness. Everyone involved was helping the practitioners, hoping they would recover soon. This was an example of strong pursuit. We now realize that the more we pursue, the less it helps. We were, in fact, hurting the practitioners. All of us missed an important point.
When facing these problems, we initially considered them bad things, not illusions created for our cultivation. It was time for all of us to improve our understanding. If the person suffering from illness karma and the rest of us all disregarded the symptoms and treated them as good things, if we could all view them as no big deal, could the evil still bother us? But at the time we all forgot the key point: everything was for our cultivation. Our old understanding was to help practitioners overcome the physical symptoms. When their condition did not improve, we talked about their loopholes and shortcomings behind their back. Now we realized that this was not the right thing to do, and it only added bad things for them. Finally, having exhausted all ways to help [we thought were possible], we stopped seeing them, and felt helpless when the old forces took a practitioner's life. How do we cultivate as a group when a practitioner is facing illness karma? This has been an important issue that everyone should be aware of.
Group Study Can Break the Old Forces' Arrangements
One particular event of the several success stories we have to report over the past several years is a marvelous credit to the power of the Fa and ignoring the old forces' arrangements.
Several practitioners are related to each other but resented each other and would not see eye to eye because of a business dispute. Certain ones eventually stopped cultivation practice. Other practitioners tried to help them but got involved in the conflict. During a group discussion, we realized that the old forces had arranged this, making people have negative views of Dafa. We decided to change that. But we simply could not talk to any one of the practitioners on this subject. What could we do? The only approach was to study the Fa together. We organized two separate study groups that involved these practitioners and studied Master's lectures, one by one. We made no reference of their conflicts during discussions. We merely encouraged everyone in the groups to look inside to find his/her own problems. This experience made me realize that other practitioners' behavior could serve as a mirror. Anything I found fault with in others--pursuit of recognition and money, a competitive mentality, jealousy and being overly sensitive--I also found in myself. Some of my shortcomings were quite serious. Other practitioners involved in the group study also found their own shortcomings and decided to relinquish them.
Practitioners in conflict with others gradually improved their understanding during Fa study. They realized they had not known how to look inside for problems or how to treat conflicts as good things. They also realized they should have abandoned the bad stuff and expressed their regret for missing many good opportunities to improve. Witnessing their improved xinxing made us feel great joy. We did not stop there but continued to study the Fa. We knew clearly that they still have a long way to go. Only through persistent Fa study can anyone really understand the issues. They realized gradually that they had created many conflicts in the family and damaged Dafa's image. They vowed to "mend the fence," starting with their own minds. These practitioners have resumed their normal relationships.
It took us nearly a year to achieve our objectives for bringing the family back on track, and we learned much during the process. If we look at a problem from the standpoint of Dafa disciples, we can instantly resolve the issue. But if we look at things from a common person's perspective, we can never overcome anything. Things don't happen in a vacuum; they were not only created for the conflicting parties. Everyone can learn something from these troubles. Looking back at our progress, we all feel amazed.
Group Study Is a Path Arranged by Master
The above incidents reveal to us several important points:
(1) Practitioners who encounter barriers and problems, please join in a study group. In a study group, your problems can be resolved. That is a path arranged by our Master. If the group study environment is currently nonexistent, you can start a three-person study group and meet three times a week. It can be as easy as a casual visit to neighbors, meeting at a different home each day. At least you can meet once a week.
(2) Diligent practitioners should not forget about other practitioners who are not fully engaged in doing the three things. You should help them to start a group study. In each of the groups, a diligent practitioner should take the lead for a while. Some not-so-diligent practitioners also study the Fa every day, but they have not learned to look inside for problems. They are not seasoned enough to reveal the true nature of an illusion. They did not know what attachments they had. Oftentimes, they got tangled in specific details. After a long time, they still cannot pass the test and gradually they lose their own confidence. We must remind them to study the Fa and look inside for problems. We must tell them to cultivate their heart. If their heart is rectified, everything else will be rectified. Master told us in Zhuan Falun: "Everything within the field of your dimension is dictated by the thoughts in your brain."
Diligent practitioners should do extra work while doing the three things. Master told us not to leave out any practitioner, because everyone of us can potentially be in charge of a gigantic universe. It is of utmost importance that we wake up every practitioner.
Group study is a common thread to connect everyone. It has a very good effect in our collective improvement.
Before the 2008 Olympics, the authorities in some areas launched serious acts of persecution against Dafa practitioners. In our area, we formed a common understanding during group study: refuse to acknowledge the old forces' arrangement; these are nothing but illusions; we will continue doing the three things. Every day from 8:00 to 9:00 p.m., we gathered together and sent forth the righteous thought. We were determined to eliminate all the evil beings that used the Olympics to persecute practitioners. As a result of our effort, the evildoers in our area did not dare to make any move against practitioners. They even changed their Olympic torch relay route to bypass our county center. When police officers visited some practitioners' homes, the practitioners were not shy about telling them the truth. After their visits, the policemen all left with smiles on their faces. One day a policeman went to visit a practitioner. When the practitioner asked him to come in, the policeman politely declined. "I just came to see if you have rented out your room yet," he said with a smile.
Through these incidents, we see the mighty power of group righteous thoughts.