The evil is still rampant in some areas in Mainland China. The word "brutal" is not enough to describe the persecution of Dafa practitioners anymore. I want to talk about my understanding of the tribulation's continuation and the persecution's escalation.
1. Those who have enlightened to what is required of us suffer differently from those who were told and have not truly understood
Cultivation entered a different stage after Master Li's article "Towards Consummation" was published. On the one hand, the evil forces are waging a desperate struggle before they are destroyed. On the other hand, Master Li has said: "The clearer I make it for you, the bigger your troubles and obstacles must be. Hence, there are some things that are meant for you to enlighten to. ... If the tribulations that cause you to enlighten to things are small, then the obstacles that you cannot pass will be big" (Falun Buddha Law -- Lecture at the Changchun Assistant Conference). This is one of the reasons that the tribulations have become so tough. The Fa is sacred and serious. One must put in an effort in cultivation. Without putting in enough effort, one is not qualified to attain the Fa, to cultivate and succeed to become a great enlightened being in the new universe. Therefore, there is no doubt that the tribulations are strong.
2. Practitioners' attachments and Master's compassion
Since April 25, 1999, some veteran practitioners have not been able to get rid of their fear and have stayed in an incorrect state referred to as so-called "quiet cultivation" or "firm and true cultivation." This is an incorrect understanding of the Fa. Let's think about it. As a Dafa particle that has truly assimilated to Dafa, how can one carelessly sit back and watch while Dafa and Master have encountered a vicious ban, slander, and persecution? "Those who have attained the Fa are gods." (From one of Master Li's poems) All the Buddhas, Taos, and Gods are responsible for the positive factors in the universe. An ordinary person has not attained the Fa, and does not know how to treat Dafa. He may still have the chance to attain the Fa in the future. But it is different if a cultivator does not treat the Fa correctly. Having attained the Fa but not protecting the Fa - doesn't that mean that one has denied his heavenly responsibilities and his requirement as a Dafa particle? It is very dangerous!
These people's not enlightening is a direct reason that the tribulation continues. All true cultivators know that Master Li treasures every single disciple, and that he treasures us more than we do ourselves. Up until now, Master Li has repeatedly given chances to those who have not given up their fears and who have enlightened incorrectly so that they can come back on the track of Fa rectification. "Because many among them are predestined and have the potential to reach consummation." (Towards Consummation) During the period of time that is extended, it is Master and those who have already stepped forward who have to put in twice as much effort. But compassion is not boundless tolerance. Dafa's criteria will never change. There will be an end to the waiting.
3. The persecution's escalation is a surface phenomenon
The evil forces already know their fate; that is, being destroyed in the end. But they still work hard to weed out the practitioners who are not steadfast enough. Their stubbornness and their continual attempts to alter practitioners' faith have resulted in a tragic future for them because of these sins. This is the reason why there is darkness before sunrise and why the old evil forces have been able to wage such a malicious struggle. Then how are the practitioners doing in the midst of this test?
Master said, "Were you truly able to discard those fundamental human attachments in your cultivation practice, these last trials and tribulations wouldn't have been so vicious." (Toward Consummation) If we didn't pass the test on April 25, or on July 20, and still have not passed the test a year later, then we should really wake up; otherwise we may miss all opportunities and fail to live up to Master Li's requirements even after he has extended the time for us out of his great compassion and endurance.
Earlier I mentioned that there is a difference between those who have enlightened to what is required of us at this time and those who have merely heard it without really understanding it and without doing something about it. One certainly has to suffer in a different way if he only moves after the Fa has been preached clearly. Some people have said, "Most of those who have come out later have encountered stronger tests. Is it that the evil forces are becoming stronger and more stubborn?" The evil forces take the dark road all the way to the end, but their strength is only on the surface. Plus, one cannot cultivate without tribulations. One cannot become such a great enlightened being without such big tribulations.
When facing tests in cultivation practice, the more one fears the trial, the wilder the evil forces will be. They are actually taking advantage of the fear. "If a cultivator can let go of the thought of life and death under any circumstances, evil is bound to be afraid of him. If every practitioner is about to do this, evil will of itself no longer exist. All of you are already aware of the principle of mutual-generation and mutual-inhibition. If you are not afraid, the factor that would make you afraid will become non-existent. This is not to be self-imposed, but is achieved by calmly and truly letting go of it." (Eliminate Your Last Attachments)
This is only my personal understanding. I hope all practitioners can follow the cosmic climate, treasure this last opportunity, and become great enlightened beings of selflessness and altruism during the cultivation of the Fa rectification.
(Provided by Hui Jue on November 27, 2000)