Our Compassionate Teacher's Profound words: "Vow," "Predestined Relationship," "Fulfilling One'sVow,"
In Teacher's recent lectures he mentioned the word, "vow" in several places. To me it is signifies something new and special, and I feel the weight of the responsibility is heavy...the concepts behind it are deep...and the length of time involved is enormous...
In Teacher's speeches, he often talked about "predestined relationship."
What on earth is the relationship between the words, "vow" and "predestined relationship?" How is our cultivation practice related to this? This puzzle lingers in my heart, and I thought about it over and over without reaching a definitive conclusion.
Through studying Teacher's lectures and reading practitioners' reports and sharing experiences with them, plus my own experiences in the period of Fa-rectification, I have come to a rough understanding. Now I am sharing a summary of my thoughts and understanding, in the hope that we can communicate and improve together, and "dispel all misconceptions while providing the correct understanding." ("Lunyu").
- Predestined Relationship
"Mankind! Wake up! The vows of gods throughout the ages are being fulfilled. Dafa is evaluating all lives. The path of life is under one's own feet. A person's own single thought will also determine his future. Treasure and cherish it: The Fa and the principles of the universe are right in front of you." ("Further Comments on Superstition", Essentials For Further Advancement)
"Once a Dafa disciple has done what he shouldn't do, if he isn't able to truly realize its severity and redeem the losses he has brought to Dafa, everything and that millions upon millions of years' wait will be fulfilled according to the vows made before history." ("Dafa is Indestructible")
"Disciples, be diligent! Everything that's the most magnificent and the most wonderful is developed in the process of your validating Dafa. Your vows will become testaments of your future." ("Fa-Rectification Period Dafa Disciples")
On the subject of practitioners' "vows," a practitioner once described it (primary meaning only) in their experience-sharing article. The practitioner wrote, "A long, long time ago, one day in a prehistoric time, Teacher told the gods, 'In the future the evil forces will persecute Dafa, those who want to assist me to do Fa-rectification please sign the pledge.' Finally only a few righteous gods signed the pledge, and at great risk, they followed Teacher to reincarnate in layers upon layers of dimensions, and eventually to the human world to assist Master and rectify the Fa. However, the majority of gods dared not take the risk to sign this holy and magnificent pledge, whose opportunity has not been made available "since the beginning of heaven and earth." ("Fa-Rectification Period Dafa Disciples")
In addition, every pledge ended with such a vow, "At the risk of my life I am determined to fulfill my vow, and I will never regret it. If I cannot fulfill my vow, let my body and soul become extinct."
"Making a wish to save sentient beings, Assisting Teacher in his journey in this world; Aiding me to turn the Fa wheel, The Fa succeeds and free in heaven and earth." ("Assisting the Fa", HongYin) "Validate the Fa with reason, clarify the truth with wisdom, spread the Fa and offer people salvation with benevolence..." ("Rationality") "Clarify the truth thoroughly, eliminate the evil with righteous thoughts, save all beings, and safeguard the Fa with determination..." ("Dafa is Indestructible"). This is the pledge signed by Fa-rectification disciples with the Supreme Buddha!
We wished to "save sentient beings," promised to "assist Teacher in his journey in this world," vowed to "aid Teacher to turn the Fa wheel," and signed the pledge of "the Fa succeeds and free in heaven and earth." We "experienced tens of thousands of tribulations," came to the human world to find the Master and "fulfill a Wish" (Hong Yin).
"Great enlightened beings have brighter hearts. Obtaining the Fa and traveling in the world. With thousands of years gone by, Prearrangement arrives and the Fa has succeeded." ("Predestined Relationship", Hong Yin)
"The predestined relationship I talk about is related to all of you in the audience here. It's very likely that you have the predestined relationship to obtain the Fa. So how was this predestined relationship formed? Many people here came to obtain the Fa, they came for a purpose. There might also be [my] close relatives, good friends, and disciples from different lifetimes, or those resulting from other predestined relationships. But cultivation doesn't involve ordinary human kinship--there's no such thing. I often say that some people came to obtain the Fa. They might have made this type of wish in the past and wanted to come endure hardship to obtain this Fa--this is also a factor. That's why I often say that I advise you not to miss the chance to obtain the Fa this time because of momentary wrong thoughts in this life, or you'll regret it forever and won't be able to make up for it. In fact, I've found that this thread of predestined relationship has been, for the most part, pulling people along, taut. No one has been left out and all of them are obtaining the Fa. The only difference lies in the degree of diligence and progress." (Falun Buddha Fa Lectures in the United States)
It is exactly the holy vow of "Assisting the Master" (Hong Yin) connecting Dafa practitioners with the supreme Buddha of the colossal firmament, and settled down the universe's most magnificent, most holy and most remote predestined relationship, that is, the "Fa" relationship. This is the greatest predestined relationship between Fa-rectification disciples and the Supreme Buddha in the colossal firmament!
3. Fulfull the Vow
"Coming to the world with one heart, Having obtained the Fa earlier. Flying towards heavens some other day, Free in the Fa's boundlessness." ("Fulfilling a Wish", Hong Yin)
Originated from the righteous thought of "responsible for all righteous elements in the cosmos" ("Speech by Master Li Hongzhi at the Western US Cultivation Experience Sharing Conference of Falun Dafa") and under Teachers constant guidance, hints, care and mercy, Dafa practitioners "forget form and forget self," take the "great way without form," "...in the face of the real evil--the old forces..." ("Persons in Charge of the European Fa Conference and All Attendees") "validate the Fa with reason, clarify the truth with wisdom, spread the Fa and offer people salvation with benevolence..." ("Rationality") and "clarify the truth thoroughly, eliminate the evil with righteous thoughts, save all beings, and safeguard the Fa with determination." ("Dafa is Indestructible")
"...The determination that Dafa disciples have developed from their true understanding of the Fa through cultivation and from their Buddha-nature after the elevation of their benti1 in actual cultivation," ("Coercion Cannot Change People's Hearts") "...they frighten all evil, and the light of Truth they emanate makes the unrighteous elements in all beings' thoughts disintegrate." ("Also in a Few Words")
Since Dafa was openly and brutally persecuted by the evil persons manipulated by the old forces of the cosmos, Dafa practitioners left behind their family, career and personal safety, running around in this messy human world, seriously and strictly fulfilling their sacred vows as Dafa particles. Every Dafa practitioner is just like a particle of light with boundless radiance, particle of energy, using the Buddha light of "Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance" to illuminate the world of ten directions, and all the sentient beings in the colossal firmament are rectified and harmonized.
Please listen to the splendid praise from the Teacher, "Did you know that everything you are currently doing has already established the greatest and eternal mighty virtue for Dafa and Dafa cultivators? When this page of history is turned, the people who remain will see your greatness, and the future gods will forever remember this great time in history." ("Rationality")
This is the special part of the history of "Rectifying the Colossal Firmament" (Teacher's article on Feb. 10, 2001) created by Dafa practitioners under the direct instruction of the great merciful Teacher!
4. Compassionate Teacher
"In the several years of [your] cultivation practice, I have not only endured a great deal for you, but also, in the meantime, I have constantly given you hints for your improvement, looked after you for your safety, and settled the debts that you've owed at different levels so that you can reach Consummation----these aren't things that just anyone can do, and neither can they be done for everyday people." ("Deter Interference")
- The horrifying situation of the three realms.
- Teacher's suffering and paying
- Teacher's giving
- Teacher's compassion
- The evil of the old forces
"I can tell you that throughout history there's never been any human being who has succeeded in cultivation--regardless of the cultivation way. This is because a person's Assistant Primordial Spirit doesn't enter the Three Realms, but controls the person's body at a microscopic level beyond the Three Realms. It's simply impossible for a person to return--never before in history has this happened. But since you've encountered this amidst today's Fa-rectification--not because you have such a great predestined relationship, nor simply because it's accidental--you're truly able to return through cultivation! (Applause)"
"No matter which level a god comes from, once he enters the Three Realms, he is never able to return--this is absolute. This is also something that no one has ever dared to disclose, because it would lead humankind to rapidly head for destruction: If people knew about the truth, hopeless beings would stop at no evil. Yet our Dafa has enabled [people to return]--we're able to achieve this--and it has played this role. So I've revealed this truth to you all." ("Speech by Master Li Hongzhi at the Western US Cultivation Experience Sharing Conference of Falun Dafa")
Back then, one reason that the majority of gods dared not sign the pledge with the Teacher to take the risk to "come to the world with one heart" ("Fulfilling a Wish", Hong Yin) is possibly that they saw that the situation in this three realms was too frightening.
Teacher said, "Another problem would be that as the extremely enormous evilness overwhelmingly pressed down at that time... In the picture posted on the Minghui website, we saw the image of Satan. That was only a manifestation of the karma on Earth. Since every karma particle has its own distinctive karmic image, collectively, they also have an overall image, which is the image of karma. But at that time that evilness far exceeded this karma by many times. It was extremely horrifying to beings at many levels--Earth wasn't the only thing covered by the evil. They thought that without undergoing a test this huge, a Fa this enormous couldn't be established. Yet they were also aware that with such a huge tribulation pressing down, humans wouldn't be able to endure it and they'd be destroyed. They also knew that it would be difficult for Dafa disciples to come through a tribulation like that. Still, they thought that it would be alright to destroy them. They even regarded me as a cultivator. They believed that enlightening to a Fa this enormous would require a test this huge. Think about it, everyone: It's easy to talk about this, but in truth, it was extremely dreadful. The environment at that time was so extremely vicious that it was beyond description. But our students in China and abroad all sensed it at the time and saw the degree of evilness manifest in this world by those evils. Looked at superficially, it was only a manifestation among humans. In essence, those evil factors were manipulating humans. From the outset I tried my best to eliminate them. But they were extremely huge. No matter how fast you eliminate them, a certain amount of time is needed. It took me nine months to eliminate them. This had never happened before... so enormous. At that time, since this evil was too enormous, it would have been impossible for students to bear it; and then if it weren't borne, their test wouldn't count. You can't just eliminate it, so you have to bear it. But I knew that if the students were to bear it, it would be hard for them to make it through. So I could only let the students bear the evilness played out by humans, whereas I bore the real things. (Applause) This isn't to tell you about how remarkable Master is; I didn't mean that. I'm telling you what went on. The situation changed after these things were eliminated. The situation has gradually changed since March of this year. Without the manipulation of those evil factors, the evil humans have lost what reinforced their minds. They now think that Dafa has passed the test. These matters are in the process of being concluded; it's only that there's still a group of people who haven't stepped forward." ("Master Li Hongzhi's Lecture at the Great Lakes Conference in North America")
"If everything in history were not borne for you, it would be fundamentally impossible for you to do cultivation practice; if everything were not borne for sentient beings in the cosmos, they would disintegrate with the passing of history; if everything were not borne for the people of the world, they would not have the opportunity to still live in this world today." ("Fa-Rectification Period Dafa Disciples")
Some practitioners wrote that in order to take the karmic burden for all the sentient beings, Teacher's body was scattered into pieces by the demons, and he re-constituted a new body. Even his new body is covered with scars and wounds.
This is the suffering and paying by the Teacher, and this is only what Teacher allows us to know...but that is only a tiny portion of what he actually suffered!
"Over the course of prehistory, everything of yours was being created, all along, according to how magnificent the disciples would be in the Fa-rectification period. So, it was arranged that when you reach the standard for ordinary Consummation, you still have, in the human world, all kinds of ordinary human thoughts and karma. The purpose is so that while doing Fa-rectification things, you clarify the truth, whereby you all bring in, for the consummation of your paradises, beings that can be saved. As you consummate your own paradises you are, at the same time, eliminating your last karma, gradually getting rid of your human thoughts, and truly stepping forward from humanness. Most fundamentally, you all still need to establish your great mighty virtue in the process of eliminating the old forces' persecution, and return to your highest positions. So this isn't a matter of reaching Consummation in ordinary realms, nor is it achievable in ordinary Consummation." ("Fa-Rectification Period Dafa Disciples")
"Did you know that Fa-rectification disciples who aren't able to come through the Fa-rectification period will not have another chance to cultivate, because throughout history you have already been given all the best things? Today you have barely had any hardship in your self-cultivation, and you haven't been asked to bear the enormous sins yourselves that you have committed over your many lifetimes. Meanwhile, I have enabled you to raise your levels in the fastest ways, kept everything good from your past, replenished things with what's better at every level for you, always given you in cultivation all the most magnificent things of every realm, and will enable you to return after Consummation to your highest realm's position. These are the things that can be made known to you. There is more, which you can't know about at this time. Dafa disciples are magnificent because you are here at the same time as the period of Master's Fa-rectification and are able to safeguard Dafa. If what you do is no longer worthy of a Dafa disciple, think about it, everyone, if under the greatest mercy since the beginning of heaven and earth and under Buddha's infinite grace you still can't do well, how could there be another chance? Cultivation and Fa-rectification are serious. Whether you are able to treasure this period of time is, in fact, a matter of whether you can be responsible to yourselves. This period of time will not last long, but it can forge the mighty virtue of magnificent Enlightened Beings, Buddhas, Daos, and Gods of different levels, and even Lords of different levels. It can also destroy overnight a cultivator who has reached a really high level but who has become less strict with himself. Disciples, be diligent! Everything that's the most magnificent and the most wonderful is developed in the process of your validating Dafa. Your vows will become testaments of your future." ("Fa-Rectification Period Dafa Disciples")
"The truth is, I treasure you more than you treasure yourselves! All evil in the cosmos is being eliminated at an unprecedented speed." ("Eliminate Your Last Attachment(s)")
"Whenever I see you suffer hardships, Master feels even more upset than you; whenever you do not take a step well, it really pains my heart." ("Eliminate Your Last Attachment(s)")
"Despite this and the situation in which a large number of disciples who are genuine cultivators are suffering severe hardships, the time of conclusion has been repeatedly postponed so as to wait for those people to recognize their own fundamental attachments. This is because many among them are predestined and have the potential to reach Consummation." ("Towards Consummation")
The Supreme Buddha, our Teacher is compassionate. He treasures the righteous thought that we risked our lives to assist Master and rectify the Fa He treasures the sufferings and tribulations we experienced during our cycles upon cycles of reincarnation for assisting master and rectifying Fa He treasures "...the determination that Dafa disciples have developed from their true understanding of the Fa through cultivation and from their Buddha-nature after the elevation of their benti1 in actual cultivation," ("Coercion Cannot Change People's Hearts") he treasures that "...even when a terrible calamity strikes, even when evil madly persecutes, and even when your life is at stake, you still have to be able to steadfastly continue on your path of cultivation without letting anything in human society interfere with the steps you take on your path of cultivation." ("Path")
Our Teacher is great; he exhausted everything for sentient beings in the cosmos and with the hope that practitioners can attain Consummation. He gives us "the greatest mercy since the beginning of heaven and earth" and "Buddha's infinite grace" ("Fa-Rectification Period Dafa Disciples") and bestowed on us the greatest, most sacred and honorable titles such as "Dafa disciples," "Dafa particles" and "Fa-rectification Period Dafa Disciples." He suffered for us selflessly, paid us unlimitedly and gave to us immeasurably.
Actually the whole colossal firmament is created by Teacher, and all the abilities practitioners have are given by Teacher Then why are Dafa practitioners still needed to assist Teacher and rectify the Fa? It is Teacher who granted us the magnificent opportunity of Fa-rectification, enabled us to again manifest the universal principles of "Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance," so as to establish the mighty virtue of the future enlightened beings of the Fa and cosmos, and return to heaven.
"...The true manifestation of the great reality within the universe" ("Remaking Mankind", Essentials for Further Advancement) amazed the old forces who didn't believe this, and they felt very regretful. At the beginning they observed this with an evil intention, preparing to laugh at Teacher, Dafa disciples and all the sentient beings. Because according to their standard, those who enter the three realms are waiting for nothing but destruction, not to mention going beyond the three realms.
But now they have seen that without much suffering, Dafa practitioners not only can go beyond the three realms, but also it is their main spirits who obtain the right fruit status, and they can return to the highest level of the universe which is nearest to the standard of "Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance" and Teacher. All these make the old forces very jealous, and they are so jealous that they can hardly contain themselves.
They are cowards themselves, dare not take the risk to come to the human world, so they can not get the "the greatest mercy since the beginning of heaven and earth" and "Buddha's infinite grace" ("Fa-Rectification Period Dafa Disciples") or the right fruit of the highest realm that Dafa disciples are going to get. In addition, their bodies and spirits are going to be extinct because they persecuted Teacher, Dafa, Dafa disciples and all the sentient beings, including themselves, of the universe. Now they are already out of their minds and try all possible ways to be destructive and destroy.
"You know, when this evil sees that it's going to be eliminated it runs totally rampant." ("Teaching the Fa at the 2001 Canada Falun Dafa Cultivation Experience Sharing Conference") So Teacher said, "But in order to achieve everything they've wanted to, the old, evil forces in the cosmos have directly taken part in persecuting Dafa, Dafa disciples, and all beings by continuously using the evil arrangements that they contrived and that don't conform to the true Fa-principles of the cosmos, and they have taken advantage of the unremoved notions that are at Dafa disciples' human surface, and Dafa disciples' karma, to make their righteous thoughts falter." ("Dafa is Indestructible")
"Master wants to save all beings. But the evil forces are truly committing sins against Dafa by using all beings, with the ultimate purpose of destroying the beings." ("Dafa is Indestructible")
Because of this, we can better understand Teacher's following words:
"There's a very evil factor in the persecution of Dafa disciples. Namely, the old forces can't get over the fact that some students will reach Consummation or become Fa-rectification disciples; they think that these students have obtained it too easily, because even they can't be Fa-rectification disciples; and for this reason they manipulate evil and utilize wicked persons to beat our students--insisting on beating them to the point where they say, "I'll stop practicing."" ("Lecture on the Fa at the Washington, D.C. International Conference")
The evil forces' purpose is: I cannot get it, so you won't get it either; I will be eliminated, so you won't live comfortably either; let's die together.
No wonder Teacher said,
"How evil!"("Master Li Hongzhi's Lecture at the Great Lakes Conference in North America") "It is bad, it is venomous, and it is evil. And just like poison, if you want it not to poison people it can't do that--that's just how it is. So in the process of eliminating it don't be lenient at all--just eliminate it! Here I'm not referring to humans, but to those evil beings that manipulate humans." ("Teaching the Fa at the 2001 Canada Falun Dafa Cultivation Experience Sharing Conference")
Although I cannot see all the things that Teacher has done for our sentient beings, but from the part he revealed in order for us to understand the Fa, from the articles by practitioners and clearwisdom.net editorials, and from my limited understanding that Teacher has exhausted everything for sentient beings...and those are enough to let me deeply appreciate Teacher's great compassion.
Even if I exhausted all that I have cultivated from Dafa, still I cannot express how much Teacher has suffered, paid and given us, and how compassionate he is.
My words here are quite ordinary, I wrote them down in the hope that better opinions will follow. I hope practitioners can better understand Teacher's suffering, paying, giving and compassion, and we should work harder in our cultivation practice and manifest his great compassion, only in that way can we answer his merciful "Arduously Saving" (Hong Yin)
Now, let's review clearwisdom.net's editorial "Our Compassionate and Venerable Master," and probably we will come to a deeper understanding of the situation:
Our Compassionate and Venerable Master
July 17, 2000
In the year 2000, everyone in the world is relieved that we have made it through many crises and have entered into yet another era. Of all the people in the world, who is capable of knowing why human beings are so fortunate. How many soothsayers have now lost their appeal? And yet it is our Master, who has enabled humankind to have this hope for survival, has been bearing the karma that was produced from the deterioration of humankind throughout the course of history.
Since July, 1999, the evil beings in the universe, taking advantage of this period of time when Dafa is being inspected in the human world, have been controlling those lives within the Three Realms that are about to be eliminated, and especially the dregs of humanity, to bring damage to Dafa and to Dafa disciples. Looking at its manifestation on a human level, it is the Chinese Communist Party that is inflicting damage on the Dafa with government action by mobilizing police, military troops, radio broadcast stations, television stations, diplomacy, and secret agents to spread their destruction far and wide. In actuality, it is those evil beings in the universe who, at the same time that they were using the dregs of humanity to inflict damage, were also pushing towards practitioners the karma that they had produced by damaging the Fa plus elements that were composed of evil. In the face of this kind of vicious and dangerous situation, Master gathered together all of this karma and the huge physical elements composed of evil. Master used his own body to bear them, and, at the same time, to destroy these huge evil elements. Because these evil beings had gathered such an enormous amount of karma and venomous elements, it took Master nine months to destroy it using his powerful energy potency. However, because the evil elements and the karma were so immense, they also caused serious damage to Master's body. Master's hair has turned gray; this is something we can see. As for the other harm that has been done to Master's body, Master doesn't mention it out of concern that it would cause his students to have hatred toward the evil beings and subsequently affect the students' cultivation. Such a compassionate and venerable Master -- in the course of rectification of the Fa, Master has exhausted everything for sentient beings.
Fellow cultivators, let us strive forward diligently and courageously. Let us cherish the repeated opportunities that Master, through tremendous sacrifice, has created for us to advance towards Consummation!
Cherish it, humankind. That humankind has made it to the year 2000 is not to give humankind prosperity, and even less is it to allow humankind to continue creating karma for their own selfish interests.
1benti (bun-tee)--"own-body," "original-body," or "true being."