(Clearwisdom.net) All cultivation in history was through personal cultivation in which disciples were guided by Teachers to gradually suffer hardships, eliminate karma and improve their levels, so as to finally reach the realm of Consummation. Before July 20, 1999, we Dafa practitioners were also cultivating as individuals, but there were still two fundamental differences from all the other personal cultivations ways in history. The first difference is that Master taught us the true Fa of the universe, which enabled us to cultivate and improve ourselves directly following the Fa principles. The second is that Teacher bore almost all of our karma for each of us who was willing to cultivate in Dafa. This never happened before in history. And these are also the essential reasons why Dafa practitioners were able to easily break through to very high levels and realms within several years and elevate as if on a straight line. During the period between May 1992 and July 20, 1999, many Dafa practitioners who cultivated very well had actually reached Consummation in the ordinary historical sense. But there were also some other practitioners whose process of return was hindered due to their strong human notions, heavy karma, insufficient study of the Fa, and their inability to let go of their personal attachments in the world.

On July 20, 1999, the evil forces began to launch an all-out persecution of the great Fa of "Truth, Compassion, Tolerance" and the Fa-rectification disciples started to simultaneously and comprehensively fulfill their missions. The focus of cultivation changed from individual improvement to Fa-rectification. The superficial formalities of cultivation also changed from the daily study of the Fa, the practice of the exercises, and the general activities of promoting the Fa to using all kinds of means to clarify the truth, expose the evil, and save sentient beings to the maximum degree. The change from personal cultivation to cultivation in Fa-rectification brought huge fundamental changes to the beings in cultivation. Just as Teacher pointed out in the Great Lakes Fa-Conference: "In the past, in whatever we were doing you would think: 'How can I study the Fa well? How should I work for Dafa? How can I improve myself? How can I do better?' You always felt that you were learning Dafa, rather than that you were a part of Dafa. After this year I find that you've completely changed. You no longer think as you used to. No matter what you do for Dafa and no matter what it is you're doing, you are placing yourselves in Dafa and not thinking about 'I want to do something for Dafa' or 'I want to improve myself in this way or that way' as you did before. No matter what you do, you aren't thinking that you're doing something for Dafa, about how you should do things for Dafa, or 'how can I do things well for this Fa.' Instead, you are placing yourselves within Dafa. Like a particle of Dafa, [you feel that] no matter what it is, you should just do it. Even though you aren't conscious of it or aren't expressing it clearly in words, that is in fact how your actions already are. This is the biggest change I see in you after this year. In other words, you are completely in the Fa already."(December 9, 2000)

But for almost one year after July 20, 1999, there were also some practitioners who did not understand the reasons for the change towards Fa-rectification cultivation. Some overseas practitioners did not understand the relationship between their own cultivation and what was happening in faraway China. They delayed and lost much precious time during the course of catching up with the Fa-rectification process. Actually with rational thinking, genuine practitioners all understand that everything we have, including our lives, things in the universe, are all created and bestowed by Dafa. A three-year old child already knows how to safeguard his own parents. Ordinary people with a sense of justice in the world will also shed their blood and lay down their lives for the truth and justice that they uphold. In ancient times, people with noble morality advocated: "The kindness of giving one drop of water should be rewarded with a full spring of water;" and "Once one has become your teacher, you should respect him as father all through your life." Furthermore, it was understood that all those who follow the same Teacher should have the idea of striving forward together and supporting each other.

So when Dafa encounters tribulations in this human world, when our Teacher is listed as wanted and slandered by ruffians, when our fellow practitioners are being persecuted severely, isn't it perfectly justified and a duty for all Dafa practitioners to step forward to clarify the truth, safeguard the Fa, and stop the persecution? When Dafa is spread far and wide, those who hear about it will benefit, and those who learn it will obtain new lives. There is no boundary of nations, nor is there distinction between races. So when it comes to the issue of safeguarding the Fa, there is naturally no reason to make any distinctions. After Teacher spent nine months in bearing the most substantive persecution for us, he explicitly told us: "...when someone comes to attack the Fa, what should you, a disciple, a particle of Dafa, do? Shouldn't you let the truth be known and make people aware of the facts? This is from your own perspective. You are a particle of Dafa, so you should play this role."("Speech by Master Li Hongzhi at the Western US Cultivation Experience Sharing Conference of Falun Dafa") This was also a kindly reminder and instruction to all the practitioners who still felt confused about the Fa-rectification at that time.

In fact, the disciples who attain the Fa during the Fa-rectification period are totally different from all the other Dafa practitioners in history. This is not only because when we reach Consummation, all the Gods of the same realms as us will respect and admire us, but also because the inner meaning of our present Fa-rectification cultivation is so sacred and special (There may still be many other reasons that we will never know about). When reading the poem, "Assisting the Fa," we all felt greatly moved to the depths of our lives. Almost all practitioners had the feeling that we would never forget the poem after reading it once:

"Making a wish to save sentient beings,

Assisting Teacher in his journey in this world;

Aiding my turning the Fa wheel,

Obtain the Fa and be free in heaven and on earth."

Why? Because this poem points out the solemn vows of life made to the Lord of the Universe before all the Fa-rectification disciples came down to this human world. Speaking from this perspective, to be truly responsible for our own lives, for the sentient beings, and for the Fa, all Fa-rectification disciples have no other choice but to fulfill their own solemn vows. These vows are selfless, sacred, without reservation and heroic --the Dafa disciples were courageous enough to come down to the world following the Lord of the Universe, and use their precious lives to back up their solemn vows: "If we break our vow, let everything of our life be turned into ashes at the time when our vow should have been fulfilled." I venture to guess: This may be the main reason why the Lord Buddha spares no sacrifice to save us with his endless benevolence. On the other hand, how should we cherish the environment, the time, and the chance that the Lord Buddha has created painstakingly to help us fulfill our vows?

"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?" ("Our Compassionate and Venerable Master," http://www.clearwisdom.net/emh/articles/2000/7/19/7647.html). This is the heavenly secret that was revealed to the world one year ago. Fellow practitioners who still have not stepped forward from humanness with determined righteous thoughts, please think over these questions with all your selflessness, seriousness and rationality. You should no longer allow the part that has not been cultivated to restrain the part of you that is a God! "Opportunity knocks but once. Once the illusion that you cannot relinquish disappears, you will realize what you have lost." ("Practicing Cultivation After Retirement")

The above is my personal understanding, and is for sharing ideas only.