Look Inward and Take the Righteous Path in Cultivation
(Clearwisdom.net) Esteemed Teacher: greetings! Fellow practitioners: greetings!
Here I have summarized some of my recent cultivation experiences and understandings. Please point out anything inappropriate.
1. Look inward and do away with the illegal detention
In the spring of 2005, as we were busy with Dafa work and slacked in our Fa study, many practitioners, including me, were arrested. From the very first day after being illegally arrested, I started a hunger strike in protest. Inside this den of evil, where the air was permeated with evil, what showed up the strongest was my attachment of fear. Although the practitioners around me thought that I was not scared, I knew that fear was the biggest roadblock for me. I never answered the guards' questions and did not even look at them. I stayed in bed all day. Sometimes I felt there was indeed nothing to be afraid of. But unexpectedly on some days, fear would suddenly envelop me again, and during such times, the feeling of fear disappeared only after I repetitively recited Teacher's poem, "What to Be Afraid Of" (Hong Yin II, provisional translation).
Later, I realized that what was behind my fear were my selfishness and attachment of pursuit. At that time, I had a strong attachment to getting out of the labor camp. The guards kept telling me, "This labor camp is known around the world! You couldn't get out even if you had wings." The more they tried to intimidate me, the more I recalled the Minghui/Clearwisdom website stories of fellow practitioners' righteous thoughts and righteous actions, including a practitioner's account of his coming out of the prison several days after he was arrested. Recalling these stories, the more I became anxious, "How come it's so difficult when it's my turn? What am I doing wrong?"
One day a practitioner in the same cell, who could recite the Fa well, approached me. I asked her to point out my attachment. She said, "I just came to tell you that. It's great that you can give up the attachment to life and death. But isn't your pursuit to getting out of the labor camp an attachment?"
I knew that our compassionate Master was giving me the hint through the fellow practitioner's mouth. All of what I had done was for the purpose of getting out of the labor camp as early as possible. We all knew that one should not stay in the evil's den for one's cultivation, but what was my standpoint? Was it for selfish purposes or for validating Dafa in an open and dignified manner? The results of these two viewpoints were as different as night and day.
Under the control of the evil, the guards said that I was one who "fought against them." The labor camp doctor said to the guards, "She is one of those tenacious practitioners; she just wants to make a show here." Indeed, I was fighting against the evil the whole time. I, without letting go of the attachment of pursuit, was struggling bitterly amid the tribulation. Dafa practitioners should fundamentally negate this persecution, and should not acknowledge even the appearance and existence of the old forces. My standpoint was off. I had acknowledged the old force's arrangements and wasted so much valuable time and energy! Before I was arrested, I seemed to have already known these principles for a long time, but when I was actually put into the evil's den, I became muddle-headed again.
I told myself that the evil is not qualified to fight with Dafa practitioners, and I must, as Teacher has told us, negate all the persecution and overcome the tribulation in an open and dignified manner.
When I did not know what to do, I recited the Fa a lot, as I firmly believe that the Fa is omnipotent. One practitioner told me that her mind did not work well after she started the hunger strike. I said, "Having a hunger strike is only one form of opposing the persecution; there are also many other better ways that one can use with righteous thoughts. No matter what method we use, we cannot waver in our righteous belief in Teacher and Dafa. 'Be diligent without slacking off.' [from 'Be Steadfast' in Hong Yin II, provisional translation]. Master said he 'disbelieve[s] that psychotropics could play this kind of role.' ['About Psychotropics' by Minghui Editors on November 24, 2004] Nothing is superior to the Buddha Fa, and the Buddha Fa is omnipotent."
As I was one who was newly arrested, I told the detained practitioners about Teacher's latest articles, the most recent situation of Fa-rectification and the experience sharing articles from the Minghui/Clearwisdom website. The compassion of those practitioners who had been detained there for long times was also harmonizing me and making me see my shortcomings. Every day, we seized the time to study the Fa and send forth righteous thoughts, and we encouraged each other to strengthen our resolve. The guards said, "Those in the cell are really united!" "I get dizzy whenever I enter this room." Later about half of the practitioners held in my cell walked out of the labor camp through their righteous thoughts.
As I recited the Fa with a calm mind, I gained a deeper understanding of Teacher's words,
"We're fundamentally negating all of their things, and all of, and only, the things you do while negating and getting rid of them is mighty-virtue. It's not that you're cultivating amidst the ordeals they created. Rather, you are to walk your own path well while not acknowledging them, not even acknowledging the elimination of their ordeals' manifestations." ("Teaching the Fa at the 2004 Chicago Conference")
One day, I remembered about the "Heavenly Circuit" ("Lecture Eight" of Zhuan Falun) and what it indicates regarding the ability of teleportation, its form of existence and formation. I then told the cells in my body, "All parts of the body should listen to my orders, actively become assimilated to Truth-Compassion-Forbearance. Do not accept the evil's force-fed food, move all of the force-fed food out of the body, and transfer the medication injected into my body and the pain into the bodies of the guards and their accomplices." The next day, after I was force-fed, I indeed started vomiting. Later on, after the guards just force-fed me a little food, the feeding tube, about 20 inches long, would automatically come out of my nose. So during the subsequent force-feeding, about four or five guards came to hold down my arms and head to prevent me from pulling the tube out, as I did before during each force-feeding. The labor camp also specifically assigned one guard to hold the tube to keep it from coming out on its own. However, during each of the force-feedings, it was always the situation that as they administered the force-feeding, I kept vomiting. When they tried to give me injections, the needle always missed the blood vessel, and sometimes as the guard tried to stick me, the IV fluid leaked out of the bottle and dripped on the floor. The individuals who watched the situation felt it very strange, but they dared not tell the labor camp doctor about it.
"That was because she reached that point through cultivation and truly arrived at that realm--"Now that you've arrested me, I haven't thought at all about going back. Now that I've come here, I've come to validate the Fa." So the evil was scared. Also, the number of evil beings is quite small now. The more we eliminate them the less of them there are." ("Teaching the Explaining the Fa at the Metropolitan New York Fa Conference")
I had not been able to understand the Fa well before. One day when I was reciting the Fa, I suddenly understood a layer of the meaning of this Fa, which is about the realm of being selfless and altruistic, only walking the path arranged by Master, wholeheartedly carrying out our historic missions, and having no desires or pursuits.
At that time, I suddenly felt very relieved, and no longer had the pain and depression that I had had earlier during the tribulation. I felt as if a waft of breeze had blown on me. The guards' interfering words could no longer enter my mind. One fellow practitioner said, "Look, whatever the perpetrators say cannot move her." At that time, I truly remained unmoved, and I even did not want to think about the perpetrators' words, which were not worth my time analyzing them. I am a life created during the Fa-rectification, and everything of my life is renewed through Fa-rectification. Anything that needs to be eliminated will be gotten rid of during the Fa-rectification. With Master's guidance and care, I will eliminate all the evil elements and the "tests" arranged by them. Several days later I walked out of the den of evil.
After I went home, I seized the time to study the Fa including Master's new articles. I read all of the issues of Minghui Weekly published in the previous three months. In addition, I read the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party twice. I also listened to the Nine Commentaries on audiotape twice. I felt that the Fa-rectifying momentum had pushed forward rapidly in those three months, and I had fallen behind.
My being arrested was primarily because I was busy with Dafa work and thus overlooked my personal cultivation. My failing to have a clear understanding of the evil Communist specter was also an important reason. I remember that after the Nine Commentaries was first published, I'd had wrong understandings toward the distribution of the Nine Commentaries among ordinary people. Even after fellow practitioners promptly pointed out my mistake, I only skimmed through the Nine Commentaries and did not clearly recognize the manifestations of the evil Communist specter in me. Inside the labor camp, the loudspeakers aired the evil Party's slogans and military songs every day, so the evil Communist specter's elements were everywhere. Only when I recited the Fa did I realize that I could not memorize Master's articles that specifically addressed the CCP, such as "We Are Not 'Getting Political'," "Turning the Wheel Towards the Human World," etc. (For other short articles by Master, I usually could memorize them shortly after they were published.) I knew that this loophole of mine had been exploited by the evil specter.
2. Getting rid of the fear and returning home
This time after I returned home, I stayed there. Initially I was not used to living at home because when I had lived away from home before, others did not know where I was, so I could allocate my time at will to do the three things. Now that I was home and my home phone number became known to the public, I had to set up a different schedule.
The most serious attachment I had was still fear. Initially, when I heard the sound of knocking on the door, I would immediately get into bed, because I was afraid that the perpetrators, seeing that I had recovered from the physical abuse suffered in the labor camp, would again take me away. Once, I heard a loud knocking on the door, and while my husband went to open the door, I quickly put away my Dafa books and slipped into bed. As the knocking was so loud, I even covered myself with a quilt. It turned out that an elderly practitioner in his 70s had come. I did not know him but my family did. He asked me with concern, "So you are recovering?" Although I had just laid down, immediately afterwards, I felt ashamed because of my fear. With my Fa study and with my fellow practitioners' encouragement and support through their righteous thoughts, my mind became much steadier and I no longer lay down when I heard knocking on the door.
The fear was in layers, so after a while, the fear would surface again. Once, before a so-called "sensitive date," the community officials came by and knocked on my door. As I thought that they were fellow practitioners, I asked who they were looking for. They replied, "We are from the community office, looking for you." I did not open the door, nor did I say that I was the person they were looking for. They said, "We are on business. We must come inside to talk to you in person." At that time, I clearly felt that my fear had come out again. But I immediately thought differently, "Even if I have fear, I will not allow the evil to persecute me in any form." I then sent forth righteous thoughts. After a while, they decided to ask the neighborhood residence committee director to get me to open the door, so they asked my neighbors, "Where does the neighborhood residence committee director live?" As my neighbors knew the truth about the persecution, they all answered, "We don't know." So they ignored the officials. In the end, the officials, after knocking on the door for a while, left.
One practitioner said to me, "They came just to target your fear. The more you became scared, the more they wanted to look for you." I then thought, "If they come again, I'll open the door and clarify the truth to them." Later I realized that this thought was not right either. If I wanted to clarify the truth to them, I could just go to find them. I could not allow the evil to manipulate anyone to come to interfere with me. Since then, the community officials have never come back again.
Several days later, my husband, a practitioner who was also released on parole after holding a hunger strike in a labor camp, received a phone call from the police of that labor camp. They told him to report back to the labor camp to go through the procedure of "reeducation outside the labor camp," saying that his parole had expired, and that if he did not do this, they would take him back to the labor camp. The police made the phone call from our relative's home and threatened, "If you don't come, we'll drive over." My husband said, "I'll go and clear up the issue with them." Right after he left, I realized something was wrong, as he should not volunteer to take this "test," and there was no need to make any statement to these people. As he had already left, all I could do was send forth righteous thoughts at home.
At the same time we received the phone call from the labor camp police, my neighbors started to cut the wall to do some remodeling, and the noise made me feel dizzy. Before long, the shaking made the tiles around the water faucet in my kitchen fall off. I did not know how to understand the situation, so I continued sending forth righteous thoughts. After I finished sending forth righteous thoughts, I suddenly realized the cause of my fear, which was a feeling that something was wrong with the motive of our cultivation, as I was not hundred percent firm in believing in Dafa. Behind the fear I saw another deeply-rooted attachment of mine, that is, the attachment to fame.
I once asked myself what I was afraid of? Was I really afraid of being arrested and persecuted? These were not the fundamental causes. What I was truly afraid of was that once I was persecuted, the others would say, "She can't stay home long, she can't validate the Fa long, and this or that." All these were reflections of my attachments to myself and fame.
In "Lecture Two" of Zhuan Falun, Master talked about "The Issue of Pursuit,"
"That is not out of compassion, as one's attachments to fame and self-interest have not been given up at all. This person is unable to develop this compassion one bit. He is afraid of losing his reputation. He would rather have this illness himself in order to keep his reputation. What a strong attachment to fame!"
It seemed that Master was talking about me! Deep inside my attachment was my fear of losing "fame," which was stronger than my fear of anything else.
After I found the root cause of my fear, I felt much relieved and the noise from the remodeling also stopped. Shortly, my husband came back. The police had said to him that, to finish the "reeducation outside the labor camp" procedure, he had to write down a sentence of "obeying the state laws and policies," which was, in a disguised form, to force a Dafa practitioner to compromise his belief. Because of my husband's refusal, the police asked him to think it over, and they said they would call him again in the evening. I shared with my husband what I had enlightened to while searching within earlier. He also found the root cause of his fear, which was qing. It was because of his strong sentimentality that he had compromised once with the perpetrators. Right then, we decided that we would go nowhere to hide. We would ignore the phone calls, and we would study the Fa more to eliminate all interfering evil elements that were taking advantage of our fundamental attachments.
When we looked back at the past four years, all that time we were forced to live away from home to avoid further persecution. The things in our home environment had also suffered from the persecution. Our plants had died from lack of watering for several years, and only the soil was left in the pots. Our burglarproof door was covered with footprints left by the perpetrators when they kicked on the door during their repetitive attempts to arrest or harass us. Our neighbors became scared whenever they heard people knocking on the door.
Before the persecution, my home had been the place for the group Fa study and experience sharing. All the things in our home also have predestined relationships with Dafa. This year, my husband casually poured some leftover water into a flower pot. Several days later, the plant, which had died a few years ago, had new leaves growing on it. After I returned home, it even sent out a pink flower as if it were welcoming the return of its owner. By now, all of the dead plants have miraculously come back to life.
I thought, "Our door is not meant to be smashed or kicked by the perpetrators. Our phone is not meant to be used for the perpetrators to harass us. In the past few years, because we, the owners of these things, had not negated the persecution and had not walked along a righteous path, all the things in our home have suffered together with us. Now we will no longer allow them to be persecuted by the evil again." Other practitioners also encouraged us, "Study the Fa more, believe in Master and believe in Dafa. As long as your standpoint is from Dafa, no one can touch you. None of the tribulations you have encountered during Fa-rectification, including your being arrested and tortured, which seemed to be the result of your not being diligent, were arranged by Master. They were all due to the evil's taking advantage of your gaps." After we firmed up our righteous thoughts and became resolved in our determination to just cultivate ourselves according to Master's requirements, all interference disappeared.
3. The problem of blind worship
Only after I returned home from the labor camp did I learn that our being arrested had negatively affected the local practitioners. After our arrest, some practitioners almost stopped clarifying the truth for two to three months. Some practitioners cried whenever the incarcerated practitioners were mentioned, and they became demoralized. Some older practitioners were even hospitalized, and some dared not contact other practitioners or expose the persecution. Later, these practitioners all gradually corrected themselves and improved their cultivation states.
Why did this happen in the first place? When I looked for the cause, aside from the qing that had existed among the fellow practitioners, it was mostly because of the mentality of some practitioners' taking certain practitioners as role models, instead of taking the Fa as the guide, and of their blind worship. In the following pages, I want to discuss, from my own perspective, how the situation of blind worship happened.
I know that I had the problem of being attached to myself and validating myself. But I had never associated it with blind worship. One day, my husband used an example to illustrate my problem, "One time, several practitioners happened, without prior agreement, to come to our home. Having not seen each other for a long time, they started a warm conversation. You said, 'Let's study the Fa first.' It was right to study the Fa, but you said that in a way as if you were the leader, yet no one seemed to be aware of it and they followed your words."
His words shocked me, as I had never realized such a serious problem with the tone of my voice, which was, in fact, a problem of my xinxing. I didn't realize the occurrence of blind worship right around me. I had made such a mistake! Because what I said mostly appeared to be right on the surface, I overlooked cultivating my xinxing or looking inward. As a result, the issue of blind worship was covered up so deeply and was very hard to detect.
Shortly before I was arrested, I told some practitioners to meet the next day (a certain date). After I went home, I realized that I had made a mistake about the date because the next day was not the date we had set. But I thought that the fellow practitioners all needed to work the next day, and they should know the correct date, so I didn't correct my mistake. To my surprise, both of the practitioners showed up at the meeting place next day. Afterwards they told me, "At that time, we thought you had remembered it incorrectly, but we then thought you usually didn't make mistakes, so we just went as you had told us." The other practitioner also thought, "You wouldn't make a mistake," so he also went.
Through further looking within myself, I realized that many times I had placed myself above the other practitioners, and my ego had swelled. When I shared my experiences with other practitioners and when I did Dafa-validating work, I knowingly and unknowingly thought highly of myself and carried a show-off mentality in my demeanor. Other practitioners' unknowingly taking me as a role model had, in turn, further strengthened my attachment to validating myself. I showed an increasing tendency to assume the organizing role for every activity, which made other practitioners become increasingly dependent on me. Thus, a small circle formed, in which the practitioners followed me instead of the Fa. Once I was persecuted, the practitioners who usually did not take the Fa as the teacher and who tended to take others as role models also encountered different forms of interference, which brought losses to the cultivation environment of the Dafa practitioners as a whole.
A while ago I heard some practitioners saying that practitioner so-and-so was in a poor state, and his "fame" all resulted from promoting himself, and that a specific coordinator did not listen to others' suggestions and was domineering. I became even more clear about the causes of one's being attached to "fame" and one's being worshipped. These were mainly from indulging one's attachments to fame and self-interest, showing off, and the mentality of getting others to consider a certain thing one did as the "biggest" or "Number 1," thinking "one's truth clarification materials preparation being so great," and "one's enlightenment quality being so great," etc. I displayed all of these attachments.
"Starting from each person, let's truly make our environment a very righteous one, and then all the unrighteous factors will dissolve, and all the students who haven't conducted themselves well will see where they fall short, and it will make them do better." ("Teaching the Fa at the 2004 Chicago Conference")
In order to put an end to blind worship and other abnormal phenomena, I also needed to start with myself. I studied the Fa more diligently. When encountering problems, big or small, I always looked for my own attachments, and strictly conducted myself according to the Fa. I found that after I corrected myself, my surrounding environment also changed.
Before, when I talked with other practitioners, if a practitioner said something that was obviously not in agreement with the Fa, I would very anxiously try to correct him. If he stuck to his original understandings, my heartbeat would speed up and I would try to prevent him from continuing speaking. As a result, it was very difficult for the sharing to achieve the desired effectiveness.
On the surface, I was concerned about the fellow practitioner and being responsible to the Fa, but, in fact, I became anxious because the other practitioner did not approve of my suggestion. I had placed "convincing the other person" and "making him approve of my suggestion" above being responsible for the Fa. As a result, when my suggestion was challenged, I could hardly let go of my attachment to myself, not to mention have compassion and be forgiving. After realizing these problems, when I encountered such a problem again later, I tried to remind myself, "Don't validate yourself."
Recently, a local practitioner said to the others something not conforming to the Fa, and some practitioners even agreed on his understanding. When I met that practitioner, I politely pointed out his problem. But my "politeness" was just in the tone of my voice, while my mentality of "wanting to change him" was very direct and strong. As a result, he quickly interrupted me and repeated his understanding. My heartbeat again speeded up, but I knew from my heart that if I cut him short by persisting in my understanding, an argument would start. So I restrained myself this time.
With the restraining of myself, I had the time to buffer myself. I said to myself, "I have to truly think for him, instead of validating myself." Gradually I calmed down, waiting for him to finish. Unexpectedly, he quickly finished his talk (although according to his past style, it usually took a long time for him to finish). After that, I did not continue to criticize him, and instead, I kindly told him an example that was similar to his situation. We shared our understandings on the Fa. At that time, I thought that I should not force my views on the others and it was fine as long as I was truly responsible to the Fa and tried my best. In the end, he thought for a moment and then said, "What you have just pointed out is very serious. I never realized it before."
When studying Master's new article, "The Closer to the End, the More Diligent You Should Be," I saw my tenacious and deeply hidden notions. My attachments were like a mountain preventing me from making progress, which also constituted the fundamental cause for the deviation of my point of view. It's exactly like what the other practitioners had said, "Without Relinquishing Our Notions, It Is Hard to Strive Forward Diligently in Cultivation." (Cited from http://www.clearwisdom.net/emh/articles/2005/10/11/65798.html)
4. Seizing the time to save people and continuing to cultivate myself diligently
In the last stage of Fa rectification, it is very pressing to save sentient beings. I can often feel Master reminding us that Dafa disciples should not slack off, and should be mindful that "the closer to the end, the more diligent you should be." I want to share an incident that happened several days ago.
After sending forth righteous thoughts on Sunday, I fell asleep. In the half conscious state, I heard a voice asking me to get up quickly, open the door, and talk about "the three withdrawals from the CCP," so I woke up. I indeed saw a worker installing a water tank for my home. Because of a missing part, he asked my husband to go to buy it. I then utilized this break to tell him about the staged Tiananmen Square "self-immolation" incident, the April 25 Appeal, the goodness of Dafa, and the facts about the persecution. Right after I finished, my husband came back, so the worker went back to work and I went back inside. I realized that I had not talked to him about the Nine Commentaries and withdrawal from the Party yet! I then comforted myself by thinking, "He has accepted the truth about Dafa that I just told him; so in the future he will still have opportunities to meet other practitioners, and they will clarify the truth to him." Right then I heard him saying, "It can't be installed; it's off by just a bit." I then realized that my thinking a moment ago was my being irresponsible to the sentient beings, as he perhaps only had this one opportunity to hear the truth. I made him fall just a little short of being truly saved. At that time, my husband also came inside the room and said, "Go out and continue your talk. It is not done yet."
My husband went out again to buy the part. I invited the worker inside and started telling him about the Nine Commentaries and quitting the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). At first he did not understand and jokingly said that I was against the CCP. I then told him the true meaning of being "against the CCP." I also sent forth righteous thoughts to eliminate all the elements of the evil Party specter that were controlling him. He gradually became clear-headed, saying that it was really necessary to withdraw from all of the CCP's organizations. He gave me his nickname as well as his wife's name. Right then, my husband returned with the new part, and he again went back to work.
After I went back inside, I suddenly remembered that he had mentioned his son being in elementary school. How could I forget to ask him to tell his son, after he went back home, the truth about Dafa and the withdrawal from the Young Pioneers? At that time, I heard him saying, "How could I forget it?" (He forgot to bring with him the glass glue for his work.) I thought, "Thanks for Master's compassion." This time, I would definitely try my best to let his whole family learn the truth. My husband entered the room and said, "He has not completely understood yet. I'll go get the glue and you continue the talk." This time, the worker was very happy (because he had already quit the CCP). He started to ask me questions about Falun Gong. I also told him some of the contents of the Nine Commentaries. While listening, he kept thinking and nodding his head. I said, "After you go home, tell your son all this and ask him to withdraw from the Pioneers, so he will be safe. As he is in elementary school, can he understand it?" He said, "Yes, my son can understand." He also told me his son's name.
Master is benevolent to all beings, and Dafa disciples' responsibilities are sacred and urgent. At the current time, which is precious beyond measure, only by studying the Fa well and discarding human notions can we be able to diligently strive forward on the path of cultivation.
November 7, 2005