1. Steadying my wish to cultivate once more

After I had lived in exile for two or three years, I was able to take part in editing a brochure to help clarify the truth. This was something that I had always wanted to do. Seeing that sentient beings are being misled and deceived by the Communist regime's lies and how Dafa is being slandered, I felt that it was urgent to explain the truth. I started to edit and print informational brochures and distributed them to others.

To do this well, I needed to read many articles and find many pictures to edit into a good brochure, and my skills improved with practice. But after a while, I realized that something was wrong. Editing brochures had become a job instead of a sacred act to save sentient beings. Sometimes when I finished something, I would indulge in some self-appreciation, thinking how well what I had just done had turned out and always reflecting on "me" and my "achievement." This was not a healthy notion. It seemed that there was a barrier that I couldn't break through. Finally the turmoil in my mind over this made me stop the work, even though I knew that it was irresponsible of me to do that.

I knew that I could only pass this crisis by studying the Fa more. But when I studied the Fa, I felt I was not reading as attentively as I had before. I could not calm down and just study the Fa, instead I was reading the Fa to solve the problem.

Then a practitioner helped and encouraged me. She shared her enlightenments after studying the Fa and pointed out my problems. I was also touched by some articles published on the Minghui website (Chinese version of Clearwisdom). These articles made me realize that I still had the selfish mindset that belongs to the old universe. I discovered that I had strayed somewhat from the cultivation path and in some respects had slipped down pretty far. I made up my mind to diligently study the Fa.

After I reciting the Fa, Master helped me understand the reason why I couldn't cultivate myself diligently. It was because I couldn't regard myself as a real practitioner and I was still hanging on to human attachments that I was reluctant to let go. I still had the human wish to have a nice life in the ordinary human world. The most obvious evidence of this was in my editing the brochures: after reading some articles and understanding some principles, I then wanted to use them in ordinary society to change things. I was lost in and attached to my human mind and had no definite wish to cultivate Buddhahood. I kept thinking that the trouble and suffering in the ordinary world were bad things, and I just wanted to live comfortably instead of taking this situation as a chance to search inside and improve myself. So I regarded studying the Fa as a way to deal with troubles and find peace.

After I realized this, I clearly sent out a strong thought: "I will be a real practitioner and dissolve myself into the Fa, do the "three thing"s well, and cultivate myself without an attachment to 'self.'" I became clearheaded and devoted myself wholeheartedly to saving sentient beings. At that time I understood that cultivation is to change you into an altruistic and unselfish life, rationally and clearly changing your human mindset. The standard of Dafa demands of us that we reach that level without any selfishness. I suddenly understood the preciousness of this Fa and cherished the Fa very much.

2. My understanding of fear and the sense of safety

I took my laptop everywhere when I did editing work. Whenever there was any risk, I would slip away and try to protect myself. I didn't search deeply inside to find the root of my problem, and most of the time I just hid somewhere to do what I needed to do. Only when I knew that I was in a really risky situation would I send righteous thoughts so that I would be safe under Master's protection. I was actually passive during this Fa-rectification period when practitioners should be taking the initiative to clear out the evil. Sometimes I wasn't even acting like a practitioner.

When I finally understood the Fa to some extent, I conducted myself better. But still, the most difficult obstacle was my own fear, and it seemed I hadn't gotten rid of it at its root. After I stopped editing, I distributed materials with other practitioners or by myself. I felt that I was in a state of fear.

Before, I knew that helping Master do Fa-rectification things was the most righteous thing in the world and that Master would protect me, so I would be safe, even if the situation appeared to be extremely dangerous. From the point view of believing in Master and the Fa, this is doubtlessly right. But on the other hand, I didn't let go of my selfishness and only do the three things when I thought I was safe. But Master asks us to reach the standard of "attain the righteous Enlightenment of selflessness and altruism:"

"I also want to tell you that your nature in the past was actually based on egotism and selfishness. From now on, whatever you do, you should consider others first, so as to attain the righteous Enlightenment of selflessness and altruism. So from now on, whatever you do or whatever you say, you must consider others--or even future generations--along with Dafa's eternal stability." ("Non-Omission in Buddha-Nature" in Essentials for Further Advancement )

Actually, for a practitioner, when we understand the Fa at a higher level but don't really dissolve ourselves into the Fa, we may still encounter interference even as we do everything according to the Fa. Something will seem to be very dangerous but it's actually safe. But if we are really not rational, there is the problem of safety.

My understanding is that the issue of safety should be based on the starting point of "unselfishness." Because we need to safeguard the stability of the whole body of practitioners, we need to save relatives, friends, and colleagues, and we need to validate the Fa. To continue doing what we should do, we need to be safe and we should do the three things rationally and clearheadedly according to one's understanding of the Fa at different levels. We should study the Fa more and search inside whenever we have any problem. When we do things using the Fa as our starting point, we will be safe.

3. About searching inside

Master said:

"Let's think about it. If a person can't pass the trial of life and death, he cannot achieve Consummation. But it's not that you will definitely have to go through exactly something like that for it to count as laying down your life; that's only the form of it. I don't deem that important. What I look at is whether or not your mind can truly do that." ("Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Switzerland")

It is very important for practitioners to search inside whenever we encounter problems. We need to let go of our own notions and think of others instead of ourselves or our own purposes in order to truly reach the state of "selflessness and altruism" as required by the Fa.

The purpose for searching inside is also for others. If we can truly do this, we will improve naturally even if we were not deliberately trying to improve ourselves. But if we regard searching inside as a skill or a way to make progress in our cultivation, we are still in a state of cultivating for ourselves. If we persist in actively solving problems or getting rid of attachments, isn't that still an attachment? It will, in turn, act as an obstacle in our searching inward. Master asks us to be at the level of "selflessness and altruism." If we really use the Fa as our guide, we won't be so focused on our own improvement as we cultivate for others. It is not so important for us to think about what level we've reached in our cultivation because everything will be measured by Fa. What we need to do is to act according to the Fa's requirement.

4. Epilogue

In fact, Master takes care of everything for us, such as our safety and our improvement. Once I enlightened to something in the Fa, in less than a second, my state of validating myself disappeared. I felt that I was humble, and even if I couldn't completely reach that level, I at least knew where the level was.

I dedicate this article to Master and share my experience with fellow practitioners. Please correct me if I have any mistakes.