(Clearwisdom.net) Master talked again about the issue of the relationship between men and women in the recent "Fa Teaching Given in Manhattan". Master said,

"Another thing to bring up is that, as Dafa disciples, you need to pay attention to things in your daily life. As you know, improper relations between people who aren't husband and wife is a sin for human beings; it undermines the institution of the family as well as ethical relations. Before, in the early stage, I had already detected this problem. Namely, that while cultivating in ordinary human society, the greatest challenges are the sexual temptations posed by ordinary society when the world is in disarray. The requirements for such things used to be extremely strict for cultivators. No matter what practice it was, this was taken very seriously. In the past, if someone who had taken up the robe violated the ordinances on such things, it would spell the end of his cultivation. And if some immortal was guiding a disciple's cultivation in the mountains and the disciple made this mistake, it would mean he was ruined forever. It is something that serious. You are Dafa disciples who cultivate in the Great Law, making what you do even more sacred, yet some students have paid so little heed to it. It shouldn't matter what the prevailing values are in today's human world or how people regard such things: a cultivator needs to have high standards and look at such matters with a higher set of principles, holding himself to the requirements of gods."

I'm a 21-year-old Dafa practitioner. I thought I was still young and had not experienced such things, whenever I read Master's teachings regarding the relationship between a man and a woman, I felt it was a warning for those who had taken a detour on such matters. I did not look within myself and covered up my attachments to lust and desire. Recently, for a period of time, I could not keep a calm mind when studying the Fa and I treated sending forth righteous thoughts as doing a task and could not keep my mind focused. I also had little success in persuading people to quit the CCP. I realised that it was time to dig deeply into the roots of my attachments.

I calmly looked within and found my attachment to reputation. Whenever I studied the Fa and enlightened to a "higher" Fa principle, I would find it hard to hold myself back and I'd rush to tell other practitioners what I had enlightened to, so as to gain praise and compliments, or even respect from fellow practitioners. Indeed, I do get praised often, "[He] is so young and yet he is different from those young people in society. He still practices cultivation; it is really rare to be able to do so, etc." Later on when I studied the Fa, I held a strong desire to enlighten to even higher Fa principles, so that I could show off in front of others. I felt very good when I was praised and felt very sweet inside as if I had just taken a spoonful of honey.

When I tried to persuade people to quit the CCP on-line, even when I did not succeed in persuading anyone to quit, I would say to fellow practitioners, "I came across such and such a person, who had such and such an attitude." I was not truthful with fellow practitioners, but tried to validate myself - I'm also clarifying the facts and persuading people to quit the CCP, so don't think I'm not up to par. I even went so far as to find an excuse for my "ineffective effort". I would think: Even though he did not quit the CCP, at least the information I gave him will allow him to be aware of quitting the CCP, which would lay a foundation for others who may persuade him later. (Of course we make common efforts in helping people quit the CCP; here I'm only pointing out that I used this as an excuse to cover up my "ineffective effort", so as to keep my upstanding "reputation"). When I sent forth righteous thoughts sitting in the lotus position in my room, I would think, "It would be good if some fellow practitioners come right now, so that they would praise me when they see how seriously I send forth righteous thoughts." As you can see my attachment to "reputation" is very strong.

Master said in "Cultivators' Avoidances" in Essentials for Advancement,

"Those who are attached to their reputations practice an evil way, full of intention. Once they gain renown in this world, they are bound to say good but mean evil, thereby misleading the public and undermining the Fa."

My current state is bad enough to "mislead people." In the eyes of others, I'm a pretty good practitioner, while in fact it is like "fair externally, foul within." Therefore, after looking within, I came to the conclusion that in trying to keep a good reputation, I would show off even over a tiny bit of achievement, in order to be liked, praised and respected.

Although I have found this attachment, it is not good enough. If I cannot find its root, my mind will still wander when I study the Fa. What other attachments do I still have? I am so eager to show off in front of others. Who are those that I really want to show off to? I thought about it and found that they are all women, from young to old. In my family, those who practice Falun Gong are mostly women; at least the diligent ones are all women. Now I'm living by myself and those in my cultivation environment are also mostly women. Those who praise me when I'm diligent in cultivation are also mostly women. So my attachment to "reputation" is essentially that I try to show off in front of those of the opposite sex and that I want to be praised and respected by them. If people around me were all male practitioners, would I pay so much attention to my image? No, I wouldn't. Then it is a matter of "lust."

Looking back, I was able to see how much lust I had developed since childhood. I have always enjoyed reading books secluded in my room, especially on a rainy day. Even though I was a boy, I was a bit sentimental in my personality. Most of the classical novels depict some sort of love story. I enjoyed reading those books and allowed my feelings to move with the main characters in the story. Sometimes I was moved to tears by the pledges of love in these stories. Of course there were also some explicit descriptions of sexual behaviour. I yearned for a romantic "love life" and really wanted to find a beautiful and caring partner to share my life with to the point that I would often imagine a situation where my "ideal partner" and I were having a honeymoon in a world famous resort. I was longing to have a female partner who respected, loved and cared for me.

Such thoughts would naturally accumulate numerous lust elements in my dimensional field. Later, I started to go online and often played games that stimulated my lust and desire. I watched pornographic videos twice, which struck me with a heavy blow. The messy world we're immersed in and the conversations that I have with classmates have also given rise to my lust and desire, which come in my thoughts almost every day. I could not maintain a pure and calm mind when studying the Fa. My righteous thoughts became weaker and I constantly indulged myself in lust and desire. Later, whenever I had such thoughts of lust and desire, I would suppress them in a forcible manner rather than dissolve them by assimilating to the Fa. In fact, I did not have the courage to get rid of this attachment and this is why this appeared to be so aggressive when I tried to get rid of it. I did not clearly differentiate that such lust and desire were not the true me, and they were only the post-natal accumulation of what I heard, saw, said and did.

Earlier, I felt the sexual relationship between a man and a woman was rather dirty. I would feel disgusted whenever such a thought came to my mind and would reject it unconsciously. In fact everyone would reject it; it is a human rejection towards something perceived as dirty, not a process of assimilating to the Fa and letting go of the attachment of lust and desire. Such a rejection cannot fundamentally eliminate the lust and desire from the root and can even encourage self-indulgence. Lust is like a thorn in one's flesh, when it appears, one must pull it out completely. If one only rejects it without clearing it out, that rejection can only push it to a deeper level instead of rooting it out, and consequently it can do even more damage.

Another form of lust can be hard to detect and this is particularly what I would like to share with fellow practitioners. Although I rejected the sexual relations between men and women, thinking of it as something dirty, I took seriously the "normal" feelings between a man and a woman. For example, I enjoyed the mutually-understood exchanges of those fleeting glances with my female classmates, even though no words were exchanged. If I saw a male classmate get an "admiring" glance from a female classmate I liked, I would feel extremely jealous and would try to find an opportunity to show off in front of her so that I would also get an "admiring" glance. Because I'm a rather introverted person, those exchanges meant a lot to me even without words. When I did something good, I would feel elated whenever I receive appreciative glances from my female classmates. I would feel that this was good enough and nothing else mattered in my life. My will to cultivate was affected.

Whether it was to progress to a senior high school or to start my university life, whenever I entered a new class, what I cared about most was the impression I made on the opposite sex. I did not seem to mind much how the male classmates thought of me. On the surface, it was clearly an attachment to "reputation" and "vanity" while in essence it is a matter of "lust and desire." In the beginning, I thought that it was a bit over the top if we treat these exchanges of eye contact or jokes between male and female classmates as strong attachments to lust and desire, but through Fa-study I have gained a deeper understanding on the issue.

Master said in Zhuan Falun,

"Monks in the past took these things very seriously, because once one started to think one will create karma. Therefore, they would cultivate "body, speech, and mind." The cultivation of body they spoke of meant that one would not commit bad deeds. Cultivation of speech meant that one would not talk. Cultivation of mind meant that one would not even think. In the past, there were strict requirements for these things in professional cultivation in temples. We should conduct ourselves according to a practitioner's xinxing standard. It should be fine as long as one grasps what should or should not be said."

My understanding at my current level is: On the issue of sentimentality and lust, "cultivating one's body" is the most fundamental and it is the bottom line to see if one can cultivate or even be a human being. Once one has violated the ordinances on such things and done something improper, then both humans and gods will be resentful against it. We all know that all the cultivation ways in the past were for paving the way for Dafa disciples' cultivation today. Then our cultivation way today, the fruit status to be achieved, the responsibilities we shoulder and our pledges made in pre-history demand a much stricter requirement from us. Even in the past, when one failed in this respect he would "be finished forever," let alone the cultivation we practice today. It is Master's boundless compassion that has given opportunities to those practitioners who have made mistakes in this respect.

How do other gods view this? Master said,

"Then consider this: how will the gods of the cosmos treat you when they see a Dafa disciple doing such things? Do you realize how terrible it is the instant you do such things, seen in light of the requirements that they have for those who would one day be gods? The moment someone goes wrong in this regard, all the gods in the heavens believe that you definitely must be struck down, for you absolutely cannot be approved of or recognized. Thus, of the ordeals that you meet with thereafter, in many cases the factors involved come from those gods who are fundamentally set on taking you down. Think about how much difficulty that would add to your cultivation! "("Fa Teaching Given in Manhattan")

My personal understanding is that some gods would try to destroy you, simply because you have violated the ordinances. This shows how serious and scary this matter is. As for "cultivation of speech," my understanding is that we should not casually joke with people of the opposite sex, and we must absolutely not engage in the exchange of flirtatious words. When talking with people of the opposite sex, we must pay attention to the appropriateness of our speech and should not make casual remarks. My understanding of "cultivation of mind" is that we must not have any improper thoughts, no thoughts of lust and desire. Furthermore, we need to relinquish the attachments to the glances of admiration, the feelings of "joy" when one is being flattered or praised and the thoughts of showing off in front of those of the opposite sex. Those are all "lust and desire."

In the past, when I studied Master's teaching in "cultivation of speech" I thought the strict requirement was for those professional cultivators only. In fact, we all know that it is the most difficult to cultivate among temptations and seductions in everyday people's society. So what Master said: "We should conduct ourselves according to a practitioner's xinxing standard" is much stricter than the forceful abstinence of lust in temples in the past. In the face of seductions and temptations in society, we are required to have no lust and no improper thoughts.

Cultivation is a very serious matter and as time moves on, the progress of Master's Fa-rectification will also have stricter requirements from us. To rectify ourselves, we must assimilate to the Fa in our every thought. In comparison, I have done really poorly. Now I have found my attachment to lust and desire, and when I dig deeper, I will definitely find other attachments and post-natal notions that all need to be relinquished. My own cultivation state has also delayed the truth-clarification to people to a certain degree, and delayed Master's Fa-rectification process. Only by assimilating to Dafa can I clear out my post-natal notions, the bad and deeply-rooted attachments so as to reach the requirements of the new universe.

I would like to share the following from Master's teaching with fellow practitioners as an encouragement:

Cultivators' Avoidances

"Those who are attached to their reputations practice an evil way, full of intention. Once they gain renown in this world, they are bound to say good but mean evil, thereby misleading the public and undermining the Fa.

Those who are attached to money seek wealth and feign their cultivation. Undermining the practice and the Fa, they waste their lifetimes instead of cultivating Buddhahood.

Those who are attached to lust are no different from wicked people. While reciting the scriptures, they even cast furtive glances; they are far from the Dao and are wicked, everyday people.

Those who are attached to affection for family will definitely be burned, entangled, and tormented by it. Pulled by the threads of affection and plagued by them throughout their lives, they will find it too late to regret at the end of their lives."

I hope more young practitioners can share their cultivation experience so that we can improve together. What I have shared is only my understanding at my current level. Please kindly point out anything improper.