Cultivating Well and Eliminating the Old Forces Are Equally Important
(Clearwisdom.net) Only recently was I able to correctly understand the relationship between looking inward, cultivating oneself well and actively eliminating the old forces' arrangements. In this aspect my understanding had gone from one extreme to the other.
I started to practice Falun Gong before 1998, but did not genuinely cultivate back then, and stopped practicing when the persecution started in July 1999. I came across the Minghui website in 2002 and learned that the persecution was based on lies. I then decided to resume my cultivation. I did not know how to cultivate, and treated all my tribulations with human notions. As a result, my conflicts worsened and I could not overcome them. I had conflicts with my family, my husband had an affair, I did not have a stable income and fell into debt, and my husband also physically abused me. I could have mentally collapsed under such stress. Fortunately, I had held onto the thought that I wanted to cultivate.
I later met a practitioner who had cultivated very well, and he told me very clearly to "look inward unconditionally." That statement has been ingrained in my mind ever since. I started to search within myself for shortcomings when problems arise, and I also started to read Minghui Weekly. Before then, I just read articles on the Minghui website about magical stories or scenes from other dimensions, and did not pay much attention to how to cultivate myself. Now I read articles about how to rationally cultivate, and draw lessons from fellow practitioners' experience sharing. My xinxing has improved gradually, and my family environment and financial situation have also started to take a positive turn.
I came to understand many Fa principles when I started memorizing the Fa. But I was not very clear on the principle of eliminating the old forces, and held on to the notion that a practitioner will only be persecuted if they have loopholes in their cultivation. So I tried hard to improve myself. When I heard some fellow practitioners' suggestions of going in close proximity to the prisons to send forth righteous thoughts to help rescue practitioners imprisoned there, I reacted in a negative way. I believed that the practitioners were there because they had loopholes in their cultivation, and thought that what was important was for them to search within themselves and improve their xinxing. I questioned whether our sending righteous thoughts for them really worked, and felt that my sending righteous thoughts did not seem to matter.
My thought karma often interfered with me, and other bad thoughts frequently came into my mind. A fellow practitioner told me that when a bad thought surfaced, I should consciously eliminate it. When I gave it a try, it was indeed effective. I gradually started to understand and realized that my righteous thoughts had also become stronger, as I really felt that one thought of mine could topple a mountain. I later also came to understand Master's Fa principle:
"'Tathagata' is what human beings call someone who's come with the truth and the power to do what he wants, whereas real Buddhas are guardians of the cosmos and are responsible for all righteous elements in the cosmos." ("Teaching the Fa at the Western U.S. Fa Conference" from Guiding the Voyage)
By memorizing the Fa, I have gained a better understanding on what the old forces are, what the relationship is between the old forces and Master, and how the old forces come to test practitioners. I have also understood that only searching within oneself is not enough. We must actively eliminate the old forces, as they are not qualified to test practitioners. Our looking inward does not mean that we have acknowledged the old forces' arrangements, as we should follow Master's requirements and not let the old forces exploit our gaps. I have finally realized that we should unconditionally search within and cultivate well under all circumstances. We should use our righteous thoughts to eliminate everything that undermines the Fa.
I have noticed that some practitioners in my area experience many tribulations while they still use their human notions to determine right from wrong, and fail to unconditionally look inward. Some of them are making similar mistakes to what I made before, and are attached to searching externally. They do not have a clear understanding on negating the old forces, nor do they have a determined and powerful will to eliminate them. Some practitioners want to look inward but do not know how. There are also practitioners who still take this persecution as one that pits one group of humans against another. These practitioners keep encountering conflicts in their daily lives and work environments.
To walk well the cultivation path arranged by Master, Dafa disciples should study the Fa well. I have recited all of Master's Fa lectures once. Only after that have I felt that I have gained some understanding on what this persecution is, where the old forces have come from, and how to break through the old forces' arrangements. A practitioner must let go of the attachment to self, look inward unconditionally, and measure one's thoughts and actions with the Fa. Only in this way can we really improve ourselves, and live up to the title of Fa-rectification practitioners.