The Old Forces Drag Me Through Life and Death Test Because of Lust and Other Attachments
(Clearwisdom.net) Several months ago, I was putting my children to bed. I suddenly became light-headed and almost fainted. My heart started to pound violently in my chest and continued for hours. That evening, I sent forth righteous thoughts and practiced the exercises, but my condition continued. Late in the evening, I asked some fellow practitioners in my area to send forth righteous thoughts for me. I couldn't sleep the whole night.
Over the next several days, my condition continued. Practitioners came to my home to send forth righteous thoughts with me, share with me, and help me to study the Fa.
Master protects his disciples. So, why was my condition dragging on and on? Of course, we don't and should not cultivate for the sake of the tribulation itself or merely to remove the tribulation, as that is cultivating according to the old forces' arrangements. Still, every time we come across anything, as cultivators, we look inside to see what the problem is and remove the attachments, and in so doing, step out of the old forces' arrangements.
Master said in "Teaching and Explaining the Fa at the Metropolitan New York Fa Conference":
"Why don't you stop and think about it: Why is someone interfering with you? Why is it able to interfere with you? Is it because you have an attachment, or because you have something you can't let go of? Why don't you look at yourself? The true reason lies with you yourself, and that's the only reason it can exploit your gap! Don't you have Master watching over you? Even when an ordinary person shouts out "Falun Dafa is good" today, Master will protect him, since he's shouted those words I can't not protect him amidst the evil. And how much more so am I protecting you cultivators!"
Looking inside I saw many troubling things. For a long time I had let my cultivation state become more and more lax. Even though on the surface I was studying the Fa every day and doing Dafa work, many ordinary people thoughts, desires and dreams had taken root in my mind and in my life, making my xinxing quite messy and filled with everyday people's things.
For example, every day when I got home from work, I had a strong urge to turn on the television while we ate dinner, and I'd become anxious and short-tempered if I couldn't turn on the television. I had also become very interested in lots of ordinary peoples' things. Even while on conference calls with other practitioners discussing Dafa work, I would be browsing the Internet reading news articles about people, sports and other human interests. Sometimes I'd stay up very late just watching videos on the Internet, like comedy shows or sports games.
During the day, I was very interested in my work and what I was accomplishing, but my interest for my Dafa work fell behind. Practitioners often had to chase me down to do anything. Essentially, I was no longer diligent at all, and my heart to save sentient beings was buried. I had lost touch with it. I had grown very attached to my comfortable life. My fears had grown large and even the demon of lust had taken hold of me to the point where I thought there was no way to completely escape from its grasp.
The past few months have been a very painful and tumultuous process of shoring up my righteous thoughts and, with Master's compassionate help, eliminating these attachments that I had let linger and grow for so long. Yet, the attachment of lust proved to be very difficult to really and truly discard.
Soon after my tribulation started, it seemed quite obvious that lust was one major problem I still had and that needed to be discarded. But, while obvious and shameful, it seemed at first something easy to discard. I would think to myself, "Gosh, I shouldn't have this kind of desire in my heart, so just let it go," and I found it easy to do for a day or two.
As the weeks wore on, however, it kept resurfacing and I would oscillate between being concerned about this attachment and not thinking it was a big deal. After all, I was not having an affair or watching pornography or anything like that. I was just living a normal married life. These were my excuses. But still, when it surfaced it was very strong and felt almost like something I could not control, or rather, something was directly controlling me.
Weeks wore on. Some days were better than others, and yet, the physical and mental tribulations continued. On bad days, I was reduced to tears, struggling to hold on to an inkling of righteous thoughts. On good days, I lived tentatively...wary of the bad days that I felt would surely return.
Finally after months of "tribulations," I encountered what for me was the most terrifying experience ever in my cultivation. The physical interference had been especially difficult; I was weary, tired and scared. My righteous thoughts were fleeting at best. The old forces were piling bad thoughts into my head, making me think maybe I was dying and what a shame...I should go to the hospital before it's too late. These thoughts grew more powerful and degenerate until it got to the point where I actually began to have fleeting thoughts that maybe this was all not real. Maybe cultivation energy doesn't exist. Maybe Master is not Master...maybe I should not be cultivating. I need to save myself...
I was shocked by these thoughts. I know clearly that there had been many people in the past who could not pass tests and so turned to the opposite side of Dafa, but this was the first time I caught a glimpse directly of the mental state of someone on that path...and it was the most terrifying thing I've ever faced. A part of me could see very clearly that this was the direct path to complete failure as a Dafa disciple.
In "Teaching the Fa in the City of Los Angeles" in 2006, Master said:
"What do the old forces and the old cosmos see as the gravest thing? Lust, [in the form of] sexual activity outside of marriage. That's what they see as the most serious of things. In the past, once someone violated the precept on that, he would be thrown out of the temple, and his cultivation would be utterly finished. So how do gods look at this now? Do you know what they have said in the prophecies that they left behind? They prophesied that all of the Dafa disciples who would be left in the end would be those who had maintained their purity along these lines. In other words, these things are extremely serious to them. So the old forces and all of the gods in that cosmos will not defend anyone who violates the prohibition on this, anyone who doesn't do well in this regard; in fact they will push you downwards. They know [and think to themselves], "Li Hongzhi, you won't abandon your disciples, so we will make you abandon them." That's why they have the students who have made mistakes make more mistakes, over and over, and in the end do wicked things and go to the opposite side. "We will fill his head with crooked understandings and make him damage Dafa. Then we will see if you still keep him." And you know, that is what they have done. Do you think all those who have "enlightened" along an evil path really wanted to go toward evilness? There are reasons behind all of that."
My entire being trembled with fear realizing the point I had sunk to and what the old forces were trying to do to me.
On the drive home from work that day, I was thinking about all the different attachments that I had seen in myself during the past few months and realized I had not taken a very deep, serious look at my attachment to lust, and there were even aspects of my past that I had kind of blocked out of my mind. I settled down and took a look back over the entire course of my cultivation and I could see clearly how I had brought the attachment to lust with me when I started cultivating and how I had allowed it to fester and grow from then all the way until now.
Like many practitioners, I had battled with the lust attachment when I first started practicing. Some tests I passed, others I didn't. About a year into my cultivation, I started dating a woman and almost immediately the attachment of lust was very strong. Every time we were together, it pulled on my heart. It didn't take long before we began having an inappropriate relationship. I knew we were not behaving correctly and tried to restrain myself, but on several occasions I failed and just didn't seem to have the will or clarity of mind to stop it. I would just tell myself that it wasn't that big of a deal and tried to push it out of my mind.
The woman and I soon became engaged and her father suggested that, even though we were not yet married, we should move in together to save on rent costs. This seemed like a perfectly reasonable idea at the human level, and so we moved in together, and lived like a regular, everyday couple.
At times, the lust attachment was very strong and completely occupied my mind. Time and time again, it would pull on my mind; sometimes it was strong enough to take me away from my Fa-rectification work or study or practice.
After we were married, this continued, although I now had the excuse that we were officially married and so felt less uncomfortable with the attachment. I knew this attachment was there and it was wrong, but I found it easier to make excuses for myself...that I was just conforming to everyday society and just doing what husbands and wives do.
Precisely because we cultivate in the world, with benefits right in front of you, it is hard. Yes, we cultivate in the world, but fundamentally, we are cultivators and that means giving up attachments regardless of what is in our environment or how other people around us conduct themselves or what they call "normal."
In the end, I had to admit that my lust attachment had reached the point that it could literally control me. When it would surface, it consumed me completely.
As is often the case in cultivation, once I had stopped to fully and honestly examine the extent of this attachment, I could see its nature/scope clearly, and that clarity of vision prompted me to resolve to finally and completely step out of lust's grasp. After all, how can a Dafa Disciple - a being with the most magnificent and glorious mission bestowed upon him - spend his time mired in such base and dirty desires? Could there be a more tragic and shameful squandering of Master's saving grace than this? Yet, if we truly want to step out of an attachment and steel our will to do so, Master can help us.
Over the next couple of days and after seeing the full extent of my attachment and resolving to finally and completely overcome it, something very wonderful happened. Not only has this attachment fallen away to a large extent, but other things that would plague my mind have fallen away too. I no longer have any interest in turning on the T.V. when I come home, or browsing the Internet for interesting news or shows. Quite naturally, my mind stays on Dafa things and see things calmly from Dafa's perspective. It's like I'm a very different person.
Of course, it was a shame that I had to go through such a huge tribulation before I truly set my heart on stepping out of these attachments; it is a huge waste of time to be mired in such tribulations. That is how the old forces do things. As Master said in "The Closer to the End, the More Diligent You Should Be":
"Of course, most disciples who are in this state are that way because, at the beginning, they didn't realize that they had subtle attachments or were being interfered with by their own notions, and so the evil has exploited this gap and magnified those factors. I know that after you become clear on this you will quickly catch up, but you should take fewer detours on this most magnificent, divine path; not leave reason for regret in your futures; and not fall so far behind in terms of levels. That is my hope, your hope, and the hope of the beings who are counting on you."
While on this "detour," how much Dafa work and progress in my own elevating in the Fa was stalled and did not reach the point it should have in that time-frame because I was consumed with the tribulation? We fulfill our missions by following Master and not falling into the old forces' traps. For any practitioner who sees themselves going down the same road as I did, I implore you wake up right now and quickly step out of the attachments pulling you that way! Our path must be to follow Teacher with righteous thoughts and actions while being clear on the Fa, not to be tortured and tormented by the old forces' so-called tests. Only this way, can we fulfill our vows completely and accomplish everything we need to accomplish in a timely manner without any detours.
Attachments have layers and as long as we're in the human world, even attachments that were completely removed can resurface if we aren't diligent, so I must strive forward vigorously to strengthen my righteous thoughts, deepen my understand of the Fa and continue to shed my attachments. But with Master's saving grace, I feel like I'm reborn....like I'm beginning cultivation anew, and it fills me with hope and great joy.
Of course, I have a very long way to go. In some respects, I have fallen behind quite far and I must make every effort to catch up with the Fa-rectification and be worthy of Master's saving grace. This will require me to dig more deeply and be more diligent than ever in the past, but with the writing of this article I resolve - before Master and all fellow Dafa disciples - to do just that. I will not let Master down. I will not let the sentient beings who are counting on me down. I will not let myself down.
Please point out anything I've written here that may not be on the Fa.
Category: Journeys of Cultivation