(Clearwisdom.net) I just read the article "Western Practitioner: Sentiment and Lust Almost Ruined Me" (http://clearwisdom.net/html/articles/2010/4/4/115886.html). Since I went through a similar experience, I wanted to share my experience regarding a couple of views expressed in this article.

I am a young male practitioner. Before my cultivation, and during a certain part of it, I had terrible behavior regarding lust. My behavior was extremely low and disgusting in this area, it did not even comply with everyday human standards. Things were terrible for me at that time, and it got to a point where I even felt I was addicted to it, that it controlled me as if it were some sort of drug, and that it was impossible for me to let it go.

No matter how much I tried, the bad thoughts always controlled me, and in the end, I would end up doing something that I would later regret. For years I would find myself in a situation where I would behave inappropriately and then I would feel very ashamed and regret it.

I felt I was letting Teacher down, I felt I was staining Dafa, and I felt I wasn't worthy of being a Dafa disciple. I was indeed committing terrible sins that did not even make me worthy of being an ordinary human being, but the depression generated by the shame and regret of having committed such sins would actually aid in making me fall once again. This process continued for a long time, and I felt as if I could never break free, because every time I would rise a little bit, I would fall down once again.

One day, through perseverance in cultivation, I came to the following realization.

Teacher does not expect disciples who have acted wrongly to show their regret through the qing of regret. Our regret for our previous mistakes should instead be reflected in our doing the three things well. If a cultivator makes a terrible mistake, no matter how bad he or she feels about it, it is not going to change a thing unless he or she truly cultivates. The feelings of regret should in turn be channeled towards making a bigger effort in cultivation.

I believe that when Teacher uses heavy words in talking about certain matters, it is to wake up those who are not doing well in those areas and still cannot let go or don't want to let go of those attachments. If you have stopped committing those wrongful actions, you should let go of the past as well and not be attached to what you did in the past.

If a cultivator feels he is not worthy of cultivating Dafa, then this is an attachment of qing. This qing (emotion, or sentimentality) will actually affect the cultivator's progress--deep inside, the cultivator actually does not want to improve, because he or she feels unworthy of cultivating Dafa and improving his character.

But it is not up to the cultivator to decide whether he is worthy of cultivating Dafa or not.

Feeling sorrow and regret also reflects selfishness, because one is constantly thinking about oneself, about how one has not done well enough, and about how unworthy one is. But one should be thinking about the sentient beings that need to be saved, not about oneself.

The time spent immersed in sorrow and regret can, in turn, be used for the salvation of sentient beings. Once I let go of these attachments, I felt free and was able to gradually cultivate once again and raise myself up. I discovered that this qing is actually a weapon used by the old forces to keep practitioners from elevating themselves and overcoming these tribulations.

Recently I have tried to take very seriously Teacher's words in his latest article "To the First Fa Conference in India,"

"...study the Fa well and abundantly--and do so frequently..."

Through abundant and frequent Fa study, I was able to completely eliminate the attachment of lust. When I kept reading frequently and abundantly, I felt I was in a very pure state, where bad thoughts could not enter, and I was no longer controlled by those thoughts. If I failed to keep up Fa study every day, I would fall back again, because lust is not an attachment that an ordinary human being can let go of. Only cultivators can relinquish these attachments through cultivation.

If you do not do the three things well, then it counts as you not considering yourself as a cultivator and it opens a loophole for interference. I believe frequent and abundant Fa study is the key to success in cultivation. Fa study paves the way for a cultivator to do the three things well.

The time for cultivation has not finished yet, so cultivators who feel deep regret, shame, and sorrow for their past actions should put down the heavy burden of these sentiments and dedicate themselves to true cultivation, doing their utmost to improve and compensate for all the losses they caused. Only then can one truly atone for his or her sins.

This is only my understanding at my limited level. Please point out anything that you may find inappropriate.