(Clearwisdom.net) I have suffered illness karma for way too long a time. In the past, I had been very confused and did not know how to look inward to get rid of my attachments, how to handle illness karma, or how to reject the interfering arrangements of the old forces so that I could walk well on my path of cultivation. When I looked inward, trying to get rid of my attachments, I instead seemed to be acknowledging the arrangements of the old forces.

Master told us long ago:

"When you encounter ordeals during your cultivation, you have got to cultivate yourself and look at yourself--that doesn't mean acknowledging the ordeals arranged by the old forces and trying to do well amidst the ordeals they've arranged, that's not the case. We negate even the very emergence of the old forces and everything that they've arranged; we don't even acknowledge their existence. We're fundamentally negating all of their things, and all of, and only, the things you do while negating and getting rid of them is mighty-virtue. It's not that you're cultivating amidst the ordeals they created. Rather, you are to walk your own path well while not acknowledging them, not even acknowledging the elimination of their ordeals' manifestations." (Teaching the Fa at the 2004 Chicago Conference)

At first, I did not clearly understand Master's words. Only after about a month of increased Fa study and transcribing and reciting the Fa, did I begin to have a clearer understanding of this teaching.

I noticed that fellow practitioners who had been suffering illness karma for a long time were also experiencing confusion. Therefore, I wanted to write this article to help everyone in the hope that they too can improve. Please kindly point out anything improper.

I obtained Dafa in 1998. However, since I did not study the Fa well, I was not very clear about how to cultivate myself. My job was to directly promote traditional Chinese culture. I understood that promoting traditional culture would improve human morality and establish a strong foundation for people to accept Dafa, so I volunteered to do much more work. I often took on a job that needed six, seven, or eight people to accomplish. I felt happy even though I was extremely busy.

With the wisdom and healthy body gained from Dafa, I produced many good achievements, including a form of "fame." As a result, many people asked me to work on projects. Originally, I had a very strong attachment to fame. Then I became even more attached to it. I was very busy and could not spare any time to study the Fa or practice the exercises. I was so immersed in human fame that I did not even realize it. Instead, I felt very satisfied with myself and believed that I was great. Looking back, I can now see that Master had tried to enlighten me to my attachment several times, but I did not realize it.

Finally one day, I suddenly had severe illness symptoms and could no longer do those things that would bring me fame. When I encountered huge hardships, I firmly believed in Master and Dafa. I kept looking inward and found my attachments to doing things, fame, and many other things. I got rid of them as soon as I found them, and if they came back, then I got rid of them again. I also kept up Fa study and tried my best to do the exercises. With Master's benevolent protection and fellow practitioners' righteous thoughts, I quickly recovered. However, I then experienced some relapses.

I tried to deny the old forces' persecution. As soon as the symptoms reappeared, I thought to myself: "Do not acknowledge it! I am a Dafa practitioner and I only follow what Master has arranged for me." After that, the symptoms would disappear, but after a while they would appear again, and this repeated several times. Although I could take care of myself and do the three things, the movements of my body were restricted. I was trapped in this ordeal for a long time and could not completely step out of it, which caused some bad effects in validating the Fa and saving sentient beings.

I told myself that clarifying the facts to people was an urgent matter and I should not be restricted by the illness karma. Why couldn't I get rid of the old forces' arrangement, even though I was doing all that I could do? I noticed that for quite a long time, I could not whole-heartedly study the Fa and often felt sleepy. Therefore, I then began to transcribe the Fa and recite the Fa, and also joined group Fa studies. My only goal was to follow Master's requirements and study the Fa well. I wanted to embrace the Fa with all my heart. Gradually, I could focus on Fa study and began to better understand many of the Fa principles.

Master said,

"Maybe some folks would get really sick in a year or half a year, and maybe they'd be ill like that for years. Maybe some folks would have a stroke or some other health problem, and they'd be immobile. So how could you cultivate with your remaining years? We have to clean up all of that for you and not let those things happen. But let me make it clear up front: we can only do that for true cultivators. Doing it as you please for ordinary people wouldn't work, that'd be like doing something bad." (Zhuan Falun)

In the past when I read this paragraph, I thought that I wasn't diligent enough and that I had way too many attachments that could be taken advantage of. However, when I went over this paragraph again one day, I suddenly realized that I had put my personal fame and gains above my cultivation. I even had a much stronger attachment to fame than everyday people, and this fundamental attachment was why that the old forces had been able to use illness to stop me from cultivating well in Dafa. When I realized this, I became very sad, because I understood that I had not cultivated myself well during the 10 years since I had obtained the Fa.

The next day, two fellow practitioners came to my home and we exchanged our experiences in passing the test of life and death. Our sharing gave me great inspiration and when I was doing the sitting meditation that night, I suddenly understood the fundamental reason why I had been trapped by the old forces for a very long time. I tried to deny them in the wrong way, but that was instead acknowledging the very existence of the old forces. Every time my nose bled, I would tell myself, "Do not acknowledge it," and it would stop bleeding. Or, when I became short of breath, I would say to myself, "Do not acknowledge it," and then I could breath normally. Whenever I experienced intense ordeals, I also looked inward to get rid of the human attachment and then I felt better. However, I had been passively denying the old forces instead of thoroughly eliminating them. This was the fundamental reason why it had taken such a long time for me to improve and elevate in my cultivation.

I realized that although I had been looking inward, I did not do it from within the Fa because I had been looking inward with the purpose of trying to get rid of the illness symptoms. It was actually an attachment of pursuit, which cultivators should also get rid of. How could an ordinary person's mindset deny the arrangement of the old forces? From the standpoint of the Fa, it was an ordeal arranged by the old forces.

The old forces are not worthy and have no right at all to arrange something for a Dafa cultivator. I will never accept what the old forces have arranged. I will do things only according to Master's requirements and Dafa's standard, and will only follow the path arranged by Master, which has nothing to do with the old forces.

Once I realized this, I then completely denied the old forces' arrangement, and only then was I able to look inward successfully from within the Fa and clearly see my attachments. Prior to that, I was looking inward to get rid of my karma and improve, but I was not looking from within the Fa.

Now I truly understand why Master emphasizes again and again that practitioners need to study the Fa well. Only if one spends more time on Fa study, will one truly understand the Fa. And only when one understands the Fa from within the Fa will one be able to do things according to the standard of the Fa, and thus step out of the arrangement made by the old forces.

After I understood the Dafa principles, I noticed obvious changes both physically and mentally. Now I feel very comfortable all over my whole body, which I had never experienced before. My heart is also at peace and full of compassion. I believe that Master has helped me by taking out all the bad things from my body. It was Master who has been encouraging me all along.

I firmly believe that as long as I follow Master's requirements to study the Fa well, look inward and improve myself, do things according to the standard of the Fa, and clarify the facts to save sentient beings, then I will continue to progress well on my cultivation path.