(Clearwisdom.net) During recent years, some local practitioners have died from sickness karma, after being persecuted. Some have been enduring sickness karma for a long time, but haven't been able to break through the old forces' persecution. Practitioners send forth righteous thoughts for such practitioners every day, but feel they are just going through the motions, as the practitioners in question don’t seem to be helping themselves. Some practitioners complain, and say that nothing can be done if the practitioners don't have righteous thoughts of their own.

Such comments may make sense from the perspective of the Fa. However, the different manifestations of cultivation states in certain practitioners are a reflection of our overall cultivation state. For example, some practitioners in our local Fa study group don't seem to cherish this type of cultivation environment given to us by our Master. Some practitioners who arrive early can be seen chitchatting about everyday affairs. Other practitioners arrive late and disturb others by constantly opening and closing the door. Some practitioners don't bring their own materials to read, and a single book may be passed around by eight or nine practitioners. Others may doze off while listening to others read. There are many different issues that prevent our Fa study group from being a solemn occasion that should be cherished.

Fellow practitioners have been known to leave right after Fa study, and there is almost no opportunity to sit down and share how to do the three things well and cultivate our xinxing. Experience sharings oftentimes just merely scratch the surface of our understanding of the Fa, with practitioners making seemingly random remarks about cultivation, but offering no resolution in fundamentally relinquishing attachments.

Master said:

“If you truly take these things that seriously, you will be able to restrain them. Then you will be able to weaken them and gradually get rid of them completely. If it's a case where you are aware of it and feel anxious about it, but in practice you don't truly restrain and suppress it, then in reality you are just stopping at this mental activity of seeing and feeling something, but you haven't taken any action to suppress that thing. In other words, you have only thought about it but not actually cultivated and put it into practice.” (“Teaching the Fa in San Francisco, 2005”)

I am worried about some practitioners' cultivation states, as they haven't handled well the relationship between cultivation and doing things in accordance with the Fa. They consider the amount of things they do as the yardstick for measuring their diligence in cultivation, and forget that “...our school of practice directly targets one’s mind.” (Zhuan Falun)

With many practitioners working hard on saving sentient beings, we may think that we have been able to save many. However, if practitioners have done it without a pure righteous foundation in the Fa, then what we do may not be as effective as we think.

Master said:

“But consider what I have said: if whatever it is that you’re doing is not grounded in the Fa, if it does not have the power of the Fa, and if you haven’t cultivated well, you will not do those things well. Although you might have done whatever it is, it has not achieved any effect and simply cannot save people, for you are ineffective in dissolving evil factors.” (“Dafa Disciples Must Study the Fa - Fa Teaching Given at the 2011 Washington DC Metro Area Fa Conference”)

A fellow practitioner clarifies the facts to people in-person whenever opportunities arise. She is very amiable and many practitioners think that she has cultivated well. However, several times when I visited her home, she would be watching TV after she finished studying the Fa. She also spends a lot of time dealing with her family affairs, and often assigns blame when things go wrong. When I asked this practitioner if she ever negated or eliminated incorrect thoughts when they appear, she replied that she didn't know how to do so.

I'm not trying to emphasize how this practitioner has cultivated, but would like to illustrate the point that many local practitioners don't pay attention to cultivating their xinxing. Many practitioners have been doing the three things to a set schedule, and replaced the emphasis on cultivating xinxing with looking at Dafa projects as the entirety of cultivation.

When encountering trials and tribulations, some practitioners know that they are experiencing a tribulation, but don't know how to look inward and find the attachment. Some say, “Something is wrong with me, but I don't know what.” The life of a practitioner has completely changed, as Master has made made new arrangements for us, and nothing we encounter is a coincidence. It is closely related to our improvement in cultivation.

If we don't take these tribulations as cultivation issues, then how can we raise our levels in cultivation? For example, if we talk to our family members casually, lose our temper, or are deeply entangled in emotion, then are we treating our family members as sentient beings to be saved? Have we handled the situation in accordance with the Fa? When we turn on the TV and become absorbed in it, have we thought about the karma that we are receiving from the violence, eroticism, and other emotional scenes that we are fixated upon? The fact that we enjoy seeing such scenes shows that we haven't completely changed our human notions and still have some distorted mentalities.

When we walk on the street and see things happening around us, like car accidents or fights, we need to maintain a calm mind. Everything in everyday society has its predestined relationships, and Master uses these situations to remind us to remove our attachments. If we don't remain alert during conflicts or tribulations, we will miss opportunities to improve ourselves, and the old forces will take advantage of our human attachments to interfere with us and persecute us.

Cultivation is very serious, and the tests come one after another. If we don't seize the opportunity to improve our xinxing, the karma isn't transformed into virtue and will keep accumulating. At some point, one will meet with a very big tribulation, and this tribulation may be as big as a test of life and death. Many practitioners who recently died have experienced such tribulations.

Many practitioners who were practicing cultivation before the persecution began on July 20, 1999, were very diligent, and the group Fa study sites were tremendously attractive. Those who arrived early usually studied the Fa quietly on their own. Every practitioner, including new students, had a strong desire to improve in cultivation, and would memorize the Fa at every opportunity. The assistants at the Fa study groups were genuinely responsible for fellow practitioners' cultivation. Practitioners shared their experiences on how they looked inward to relinquish their attachments. The genuine cultivation environment motivates practitioners to see their gaps and cultivate more diligently.

Our cultivation environment no longer seems to be fully appreciated, and the majority of our local practitioners don't diligently look inward, and instead look outward on many issues, missing the chance to make fundamental improvements in cultivation.

When we sense fatigue, hardship, or pursue comfort, the demon of sleepiness will interfere with us continuously. For a long time, some practitioners have been falling asleep when meditating or sending forth righteous thoughts, and don't even give it a second thought after they wake up. Some practitioners send forth righteous thoughts to eliminate the demon of sleepiness, but doze off when sending forth righteous thoughts. There's nothing wrong with sending forth righteous thoughts to eliminate the old forces, however the demon of sleepiness is directly related to our xinxing.

Some practitioners claim that we need to eliminate the old forces and disintegrate them, because they think that the interference is disturbing our cultivation. Yet, how much of those thoughts are used for being responsible to the Fa and sentient beings, and how much is used for protecting our own interests?

When our minds are stuck trying to balance between selfless and selfish interests, how can Master then protect us? When practitioners don't pursue results, and simply share with each other on how to let go of attachments and how to do what a practitioner should do, these are righteous thoughts. However, some practitioners aren't clear on the Fa when helping others, and many only want to stop fellow practitioners' suffering or solve their own problems.

There's a big gap between our local practitioners' cultivation states and Master's requirements for Fa-rectification period practitioners. Of course, it isn't realistic to ask for the same high-level understanding from every practitioner. But I would simply like to make the point that we are practitioners, and should form a cultivation environment of looking inward and cultivating inward. This requires each of us to study the Fa with our hearts.

In every Fa study group we should share about how we do the three things well, and how we cultivate ourselves during tribulations. When each of us perseveres in looking inward, we can form a good cultivation environment. None of us can guarantee that we will pass every test perfectly, but we should know that we are genuine cultivators and try our best to assimilate in the Fa.

Please kindly point out anything inappropriate.