Cultivating Every Thought and Elevating Within the Fa
Greetings, benevolent Teacher!
Greetings, fellow practitioners throughout the world!
Recalling my cultivation experience over the recent year, I made a lot of breakthroughs thanks to Teacher's boundless compassion and the mighty virtue of Dafa. I selected some in particular to share with you.
In March of this year—one week before the Qingming Festival (a festival traditionally observed for worshiping and tending ancestral graves)--we found that one branch of a Phoenix tree just opposite of the central room (of a one-story Chinese traditional house consisting of several rooms in a row) was in bloom. There were no flowers blooming in the surrounding Phoenix trees.
There was a chill in the air since it was early spring, so why was there one branch in blossom and facing the central room? Was it by chance? Fellow practitioners and I were thinking, “Is Teacher giving us a hint, wanting us to improve our enlightenment quality, assimilate to Dafa and break through to a higher level?”
Later, we noticed that the blossoms on that branch bloomed one week earlier than the blossoms of all the other Phoenix trees.
From the One Who Could Do Nothing, to One Capable of Everything
I cooperated with fellow practitioners at a Dafa materials processing site. I attended to the site all year round and was responsible for processing the materials and providing technical support. Sometimes, I had to separate myself from the outside world for the sake of safety. After having materials production sites spring up and blossom everywhere, our site seemed to be not as busy as in the past, but my responsibility remained the same. In order to ensure that the local practitioners cultivated well during the remaining part of the journey and maintain the environment we'd created, we shouldn't slack off or lower our guard in our cultivation practice.
However, since I had more time and energy, many human attachments and selfishness—which didn't have the opportunity to surface in the busy times—all came forth.
Actually, other practitioners had more troubles than I did; I only stood by at the material site waiting for orders. I would do whatever the one body asked me to do without conditions. I started to feel that I was good at nothing, so I often had a heavy heart.
I tried hard to control myself and keep up the quality of my Fa study, but it was quite difficult to maintain this. Sometimes, my status was better than others, but, the problem was not fundamentally resolved and, as a result, it affected other practitioners at the site.
From their work at the material site over a long period of time, the practitioners came to the consensus that if we wanted to steadily advance with the site, it was very important that each practitioner maintain a good cultivation state and form one body without separation.
Sometimes after working hard all day, practitioners wanted to read the Falun Dafa teachings together with calm minds. However, since they worried about my status, they had to spend time talking to me. They said that if I felt that I could no longer stay in the site, then I could consider leaving, since my cultivation status wasn't good for the environment. If the old forces took advantage of this, it would bring trouble or even losses to the whole body.
From long talks with fellow practitioners, I realized that our compassionate Teacher had already given a hint to one of the practitioners concerning my status during his meditation. Taking my status as a mirror to look inward, it helped other practitioners to pay attention to the issue. They helped me to dig out the roots of all kinds of attachments, shared with me from the perspective of the Fa, seriously pointed out my problems, and gave me warnings.
During this heart-wrenching, agonizing process of facing and removing all my attachments, I recalled once again the path that I'd taken at the processing site with the practitioners in difficult times. Our experiences all came back to me in vivid detail. I was able to come through that very difficult period of time, so why couldn't I get out of the trap of the strong sense of self? I searched my heart for an answer. Wasn't the existence of a Dafa materials processing site a necessity in the local Fa rectification? I was very clear about it in my heart, so my answer seemed reasonable.
Over the years, the very existence of the Dafa materials site has faced many evil forces. During the repeated interference and sabotage of our one body by the old forces, the site's practitioners kept the Fa and one body in our hearts, which greatly reduced the losses. The old forces were unwilling to be destroyed, so they kept covetous eyes on the site, hoping to shut it down. However, they failed to reach their goal. They then wanted to influence me; this presented a very dangerous situation. When Teacher asked the practitioners to do something, he wanted us to carry it through to completion. We practitioners working together should not give up the site we supported halfway, nor should we relinquish our responsibility and sabotage our own mission.
Though I couldn't let go of the bad elements all at once, I was determined to break through them. I knew that as long as I wanted to get through this tribulation, Teacher would help me.
We studied the Falun Dafa teachings a lot and simultaneously fought against the evil forces; my cultivation status gradually improved. Perhaps our compassionate Teacher saw my unshakable determination and gave me hints to expand my capacity and tolerance. Teacher gave me hints during my meditation and showed me a huge heart with two small hearts inside. I thought that Teacher was telling me that I was halfhearted or narrow-minded, which prevented me from cooperating wholeheartedly with other practitioners.
One day when I finished printing books for the practitioners in one area, I tried very hard to move the equipment back into place. A thought flashed through my mind—that it was troublesome to move the equipment back and forth, so I spoke casually, “Next time when seeing the practitioners from that area, please tell them that if they need any materials, they must tell us how many they need at one time. If they need to add more later, we will not do it for them.” I was surprised to hear myself say that. Was I doing Dafa work, or was I like an everyday person who worried about personal gains and losses and wanted to negotiate? A practitioner working next to me said, “What did you say? Was that a human attachment?”
I suddenly realized that, yes, I'd demonstrated selfishness during that period of time. Whoever affected or bothered me made me unhappy. They all went out to do Dafa work, but left me behind waiting for orders. Wasn't that a big loss for me? “I planned to study the Fa, but you wanted me to print materials, disrupting my schedule.” Wasn't this selfishness that made all these troubles for me and separated me from the one body and even from the Fa? This led me to believe that I had nothing to do with Dafa work and it seemed that I was doing things for others. What's more, it also generated many other bad attachments. The most apparent one was the attachment of jealousy.
“Once he sees that other people have developed supernormal abilities, he becomes even more anxious.” (Zhuan Falun)
The persecution of Falun Gong hasn't stopped. When Dafa practitioners cooperate well as one body, they sometimes also need strong support. Take the example of the formation of a human pyramid—as the human pyramid gets higher, aren't the people at the bottom even more essential and truly indispensable?
Teacher wants us to consider others first in order to attain the righteous enlightenment of selflessness and altruism. If practitioners all exhibit selfishness during their cooperation, then what difference would there be between the practitioners and the old forces? This doesn't even meet the standards of the new universe, let alone assisting Teacher to rectify the Fa and save sentient beings, as well as form one body. I went over this Fa in my mind again and again, and became clearer on the direction I needed to take.
Recalling the process of making the Dafa materials, sometimes we were busy working like a machine, so when some impure states appeared, it was difficult for us to detect, and as a result, some of the attachments were covered up. Actually, the practitioners at the site reminded me many times that, although we were doing the same thing, the degree of dedication was different. However, I failed to improve myself in this respect. When the environment was relaxed, many weak links in my cultivation practice were exposed. If I was not determined to eliminate them, it would be very dangerous.
When my true spirit was awakened, the bad elements were eliminated, and I was able to concentrate on my Fa study, merge into the one body and become of one mind with other practitioners. The root of selfishness had been destroyed, so the feeling that nothing could satisfy me also disappeared. Now I can deal with any situation.
When everyone in the group assimilated to the Fa and cooperated with each other with pure hearts, it was really very powerful. While performing tasks together, we felt as if we could push forward with overwhelming momentum and obtain twice the results with half the effort. At the same time, our confidence was strengthened. I felt that everything was very easy, the heavens were clear, the cosmic body transparent, and the universe rectified.
Treat the Surrounding Environment with Righteous Thoughts
In the process of getting along with my neighbors, I ran into two incidents from which I realized that it was very important to pay attention to our thoughts at all times and cultivate ourselves well.
Regarding the first incident, the place we rented and the house in the front courtyard all belonged to the same owner. There were two adjoining houses with flat roofs. The ladder to climb on top of the roof was built in the front yard. Maybe at the time the owner built the house, he wanted to have the convenience of drying things in the sun on top of the adjoining houses.
After we moved in, the residents of the front courtyard often climbed on top of our house to dry things in the sun. At first, fellow practitioners and I didn't pay too much attention to it, thinking that, as practitioners, we shouldn't have conflicts with neighbors. Additionally, the ladder was on their side and easy to access. Later, they climbed on top of our house more often, even several times a day. Other times, they even strolled on the roof as if it was their own house. We felt inconvenienced, because they could see everything in our part of the courtyard. Our materials processing site required that we bring consumables in and out. Therefore, it was unsafe for our neighbors to climb on top of our house.
In the beginning, we simply sent righteous thoughts to eliminate the evil forces that were influencing them. However, the situation didn't improve, so we tried to stop them climbing onto the top of our house in person. We even went to see the landlord and hoped that he could solve the problem for us. However, the landlord didn't come, and our neighbors still used our roof to dry things in the sun.
Why didn't our righteous thoughts work? Why couldn't we stop everyday people from these actions? Later, we looked inward and arrived at the same opinion, “It was right not to let them use our roof. If the old forces took advantage of them and our processing site was damaged, they would commit a crime.” However, our mentality was not pure and we'd even relied on the non-practitioner landlord to solve the problem. For example, when they came to dry things in the sun, we never said hello to them. Didn't this show resentment? Had we really thought about the safety of the sentient beings with compassion, or talked to them compassionately?
We made a decision after sharing: “If we continue to try to stop them, then this principle will not change. We must instead work harder to improve our xinxing and treat the sentient beings compassionately. We should not leave any loopholes for the evil forces to take advantage of and allow them to persecute sentient beings.”
I discovered many attachments that were deeply buried. At first, I was a bit scared because I was afraid to offend the neighbors. This was because our neighbor reported us one time. We were under the compassionate care of Teacher, had made it through this difficulty well, and the material site didn't suffer any losses. However, that experience left me with a shadow of suspicion that I couldn't let go of. As a result, I was hostile toward the environment and couldn't position my relationship with them correctly. I had to use this opportunity to rectify every thought.
Was there anything accidental? Maybe this was all was arranged a long time ago. Of course, the old forces meant to create interference and persecute sentient beings. Teacher uses all of these events to provide us opportunities to elevate ourselves. If we failed to do well, then we'd be giving the old forces excuses to harm us and the neighbors.
I didn't dare to lower my guard around my thoughts, and would eliminate every unrighteous thought immediately. I thought, “We are Teacher Mr. Li Hongzhi's practitioners and will not accept anyone else's arrangements.”
This process helped me to learn quite a lot and eliminate many human attachments that were difficult to detect. Since these attachments would come and go like a flash, I couldn't detect them, but now they were exposed one after the other. I resolutely eliminated them. I felt that my righteous thoughts were getting stronger. I read Teacher's comments on the article “What Is True Kindness?” and realized what it meant. It was the natural result of the realm of cultivators.
During the process when we looked inward, our xinxing upgraded and our neighbors also changed. Gradually, the number of times that they climbed up on the roof decreased. Even when they did, they'd climb up and then come down quietly. Every time they came by, no matter which practitioner came across them, we compassionately but seriously spoke to them. In order to eliminate any loopholes for the evil forces, we resolutely stopped them from continuing to climb up on the roof. There were no arguments, but the evil forces were eventually disintegrated. The neighbors were also moved by the practitioners' great compassion, and stopped climbing up on the roof.
Another incident was that one of our neighbors often turned up the volume on his TV, creating a lot of interference for us.
He didn't watch television when we were busy, but he turned it on whenever we wanted to study the Fa with calm, tranquil minds. Even when we began doing the exercises in the morning or send righteous thoughts, he'd turn on the TV. We'd sent righteous thoughts for all those years and every hour to clean our environment. We added more time to send righteous thoughts targeting the interference from this neighbor. However, the result varied; sometimes good and sometimes not so good. We failed to completely eliminate the interference from him.
During the process of looking inward, I found that every time my neighbor's TV was turned on, I felt a bit nervous. At the time for sending righteous thoughts, I thought about the TV volume being turned down. I had some resentment toward this neighbor and hoped that he'd move out. Due to my attachment, the evil forces even showed me some signs that my neighbor was moving out, but they were false.
I thought about what Teacher said,
“But usually the state of a very calm mind is such that it's still serene when faced with a lot of interference, and it is unaffected by ordinary human emotions such as getting excited, feeling wronged, etc. It is very calm, and it won't negatively impact doing the things that Dafa disciples should do.” (“Teaching the Fa in San Francisco, 2005”)
I knew that I'd failed to keep myself unmoved or to maintain a calm mind when confronting interference. Instead, my human attachments kept surfacing because of the interference.
“In offering salvation to people, there is no condition or consideration for cost, reward, or fame. They are thus far more noble than the heroes of everyday people. They do it completely out of their benevolent compassion.” (Zhuan Falun)
Didn't those people who became the practitioners' neighbors have a predestined relationship with the practitioners? We all came for the Fa. If I was unhappy because of the interference, I'd then fail to treat him as a sentient being. Wouldn't the evil forces interfere with or persecute him?
I found the shortcomings in my cultivation practice as well as human attachments, and it was then not difficult to eliminate them. Once we elevated our levels, our neighbor's interference also stopped.
These two incidents left a deep impression on me. We failed in sending righteous thoughts because we'd forgotten to look inward. Teacher has told us repeatedly to look inward when encountering issues. However, in the actual situation, we forgot Teacher's Fa and neglected our own cultivation, thereby extending the time required to solve the problem.
Breakthrough in Fa Study
I had a very big loophole in Fa study over many years: when studying Teacher's new articles they would go directly to my heart, but not while studying Zhuan Falun. I was periodically able to enlighten to some Fa principles, but still far behind Teacher's requirements. Later, I began memorizing the Fa and my status then improved a lot. Later, I became fluent in memorizing the Fa, yet my mind still drifted away.
When I was in primary school my mind would always drift away in class or while doing my homework. My whole school life was like that, so I felt that it was very hard stop my mind from drifting.
I realized later that everything was arranged by the old forces, so I shouldn't acknowledge them. I couldn't continue like that, especially after reading a pamphlet from Clearwisdom: “Study the Fa with a Calm Mind.” If I couldn't keep up with Fa study, my cultivation would lag behind, I wouldn't satisfy the requirements, not keep up with the Fa rectification, and would subsequently not be competent to do the material site work. This might even affect other practitioners. Dafa is capable of anything, so it must be able to help me make a fundamental change.
I paid attention to the manner in which I studied the Fa. I started by respecting Teacher and the Fa and sat upright when reading the Fa. I tried my best to sit in full lotus, or single lotus when I couldn't hold the full lotus any longer.
Gradually, I found that the most important reason why I couldn't study the Fa with a calm mind was a kind of bad element, maybe thought karma. I was always in a hurry while reading the Fa and read very fast. I felt ill at ease if I slowed down. Therefore, I tried to slow the speed at which I read and read every word clearly. By slowing down, I was able to notice whenever my mind drifted away and caught myself. I checked the thought to determine what the attachment was. Then I thought that, as a practitioner, I should not have these bad elements and eliminated them instantly. Sometimes, I'd stop reading, send righteous thoughts, and think that they'd die away, and then continue reading. During the process, I guarded against the mentality of fearing hardships. Sometimes when it was time to study the Fa, I'd grow apprehensive and felt the hardship, so I really didn't want to read anymore. I knew that quite a few practitioners had this mentality, so I was determined not to be intimidated or ordered about. Actually, the thought was not mine. How could hardship be related to studying the Fa? Studying the Fa and assimilating to the Fa is the happiest thing in our lives. I just pressed forward and didn't let anything stop me, and then made a breakthrough.
When studying the Fa in the past, I was unable to find the spot where I'd stopped previously without a bookmark. That has now completely changed and, gradually, whatever I read enters my heart.
Under the compassionate care of Teacher and the guidance of the Fa over the last year or so, I've truly felt that I was in cultivation practice all the time, and that every thought was part of the upgrading process. Thinking about the branch of the Phoenix tree in bloom, I had a better understanding of Buddha’s infinite grace.
Teacher's Fa rectification is getting closer to the surface of our human bodies, so our cultivation is accordingly getting closer to the surface. The practitioners from our materials processing site and I knew clearly that the closer to the end, the more vigilant we should be. We must follow Teacher's teachings at this time and be more diligent. We must carry out our mission to the end in order to fulfill our grand vows.
Thank you, Teacher, and thank you, fellow practitioners!