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Examining Our Understanding of What It Means to Be Diligent

June 03, 2011 |   By Yi Yan

(Clearwisdom.net) I often see or hear fellow practitioners talking about things that have happened to certain practitioners who had been very "diligent," implying that they wonder why those things happened to a "diligent" practitioner. I think one should be more careful using the word "diligent" to avoid being disrespectful. The word itself is a Fa requirement and reminder of our cultivation practice. In my understanding, one way of being diligent or not is examining ourselves during each and every conflict, hardship, xinxing test, or action to see if we have cultivated ourselves, or at least improved our understandings or behaviors after the incident if we didn't do well during the process.

Many practitioners regard being "diligent" to mean working hard and being busy, which is what they saw on the surface. In my understanding, one's being "diligent" or not will surely manifest in whether one is actively doing the three things. Real "diligence" often cannot be seen on the surface. For example, some practitioners like to measure diligence against things such as how many hours a day one sleeps, how many hours a day one studies the Fa, how many hours one does Dafa work, and how many Dafa projects one is a part of. In their opinion, sleeping less is considered "diligent," because a "diligent" practitioner surely sleeps less; and studying the Fa five hours or eight hours a day is "diligent," because "diligent" practitioners must spend a good amount of time studying the Fa, etc. Many people created formulas using human notions and then use them as standards to measure things in cultivation practice. The truth is, a diligent practitioner might sleep less, but the notions and formulas mentioned above can only describe the manifestations on the surface. The defining characteristics of those diligent practitioners is how they regard saving people as their first and utmost priority. They therefore center everything around how to save more people and how to achieve the best effect. In the mean time, these practitioners surely pay close attention to their xinxing and cultivation practice. Without this foundation, one will not achieve good results in saving people even if one does not sleep at all, let alone the fact that his or her physical body would not last long. Some practitioners, when busy, appear to be the same as diligent practitioners, but during the process they overlooked cultivating themselves, and merely did things. Everyday people's passions, attachments and capabilities do not compare to a Fa-rectification period cultivator's responsibility and mission, which is very broad and long-lasting.

In doing eight hours of Dafa work a day, some people do not put enough heart into it, but mechanically complete their assignment, and even think, "I'm doing this for so and so, I should be recognized for doing this." Their efficiency is low, they encounter problems and they do not bear responsibility for the overall effect of the project. Some people, however, accomplish in three hours what others need eight hours to accomplish. The effect of their efforts is great, they are very rational and know the part their work is playing in the bigger picture, and they're not just mechanically finishing an assignment, but sincerely putting their heart into it.

Because of their selflessness, some practitioners are very busy. They realize that one needs to put effort into Dafa work in order to do it well, so they put more and more effort into it. They strive to shoulder a greater workload, raise their xinxing and expand their capacity through cultivation practice. For projects that they do not have a leading role in, they cooperate well with others. Some people are also very busy, but perhaps because their standpoint is based on human notions, their likes or dislikes, or their attachment to personal gain or loss, they do not eliminate their attachments or learn anything, even though they are busily involved in several Dafa projects. In the end, they cannot play a part in Master's overall plan, and it's even hard to evaluate whether they have fulfilled their prehistoric vows.

Of course, these are merely simple examples. Let's continue to talk about being "diligent." Through many years of cultivation practice, I have come to understand that, only when we are meeting Master's standards, can we be considered to be diligent when measured against the Fa, as opposed to using human thoughts and emotions to do so. In addition, whether a cultivator is "diligent" or not cannot be generalized, because what we are talking about here is not the conclusion, but the performance during cultivation practice. Therefore, in my personal understanding, being diligent, a practitioner would examine if he has measured himself against the Fa's standard (instead of human standards), look within, and conduct himself following the requirements of the Fa in every conflict, hardship, xinxing test, statement and action. Perhaps he didn't do well at the time, but Master's requirements occurred to him, and from then on, he conducted himself following the Fa's requirements instead of his notions and attachments. Fa-study is not learning some theories or knowledge that stops at knowing enough. Rather, as Dafa disciples we study the Fa and assimilate to the Fa, putting it into action, as "Accomplishing is cultivating." (“Solid Cultivation” from Hong Yin, ) Otherwise, theory and practice will be out of alignment, similar to what is manifesting in the everyday human world. Some everyday people are very knowledgeable and experienced, but cannot conduct themselves according to the moral standards that they aspire to. They are everyday people. For Dafa disciples, there is no such thing as “having righteous thoughts but having no righteous actions.” If one does not act righteously, one must lack righteous thoughts. One must then strengthen one's righteous thoughts and be guided by them, because righteous thoughts and righteous actions are one body, as Master said in Zhuan Falun “...matter and mind are one thing.”

Of course, while practicing cultivation, we are still human. When a practitioner does not study the Fa sufficiently or lacks focus during Fa-study, he will inevitably make mistakes or develop human thoughts and notions. His cultivation may be compromised by all kinds of ordinary temptations or bad influences. Then he may only be diligent on-and-off. Master has reminded us to be "always cultivating as if you were just starting" ("Fa Teaching at the 2009 Greater New York International Fa Conference"), but many of us hurry up in doing things as soon as we hear the word "diligent", and follow our own ideas (instead of Master's requirements) to do things. We thus fail to develop further understandings of Master's Fa during the process, and do not make a habit of looking within. I do not consider this being diligent, because the element of cultivation practice is missing, and therefore one's effectiveness is sure to be compromised.

Going deeper, this involves an issue of believing in Master and believing in the Fa. Many fellow practitioners believe they "of course believe in Master and the Fa," and consequently pay less attention to cultivation practice. Therefore, on many occasions, they fail to understand that only what Master wants are the Fa-rectification requirements, and give more weight to their human notions, knowledge and things that they obtained in the human world. Their belief in these things outweighs their belief in Master's Fa.

Master warned us as early as 1995 in Zhuan Falun Fajie-The Law of Zhuan Falun Explained

"In order to get rid of people’s attachments, every aspect of them has to exposed. In particular, at some of our Falun Dafa practice sites, there are some people who claim, 'I’m a Buddha. Don’t study with Li Hongzhi.' Why does this occur? It’s just to see if you will waver at a fundamental level. All the way until you cultivate to the last step, your mind will be tested to see if you understand the Fa and if you are steadfast at a fundamental level. Every aspect has to improve and be solid." ("Teaching the Fa in Beijing at the Zhuan Falun Publication Ceremony")

If we think that the test of believing in Master and the Fa is not necessarily directed at us, then this is a dangerous understanding, because that amounts to unknowingly denying Master's Fa.

"All the way until you cultivate to the last step, your mind will be tested to see if you understand the Fa and if you are steadfast at a fundamental level. Every aspect has to improve and be solid." (“Teaching the Fa in Beijing at the Zhuan Falun Publication Ceremony")

It is very hard to cultivate without the Fa's guidance, and one would replace "taking the Fa as master" with human cleverness, knowledge, experience, habits, notions and methods. Moreover, one might directly contradict Master's requirements, and unknowingly do things that interfere with Master's Fa-rectification. As Fa-rectification Period Dafa disciples, let us all truly be diligent!