Teacher said,

“Don't let the old forces take advantage of any gaps. When they take advantage of your gaps they'll do those kinds of things.” (“Explaining the Fa During the 2003 Lantern Festival at the U.S. West Fa Conference,” February 15, 2003)

When I read this, I only had a shallow understanding of its true meaning. Recently, I read a story called “Sprouting Thoughts of Selfishness Provoked Ghostly Tile Attacks.” After reading it, I came to have a deeper understanding of what Teacher said. The moral of the story is that as soon as a slight thought of selfishness arises in your mind, you face retribution from other beings in the cosmos.

The story is from the Notes of Yue Wei Cao Tang, compiled by a famous historic figure, Ji Yun (1724 - 1805), who is also known as Ji Xiaolan. According to Ji Xiaolan, while a Taiwanese government messenger was staying at a hotel, he happened to see the apparition of a beautiful young girl looking down at him from a wall. He righteously scolded her, as it wasn't her place to be among the living, and she disappeared. Later that night, as midnight approached, a piece of tile was mysteriously thrown at him and landed on his pillow. The messenger knew at once what was going on and demanded angrily, “Spirit, where did you come from? How dare you insult the emperor’s servant?!” The ghost answered loudly from outside the window, “I know you're noble, and I tried to avoid you, but I couldn't get away quick enough! Now I'm afraid I'll be condemned by higher beings. But you had the nerve to dream of me in your sleep that I was the hotel worker's daughter, hoping that I would be your mistress someday! It was your own bad thoughts that brought retribution upon you by the higher beings themselves! Now you even dare to get angry with me!” After hearing what the ghost said, the messenger became so ashamed, and he checked himself out of the hotel as soon as possible in the morning.

When our minds cook up lustful thoughts and secretly plot for our own self-interest, we invite retribution of the kind that the messenger received, a piece of tile launched at you in punishment for your selfish thoughts. When you are full of selfish thoughts, sending forth righteous thoughts won't work either, since you aren't thinking with a clear enough mind to see your own wrongdoing. We might only have a vague feeling that “We didn't study the Fa well enough.”

Because we sometimes don't see our own selfishness, we're unable to feel the shame that we should be feeling when we meet with retribution, and instead feel proud indignation. But actually, the entire tribulation is caused by that one selfish thought.

Of course, as Dafa practitioners we choose not to acknowledge the arrangements of the old forces. We have Teacher protecting us, resolving our problems and helping us deal with our shortcomings, together with our own thoughts that we must negate the old forces' arrangements. With these proper thoughts, we won't be like ordinary people who can be easily attacked. However, if we aren't firm with our righteous thoughts, and don't treat ourselves as Dafa practitioners, and if we let selfish thoughts sneak in, we might even start to think it doesn't really matter since no one really knows our thoughts. But, in fact, the eyes of the divine beings are always watching, and the next piece of tile thrown could be aimed at you. Remember, righteous thoughts are truly invincible.

Fellow practitioners, please point out any errors.