Letting Go of Sentimentality: A Veteran Practitioner Firmly Practices Cultivation
Greetings to our great and benevolent Master!
Greetings to fellow practitioners!
I am a veteran practitioner who obtained the Fa in 1997. I am 68 years old. I had a predestined relationship with cultivation practice. I remember when I was very young, I wanted to practice cultivation after reading books like stories about Jigong, Journey to the West, and other fairy tales. During the 80's, at the peak of qigong's popularity, I also tried several qigong practices, but I felt that none of them were what I wanted. In the fall of 1996, I went to a practitioner's home. This practitioner told me that a qigong called Falun Gong had become very popular, and its main book was called Zhuan Falun. In the spring of 1997, I went to another friend's home. It must have been time for me to learn Dafa, because that friend also told me about Falun Gong, and how he had very good results after practicing it. Before I left his home, he gave me a copy of Zhuan Falun and told me that I had to take a look at this book.
After reading Zhuan Falun, I felt it was a book from heaven. Master Li Hongzhi was certainly not an ordinary qigong master. I decided to practice Falun Gong and felt that this was what I had dreamed of.
Facing reality and getting rid of the attachment of fear
Under decades of the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) dictatorship, big and small political movements and cruel proletariat dictatorship constantly made people terrified. Over time, people became afraid of the CCP. This fear deepened in people's minds and became a deviated notion and consciousness. After July 20, 1999, some practitioners who had a strong attachment to fear were so afraid that they stopped practicing. Some practitioners stayed at home and did not dare to come out to practice. Some people started practicing other religions.
Of course, those practitioners who firmly believe in our Master and Dafa are indestructible as diamond. Some practitioners gradually got rid of the attachment of fear after doing the three things well, and became more and more diligent in cultivation practice. But the fear of the CCP had no doubt contributed to different degrees of interference in assisting Master in validating the Fa and doing the three things well. Master said in the article “Pass the Deadly Test”:
“Fear can cause one to make mistakes, and fear can cause one to lose a predestined opportunity. Fear is a death trap on a human being's journey toward divinity."
It was the attachment of fear and the evil's pressure that made me do something that I deeply regret. I compromised with the evil against my will. Whenever I recall this, I feel very sad.
After I came out of the evil den, I was controlled by the attachment of fear. I stayed at home and studied the Fa and did the exercises with my wife but did not do anything else. I did not participate in any projects for validating the Fa. I felt that by doing this I would be safe. However the old forces did not let go of me. They controlled the staff members in the 610 Office to make up some rumors about me and spread those rumors. After hearing those rumors, I was very troubled. Since I was not diligent and did not think from the standpoint of the Fa, I did not know that I should use the Fa to evaluate an event. I was driven by an ordinary person's mindset and wanted to avoid troubles, so I decided to leave home with my wife. I thought that I would be able to escape the persecution. In fact, the evil still continued to harass me.
“Cultivation is a serious matter. If you keep harboring fears like this, when are you going to stop being held back by fear?”
“Cultivation is cultivation, and cultivation is about getting rid of one's attachments, putting a stop to bad human behavior and all kinds of fears, including the human attachments of being afraid of this and being afraid of that.” (“Pass the Deadly Test”)
That is correct. The old forces latched upon my attachment of fear. If I did not get rid of the attachment of fear, I would not be able to pass the test. Thus there was no place for me to hide. On the surface, it seemed like the evil was interfering with me. But in fact, it was not. It was my own attachment of fear that had been interfering with me. The root of the attachment of fear is being selfish and being attached to oneself. To get rid of the attachment of fear, one must first get rid of selfishness. I realized this through Fa study. Master said,
“Yet for cultivators, fear or lack thereof proves [one's] humanity or divinity, and it is what differentiates cultivators from ordinary people. It is something that a cultivator must face, and the biggest human attachment that a cultivator must remove.” (“Study the Fa Well, and Getting Rid of Attachments is Not Hard”)
I calmed down, studied the Fa, strengthened my righteous thoughts, and eliminated factors of the attachment of fear. I decided to face the attachment of fear. I would firmly believe in our Master and Dafa and get rid of the attachment of fear and let myself genuinely walk the path to becoming a divine being.
With righteous thoughts strengthened and a clear understanding of the Fa principles, I felt very relaxed both physically and mentally. Now I have a clear understanding of the Fa. In fact Master had already stated it very clearly:
“Having heard the Dao in the morning, one can die in the evening.” (“Melt Into the Fa” from Essentials for Further Advancement)
I was pondering: Didn't I come to this human world to obtain Dafa? Since I had already obtained the Fa, and I can achieve consummation by practicing Dafa, what am I afraid of? Was I afraid of losing this human skin? As a Dafa practitioner, is the difference between “life” and “death” whether or not I have a human body? Humans consider human life as being alive. Without the human body one is considered dead. To genuine Dafa practitioners, losing the human flesh body does not mean much as long as one can validate the Fa and save sentient beings. After I recognized this, I truly felt the attachment of fear disintegrate. My righteous thoughts were strengthened and I decided to see the head of the 610 Office and clarify the truth face-to-face.
One day I invited the head of the 610 Office out and clarified the truth to him for over three hours, from practicing Dafa and being a good person to the CCP-staged Tiananmen Square “self-immolation” to the brutal persecution of Dafa practitioners I saw in the evil den, etc. Nobody had clarified the truth to him like that before. He nodded while listening to me. He recognized that Falun Dafa was good and understood that Dafa practitioners are good people who are trying to be good. The change in his understanding gave hope to his future life. The old forces saw me stepping out and getting rid of the attachment of fear, and stopped controlling the staff members from the 610 Office to interfere with me.
Letting go of the mindset towards getting old, illness and death
A decade after obtaining the Fa, I still could not let go of the mindset of getting old, illness and death. I had always thought that I was getting old and did not have much time, so I had to seize the time to study the Fa and practice cultivation. I did not have enough confidence for validating the Fa, and I especially did not want to get involved in technical stuff. I often told younger practitioners, “If I could go back five years, I would be able to do such and such.” It was really the situation of “the Appearance Stems from the Mind.” As I thought of myself as being old, I really became old. My work unit asked me to hand in a photo. Looking at that photo, I was shocked to see how old I had become! Fellow practitioners noticed that my cultivation attitude was not right and reminded me: Illness and death are ordinary human states. You should deny it and should not admit it. Master also stated in the Fa:
“This practice of ours really counts as a practice of nature and longevity cultivation.” “Your body will show signs of returning to youth, returning gradually and transforming gradually.” (Zhuan Falun)
Thinking it over, wasn't I holding onto the mindset of getting old, illness and death and would not let go of it? Was I not acknowledging the arrangement of the old forces? That was not right. I had to reverse that concept and let my body return to the state of youth. With this thought, my body immediately changed. I felt light in my body movements and could walk quickly. I became energetic and youthful.
Participating in coordination work as a whole body
I remember before July 20, 1999 (when the persecution began), for some reason there was some change with the coordinator for our local practice site. They asked me to assume the responsibility. I worried a lot and was afraid that I might not be competent. Before July 20, all fellow practitioners in our city went to the municipal government to appeal for justice for Falun Gong. After returning home, our local police station set up a brainwashing session for Dafa practitioners and claimed that “Falun Gong is banned and no appeal is allowed.” In order to safeguard Dafa and resist the evil, practitioners posted banners reading “Falun Dafa is good” and “Truthfulness-Benevolence-Forbearance is good” on the electric poles along the roads and trees at our local intersections, using this method to resist the CCP's illegal ban of Falun Gong. That event deterred the local authorities and made them particularly nervous. Later, as a result of practitioners having the attachment of happiness and being slack with security, the evil took advantage of our loophole, which led to more than 20 local practitioners being arrested. Four of them were sent to a forced labor camp. I was one of them.
After the forced labor camp term expired, I returned home. I had developed a very strong attachment of fear. I did not dare and was not willing to do anything outside of my home. I wanted to find a practitioner who studied the Fa well, was more capable than I, but who was not being monitored by the authorities, to assume the workload as a local coordinator. That was using a human mentality to view this issue, and it was not based on the Fa. As a result, it was against my will. Everything in the Fa-validation period is arranged by our Master. How could I rearrange it?
Around 2007, fellow practitioner Ding told me, “Practitioner A came here from another area to do business and wants to find a place to live. He has not found an appropriate place yet. He is very worried.” I replied, “Are you sure that he is a practitioner?” Ding said, “I met with him twice. I feel that he deals with things from the standpoint of the Fa.” Because I had a spare room, I wanted to help this practitioner. I told Ding to contact practitioner A. Two days later, I met with practitioner A. I don't know why but it seemed that I had met him before. Practitioner A had a very clear understanding of the Fa. I felt much better.
Two days later, practitioner A and I met again, and we exchanged our understandings. The content and scope of our conversation was very different compared to our first talk. From talking, I learned that practitioner A did coordination before he came to our area. Practitioner A hoped to work with me to try and form a whole body among local practitioners as soon as possible. I felt very happy and realized that this was arranged by our great Master. Dear Master, thank you. Thank you for being so benevolent to our local practitioners and sentient beings, and finally letting my wish come true.
Later the two of us had many talks. I introduced Practitioner A to our local situation. I could tell that he was worried about us. I suggested that he become the local coordinator. He said he would listen to Master's arrangement and play it by ear, as he was not so familiar with the local practitioners and environment. He suggested we find several local practitioners who were more capable and form a six-to-seven person Fa study group to pave the way for overall coordination work. I agreed.
Although I supported the idea to set up a Fa study group, I did not want to attend since the attachment of fear hindered me. Practitioner A said, “I was also persecuted by the evil. I also have the attachment of fear. But I felt that only by integrating into the whole body, would I be able to improve quickly.” Then he began talking about how he got rid of the attachment of fear from the standpoint of the Fa. Master said,
“Even if a Dafa cultivator truly casts off his human skin during the persecution, what awaits him is still Consummation. At the same time, no attachment or fear could possibly enable you to reach Consummation. And any attachment of fear is itself a barrier that prevents you from reaching Consummation, and is also a factor in your being "reformed" toward the evil side and in your betrayal.” (“Dafa is Indestructible”, from Essentials for Further Advancement II)
From that standpoint, I understood that I could no longer avoid the attachment of fear. I must break through the test. I attended the group Fa study. That Fa study group later became our first local coordination group.
Four years have passed since I started to be in this coordination group. During the process of the past four years, although we had arguments and conflicts, we also exposed various attachments, we all looked inside while studying the Fa well, and cultivated ourselves well. We tried our best to have a better overall body, and coordinated with each other as a whole body. Four years of working together made each practitioner in our group become mature. It can be said that we have less attachment to fighting, showing off, less attachment to ourselves, and fewer conflicts. We think about others when encountering issues. We have fewer disagreements.
Now, not only do we have a big coordination group in our local area, we also formed the basic structure for various regional and small group coordination teams. We have data centers everywhere, and also set up several Fa-validation project groups. Everyone is trying to contribute their best effort in saving sentient beings. Fellow practitioners study the Fa together and share experiences on how to coordinate well with each other. Everyone is doing their best, performing their duties. We reached the state that when we are gathered together, we can form a whole body. When we are separated, we can act as a particle.
In recent years, since the whole body has coordinated well, the state of local practitioners also has undergone a big change. For instance, due to the attachment of fear, and being afraid of retaliation, the evil in our region was never exposed. After overall coordination and studying Master's articles related to practitioners' attachment of fear, we began to understand that Dafa practitioners should take the Fa as the teacher and must catch up with Master's Fa-rectification process, and expose the evil, as exposing the evil is itself eliminating the evil and saving sentient beings. At first we were doing this under pressure, and afterwards the evil had a strong reaction. But we were not intimidated as we knew that there was nothing wrong with firmly believing in our Master and Dafa. We should not be afraid of anything since we have our Master. As a result, we did better and better. The evil was like an eggplant that shriveled up after a hard frost. We realized that daring to expose the evil really scared the evil. Whether it was the 610 Office or the staff members from the police station, eventually no one wanted to come forward to harass or persecute Dafa practitioners.
With consistent group Fa study, our xinxing was thoroughly upgraded and the whole body experienced a huge change. For example, for a long time our region had a very prominent issue with “not cultivating one's speech.” Some practitioners had an attachment to showing off and curiosity; they would call out a person's name during practitioners' exchange of cultivation experiences and also liked to hear rumors. They enjoyed tracing the source of our materials, etc. Without being asked, they would give their opinions about a practitioner having the attachment of fear, or “not being in the state of a cultivator,” or “as a cultivator, there is nothing to be afraid of among practitioners,” etc. Now practitioners realize that cultivating one's speech is not only an issue of one's xinxing, it also involves security issues. Through communicating with each other we reached a consensus. First we communicated from each small Fa study group by guiding practitioners on the importance of cultivating one's speech and also the side effect of not cultivating one's speech. We downloaded some experience sharing articles from the Clearwisdom website about cultivating speech and the security issues, to provide a reference for everyone.
Practitioners from the coordination group shared these ideas in their small groups. During the discussions, practitioners said, “We did not pay much attention to cultivating speech and thought it was just an issue of gossiping. We did not know that it had a great hidden danger. If we do not pay attention to cultivating our speech, we would be helping the evil. We should try to control our speech in the future.” Practitioners realized that we now have a totally different cultivation environment compared with that of before July 20, 1999. Some stories should not even be spread, let alone investigating them. We should get rid of the attachment of curiosity. It is not only for the safety of the whole body, but it is also a thing that a cultivator must seriously deal with – because the words that we speak, good or bad, all carry energy and will have some result. We all understand the harm of not cultivating speech, and we have had great change in this aspect.
While coordinating with other practitioners, in order to let other practitioners who were coordinators have enough time to study the Fa and do the exercises, I took on a lot of specific tasks. One practitioner who was a coordinator also took care of computer technology which used up a lot of his time. Many times he could not come to regular Fa study and practice. There were no other local practitioners who had the technical skills, but I had a little computer knowledge. Therefore I asked Master to strengthen me so I could take care of that project. After I had the righteous thought, I told that practitioner: “You can give me the task of installing computer systems and related maintenance work so you will have more time for Fa study and doing the exercises.” That practitioner was very touched. At first I was not good at computer skills and I encountered a lot of difficulties, but with Master's strengthening, now it is no problem for me to handle normal installation and maintenance tasks.
A practitioner who was also a coordinator took care of a lot of tasks for the coordination of the local group. He has very good skills in maintaining printers. He can fix almost anything related to printers. Maintaining normal functioning of our data center took up a lot of his time. In order to reduce his pressure, I would carry out his good suggestions. I remember Master saying:
“You probably remember something I've said to you often: a Dafa disciple should consider others first in everything he does.” (“Teaching the Fa at the 2002 Fa Conference in Boston”)
Therefore in the days after that, we worked very smoothly with each other.
Studying the Fa well; Getting rid of the confusion of sentimentality
While other coordinators and I walked steadily in assisting our Master in validating the Fa, and saving sentient beings, my wife passed away suddenly, which made me stand still. Once again I fell into wandering and after several tries I finally returned to my previous road as a coordinator.
It was in 2010. My wife (a fellow practitioner) suddenly died of illness in a very short time. I was trapped in human sentimentality and could not escape. We had lived together forty years and especially during those days when the evil was persecuting me, she endured and gave up so much... During those days after her death, I was immersed in the affectionate memory of my wife. My brain seemed to be watching movies, from our wedding day till the day she passed away; one scene after another appeared before me. My heart was filled with guilt and remorse. I felt guilty that I did not take good care of my wife and failed to meet my responsibilities. I felt remorse for not studying the Fa well and not cultivating myself well. I did not lead the way for my wife in cultivation practice and let her lose the chance to return to her genuine home with our Master. When my wife was still alive, I lived a comfortable life. When my wife passed away, what was left for me was a life of loneliness and pain. If I were not practicing Dafa, I would not have any interest in living in this world.
During that time, it was really hard to live. While in uncertainty, it was our Master who hinted to me and helped me suddenly remember,
“The Fa can break all attachments, the Fa can destroy all evil, the Fa can shatter all lies, and the Fa can strengthen righteous thoughts.” (“Drive Out Interference” from Essentials for Further Advancement)
I knew that only Dafa could help me get rid of my attachment, and only Dafa could help me get rid of the disturbance. With the help of righteous thoughts, I endured the distress and insisted on studying the Fa and watching Master's Fa lectures – three to four lectures a day. One, two, and three times... then I would listen to Master's Fa Teaching Given to the Australian Practitioners over and over again. I also listened to Minghui Radio about Millarepa's Cultivation Story many times. When I was in a peaceful state, I would read the Zhuan Falun and all the new articles written by our Master. If there was interference, I would read aloud to strengthen my mind and cause the interference to have no affect. The more I studied the Fa, the more I became focused, and the more I became relaxed. I truly felt that each cell of my body was filled with Dafa's energy.
“Cultivation is something you do right in the thick of tribulations. They’ll test whether you can sever your emotions and desires, and they’ll see if you can take them lightly. If you’re attached to those things you won’t be able to finish your cultivation. Everything has its cause. Why can human beings be human? It’s exactly because humans have emotion. People just live for emotion. The affection among family members, the love between a man and woman, love for parents, feelings, friendships, doing things for friendship’s sake—no matter where you go you can’t get out of emotion. You want to do something, you don’t want to do something, you’re happy, you’re unhappy, you love something, you hate something—everything in society comes completely from emotion. If you don’t sever emotion, you won’t be able to cultivate. But if you do break out of emotion, nobody can affect you, and ordinary attachments won’t be able to sway you. What replaces it is compassion, which is more noble.” (Zhuan Falun)
Although I had studied this paragraph countless times, I had never felt the Fa principle so clearly and so compassionately. Ordinary people have a very strong attachment of sentimentality. It is also a cultivator's tribulation, a trial that a cultivator has difficulty getting past.
I became determined to get rid of this sentimentality, not be driven by it, and step out of it. From the Fa, I understood that being husband and wife is only one lifetime's relationship. When a person dies, the relationship is over. Upon death, one does not know who he/she was before or after this lifetime. Only by letting go of sentimentality and not being bothered by it, will one be able to step out of the dream, and then one will be able to practice cultivation on the road arranged by our Master. From the viewpoint of cultivation, my wife was also a person who obtained the Fa. Cultivators should not be attached to life and death. Moreover, my wife firmly believed in our Master and Dafa while she was in the ordeal of life and death and she was not attached to her personal safety. She knew very clearly that her life was in danger and that she might lose her flesh body. But death did not shake her firm belief in our Master and Dafa. To the last moment, she had no regrets or complaints, neither was she pessimistic. Fifteen minutes before her death, she was reciting Master's Lunyu with fellow practitioners. She even corrected a practitioner who recited some words incorrectly. She peacefully passed away while she was reciting Master's Fa with a smile on her face. Practitioners were pleased to see that she could firmly believe in our Master and Dafa from beginning to end. In the meantime, they shed tears of sorrow and regret for her death at a young age.
When my wife was alive, I did not need to worry about any of those big or small chores at home. After she passed away, I could not handle anything. Nobody took care of the cooking, laundry, or cleaning the house. The most bitter thing was the loneliness and solitude I felt. Someone wanted to find a new wife for me. From the viewpoint of ordinary people, I needed such a person at home. But I could not do that. Local practitioners were also very concerned about my situation and tried to help me from the standpoint of the Fa. One practitioner did not think I should find another wife. He said, “Fa-rectification has reached the last stage. How can you still have such a thought? Pursuing the life of an ordinary person? Isn't it an attachment of looking for comfort?” What that practitioner said made sense to me. However, living a life among ordinary people, one might look at it like he said. I was a little tempted and my firm mindset became not-so-firm. But I thought to myself: If our Master was standing right in front of me, and I asked him about this issue, how would our Master answer my question? Therefore I decided that I should get rid of the attachment of looking for comfort and completely focus my energy and mind on how to do the three things well.
Now I really understand that,
“Those ordeals and the suffering, no matter how great or harsh you find them to be, are good things, because they take place solely on account of your cultivation. A person can eliminate karma and shed human attachments when he goes through ordeals, and through ordeals he can improve.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2008 New York Conference”)
Today I am convinced that on the road to return to my genuine self, nothing can stop me. Thank you, Master!