Learning to Cultivate
(Clearwisdom.net) In the past, I studied the Fa every day, but I did not understand the relationship of gain and loss or the principle of how they counteract each other in the universe. I simply looked for what was useful to me based on human thinking. My understanding of cultivation was very obscure. I was very excited after seeing the many benefits given by Master. When I read, “You have gained four ways in one shot.” (Zhuan Falun), I considered myself a practitioner. When studying the Fa, I regarded myself as a practitioner. When facing hardships or tests, however, I forgot that I was a practitioner. I could not let go of my human attachments and I felt very hurt if I lost anything. I even thought that it was unfair. Although I studied the Fa about “You have gained four ways in one shot,” I did not gain anything and did not truly obtain the Fa. Studying the Fa does not mean obtaining the Fa. Why does it not guarantee obtaining the Fa? Because when I felt excited and happy while reading about “You have gained four ways,” I was selfish since it fulfilled my desire and pursuit. I only saw that I would “obtain,” but when the tests and hardships came, I faced loss and felt the pain. This is in conflict with what I thought, so I did not want to let go and did not want to feel the pain. Then of course, I could not obtain anything. Before Xuanzang went to India for the Buddhist scriptures, he had already studied lots of scriptures. But the process of traveling to India was the real process for him to obtain the teachings. After he went through 81 hardships, he indeed obtained the teachings. His firm determination to travel to India led him to go through hardships and tests and he became a divine being. So behind “obtaining,” there was sacrifice, there was pain, and most importantly there was also belief.
In 1997, when I first started cultivation, I did not know what belief was, what cultivation was, how to cultivate, or how to look inward for attachments. These were all abstract concepts to me, and I could not connect them with myself. Since I always studied the Fa, I was elected to do Dafa work. I was used to checking on others. Practitioners also constantly complained to me about the problems of others. I did not study the Fa in depth, so I was not sure what was a human notion or what were attachments. So, along with these practitioners, I looked for others' attachments. I always talked about the attachments of others either in public or in private. I looked outward and tried to fix others. It was impossible for me to check myself to see if I had the same attachments, nor was it possible for me to evaluate my every thought and action against the standard of the Fa. I did not understand that, no matter how much Fa I studied, those were all for me to guide myself, not to guide others or criticize others. I became a director of the neighborhood. For a long time, I was buried by human affairs and human notions, which severely interfered with my Fa study and doing the exercises and hindered the improvement of our group.
Gradually, after I truly improved myself with Fa study, I figured out what the police should take care of, what the supervisors should take care, and what I myself should be responsible for. However, I still did not understand how to get rid of human attachments.
Before July 20, 1999, I had already started to experience hardships. I was arrested three times. The first time, I was released with my righteous thoughts. The second time, because of my human notions, I was “reformed.” The third time, I had learned a lesson, and I was released with strong righteous thoughts. I was jailed for several years, however, I still did not understand how to cultivate myself. Whenever I encountered big conflicts, I guided myself with the Fa that I had memorized. Then I had righteous thoughts and was able to make a breakthrough. For example, I did not sign the three statements or leave my fingerprints. I refused to cooperate when I was interrogated. I did not report to the police, nor did not I write anything they wanted me to write. I did not accept physical restraints, and I did not do the slave labor. However, after I had overcome all these hurdles, I did not look inward, and the success of my eventual release covered up those attachments that I should have gotten rid of. These attachments were as high as mountains, and they always attracted the evil, so I was in hardship for a long time. Even for the final steps—to not sign the documents or leave my fingerprints—I needed righteous thoughts to make it. After I was released, I thought that I had escaped with righteous thoughts, so I was kind of proud of myself. But once I studied the Fa in depth, and compared myself with the Fa and other practitioners, I was so ashamed that I had so many human attachments. I was released because Master protected me for my righteous thoughts. But I did not look inward or cultivate myself. Some of my attachments were temporarily given up because of the harsh environments, but I did not truly get rid of them. Without cultivating myself, how could I be called a cultivator?
For several months, I stayed at home, studied the Fa, and looked inward. I thought about every step that I went through and finally I figured out what were human notions, what were divine thoughts, what were righteous thoughts, what were the thoughts arranged by the old forces, and what were my attachments. I realized I needed to make choices. I needed to choose what to say and what not to say. I also needed to choose from what I heard about and decide what to accept and what to abandon. The difference between a human being and a divine being gradually became clear. This laid down a good foundation for me to get rid of human notions. I deeply understood the principle of forces counteracting each other and the principle of “gain and loss.” I understood the sacrifice and pain behind “gain.” When others or I myself found my attachments, I did not feel the same as before anymore. In the past, I either ignored it or covered it up. Sometimes I wanted to get rid of it and sent forth righteous thoughts every day, asking Master to help me. But when it was time for me to sacrifice, I was reluctant. To give up certain attachments, sometimes we need to endure a lot of pain, even with the attachment to our own lives. As cultivators or believers, we must achieve it, otherwise, we are just researchers.
In the story of “Yugong Moving Mountains,” Yugong did not avoid the two giant mountains called “Taihang” and “Wangwu.” These were the two big mountains in the heart of Yugong. He chose to face the mountains and was determined to remove them. The determined efforts of Yugong and his descendants moved the heavenly god, who sent two divine beings to carry away the two mountains. I also determined to face my attachments. I will never stop looking inward and checking my every thought. I am determined to sacrifice, and determined to endure the pain. Then, no matter how big the attachment, Master will always help to take it away little by little.
Our karma is like a mountain, and Master has already removed most of it. The rest of our karma is distributed at different levels on our path and is used to help us improve our xinxing. Master has already built the ladder for us to go to heaven. Every test or hardship is the retribution of our karma, which is also an opportunity for us to elevate ourselves. Master is taking us on a divine path. Human beings and divine beings only differ by one thought. On the path of divine beings, there are no tests or hardships. It is too difficult for a human to take a divine path. Only by learning how to cultivate ourselves until there is not a single human notion left can we break the bounds of being human and return with Master.