(Minghui.org) This article aims to shed some light on the difficulties of breaking through lust, particularly from a Western perspective.
Barrier to My Cultivation
I am a Caucasian, 26-year-old male who was born in the United States and have lived there my whole life. I was raised Mormon, which is a type of Christianity, and I had little Eastern influence in my life. I found a copy of Zhuan Falun at the local library when I was 14 (around 2001). I read the whole book quickly, and from that point forward, I always believed in Master Li's teachings. My cultivation was not diligent, however.
I have always struggled with the attachment of lust. Whenever I'd get serious about cultivating again, I'd improve always for about the same amount of time and be able to resist this attachment to lust a few times, but then I'd start failing the test again.
After I failed once, I'd regret it, but then I'd fail it again – even while full-well knowing that I'd regret it after – again and again. Eventually, I'd start to grow tired of feeling regretful all the time, but nothing ever changing, so I would stop regretting it and lose confidence in my cultivation entirely.
It seemed that I could always cultivate well for a short period until I hit this “lust barrier.” Every time I hit this barrier, my cultivation would be derailed, and I'd eventually fall all the way to the bottom and give up. The time in between giving up and trying to cultivate again has become less and less each time, so I am improving in that sense. But I know that to make real progress, I'm going to have to really break through this barrier that's always held me down.
Master says in Zhuan Falun:
“...everyone has to go through this test. We start our cultivation from the level of ordinary people, and the first step is to pass this test...”
Part of the reason for my inability to break through this barrier was that it was always hard for me to understand why certain sexual activities were bad. I felt like these things were pleasurable, they didn't harm anybody, and, if it involved a partner, it wasn't bad if both partners consented. I knew that Master didn't approve of this behavior and said it was sinful, but I couldn't see why.
I was viewing things from an ordinary person's standpoint. I knew at the time that I needed to view things from a higher standpoint, yet I couldn't seem to be able to. The following are few things I've discovered about the attachment of lust from the last few days of Fa study, reading Minghui, and talking to fellow practitioners.
Westerners Have No Concept of “Losing Vital Essence”
A fellow Chinese practitioner told me that the Chinese have always considered ejaculating to be releasing one's precious vital essence. They believe that ejaculating too much will cause one to grow weak and ill and shorten one's life. He says that this belief is so common that even non-cultivators have long acknowledged this, but the non-cultivating answer to this is to “recover” the lost essence with herbal remedies.
Westerners, to my knowledge, have no concept of this. Westerners don't think that one's lifespan will be shortened from being oversexed. They don't see semen as a precious vital essence, but simply a biological fluid that can be used to impregnate a female. They don't view it as a “life force,” nor do they see any value in “preserving it.”
I understood a whole lot more, after I heard this, Master's words from Zhuan Falun:
“As soon as you’re excited you might discharge and it’ll become a reality. Now think about it, in our practice the qi of blood and essence is used to cultivate longevity—you can’t just discharge like that all the time.”
Lust and Spirit Possession
In one of my periods of sexual misconduct, I met a girl who believed her “spirit eye” was open. She told me she could see that she had three fox spirits around or on her at all times, and she could really see a lot of things.
Since I hadn't been actively practicing Falun Dafa for a long time, I was impressed and believed a lot of the things she said she saw, and I was attracted to her.
When I picked up Zhuan Falun and seriously studied it again, I enlightened to what was going on.
Master said in the section “Your Thoughts Have to be Proper” when talking about possessed people:
“Now of course, if you want to be friends with them, it’s no big deal as long as you can make sure you don’t accept or take anything from them and you’re just normal friends with them. But if that person really has something on his body, that’s really bad, and it’s best you don’t have any contact with him.” (Zhuan Falun)
I realized that this girl was possessed, and this is what gave her the ability to have sexual appeal. In fact, in Western society, a common term for “sexy” is “foxy.” When I realized this, I ceased communication with her.
This made me wonder about the subject of spirit possession.
In Zhuan Falun, Master says:
“But I’ll tell you, that animal isn’t doing it without a purpose, it turns out, and it doesn’t give you something for nothing. There’s a law in this universe: no loss, no gain. What does the animal get? I talked about this earlier, didn’t I? It’s trying to get that bit of essence in your body to cultivate into a human form, so it just gathers the essence from the human body.”
“So what happens? If it leaves your body not too late your limbs will feel like lead, and you’ll be like that for good, because it drained you of too much of your essence. But if it leaves your body late, you will become a vegetable and lie in bed for the rest of your life hanging on by a thread.”
A practitioner told me yesterday that in Chinese folklore there are stories of fox spirits who cultivate for many years and gain the ability to transform themselves into human form. Some of them would transform themselves into beautiful women who would seduce men and have sex with them over and over again until the men died. At that point, the fox would toss the man's body away like it was leftover scraps and move on to the next man.
Hasn't this be explained in the Fa? I feel like I can now see why lust is bad when viewed from a high level. The “demon of lust,” to my understanding, might be an animal in another dimension, or it might be karma, thought-karma, or any being that uses lustful thoughts to extract your essence.
Lust as a “Hunting Cat of Prey”
A wildcat, when hungry, will taunt and attack a creature that it thinks it can eat. If a person is being eyed by a wildcat, this beast of prey will glare at the person and appear very formidable and intimidating. However, once the cat has killed its prey and begins to eat, it won't even glance at a nearby person. Once it gets what it wants, it has no interest at all in anything else.
In my understanding, lust is just like this cat of prey. If, when we are being tempted, we give it what it wants – our essence – it will immediately leave us alone for a while. To break the attachment to lust is to not feed this creature, which acts like a parasite and sucks our essence out of us, so that it starves and eventually dies.
I realized that I could always resist the urge of lust a few times in the past because this creature would grow weaker each time. However, then, when it was really about to starve to death, it would use everything it had and become frantic. Then it would be seemingly hard to resist it again, and I would give in. Of course! It will do anything it can to save its life.
Confessing to a Fellow Practitioner Helped Me Break Through
The understandings I have shared in this article came about after I took heed to what Master said in “Teaching and Explaining the Fa at the Metropolitan New York Conference”:
“Sometimes when I see the things that you do it really makes me sad. Yet if I were to really give up on you, that would really pain me, too. I really don't want to abandon you just like that. But you just won't strive to improve! You just won't perform honorably! And you're even tarnishing the reputation of Dafa and doing things that are even undeserving of the title of "human being," yet you still call yourself a Dafa disciple! Let me put it this way, what I said just now is for all of those who have done things that are undeserving of the status of Dafa disciples. You'd better tell people about those things openly. That way, many things of yours will be eliminated, and at the same time it will make you really strengthen your resolve [to correct your behavior].”
I called and told a practitioner about my behavior, and it did eliminate many things, and it did truly strengthen my resolve to correct my behavior, as well as give me a higher level of understanding as to why lust is bad, so that I could correct my behavior.
I hope this helps other practitioners. Please point out anything inappropriate.