(Minghui.org) I have improved my character in many regards since taking up Falun Dafa cultivation practice, but I always struggled on the issue of lust and sexual desire. These things weighed me down, and after repeated failures, I would lose momentum and start failing other tests as well.
Master said in Zhuan Falun:
“We start our cultivation from the level of ordinary people, and the first step is to pass this test.”
I searched everywhere for an answer to this, both outwardly and inwardly. Why couldn't I find the answer when looking inward? I looked inward and saw the same thing every time: when tempted, I didn't want to let go of this attachment. However, I did want to do so before and after failing the test.
Master didn't solve this problem for me, despite my hoping for years that He would. Actually, Master addressed this in Zhuan Falun.
“Or to put it another way, when you choose your own path, when you decide what you want, or when you’re trying to get something—nobody will stop you.” (Zhuan Falun)
My problem was that I wanted my attachment at that time. The question on my mind was, "How could I make myself want the right thing?" I wanted to want the right thing, but didn't know how to do it. I had been memorizing Zhuan Falun for a few weeks by then, and knew this was good, but still I couldn't overcome these attachments.
Breaking Through with Intensified Righteous Thoughts
I decided to try something else – sending forth righteous thoughts until I had to get ready to leave for Fa study – this left me 45 to 50 minutes to do so. I had never done this before. I had sent forth righteous thoughts on occasion before, up to a few times per day, but I either did less than the full 15 minutes or, at most, the full 15 minutes. I once tried to go “above and beyond” and did it for another few minutes, but that was the extent of it throughout my entire cultivation.
I planned to attack my notions and attachments that were connected to lust and sexual desire from every angle that I could think of and destroy them on all possible fronts. I can't see with my Celestial Eye, so I was going to find every facet of these attachments and notions, lock onto them, and concentrate on saying the Chinese word “mie” (eliminate) to eliminate them.
After 20 minutes or so, I started to uncover more of these attachments than I'd wanted to. When this happened, not only did I identify them, but they began to tempt me – while I was still sending forth righteous thoughts!
Master's words flashed into my mind right away:
“My Law Bodies will help him remove most of that thought-karma. This situation is pretty common. When it comes up, it all depends on whether the person can overcome these bad thoughts. When you can stay steadfast we can eliminate karma.” (Zhuan Falun)
When I focused my mind on staying steadfast, the thoughts would disappear. But, as I continued to dig up more of these attachments, I would get tempted again in a different way, and would have to remind myself to stay steadfast again. This repeated several times. I sensed that I was truly cleansing myself of those dark substances.
Improving My Understanding
Part of my problem with lust was a lack of understanding as to why lust is bad for us. I knew Master said it was, but I didn't rationally understand why. I wasn't looking for the answer to this while sending forth righteous thoughts, but after I had cleared away a considerable amount of bad thoughts, Master's Fa popped into my mind:
“The way ordinary people see it, though, it’s correct. But it’s not truly correct. Only when you look at things from a high level are they truly correct.” (Zhuan Falun)
I suddenly realized that lust was bad because it was selfish in nature. It was about me. But it seemed correct and normal because it is correct when viewed from an ordinary standpoint.
“In the ordinary world there’s marital relations between husband and wife, and only with this can human beings procreate. This is how mankind goes forward. There’s emotion in society, so for ordinary people these things are just normal.” (Zhuan Falun)
“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)
I realized that I should view issues like this from a selfless standpoint. Compassion is a higher thing. When viewed from a high level, a selfless standpoint, lust is wrong because it is selfish – and this view is truly correct.
In Essentials for Further Advancement, Master said:
“Be aware: I am not asking you to intentionally do something. I am only trying to make you understand the principles of the Fa so that you will have a clear understanding of this.”
After this intense period of sending forth righteous thoughts, eliminating thought karma, and raising my understanding of the attachment of lust, I had the most amazing Fa study experience. For the first time, I felt the atmosphere was serene and compassionate. I had obtained the Fa more than 12 years ago, but I never felt this serene atmosphere before. I felt full of energy, and within an hour of Fa study, I had enlightened to many principles all at once.
I feel these principles are related, so I want to share them here.
Doing All Three Things Well
Why was it that sending forth righteous thoughts for a long time was the key to my advancing in cultivation? I believe it is because although this is supposed to be a major part of our cultivation, I had failed to take it seriously in the past.
Master told us to do the three things well. He said:
“I'll mainly talk about three things. The first one is that everyone should make a priority of Fa-study... The second thing is that we need to make a priority of clarifying the truth... The third thing is your sending forth righteous thoughts. These are the three things that Dafa disciples need to do at present.” ("Touring North America to Teach the Fa")
I realized all at once that it is not by coincidence that there are three things that we must do and three words that can summarize the Buddha Fa.
“Up at an extremely high level you can summarize it in just three words: True, Good, Endure.” (Zhuan Falun)
Making Fa study a priority is the first thing. We know this is so that we can cultivate ourselves well. What is the first word summarizing the universe's nature? Zhen, or True. What is cultivation? Returning to our original, true self.
The second thing is to make a priority of clarifying the truth. Master explained that this is to save sentient beings. What is the second word describing the universe's nature? Shan, or Good.
Master said in Zhuan Falun:
“Cultivation of Good can develop a heart of great compassion, and once this heart of great compassion comes out you can see that all sentient beings are suffering, so you’ll be filled with one wish: to save all sentient beings.”
The third thing is sending forth righteous thoughts. We know this is to eliminate interference and assist Master with Fa-Rectification – to eliminate the evil poison so that the goodness is everlasting. What is the third word describing the universe's nature? Ren, or Endure.
In "What is Forbearance (Ren)?"in Essentials for Further Advancement, Master said:
“Forbearance is the key to improving one’s xinxing.”
Master also said in Zhuan Falun:
“Our Falun Dafa discipline, the Law Wheel Great Way, goes by the highest standard of the universe, to be True, Good, and Endure, and we cultivate these all together.”
I realized that I hadn't improved before because I had only paid attention to Fa study and, sometimes, truth clarification. I thought that I needed to study the Fa better and more often before I would be “ready” to send forth righteous thoughts and clarify the truth well.
I also enlightened to the fact that the three things are not separate things, and neither are they just interconnected; rather, each must contain the others.
In "A Brief Explanation of Shan" in Essentials for Further Advancement, Master said:
“Dafa is in perfect harmony: If one separates the three characters of 'Zhen-Shan-Ren,' each still fully contains Zhen-Shan-Ren. This is because matter is composed of microscopic matter, which is in turn made up of even more microscopic matter—this goes on and on until the end. Therefore, Zhen consists of Zhen-Shan-Ren, Shan consists of Zhen-Shan-Ren, and Ren also consists of Zhen-Shan-Ren. Isn’t the Dao School’s cultivating Zhen the cultivation of Zhen-Shan-Ren? Isn’t the Buddha School’s cultivating Shan also the cultivation of Zhen-Shan-Ren? In fact, they only differ in their superficial forms.”
The first thing – Fa study and cultivation – contains the other two. We are returning to our original, true selves by learning the Fa and cultivating in it. By our eliminating selfish thoughts and cultivating compassionate thoughts, we will clarify the truth better in all circumstances – good, True thoughts will frighten the evil and leave positive impressions on everyone we come into contact with.
Though the people we interact with may not realize it at the surface from our specific
words, they will once again believe and think that the principles of True, Good, and Endure are good – and thus they will be saved. The thoughts we have at every moment of our lives will be righteous – in essence, we will constantly be sending forth righteous thoughts. And, when we send forth righteous thoughts, we are also cultivating and saving sentient beings by eliminating the evil that prevents them being saved.
When I shared this experience with practitioners in the local Fa-study group, they all clapped. I felt encouraged and knew that I had truly made progress in cultivation.
We must do all three things well.
This is all just my understanding. If there is anything incorrect, please point it out.