Thoughts about Illusions of Sickness Karma
(Minghui.org) Recently many practitioners from our local area have experienced “sickness karma.” Different understandings and approaches have emerged from this situation. Some people have developed additional human attachments after not being able to clear the interference over a long period of time. I hope that this article can help to reach a clearer understanding of this issue.
Actually, if “sickness karma” occurs to a group of practitioners in a certain location, it means that the local practitioners have not met the standards of the Fa on this issue. In other words, practitioners as a one body do not have a clear understanding of this issue. Therefore, the problem serves as a reminder and a “stick warning.” If we can elevate our understanding, we can turn a bad thing into something good.
I think there are three different groups of people that need to be taken into consideration when we look at this situation. They include the individual practitioner with “sickness karma,” the family members of the practitioners with the sickness karma that are themselves practitioners, and other fellow practitioners. There are different requirements and approaches for different situations in cultivation. However, one common thread is to unconditional look inward. I will illustrate my understandings by talking about the three groups of people I just mentioned.
1. Practitioners Should Look Inward
a. Steadfast Righteousness
How do we react when fellow practitioners experience “sickness karma?” What is our first thought? Some people may think: “What is the loophole this time?” Is this thinking wrong? There must be some omissions that evil has taken advantage of for this sickness karma to take hold. However, how can something be that absolute? For example, suppose someone falls into a pool of deep water. Our first priority is to quickly get him out of the water, not to understand why he fell in.
b. Rectify Our Understanding
Practitioners need to rectify their own understandings and thoughts in order to send forth strong righteous thoughts and completely negate the evil persecution inflicted on fellow practitioners.
This opinion has been popular in my area for a while. When fellow practitioners experience interference, whoever has heard about it or seen it needs to look inward. Once all other practitioners have looked inward, the issue should be resolved. The interference should disappear. For example, those who have enlightened on an evil path will rectify themselves. Those who have been abducted will be able to break out of the prison. Those experiencing interference from “sickness karma” will be relieved of their symptoms. But for the person experiencing the interference, it doesn't seem to matter [as much what other practitioners do] if they themselves look inward. Also, people call it “looking outward” when someone talks about problems they have seen in others.
Looking inward is Master's Fa and Master's requirement to cultivators. Looking within should be done by all practitioners. When we see fellow practitioners having problems, we should look inward and rectify ourselves. The practitioner experiencing the problem should look inward even more so. Can there be resolution for the practitioner who is being interfered with, when only others look inward and elevate? How can we cultivate for others?
When disciples asked how to help fellow practitioners in tribulation, Master said:
“So as for how you can help the person, what you can do is, first off, to help him understand things from the Fa and improve. And another thing is to have all of you send righteous thoughts together, and do more of what a Dafa disciple should do to save sentient beings. All these things can help the person.” (“Explaining the Fa During the 2003 Lantern Festival at the U.S. West Fa Conference”)
Sending forth righteous thoughts alone doesn't solve the issue fundamentally.
“If he himself isn't rational, whatever we do amounts to nothing. Sending righteous thoughts can eliminate what's outside him but not what's inside his mind. Whatever a person wants to do comes from a single thought of his--it's he who decides if he wants something or not. When this situation occurs, I think there has to be a knot in his mind that stems from attachments. If he's really not able to do it, you can go and help him. There's no problem with doing that. Try to help him understand things on the basis of the Fa-truths and by studying the Fa more.”(“Explaining the Fa During the 2003 Lantern Festival at the U.S. West Fa Conference”)
We should send forth righteous thoughts and look inward to purify ourselves when helping another person. We should also study the Fa with those who are experiencing the tribulation and share with one another to elevate together. This is the fundamental solution.
There is the opinion that other practitioners cannot talk about the shortcomings of practitioners who are experiencing a tribulation. Once the tribulation is talked about, it's similar to adding a bad substance into the practitioners' field and worsening their tribulation. The situation and the manner in which someone speaks, also needs to be taken into consideration. It is inappropriate to gossip about practitioners' problems behind their back. This is bad behavior even for ordinary people. When pointing out shortcomings in another person, we need to watch our tone of voice and our state of mind.
Master has taught us:
“Master will definitely have those come out and be affected in conflicts, and will for sure have everyone see that, and the goal will be to have them get rid of those. When you see one, you need to point it out to them. If you don't point it out that is because you have an attachment of fearing to offend others.” (Teaching the Fa at the 2004 International Fa Conference in New York”)
Master has also said:
“But let me give you an example: When Master sees the attachments of a person, he purposely exposes them to you and lets you see them so that you can point them out to that person. Will you then tell him about them? Since every one of you is cultivating Zhen-Shan-Ren, you should be a good person in every circumstance. If you see his shortcomings and see when he can't move upward, why not point them out to him kindly?” (“Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Canada”)
When we are aware of a fellow practitioner's problems and kindly point it out, we are fulfilling a requirement of the Fa while cultivating ourselves. But we shouldn't take doing this to the extreme. We cannot rely on others to point out our problems for us. Neither should we refuse to look inward amidst conflicts.
Master has given us clear instructions:
“I am not saying that you can't point out other people's problems. What I am saying is that the overall cultivation form of Dafa disciples has to be one where each person looks within! (Applause) The overall environment of Dafa disciples must not be one where people improve by criticizing and blaming each other! (Applause) So as your master, I can only encourage you to look within, and to, when problems arise, try to find your own shortcomings. If everyone could do this, that would be the best. When a person can't recognize an issue, of course it's not wrong for him to point it out. But when you point something out, it must be done with kind intentions. You are cultivating compassion, so you must have kind intentions. So you need to be mindful of both of these things and be able to do both. Then, I think, you will be able to resolve a lot of problems with ease.” (“Teaching the Fa in the City of Los Angeles”)
Oftentimes, fellow practitioners who are experiencing “sickness karma” do not take criticisms well. This is partly due to their weakened physical condition. Therefore, when we remind them of certain problems, we should act according to Master's Fa: “While working, your tone of voice, your kindheartedness, and your reasoning can change a person’s heart, whereas commands never could!” (“Clearheadedness” from Essentials for Further Advancement)
We should use positive words and be encouraging and hopeful. I think this is the power of kindness.
When helping others, we should also pay close attention to our zealotry, pursuit and impatience. Our local practitioners once added the thought of 'demanding the practitioner's immediate recovery' when sending forth righteous thoughts. I personally think that this demand was a manifestation of pursuit and impatience.
Master has said:
“No matter what happens, nobody should be affected inside. Each student should think only of giving help as a Dafa disciple as he's able, and there is nothing to get worked up about. Even if you can't help that person you should still face this issue with righteous thoughts. Continue to do whatever you are supposed to. Don't become attached to it by looking at it in a human way, don't make these problems worse in your minds, look very righteously at how it relates to everything else and don't think of it as being very important, and be very calm.” (“Teaching the Fa in San Francisco, 2005”)
When fellow practitioners display a good cultivation state, we should not become zealous. When their cultivation state is not so good, we should not be impatient. We shouldn't be affected by the upgrading or downgrading of a practitioners' superficial cultivation state. We must simply focus on what we should do, look inward, rectify ourselves, and cultivate ourselves well in the process. In this way, we are truly helping fellow practitioners.
2. Looking Inward for Family Members
Practitioners who are part of the same family have a huge responsibility to one another. They are in a key position to influence one another.
a. “Saving Face”
Some practitioners still worry that if others see them having problems over a long period time during cultivation, they will become a 'laughing stock'? Therefore, whenever the “sickness karma” issue occurs in a family, family members don't want to tell anyone. They simply send righteous thoughts and look inward at home. Normally, looking within and sending righteous thoughts advance our cultivation and are part of what we must do to uplift ourselves. However, when we look inward with a strong attachment to “saving face,” it is in fact, covering up our attachments.
Fellow practitioners' righteous thoughts are no doubt a big help for those experiencing a tribulation. However, family member of practitioners should be careful not to become dependent on the help of other practitioners by developing the attachment of dependence. When other practitioners come to send righteous thoughts, family members express their happiness. When they cannot make it, family members become desperate, hopeless, or even resentful.
We should be aware that every disciple has to do the three things well. We must harmonize our family and social environment because Dafa cultivation takes place in ordinary human society. Every one is very busy and has a lot of responsibilities. It is quite normal for someone to be unavailable. Whether practitioners are available to send forth righteous thoughts for another or not, as family members and cultivators, we should do well with what we should do.
c. Let Go of Emotions
When our family members experience “sickness karma,” it's very hard for practitioners to stay unaffected. Once a practitioner is affected, they will become emotional and take on the human perspective. Always working to stay clear of sentimentality is precisely the process a cultivator needs to go through during cultivation.
Master has given us tips:
“As cultivators, you should all be very clear on this, and you can't be mired in the kind of concept ordinary people have of being related to someone. Regard him as a sentient being and save him as you would any other sentient being. Then when you talk with him, the result will be different--guaranteed. Don't first think of him as family. When you instead talk to him as though he is someone to be saved, it will be different. In reality, the knowing side of his being is aware that, 'You and I are family in this life, but in my next life I will be in someone else's family.' The core of his being knows this. When you truly have righteous thoughts as you save him, his true thoughts will be able to tell, and he won't be mired in ordinary people's feelings anymore.” (“Teaching the Fa in the City of Los Angeles”)
I think that helping fellow practitioners with a “sickness karma” tribulation and clarifying the truth to relatives are similar because it helps us focus on our attachments to sentimentality. We must let go of ordinary people's emotions. Otherwise, we won't be able to truly help our fellow practitioners.
3. Looking Inward while Amidst Tribulation
a. Clear Understanding
Of course, we must repay our debts. However, when the “sickness karma” effects a practitioner to the point that they are unable to carry out the three things, we must realize without doubt that this is the old evil forces at work. It is absolutely not “eliminating karma.” Nor is it Master's arrangements. However, this does not apply to new practitioners.
The practitioner with the tribulation should also realize that they must have a deep-seated attachment, otherwise the evil would have nothing to latch onto to carry out the persecution. One must look inward and find one's fundamental attachment. Steadfastly follow Master with no conditions.
Master has told us:
“Why don't you stop and think about it: Why is someone interfering with you? Why is it able to interfere with you? Is it because you have an attachment, or because you have something you can't let go of? Why don't you look at yourself? The true reason lies with you yourself, and that's the only reason it can exploit your gap!”
“When problems arise, when something doesn't feel right, you have to look at yourself! Look at where you were wrong and allowed the evil to exploit your gaps. If you were wrong you should recognize it and do better.” (“Teaching and Explaining the Fa at the Metropolitan New York Fa Conference”)
Another issue worth mentioning is looking inward can help practitioners avoid the evil's persecution. However, the purpose of looking inward is not to avoid the evil's persecution. The purpose of looking inward is to rectify ourselves in the Fa. Doing the three things well is the normal cultivation state of a Fa-rectification Dafa Disciple.
b. Breaking through with Righteous Thoughts
The righteous thoughts of a practitioner involved in a tribulation are very important when breaking through the evil's persecution.
Master has told us:
“The other goal applies to that person himself: how well has the person who exhibits the sickness karma cultivated? Is he able to make it through with strong righteous thoughts while in such a state? Does he truly treat himself as a god and pay no attention to any of it whatsoever?” (“Teaching the Fa in San Francisco, 2005”)
“Fa-rectification is utterly solemn. When you first took up cultivation Master at that time did for you everything that should have been done. Now it's up to you to battle through tests with righteous thoughts. Master can help you when your righteous thoughts are sufficient.”
“But no matter how clearly Fa principles are spelled out, it won't make cultivation any less difficult, and [the requirements] might even become stricter. For example, one manifestation is that it's not good enough if someone merely comes to realize something: He must be righteous in both thought and action.” (“Teaching the Fa in the City of Los Angeles”)
I think righteous thoughts should not just be in our understandings, but also completely negate the old evil forces' arrangements in our actions. The person should maintain their xinxing well, pay attention to the quality of Fa study, do the exercises, and send forth righteous thoughts.
Please allow me to conclude this article with Master's words:
“But there is a point I want to make: No matter what, have righteous thoughts and act righteously, and there will be no test that you cannot pass.” (“Teaching the Fa in San Francisco, 2005”)