Not Leaving Ourselves with Everlasting Regret
(Minghui.org) Master said in “Fa Teaching at the 2013 Western U.S. Fa Conference,”
“I know that among the practitioners seated here, some are not diligent, and some aren’t diligent whatsoever. But Master is thinking: what are you going to do with yourself? Why can’t you have righteous thoughts? Isn’t Master here to save you? Isn’t this Fa here to save you? And moreover, you shoulder the responsibility of saving others. But if you don’t even handle yourself well, what’s going to happen? If you don’t fulfill the vows that you made to gods, the consequences will be what is set forth in your own vows.”
This passage of Master's Fa resonated with me as a wake-up call, because there have been some times before when I wasn't as diligent as I should have been. I began to wonder: “Why did we, as practitioners, sometimes have such a hard time being diligent?”
I've come up with a few reasons and would like to share my thoughts on the topic. These reflect my own personal understanding, so please feel free to correct me if there is anything inappropriate.
Based on my reflections, there are two main reasons why being diligent is difficult:
I. Failing to Treasure Dafa
Because we cultivate in ordinary human society, we're constantly in touch with mundane happenings and can easily lose ourselves in the pursuit of fame, fortune, and the like.
We sometimes even allow these desires to control us and affect our actions. What's more, since most Dafa practitioners can't see other dimensions, we must motivate ourselves to cultivate diligently based on faith in Dafa alone.
This can be challenging when our faith isn't strong enough to keep us from being tempted by the fleeting passions of the material world, and as a result, we sometimes forget just how precious Dafa is and just how blessed we are as Dafa practitioners.
“This Dafa of the universe that I teach today is also the greatest opportunity mankind has been given, since cultivation with such an immense Fa was certainly unimaginable in the past. You can now obtain the Fa, you can listen to me teaching you the Fa in person, and moreover, you are linked to this matter of Fa-rectification—you haven’t yet realized the significance of this! Sometimes some students fail to be diligent, in which case they are being irresponsible to themselves! They are human beings after all, have human thoughts, and can’t realize this, so they can only be as they are. In fact, all of this is beyond words, and in the future you will know how fortunate you are!” (“Teaching the Fa at the Western U.S. Fa Conference”)
Dafa cultivation is the golden opportunity that we have been waiting and longing for for countless lifetimes - Dafa is why we mustered all our courage to descend to this world!
To be fortunate enough to exist as a being of the Fa during this momentous era, to help Master in Fa-rectification – isn't this what all beings of the universe aspire to? It's an honor unparalleled by any other, and a privilege that innumerable beings continuously seek after, but will never get!
In ancient times, cultivators could remain diligent throughout their lifelong paths – so how can we, who cultivate according to the law of the universe, who've been afforded the best things in the universe, possibly not remain diligent in this scarce and ever-dwindling period of time?
Shouldn't we be more diligent instead? Must we only become diligent when we finally see the truth with our human eyes?
But by then, won't it be too late?
Master said in “ Fa-Rectification Period Dafa Disciples” in Essentials for Further Advancement II:
“Did you know that Fa-rectification disciples who aren’t able to come through the Fa-rectification period will not have another chance to cultivate, because throughout history you have already been given all the best things? Today you have barely had any hardship in your personal cultivation, and you haven’t been asked to bear the enormous sins yourselves that you committed over your many lifetimes. Meanwhile, I have enabled you to raise your levels in the fastest way, kept everything good from your past, replenished things with what’s better at every level for you, always given you in cultivation all the most magnificent things of every realm, and have made it possible for you to return after Consummation to your highest realm’s position. These are the things that can be made known to you. There is more, which you can’t know about at this time. Dafa disciples are magnificent because you are here at the same time as the period of Master’s Fa-rectification and are able to safeguard and uphold Dafa. If what you do is no longer worthy of a Dafa disciple, think about it, if under the greatest mercy since the beginning of Heaven and Earth and under Buddha’s infinite grace you still can’t do well, how could there be another chance? Cultivation and Fa-rectification are serious. Whether you are able to treasure this period of time is, in fact, a matter of whether you can be responsible to yourselves. This period of time will not last long, but it can forge the mighty virtue of magnificent Enlightened Beings, Buddhas, Daos, and Gods of different levels, and even Lords of different levels. It can also destroy overnight a cultivator who has reached a really high level but who has become less strict with himself.”
Fellow practitioners, this precious opportunity to cultivate won't last forever! Let's treasure it, lest our idling today become our everlasting regret.
II. Too Little Fa-Study; Too Much Human Thinking
Most Dafa practitioners have full-time jobs and busy schedules that they have to keep up with in the ordinary world, which leave little time for Fa-study.
I have had this type of experience myself, where a particularly demanding week at work would eliminate the time I'd set aside for Fa-study. However, I've realized that it's actually extremely risky for a Dafa practitioner not to study the Fa regularly.
After all, Master did tell us that:
“No matter how difficult your environment is, no matter how busy you get, you cannot forget to study the Fa. You must study the Fa, because it is the absolute, most fundamental guarantee of your improvement.” (“Fa-Lecture at the Conference in Florida, U.S.A.”)
I've realized that it's already hard enough to cultivate in ordinary human society without seeing the truth. On top of that, if we don't study and know the Fa well enough, how can we possibly follow the Fa to cultivate? How will we see through the illusions of this world? How are we to rid ourselves of our human mentalities?
Studying the Fa is the basis of everything we do; it's as essential to cultivation as air is to life. Our human notions will only grow when we don't take time to study the Fa, and it would become more difficult to give up our attachments and resist temptation. This, in turn, would make it harder to maintain a strong will and endure hardship, which leads to more attachments.
But the process of cultivation is a process of giving up attachments. If a cultivator doesn't do so, he will fail his tests in cultivation, which leads to dropping in level. And if it continues, the cultivator would ultimately be ruined.
“If one cannot overcome them, it is actually that he cannot give up the attachments or does not believe in the Fa. In most cases, it is because one cannot give up one or another attachment. His failure is all due to his inability to give up the attachments. Because he cannot go that one step further, and break from humanness, he cannot overcome those ordeals.” (Lecture in Sydney)
When we have many attachments, the old forces will create interference and many ordeals for us. These tribulations will make it even harder for us to find time for Fa study, which allows our remaining attachments to fester and create more hardships for us, resulting in even less time for Fa study.
The only way to escape this vicious cycle is to give priority to Fa study, regardless of how busy we are; studying the Fa respectfully with a quiet mind will make us “melt into the Fa.” (Essentials for Further Advancement)
On the other hand, I've found that diligent Fa study results in a positive cycle: the more I study the Fa, the more I treasure the Fa, which causes me to become more diligent in cultivation, resulting in fewer attachments. And the fewer attachments I have, the more tranquil my mind is, the better I can do the “three things”.
Master said in “The Knowing Heart” in Essentials for Further Advancement II:
“With attachments left behind, the lightened boats sail swiftly,With a preoccupied human heart, crossing the ocean proves arduous.”
Good Fa study helps us let go of our human attachments and forge strong righteous thoughts. The impact of our truth-clarification is then good, and our ordinary businesses in society run more smoothly.
Fellow practitioners, let us stay diligent in this final stretch of our journey! Even though our days are counting down, every day that's allotted us is still a chance to improve and do better. Master has paved the road to heaven for us, and all that's left for us to do is to follow it. What reason could we possibly have for dragging our feet?
What are all these trifles in the ordinary world worth to us, Fa-rectification period Dafa disciples? Whatever efforts we give, whatever hardships we endure, are nothing compared to the glory that awaits us.
At this pivotal moment in history, many sentient beings are still waiting for salvation. How can we not try our absolute hardest to save them all? We must not disappoint all the sentient beings that have placed their hope in us. We must redeem our vows, and return home - lest we forfeit our eternal glory and be left with everlasting regret.
(Shared at the the Falun Dafa Cultivation Experience Sharing Conference in Queensland, Australia on August 24, 2014)