Rediscovering My Original Cultivation State Through Group Practice (Part 1 of 2)
(Minghui.org) I started practicing Dafa in 1995 and was submerged in group practice at the beginning. Two years later, I moved away and started a new job, so I lost my group practice environment.
I continued to study the Fa and do the exercises. On the surface, I was doing well. In actuality, however, I was oblivious to the fact that I had become strongly influenced by ordinary people’s notions and gotten involved with human affairs.
With my warped understanding of Dafa's principles and my strong attachments, I had gaps in my cultivation that the old forces could take advantage of. When I was distributing truth-clarification materials one day, I was arrested and taken to a forced labor camp.
Benefiting from Group Practice
“...I ask you to do the exercises as a group in parks in order to form an environment. This environment is the best way to change the surface of a person. The lofty conduct that Dafa disciples have established in this environment--including every word and every deed--can make people recognize their own weaknesses and identify their shortcomings; it can move their hearts, refine their conduct, and enable them to make progress more rapidly. Therefore, new students or self-taught disciples have to go to the practice sites to do the exercises.” (“Environment” from Essentials of Further Advancement)
I started practicing Dafa in June of 1995, at 34 years of age. For six months, I had suffered from an incurable illness called “Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP).” One week after I started practicing, I returned to work, full of life and energy.
In less than six months, all my other ailments disappeared.
Having personally witnessed this incredible and extraordinary magic of Dafa, I couldn’t contain my joy and excitement, so I shared everything with all my relatives, friends and colleagues.
Since then, I threw myself into cultivation practice, no matter rain or shine, regardless of freezing or scorching weather, however busy or exhausted. Every single day, without exception, I participated in group Fa study and exercises, constantly sharing experiences with and learning from fellow practitioners.
I submerged my heart and soul in the group environment for more than two years, where we reminded one another, encouraged one another, helped one another with words and deeds, to ensure we didn't stray from the stringent standards required of Dafa disciples. By doing so, we were able to enjoy great happiness and benefits form the Fa.
A Bitter Lesson Learned
When I look back on my cultivation path over the past dozen years, I see that I had an eager diligence for the first two years, when I did my cultivation practice in a group environment.
Then, when I got a new job and moved to a different place, I thought about how I continued my practice, how my trust in Dafa was strong, and how I believed I was still doing well on my own after having left my group of fellow practitioners.
In 1999, when the persecution began, I became a little unsettled. All kinds of attachments set in, and the attachment of fear followed. I stopped going to the Fa study group and practice sites.
“I remember back when you first obtained the Fa, how as soon as you saw this Fa—particularly those in the first two of the three categories I’ve described before—your heart was truly just overjoyed! [You were thinking,] “This is wonderful! I’ve finally found it!” Weren’t all those thousands of years of reincarnating and waiting exactly for this? At the time, driven by the feeling from deep inside your being, you were able to renounce any human attachment and be determined to cultivate yourself well. That excitement could propel you to be diligent. But with the passage of time, that feeling was gradually lost. Human laziness, all kinds of human notions, and the array of chaotic things before you in society all combined to tempt you and interfere with you.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2013 Greater New York Fa Conference”)
The old forces took no time to take advantage of my gaps. I was arrested in 2005 and taken to a forced labor camp. That was a time of shame and regret on the path of my cultivation.
When I was released a year later and returned home, I was filled with a disoriented feeling of helplessness and a deep sense of loneliness.
I didn’t dare to have anything related to Falun Dafa in my house for the next three years. My fear infected my family. I became bad tempered. I blew up with the slightest provocation, and my demon nature slowly took full control of me.
My body began to pay a toll. It showed various symptoms of sickness. I felt itchy all over. The more I scratched, the worst it got, until I was covered with pus and scabs.
I tried to validate the Fa, distribute truth clarification materials, and do what I was supposed to do, but I would grow restless and couldn’t summon up any righteous thoughts.
My state of utter misery lasted until I read several of Master’s Fa teachings from 2009. A thought then emerged from somewhere, and a voice echoed over and over in my mind: “I will return to the Fa study group and exercise site.”
With that, Master granted me an opportunity.
Returning to a Group Environment
I summoned up my courage and showed up at a Fa study group. I noticed how dedicated and diligent the practitioners are. They work and coordinate well in making Dafa materials, validating the Fa, talking to people about Dafa and the persecution, printing Master's Fa teachings and distributing them in a timely manner.
Tears rolled down my face as I wrote this. I feel so grateful for Master’s mercy to have me come back to his fold and give me another chance to return to genuine cultivation practice.
I seriously looked inward and realized that my entire childhood had been submerged in the Chinese Communist Party’s warped culture. I then worked in the Party system for years, further involving myself in thoughts and actions in accordance with its ideology.
I recognized the wonder and power of Falun Dafa at the beginning of my cultivation. My body was cleansed by Master, but my mental state was still permeated by the poison of the Party's culture.
I have a tendency to be timid. So, when the persecution started, my fear took the upper hand, and my desire to hold on to my enviable job and my comfortable life provided a gap for the old forces to exploit.
“Fear can cause one to make mistakes, and fear can cause one to lose a predestined opportunity. Fear is a death trap on a human being’s journey toward divinity.” (“Pass the Deadly Test” in The Essentials of Diligent Progress Vol. III)
With the group Fa study environment, I was able to systematically study the Fa and continuously measure my thoughts and actions against what I have learned.
Being part of a group offers great motivation to stay within the Fa principles on all things. The group can help one another to stay focused. The group affords one another strength to face difficulties that may be too difficult to face alone.
Not being part of a group, especially in China, can make it difficult to constantly stay within the principles of the Fa. If we fail to check our every thought and notion, then small problems can easily become bigger problems, and then serious problems.
If Dafa disciples are afraid to step out from the comfort and relative safety of our homes, all kinds of attachments will surface. It will be impossible to utilize the harsh environment to raise our xinxing and elevate our levels, much less to increase our wisdom to understand what Master teaches us regarding cooperation and coordination. It will be difficult to be a true part of the whole body. Then, how are we to remain cleansed and pure, fulfill our prehistoric vows, and attain consummation?
Master, your disciple is grateful for having the chance to return home.
I will return to and remain in my original cultivation state!
(To be continued)