Group Fa Study Helps Improve One's Cultivation
(Minghui.org) I started practicing Falun Dafa in June 1998. I am now 62 years old, and would like to describe how attending group Fa study has helped me in my cultivation.
Importance of Group Fa Study
Studying the Fa teachings in a group is one of the cultivation forms that Master has given Dafa practitioners. I participated in group Fa study from 2006 to 2014 when the previous host was targeted for persecution, and the Fa study group had to stop.
I then joined three other Fa study groups, but one after another, each site had to close because either the host was under police surveillance or family issues prevented it from continuing.
When I tried to find another study group I was told that they were all full, so I had to study the Fa on my own for over a year. I frequently read online experience sharing articles, but without a Fa study group I found it difficult to keep up with the progress of Fa-rectification. This made me realize that one's cultivation can improve faster in a group environment.
While sitting in meditation one time in April 2017, the word “cooperate” suddenly appeared in my mind. It was a hint from Master Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Dafa, telling me to cooperate with my fellow practitioners and do better in truth-clarification to help save sentient beings.
A few days later, a practitioner told me of a Fa study group that I could attend, and asked me if I would like to go. The only thing was that it was very far away.
I knew that this was Master's arrangement to help me in my cultivation.
I started going to the group twice a week. I had to take three buses to get there, so I left home at 6:40 a.m. and arrived shortly before 9:00 a.m. I returned home after Fa study at around 1:00 p.m. Even though a lot of time was spent on travel, I was very happy to again be part of a Fa study group.
I told passengers on the bus or people waiting for a bus about the goodness of Dafa and the persecution by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and felt that the time was well spent. I was cultivating myself and helping to save people. I wholeheartedly thank Master for the arrangements.
Identifying My Shortcomings
There were several older practitioners in the Fa study group who were illiterate, but their cultivation states were very good. They went out every day and talked to people about Falun Dafa. I sometimes joined them, and shared my experiences with them. I also helped them publish the lists of people they helped to quit the CCP and its affiliated organizations to the online system.
Although studying Master's teachings in a group was beneficial, I discovered a serious problem. Everyone in the group frequently added or omitted words while reading.
Some practitioners in the group had never gone to school, and some had only attended evening classes. Some had to use magnifying glasses to help them read because their eyes had been damaged by forcibly-injected unknown drugs while they were in police custody. All of them read slowly, and it typically took us two hours to finish reading one lecture of Zhuan Falun.
I paid close attention to the errors people made and pointed them out each time. However, I didn't see any lessening in the number of mistakes made by practitioners while reading, so I printed out some articles published on the Minghui website that addressed this issue and shared them with the practitioners.
The situation still didn’t improve after a long while, and I became concerned. I thought, “What about me? This group is carrying impure energy—would it affect me?” I had already overcome this problem ten years prior and can now read Zhuan Falun very fluently.
I felt as if I had been dragged down by some people in the group, and contemplated going there less often, so that I won't be affected by them.
On reflection, I remembered this passage from Master:
“The cultivation practice form that I have left for Dafa disciples ensures that disciples can truly improve themselves. For example, 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 for Further Advancement)
Group practice, group Fa-study, and experience sharing conferences were the cultivation practice forms that Master talked about, as they can ensure students improve as quickly as possible. I now understand that it is not only a form, but also an environment for practicing true cultivation and seeing our shortcomings.
I was complaining about others reading too slowly or with errors because I could read quickly and didn't make errors. I thought I was perfect. In addition, when I was correcting others, my tone was harsh and without patience or compassion. I even suggested that one elderly practitioner who read extremely slowly should let the next person read the longer paragraphs.
I realized that I was attached to “self” and couldn't let go of my ego. I had neglected the feelings of others and cared only about my own losses. I was concerned about my time being wasted and my improvement being hindered. My fellow practitioners were mirrors that showed me my shortcomings.
I realized that I should look at others' merits, and take their shortcomings lightly. I should be strict with myself and lenient towards others. If I only care about my own needs without considering others' feelings, I am not letting go of my attachment to “self.”
After realizing my shortcomings, I apologized to an illiterate elderly practitioner, and said, “I have many shortcomings. Let's learn from each other and advance diligently together.”
She was very happy, and agreed.
The process of helping my fellow practitioners was a process of improving myself. When my understanding improved, my attitude changed and I stopped complaining about others. I became more patient and my tone softened. Others in the group have improved their understandings as well. I now rarely hear anyone add or omit a word while studying the Fa.
As the elderly practitioners in our Fa study group were illiterate, they weren't able to set up their own materials production sites and had to rely on larger sites to provide them with Dafa informational materials.
One day, a practitioner asked, “If only we could make our own materials we wouldn't create extra work for other sites.”
I told her that I couldn't produce the large amount she was asking for, as I had other commitments.
To my surprise, she canceled the supply she normally ordered from the large materials site, and started taking them from me. I didn't think that I could meet her needs, and other practitioners started asking me for materials too. I found the demand overwhelming, and started complaining.
I wanted to quit making materials for others, as I felt it was really too much and would affect my own cultivation practice. My selfishness had emerged.
The nature of the old cosmos was based on selfishness, whereas the new cosmos is altruistic and not attached to self. I am a Dafa disciple, a particle in Dafa. I will enter the new cosmos, so I must cultivate myself using the standards of Dafa, and be selfless and altruistic.
The practitioners want more materials because they want to save more people. They are altruistic and don't go out and talk with people to benefit themselves, but they can't make their own materials.
One of the practitioners was a university professor, but because he had been persecuted so badly he could hardly read, let alone make materials. Those of us who are capable should try our best to help those who are less so, because we are one body, and we all trying to do well in assisting Master.
“Now when we clarify the truth to others you all feel that we should treat sentient beings with compassion, then all the more so should you be compassionate among our Dafa disciples. You're all disciples in the same practice, and you're giving your all for the cosmos' Fa-rectification, so you should cooperate well with one another. Don't approach things with too many human attachments, and don't cause unnecessary conflicts and arguments by interacting with each other with human attachments. In these situations your conduct should always show Dafa disciples' tolerance, kindness, and niceness.” (“Teaching the Fa at the Washington, D.C. Fa Conference”)
We must help one another to accomplish the great task of assisting Master during Fa-rectification and saving sentient beings, so I decided to do more for my fellow practitioners. I know they cherish the Dafa resources and would not waste a single copy of the materials.
Our Fa study group is now doing very well, and we are cooperating with one another. I believe this is our benevolent Master's strengthening us so that we can look within when conflicts arise. We strive to cultivate our hearts and remove the old cosmos' selfish thoughts from within ourselves.