My Understandings on Helping Practitioners Experiencing Serious Tribulations
(Minghui.org) The old forces use a variety of means to persecute Falun Dafa practitioners. One of them is through the use of serious sickness karma, but what’s the purpose?
“... they all aim to break the will of those who cultivate in a righteous Fa.” (“Path” from Essentials for Further Advancement II)
And how should practitioners handle these tribulations when they are in the midst of them?
“Human or divine—the difference lies in one thought. If what arises is a righteous thought, and you take the position that all of this is false, that it’s the old forces meddling, and you remind yourself of how long you’ve cultivated Dafa for and that no such thing is possible, if that thought truly comes from within, instantly the problem will vanish. But this isn’t just something you say and then are able to achieve. That kind of unwavering righteous thought comes from within you, and it is not superficial or just lip service.” (“Fa Teaching Given at the 2010 New York Fa Conference” from Teaching the Fa at the Conference XI)
A Practitioner with Firm Righteous Thoughts
Practitioner Wen (alias) was persecuted so severely that she exhitibed the symptoms of a stroke. Her speech was slurred, she had high blood pressure and an extremely rapid heart rate and couldn't move half of her body.
I stayed with her in the hospital and witnessed her firm righteous thoughts and actions. The old forces tried to interfere with her constantly, but she resisted them at every turn.
The old forces wouldn’t let her eat, but she insisted on eating. She would break off a small piece of food, force it into her mouth, and wash it down with water.
The old forces then tried to create problems for her so that drinking water would cause her to cough. But she would drink again after each coughing fit.
The old forces created problems for her so that she had difficulty walking. But she would get out of her hospital bed, try to balance, and take one small unsteady step at a time to walk the short distance to use the toilet by herself.
I watched over her, but didn't need to assist, except to help her sit down and get up.
When nobody was around, I would say, “Let’s send forth righteous thoughts.” To which she would struggle to sit up and immediately send forth righteous thoughts.
Or I said, “Let’s do some exercises,” and she would pull herself out of the bed with much difficulty, but she never once complained or worried about the fact that she couldn’t move half her body.
When she couldn’t do the exercises any longer, she would ask for a break and we would resume as soon as she felt that she could continue.
A week later, Wen insisted on being discharged from the hospital when the doctors were satisfied that her situation had stabilized.
The two of us studied the Fa, did the exercises, and sent forth strong righteous thoughts at her home.
As Wen gradually improved, her family members, who initially insisted on her taking the prescribed medicines, eventually stopped trying to persuade her.
Wen recovered completely in only a few months, showing her family and friends the wonder and power of Falun Dafa.
She could also see other dimensions occasionally. She told me how she used to see black hands and rotten ghosts all around her dimensional field, but they gradually dissipated almost completely.
A Practitioner Who Lacked Righteous Thoughts
Sickness karma might persist for a long time, making practitioners lose their willpower and succumb to the old forces persecution.
Practitioner Hui (alias) was arrested when she was out talking to people about Falun Dafa and the persecution.
She was very diligent in her cultivation and managed to get released. However, the old forces continued to persecute her by way of sickness karma.
A little over half a year later, she collected all of her Dafa books and other Fa lectures and put them away. She looked at Master’s portrait and said in despair, “Master, I can’t take the interference any longer. I am completely out of energy and willpower.”
She soon passed away.
For the past year, I have helped several practitioners struggling with sickness karma and learned quite a bit about cultivation that I would like to share.
Remind Those Experiencing Sickness Karma of the Fa
We must let the practitioners struggling with sickness karma understand clearly that it is the work of the old forces. They must deny the old forces and especially must not allow their willpower to be ruined.
“At a certain point in time, you will be made unable to discern clearly whether something is true, whether your gong exists, whether you can practice cultivation and make it, or whether there are Buddhas and if they are real. In the future, these situations will surface again to give you this false impression and make you feel as though they do not exist and are all false—it is to see whether you are determined.” (Zhuan Falun)
Practitioners experiencing sickness karma must not only look inward, but must also persist in studying the Fa, doing the exercises, and sending forth righteous thoughts with their whole heart to eliminate the old forces until all of the evil elements are disintegrated.
Many practitioners can't find the root cause of their problems when looking inward. There are reasons for this.
“When you fail to walk the correct path, one reason for it is karmic causes. Among them is the trouble that accompanies a being in the background; past favors done for others or scores to settle; old promises; all of the different connections one might have with a being, and so on. Another cause is the attachments that come from one’s human mindset. Especially notable are the notions that one forms, or habits of thought that one forms, which make it very hard for a person to recognize when human thinking is unconsciously at work. And if one can’t recognize it, how is one to get rid of it? This is particularly challenging in the setting of China, where the evil Party has destroyed traditional Chinese culture and rigged up its own evil Party stuff instead—what we refer to as “the culture of the Party.”
“If one can’t recognize bad thinking for what it is, then what can be done? There is no other way but to act according to Dafa.” (“20th Anniversary Fa Teaching”)
In my understanding, when Master said, “act according to Dafa” it means to remain committed to doing what Dafa practitioners should do - look inward, study the Fa with due diligence, persist in doing the exercises, and, of course, send forth righteous thoughts.
We must not allow the old forces to interfere with us or with our efforts in assisting Master in Fa-rectification.
“If you practice qigong and achieve the Tao, what about those unpaid debts you owe others? They will not allow it, so they will not let you practice qigong. Yet it is also an indication of a certain level. After a period of time, this phenomenon will no longer be allowed to exist. In other words, after these debts are worn out, they will not be allowed to come and interfere again.” (Zhuan Falun)
Master repeats twice that the old forces will not “be allowed” to use our past debts to interfere and persecute us. So we definitely should not acknowledge any interference or form of persecution heaped upon us. We must send forth righteous thoughts to clear out the old forces’ interference and eliminate them.
I know of a practitioner who did not attach great importance to sending forth righteous thoughts. She said that she couldn’t feel anything when sending righteous thoughts and so believed they were not effective.
I believe that everything Master asks us to do is effective.
“... for years I have been continually saying that Dafa disciples’ abilities are tremendous, yet many people don’t believe this since those abilities were not allowed to be seen. Under the effect of righteous thoughts, everything around you, as well as you yourself, will undergo changes. Yet you have never thought to give it a try.”
“It wouldn’t matter what kind of mighty force they assembled, the instant you started sending righteous thoughts they would all be turned to ashes, completely destroyed and unable to amount to anything.” (“20th Anniversary Fa Teaching”)
Some practitioners feel helpless from the pressure, but from Master’s Fa, we know that a Dafa practitioner can achieve the fruition status of a lofty realm. What do the demons of the old forces amount to? Nothing! But we have Master. When we have the righteous wish, Master will be there to lend a hand.
Practitioner Hong (alias) once ran into a life-threatening tribulation. His wife, also a practitioner, called me and said that Hong had fallen and couldn’t move.
I rushed over, and Hong’s wife and I started to send forth righteous thoughts. I insisted that Hong join us, but he couldn’t sit up. He grabbed the side of the bed, his body shaking violently. He wanted to lie back down, but we wouldn’t let him.
We sent forth righteous thoughts together for about half an hour. We did that practically every hour. In between, we studied the Fa aloud.
When I left, Hong’s wife continued to do the same throughout the night. She also grabbed his arms so he could do the exercises for as long as he could, even if the movements were inaccurate.
I went over the next day and we continued what we did the day before.
Hong could sit up in bed and looked more relaxed.
His wife said, “Last night, the old forces tried to prevent me from sending righteous thoughts by not letting my hand stay in position. It also tried to push me down onto the bed and not let me sit up. I sent forth strong righteous thoughts and pleaded for Master’s help. Hong wanted to sleep but his sleep was troubled, so I woke him up every half hour to send forth righteous thoughts.”
Hong was in critical condition for the first three days. He health was deteriorating rapidly. His skin had no elasticity and appeared so sallow that he looked as if he was dead. His finger and toenails turned black. His speech was slurred, and he couldn’t even say “Falun Dafa is good!”
On the fifth day, Hong began to recover. He was able to say “Falun Dafa is good!” and could read Zhuan Falun with us.
Hong told his wife the day before, “They are here. They are here in the house.”
She knew it was the evil rotten ghosts that were there to take away her husband’s life. She continued to send forth righteous thoughts and pleaded for Master's help.
Then Hong said, “I’m sorry. I have to go.”
She held onto his hands and told him sternly, “You're not going anywhere. We are going home with Master. You just repeat what I say, sentence by sentence.”
And he did.
Gradually, Hong’s righteous thoughts returned and he began to remember that he was a Dafa practitioner.
He said to the old forces, “Whatever you say to me is wrong. You are all wrong.” The evil factors and elements looked infuriated, and then they disappeared.
When Hong’s sister saw her brother slowly but surely improve, she said, “Falun Dafa is amazing. I want to practice it, too.”
Family Members Can be Used By the Old Forces
When practitioners are experiencing sickness karma, we need to constantly remind them about the Fa. Their thoughts must be on the Fa 24 hours a day. They must not be interfered with by everyday people. The old forces will try to use family members to interfere with the practitioner experiencing sickness karma.
We have noticed that family members and relatives who normally don’t interact with practitioners on a regular basis will somehow show up when practitioners are experiencing sickness karma. They all of a sudden become very concerned and will always strongly urge the practitioners to go to the hospital.
This is all arranged by the old forces.
When Hong was experiencing sickness karma, the old forces arranged to have his family members interfere. The day Hong fell, his sister and brother-in-law were engaged in a vicious fight. His sister called Hong’s wife, begging her to come to their place to help.
Hong’s wife said that she couldn't leave Hong as he was in a terrible state. Her sister-in-law cried and said, “You only care about yourself. You don’t care if I live or die.”
When Hong’s family learned about Hong’s situation, they all wanted him to go to the hospital. But he didn’t want to go.
His wife also told Hong’s family in no uncertain terms, “Whoever takes him to the hospital wants him to be ill.”
The siblings then stopped insisting.
If practitioners maintain righteous thoughts and righteous actions, with help from Master and Dafa, they can overcome and handle everything by themselves.
Practitioner Hui whom I mentioned earlier was helped by quite a number of practitioners, some of whom unfortunately resorted to everyday people’s means. They came to the opinion that Hui’s swollen feet should be treated with soaking, that she should drink soup made with melons, and so on.
When I was helping practitioner Wen, we both refused to be distracted by people’s well-meaning sentimentality and relied only on the Fa to help.
Explaining Things with Compassion
Many practitioners have strong righteous thoughts and can overcome tribulations by themselves, but practitioners with insufficient righteous thoughts can be easily exploited by the old forces, leading them to waver in their faith in Master and Dafa.
So it's extremely important that practitioners who are trying to help other practitioners consistently remind them to strengthen their righteous thoughts so they can eliminate the old forces’ control.
Practitioner Wen, whom I mentioned earlier, would plead with me to return the following day.
I always told her, “Don’t worry. Master is here. Dafa is here. There is nothing to worry about.”
“Why didn’t I think about Master?” she finally realized. “How could I forget about Master all this time?”
That was because the old forces would not let her remember Master and Dafa.
We must constantly remind practitioners of the absolute importance of studying the Fa, doing the exercises, and sending forth righteous thoughts.
They must fully understand that, as long as we persist, as long as we do them, as long as we have the desire to do them, Master will definitely lend a hand. If we don’t do them or don’t even have the desire to do them, Master can’t help even if he wants to.
Sometimes practitioners try to help but say things like, “Look inward” or “Rectify yourself,” but in a tone void of compassion or even with a look of contempt.
The words spoken may sound reasonable, but they are without effect. All practitioners know to look inward and to rectify themselves, but perhaps they just don’t know how. So we need to explain what the words mean with compassion and encouragement.
For example, we can say, “It’s the old forces who want you to think your legs are not under your control. Don’t listen to their lies. Ignore them.”
Or we may say, “Don’t think that you can sit up only if we stay with you, but if we leave you can’t. Don’t believe that when we are here you won’t feel cold, but when we are gone you will feel cold. Those thoughts are not you. Deny them. We have Master.”
“Actually, all that is not aligned with Dafa and Dafa disciples’ righteous thoughts has been caused by the old forces’ involvement, including all the unrighteous factors in you. This is why I have made sending forth righteous thoughts one of the three major things that Dafa disciples do.”(“On the Wave Stirred up by the Article About Assistant Souls”)
Sending Forth Righteous Thoughts
I have run into quite a number of practitioners who do not put enough weight on sending forth righteous thoughts. Some of them say it’s useless unless the practitioners concerned rectify themselves first.
One time, we were planning to send forth righteous thoughts for half an hour when somebody suddenly said after about 20 minutes, “Let’s stop. Nobody is in the correct state of mind. We should just move on and study the Fa.”
It was really the old forces who were trying to keep us away from the “right frame of mind,” because if we were in the right frame of mind, they would have been eliminated. So they purposely created the interference. Had we remained firm and not allowed ourselves to be interfered with, we would have succeeded in overpowering and eliminating the old forces.
More often than not, when I spent a long time helping practitioners send forth righteous thought, many would say that they could clearly feel the impact it had. Some said that their pain had lessened, and some felt a strong energy in their bodies. That helped the practitioners in the grip of tribulation to enhance their confidence and increase their righteous thoughts.
We were sending forth righteous thoughts with a practitioner who had suffered from asthma for more than 10 years. During the initial 15 minutes, she was wheezing heavily. Then she quieted down and her wheezing eventually stopped altogether.
Two new practitioners were there, and they couldn’t help but exclaim, “How truly amazing!”
When this happens, we must not become complacent and relax or slack off. The old forces could slip back in and the practitioner's condition may even get worse or their lives might be quickly snatched away. Therefore, we must continue to send forth righteous thoughts until we feel that all danger has disappeared and the practitioners are truly recovered and safe.
If, for some reason, we can't see or feel any effect after sending forth righteous thoughts, we must believe that what Master asks us to do will definitely produce good results.
Helping Practitioners Is a Way to Improve in One’s Own Cultivation
It’s our habit to tell practitioners experiencing tribulations to look inward. In my understanding, if we do that, it is tantamount to our looking outward.
We can become impatient when helping practitioners experiencing tribulations and who exhibit insufficient righteous thoughts. Then we blame, scold, or even look down on them. If we do this, we will unwittingly fall victim to the old forces ourselves.
It really doesn't help when we say things like, “You must look inward. See what attachments you still have that are allowing the old forces to take advantage of your gaps. I’m sure you have loopholes. Hurry up and find them. When you do, you’ll be okay…”
I have often overheard fellow practitioners say, “So-and-so must have loopholes, otherwise, how could somerthing like that happen?”
Practitioners have made other, similar statements, without realizing those words are not in line with the Fa, but exactly the old forces’ way of thinking.
My first thought when I learn about any practitioner going through tribulations, such as sickness karma or persecution, will be to absolutely deny the old forces.
The old forces cannot be allowed to take advantage of any loophole created by any practitioner. We are here to assist Master to rectify the Fa and save sentient beings—not to be persecuted. We are Dafa practitioners. We have Master. We have Dafa. We can rectify ourselves under Dafa if we walk the path arranged by Master.
I also need to think about what part I have played in this situation: Have I contributed to this situation because of my own attachments? What do I think about my fellow practitioner?
Then I need to consider: What should I do to help? Am I doing everything in accordance with all Dafa’s requirements? Have I done everything responsibly and with all my heart?
From the Fa, I also realize that when we come to learn about a practitioner undergoing sickness karma or being persecuted and is in need of help, we cannot pretend that it has nothing to do with us, but rather that it is an opportunity arranged by Master for us to elevate ourselves, to cultivate away our selfish mentality, our self-righteousness, our irresponsible heart, and to rectify our state in our cultivation.
When we help practitioners experiencing tribulations we are actually helping ourselves to improve and elevate, so we must approach this with a true sense of responsibility. We need to calm our hearts and fill our minds with responsible thoughts.
It took me two days to write this article. Interference from the old forces was quite severe during the process.
In those two days, I came down with a high fever and felt drained of energy. My coughing and runny nose made me very uncomfortable. I really didn’t feel like continuing. But when I realized that it was perhaps the old forces that wanted me to stop, I decided to not let them have their way, so I just did what I set out to do.
The above is what I have experienced and my understanding at my limited level. It is written only as a reference.