Pursuit of Comfort Leads to Destruction
(Minghui.org) I have seen that some practitioners who used to be very diligent have slacked off or stopped cultivating–not because of the persecution, but because the environment has eased.
A practitioner who used to read the Fa all the time now enjoys hiking, gardening, and traveling. Another practitioner who used to get up early to do the exercises becomes sleepy when reading the Fa and doing the exercises. A third practitioner who used to organize an exercise site gave up cultivation and is losing his eyesight.
But cultivation is serious. If we are not diligent, we are destroying ourselves, our universes, and the sentient beings in our worlds.
There are several reasons for practitioners to slack off. One is that some practitioners do not have a clear goal and lack motivation.
“If you are still unclear about what a Fa-rectification disciple is, you won’t be able to step forward in the current tribulation, and you will be led by the human world’s pursuit of comfort to 'enlighten' along an evil path. Master’s heart has always been pained by those who have fallen, and the majority were ruined by that pursuit.” (“Fa-Rectification Period Dafa Disciples” from Essentials for Further Advancement II)
Some practitioners are not resolute about cultivation; as they do not feel anything or see any progress, they become less firm when it comes to cultivation and spend less time studying the Fa. This is the beginning of a vicious cycle.
Then, there are practitioners who are not serious about cultivation and thus are not strict with themselves.
“But as things get more comfortable, the pressure lessens; and when the pressure is lessened, it's apt to lead to a desire for comfort, to wanting a little more ease, to relaxing a little bit, and to seeking some relief. But the reality is, each Dafa disciple's life has been tightly wed to, like links in a chain, his cultivation. So when you relax yourself, it amounts to relaxing in your cultivation.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2009 Greater New York International Fa Conference” from Teaching the Fa at the Conference IX)
Beware of Lust and Comfort
Two things in a relaxed environment can destroy diligent practitioners–lust and pursuit of comfort.
Bianji was a monk in the Tang Dynasty. He was a great help to Xuanzang when he was translating the Buddhist scriptures and sutras that Xuanzang brought to China from India. He also wrote the Great Tang Records on the Western Regions, which brought him great fame.
Alas, he was found to have kept a royal pillow, a gift from Princess Gaoyang. He was executed by Emperor Taizong for having an illicit affair with the princess. Once a hopeful successor to Xuanzang, Bianji was ruined because of a love affair.
“Dafa disciples: I said long ago that sexual attraction and desire are a fatal roadblock that a cultivator absolutely must overcome. [Those people are] driven by human feelings and emotions way too much. If they can't even pull themselves out of this little thing, then it would seem that back then the old forces should have arranged to put them behind prison walls in Mainland China, as only under those circumstances would they correct the problem, right? I wonder how you'd behave in a brutal environment like that. Are you like this because your life is too comfortable? All those who don't remove that attachment and make excuses for their behavior are fooling themselves and trying to fool others--it's not like I've made any special arrangements for you.” (“Teaching the Fa at the 2004 Western U.S. Fa Conference” from Teaching the Fa at the Conference V)
Another danger for practitioners is to become lax. After progressing in cultivation and being praised by others, some practitioners become overly proud, indulgent, and lax. Unless they awaken, they will face great danger on their cultivation path.
A practitioner once went to Beijing to display a banner in appeal for Falun Dafa. She even saw Buddhas and divine beings accompanying her on the train to Beijing. But, she later became a full-time babysitter for her grandchild and stopped being diligent. Over time, she took dietary supplements, and when she thought it would help, she took all kinds of medications. She was trapped in her everyday people's life and her interest in playing with her mobile phone and watching TV.
She once saw in a dream that she ranked high in national examinations. Maybe that was her fruition status. However, she has now slacked off for ten years. How many decades are there in one's life? There are many such practitioners around me. We have the responsibility to awaken them, to study the Fa with them and share our understandings, and to be diligent together with them.
Some practitioners have reached their predestined end of life, but Master extended their lives. Once they deviate from the path of cultivation, they are in great danger. A practitioner died of an accumulation of liquid in the liver after being addicted to computer games for several years. Another practitioner died of cancer after being obsessed with running his business. Yet another practitioner died because he could not get rid of his bad temper and habit of cursing people.
“Cultivation is extremely arduous and very serious. If you are being even a bit careless, you may stumble and become ruined at once. Therefore, one’s mind must be righteous.” (Zhuan Falun)
How to Be Diligent
How can we be diligent? Master addressed this in many of his lectures.
We must cherish the rare opportunity of cultivation. To have the opportunity to cultivate in Dafa, one may have expressed such a wish numerous times and passed countless tests in one's past lives. However, evil is watching cultivators at every moment for the chance to destroy him or her. We must cherish ourselves, cherish the time we have, and cherish cultivation.
Discerning Buddha-Nature from Demon-Nature
We also need to discern Buddha-nature from demon-nature.
“One’s Buddha-nature is Shan, and it manifests itself as compassion, thinking of others before acting, and the ability to endure suffering. One’s demon-nature is viciousness, and it manifests as killing, stealing and robbing, selfishness, wicked thoughts, sowing discord, stirring up troubles by spreading rumors, jealousy, wickedness, anger, laziness, incest and so on.” (“Buddha-Nature and Demon-Nature” from Essentials for Further Advancement)
We should firmly eliminate our demon-nature after identifying it.
“Cultivation is your own matter, and it is your own decision what you pursue. Everyday people all have both demon-nature and Buddha-nature. Demon-nature will take effect once a person’s mind is not righteous.” (“Stability of the Fa” from Essentials for Further Advancement)
If we don't control our demon-nature, we are acknowledging it and allowing it to control us. One will slack off and later have to face the consequences.
Being Strict in All Respects
We must be strict with ourselves and set goals. If we want to take a rest, we should ask ourselves if we have reached our goal for Fa study and exercise. If not, we absolutely should not surf the Internet or watch TV.
If we find hatred in our heart, we must eliminate it completely.
Function of the Main Consciousness
Last but not least, we should have our main consciousness study the Fa. When some practitioners are trapped within everyday people's affairs, it is highly likely that their main consciousness did not fully understand the Fa.
“It’s difficult to practice cultivation, yet very easy to fall. When a person fails a test or can’t let go of a strong human attachment, he might reverse himself or go to the opposite side. There are too many lessons in history. Only after having fallen down will a person begin to regret, yet then it’s too late.” (“Dafa Can Never be Plagiarized” from Essentials for Further Advancement)
Let's be more diligent and remember Master's words: “I do not want to see a single student fall, but I definitely don’t want unqualified disciples, either.” (“Drive Out Interference” from Essentials for Further Advancement II)