(Minghui.org) People say that befriending a kind person helps one to become better, while befriending a bad person may cause harm or even cost one his or her life. Confucius described helpful friends versus harmful friends.

He said that upright, honest, and knowledgeable friends are helpful, while back-stabbing and insincere friends are harmful. As cultivators, we know that there cause and effect exists in everything, including for practitioners. From another perspective, we have our relationships—something like strings of karma.

Once we meet a person who has a karmic relationship with us, we will need to settle whatever karmic debts exist. If we can forbear and cultivate ourselves at the same time, we can sail through obstacles smoothly. If the karmic relationship is of a benevolent nature, practitioners can diligently advance in their cultivation together. However, they should not become too attached to their “friendship.”

Another scenario is that with righteous thoughts, practitioners build trust and provide unconditional support and make sacrifices for each other while saving people and rescuing fellow practitioners. This is based on the sacred predestined relationship between their lives and Falun Dafa. It is a blessing from the Creator. Practitioners validate the Fa amid such relationships and assimilate to the Fa at the same time.

I have also seen some negative behaviors. For example, some new practitioners like to spend time with those they deem good so they can get more insights for their own improvement. For those practitioners who they consider not so good, they despise or even make fun of them. These practitioners get to know others with a selfish goal.

Some practitioners strongly influenced by Communist Party culture enjoy forming circles. They target coordinators. They can also reach out to network with coordinators and defend coordinators. Treating the Fa as the master is a very important issue for cultivators. It's crucial that we handle the relationship between the Fa and other cultivators appropriately.

On the other hand, some coordinators like flattery and have inflated egos. Therefore, practitioners who like to be flattered have their environment. A practitioner once commented that a coordinator was surrounded by people who flattered the organization. Isn't this an omission in cultivation?

There are also harmful karmic relationships. Here's an example of one between myself and a fellow practitioner I killed in one of our previous lives: I got to know the practitioner during when I left home to avoid persecution. This fellow practitioner approached me. I thought he was diligent. Over the next decade, we shared our understandings and tended to each others’ cultivation. I often provided timely help in times of need.

We were able to clarify the truth together, and we were both happy to have this opportunity. But I soon discovered signs that this practitioner hadn't genuinely cultivated for years. Much of the understandings he shared with me were theoretical. I disciplined myself not to be harsh on him. I protected him and helped him sincerely. We cooperated well together.

Shortly after we started working together, I realized that I had killed him in one of our previous lives. He came to me in this life to clear the debt. However, we didn't have many arguments or conflicts. I think it is because a lot of the karmic debt has been benevolently resolved while I helped, cared and was tolerant towards him. He visited me to apologize before we said our goodbyes. We lost contact after that. I knew that the karmic debt had been settled through genuine cultivation. Thank you, Master, for your compassionate protection and the Fa's wisdom.

There are some other cases, too. I know two practitioners who were large animal predators in their former lives. Practitioner Chen ate practitioner Zhang. In this life, both Chen and Zhang don’t show much compassion for others, but they like each other a lot. Zhang takes care of and often compliments Chen. Chen also enjoys spending time with Zhang. They often talk about cultivation but spend most of the time complaining about others.

Zhang is from out of town. Chen is local. Zhang doesn't feel as homesick when talking with Chen. Chen can also get local help for Zhang. With Zhang's flattery, Chen's attachments to showing off and ego are satisfied.

At a gathering of practitioners, Chen and Zhang started talking, criticizing other practitioners and trying to direct others' cultivation. As for their own cultivation, they don't deal with their fundamental attachments. They talk so much that we don't have enough time to talk about important truth-clarification issues.

If a practitioner tries to stop one of them from talking, they would protect each other. If Chen and Zhang are not in a good mood, they may even scold others publicly. Their cultivation states are in dire straits.

Isn't this kind of flattery used by the old forces to harm practitioners by using their predestined relationships? It's more difficult to discern than torturing practitioners to death. From another perspective, those who cannot cultivate genuinely are bound to be sifted out one way or another.

We need to be responsible for our own lives. Everyone in the human world has karmic relationships, and no one can escape them. Only genuine cultivation in the upright Fa can help us break free of karma.

Thank you, Master. Thank you, fellow practitioners. Please point out anything inappropriate.