(Minghui.org) I had been troubled by a chronic issue in my cultivation: When bad thoughts or attachments came to my mind, I often denied them with words but my mind still followed their train of thinking. Such a situation continued for years, which distressed me deeply.

It dawned on me during a recent Fa study that it was due to my insufficient understanding of how to completely deny the old forces. My mind immediately seemed to quieten. My problem with bad thoughts has now been solved for the most part.

As we know, there are two stages of cultivation for Falun Dafa practitioners: self-cultivation and cultivation during the Fa-rectification period. The first stage lays the foundation for the second stage. Cultivation during the Fa-rectification period is fundamental.

During the self-cultivation stage, what a person does is superficial and the motivations are attachments, thought karma, and human notions. For example, the attachment to competition leads to cursing and hitting. Profiting at other people's expense is driven by the attachment to self-interest. Self-cultivation is a process of looking inward, distinguishing attachments from yourself and eliminating them, and then following Falun Dafa's principles when you speak, behave, and think.

Because the old forces have gotten involved in Dafa disciples' mission of saving sentient beings during the Fa-rectification period, it is critical to completely deny the old forces and do the three things well. Self-cultivation through unconditionally looking inward is also necessary during this process.

The old forces have made detailed, comprehensive preparations to interfere with the Fa rectification and have made detailed arrangements for everything in our society and for each individual, including each person's thoughts, words, and behavior. A complete operational mechanism has been put in place, and this is especially the case for Dafa disciples.

All attachments, thought karma, notions, and bad thoughts that go against Falun Dafa's principles during our cultivation were deliberately arranged by the old forces a long time ago to interfere with our cultivation and validating of the Fa. Therefore, these attachments and bad thoughts won't dissolve no matter how hard we try to resist them. The brain seems obsessed with these attachments and bad thoughts. It's because the old forces have manipulated us behind the scenes.

If we don't realize this is what has happened and only focus on cultivating ourselves, it's very hard to make any improvement, because our thoughts are limited to self-cultivation. We have to see through the old forces' involvement, deny it, and eliminate it. The result will be like removing the firewood under the cauldron. Your busy thoughts will quiet down.

Why do the old forces dare to persecute Falun Dafa practitioners so rampantly? The pretext is that some practitioners haven't walked righteously on their path of cultivation and have unknowingly recognized the old forces by following their arrangements. So, the old forces claim to help them improve through tests. That's their excuse.

Actually, the fundamental cause is their selfish nature. Everything they do is for their own selfish reasons. For example, they want to change others but not themselves. They look externally for others' faults and would rather protect themselves and destroy those who are not meeting their standard. They are too afraid to come down to this world but are jealous of those who came and obtained the Fa. They sabotaged things with full force, taking the principle of mutual generation and mutual inhibition to the extreme. They are arrogant and self-righteous and measure everything with their own criteria. In other words, the existence, the ideas, the thinking patterns, and the arrogance of the old forces is a true reflection of the most degenerated situation of the old cosmos due to its selfish nature.

Why do we often follow the arrangements of the old forces and fall into their traps unknowingly? In my understanding, there are two reasons. First, the old forces have made detailed arrangements for every thought we have. If you don't measure things with Falun Dafa's principles, you will probably bite the bait of the old forces and follow their arrangements. Second, we are in the process of changing our selfish nature to altruistic nature through cultivation during the Fa-rectification period. The level of our diligence is reflected in how fast we change. The part that hasn't been changed is essentially the same as the old forces and drives us to recognize the old force's arrangements.

Some examples of following the old force's arrangements are: feeling great about oneself; looking for others' faults; being strict with others; blaming others habitually; refusing to forgive others; forcing one's ideas upon others; having a tendency to lecture other people; finding excuses for oneself; covering up one's mistakes; wanting to save oneself and one’s family, but being unconcerned about saving others; and so on. Denying the old forces completely should include denying one's own selfish nature.

Based on my understanding above, I add the following while sending forth righteous thoughts: “Completely deny and eliminate all evil beings and factors that sabotage my cultivation during the Fa-rectification period and that persecute my body and hinder my improvement. Eliminate all attachments, notions, and thought karma, especially attachments to lust, competition, self-interest, fear, and comfort. Completely deny and eliminate the old forces, their arrangements, mechanisms, and factors and the selfish nature of the old cosmos. Encompassing everything and omitting nothing.”

As soon as a bad thought emerges, I send forth righteous thoughts to eliminate it. It has been very effective for me. The bad thoughts quickly pass.

The above is my limited understanding. Please feel free to point out anything inappropriate.