The Old Forces Are Gigantic Impediments to Our Cultivation: Reflection After Reading Master's Article “Be Clearheaded” (Part 3)
(Minghui.org) (Continued from Part 2)
[Editor's Note: Master has told practitioners about the existence of the old forces repeatedly. However, as practitioners are cultivating in the maze, many still have a limited understanding of the old forces. They are unable to enlighten to the level of Master's expectation because of many historical and present-day reasons. Moreover, some practitioners with warped understandings constantly spread misleading information to interfere with the cultivation environment. Those practitioners with extreme views were interfered with and generated thoughts that were contradictory to Dafa's standards. However, they were unaware of this. There are also practitioners who always use a simple black-white logic to judge things. All these phenomena have hindered practitioners from reaching a rational understanding of the old forces and breaking through that interference. Thus, some practitioners cannot meet Master's requirements.
For example, some practitioners had the thought that “the old forces arranged some people to be in key positions,” so they came up with the nonsense “no need to follow any notification from the Minghui website or the Falun Dafa Associations.” When we heard about this subject the first time, did we immediately know that it was not in line with Dafa's requirements? Or were we befuddled and did not put a stop to it? When someone boasted about how high they enlightened to or that the old forces no longer existed, were we clear concerning Master's teaching and did we keep our hearts unmoved? When we were overwhelmed by interference and tests, could we tell from where our thoughts originated – from our true selves, imposed by the old forces, or from our attachments and mindsets developed during prior lives? Then, how should we break through the situation? We need to use the guidance of Dafa. There were countless interferences, some real, some fake, and some complicated. They were all opportunities for practitioners to pass tests and improve themselves. Real gold is not afraid of fire, thus making it pure gold. We hope that practitioners help each other and are more diligent in the Fa.]
Master Warns about the Old Forces' Arrangements
Master published the “Comment on a student's article – Be Clearheaded” on May 8, 2004:
“If you, as a student [of Dafa], do not follow Master’s requirements, it is definitely no simple thing. The old forces have arranged for all Dafa disciples a set of their things, so if a Dafa disciple doesn’t follow Master’s requirements, he must be following the old forces’ arrangements. The old forces are in essence gigantic trials and tribulations that accompany you at all times, focused on whether in Fa-rectification Dafa disciples are able to step forward.”
“If after going through this ordeal some students are still not clearheaded, then they will miss [the opportunities presented in] all of this. Only when you follow Master’s requirements are you validating the Fa and cultivating yourself as a Dafa disciple, and only then are you a true Dafa disciple.” (“Be Clearheaded” from The Essentials of Diligent Progress, Vol III)
The Old Forces Are Deceptive and Complex
A considerable number of practitioners lack adequate understanding when it comes to the old forces. They even dare not face them because the old forces are deceptive and make complex arrangements.
The old forces' deceit is mainly manifested in the fact that they are “gods” and high-level beings. Because of this, some practitioners, especially those with strong human attachments, dare not face them. It's undeniable that the old forces have higher and greater capabilities, but they have hindered and undermined Master's Fa-rectification, so they have gone to the opposite side.
“Meddling deities... the old forces and all that negatively impacts Dafa are considered meddling deities.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2007 New York Fa Conference” from Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. VIII)
The old forces' deceit is also manifested in the fact that they interfere with and persecute practitioners by taking advantage of their human attachments, claiming that they are “helping” practitioners. In such circumstances, it's really tough for practitioners to succeed in their personal cultivation, as human attachments have kept them in a negative state for a long time. The practitioners are also aware of their human attachments, so why can't they let them go? It's because the old forces are dragging them away from Dafa.
During the process, the old forces constantly magnify practitioners' human attachments and push them directly away from Dafa. If practitioners can remain clearheaded, be aware of what the old forces are doing, and negate them with righteous thoughts, then Master will manage the situation and Dafa's power can manifest. As Dafa practitioners, we should not only cultivate ourselves well but also should negate and reject the arrangements made by the old forces. This is our difficulty on our cultivation path. Many practitioners were persecuted and lost their lives just because they were confused in this respect. Actually, it's absolutely avoidable when one studies the Fa diligently and has a clear understanding of the Fa principles.
Once a practitioner said to me, “The old forces are gods at extremely high levels, too.”
The practitioner implied that you have to measure the consequences and see if you have the ability to compete with “gods.” I understood that the old forces used his mouth to warn me. But I was not afraid, because no matter how high the old forces are, in the end, they are lives to be eliminated. Master has predicted their endings, while we are going to be lives in the new universe. We are with Master, a part in the Fa-rectification, do not doubt this!
Sometimes they imprint false information into the brains of Dafa practitioners through sounds and images, so that practitioners mistakenly believe that those are messages from higher beings. Sometimes they even pretend to be Master's voice and images, which makes it difficult for practitioners to distinguish between true and false.
“And don’t think about whether you can reach Consummation, either, because any desire you have can become an attachment and can be used by the evil. As soon as that kind of thought emerges, the evil might conjure a false image for you, and this will then cause interference.”(“Teaching the Fa at the Washington, D.C. International Fa Conference” from Guiding the Voyage)
I also saw where some practitioners were involved in a lot of Dafa projects, but they felt rejected by the person in charge for a long time and couldn't let go of the feeling of being treated unfairly. Some of them fought back using ordinary means. In fact, they were not aware that it was done by the old forces, and they didn't behave according to the Fa principles.
Some practitioners hold misunderstandings: “Since the old forces are higher beings, why couldn't we treat each other with compassion?” Master gave us a clear Fa principle in this respect:
“Fa-rectification is unfolding and it goes well beyond a being's self-cultivation. When a being interferes with you and with Dafa, that being should be cleared away, and it's no longer a matter of whether you as an individual are merciful; rather, it's a matter of whether you are responsible to Dafa.” (“Teaching the Fa at the Meeting with Asia-Pacific Students” from Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. VI)
My understanding is that our relationship with the old forces is that of righteousness versus evil and water versus fire. Water and fire are incompatible, so there is no room for reconciliation. It does not matter how the old forces view the Fa-rectification, their starting point, goals, and methods are just the opposite of what Master taught us. If we can't realize this point, or have a little bit of vagueness and ambiguity about it, the old forces will take advantage of that loophole. They just don't want us to achieve consummation in cultivation. They just want to pull us down, so why are you still hesitating?
The old forces are watching and accompanying genuine practitioners at all times. They might drag you down at any time, so will it work if you do not take it seriously? Dafa practitioners' compassion does not exist for the old forces.
The Evilness of the Old Forces and Their Inevitable Doom
Master's Fa-rectification is the greatest and most supreme event in the cosmos. It affects all living beings in the cosmic bodies, including the renewal of the old forces. However, the old forces participated with degenerate notions, which impedes Master's Fa-rectification. For instance, they arranged the persecution of Falun Dafa in this world, corrupting many Dafa practitioners. Thus, countless lives lost the chance to be saved. Their sin is enormous.
“Since the cosmos is changing and innumerable sentient beings are to be saved in the process of such a huge cosmic body being changed, any beings that come to interfere are committing a heinous and unpardonable sin.”(Teaching the Fa in San Francisco, 2005)
“Their sins are so great that they can't be measured in terms of their lives anymore. In the future they will pay for their sins endlessly, but even so they won't be able to pay for all of it--that's how huge their sins are.” (“Teaching the Fa at the Meeting with Asia-Pacific Students” from Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. VI)
Master told us in many lectures that the old forces were doomed, meaning that they would be destroyed. This happened because they insisted on doing what they want:
“But the old forces have still insisted on doing what they want. Of course, they’re clear on things now. They now know that all of what they are doing is actually destroying themselves. All of what they are doing at the same time results from old forces at higher levels utilizing this [situation] to eliminate the lives at levels below them, whose sins are grave, for those lives committed the greatest sin—to change what I wanted to do.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2013 Greater New York Fa Conference”)
“So during the Fa-rectification, there must be a complete reckoning for what each life has done. It's not that if some life did something bad it will be destroyed and that's the end of it. That wouldn't work. It still has to pay, while undergoing complete destruction, for all of the bad things it did. I treat all beings with the greatest mercy. No matter how great a sin or how big a mistake any of the lives in history committed, I could overlook their faults and sins, and I could remove their sins. The prerequisite is of course that during Fa-rectification you can't interfere with it; I would save you even if you didn't do a single thing. But once a being interferes with Fa-rectification what it faces is elimination. And those who've committed the most egregious sins have to pay for everything they've done while being eliminated. However much was done, that's how much has to be paid for; however big the things it did, that's how much it has to pay for. So this time, when it comes to the evil beings that interfere with Fa-rectification, no matter how wicked they are, what they face is a terrifying end that's never been seen before in the cosmos.” (“Teaching the Fa at the 2003 Atlanta Fa Conference” from Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. IV)
From Master's lectures, we can see that, no matter how evil and rampant the old forces are, it won't last long, especially when Fa-rectification is nearing its end. Although the old forces are dying, they continue to struggle – they are weak, empty, and nervous.
“The saddest is those people in the world who've been persecuted and the old forces themselves. Their ending is what's truly sad.” (“Teaching the Fa at the 2003 Washington DC Fa Conference” from Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. IV)
Steadfastly Follow Master's Guidance and Be a Genuine Cultivator
“The old forces are in essence gigantic trials and tribulations that accompany you at all times, focused on whether in Fa-rectification Dafa disciples are able to step forward.” (“Be Clearheaded” from The Essentials of Diligent Progress VOL. III)
Master said that the old forces “accompany you all times” and are “gigantic trials and tribulations.” These two descriptions are the keys to opening our minds to the truth.
“Accompany you all times” means that the old forces are everywhere. Every Dafa practitioner must face this and cannot avoid it.
“Gigantic trials and tribulations” describes the extent of difficulties practitioners face. Without a clear understanding and courage, it's difficult to overcome the trials and tribulations. In other words, some practitioners might not be able to pass such ordeals.
My understanding is that, as Dafa practitioners, it is of utmost importance whether we are able to step forward and negate the arrangements made by the old forces.
“The old forces are, with regard to going toward the renewal and rescuing all beings, like an obstacle that's the biggest, the most difficult to push away, the most likely to cause one to lose direction, to make one unable to easily distinguish the true from the false, and the most difficult to overcome; they are a critical, life-or-death lock at the brink of the new colossal firmament's birth, and a gigantic obstacle to renewal.” (Fa-Lecture During the 2003 Lantern Festival at the U.S. West Fa Conference)
How then can we escape the arrangements made by the old forces? There is only one way, which is to study the Fa as much as possible and diligently. The most frequent advise Master gives in lectures are “study the Fa” and “negate the old forces and their arrangements,” which are closely related. Only by studying the Fa as much as possible can we see clearly the nature of the old forces. Only by studying the Fa diligently can we follow Master's guidance and negate the arrangements made by the old forces.
Master taught us to “completely negate” the old forces:
“Dafa disciples' sending righteous thoughts is fundamentally rejecting the old forces' arrangements and eliminating the evil's persecution.” (Fa-Lecture During the 2003 Lantern Festival at the U.S. West Fa Conference)
“When you encounter ordeals during your cultivation, you have got to cultivate yourself and look at yourself--that doesn't mean acknowledging the ordeals arranged by the old forces and trying to do well amidst the ordeals they've arranged, that's not the case.” (“Teaching the Fa at the 2004 Chicago Conference” from Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. IV)
Some practitioners said, “I've negated the old forces, but they are still there.”
My personal understanding is that “completely negate” is an attitude, that is, to be firm in one's belief and do exactly what Master says. Then the inner meaning of the Fa can manifest and play a role. Such an attitude is crucial. Actually, one's attitude toward Master is one's attitude toward the Fa-rectification. Harmonizing what Master wants will be the greatest thing we can ever hope to achieve in our lives. Whether we can maintain firm belief in Master and follow Master's words indicates our attitude toward the Fa-rectification. It's obvious that different attitudes lead to different results.
Just as Master's Fa-rectification requires a process, cultivation also requires a process. We are cultivating during the Fa-rectification period, so our cultivation is not only a personal thing, and we cannot use personal requirements as standards.
During the process of not acknowledging and negating the old forces, “righteous thoughts” play a pivotal role.
“In other words, you are not in any way beings of the Three Realms, and you are no longer ordinary persons. That is why when your righteous thoughts are strong you can resolve any problem.” (Teaching the Fa in the City of Los Angeles)
“Even though the old forces do exist, if you don't have those thoughts they can't do anything. When your righteous thoughts are strong enough the old forces can't do a thing.” (“Teaching the Fa at the 2002 Fa Conference in Philadelphia, U.S.A” from Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. II)
“When it comes to those who oppose the old forces' arrangements and who have very strong righteous thoughts, they can't touch them.” (“Teaching the Fa at the 2003 Atlanta Fa Conference” from Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. IV)
“Nobody can manipulate Dafa disciples who have righteous thoughts and righteous actions.” (Fa-Lecture During the 2003 Lantern Festival at the U.S. West Fa Conference)
“But if your righteous thoughts are strong, then Master and the Law-guardian Gods can do anything for you.” (Fa-Lecture During the 2003 Lantern Festival at the U.S. West Fa Conference)
During my years of cultivation, I've noticed that genuine practitioners did well because they had firm and unshakable belief in Master and Dafa. The old forces could not touch such practitioners.
I've also realized that the situation of Master's Fa-rectification can change rapidly and at any moment. The worst of the persecution has passed. Now, all genuine practitioners who experienced the persecution firsthand know clearly how to walk on their paths. But what about those practitioners who were manipulated by the old forces or made huge mistakes?
Master treats all sentient beings with the greatest compassion. This is fortunate for people today. However, for those who did bad things to Dafa and Master, if they are still not awakened, but insist on continue doing the same as before, then there is really no chance for them. If they attempt to conceal their past and dare not face what they have done, then what they can expect is extinction.
“There are eyes everywhere in this cosmos, and both the beings that have been rectified and the beings that haven't been are watching.” (“Teaching the Fa at the 2002 Fa Conference in Boston” from Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. II)
As Dafa practitioners, we should all be clearheaded, completely negate the arrangements made by the old forces, completely sever ties with the old forces, break away from them, not acknowledge their actions, firmly follow Master's arrangements, and step forward. If we can do this, the old forces will lose the reason for their existence and be eliminated gradually by Dafa practitioners' strong righteous thoughts. Master said that is the only way we can break through the “life-or-death lock at the brink of the new colossal firmament's birth” (Fa-Lecture During the 2003 Lantern Festival at the U.S. West Fa Conference)
From Master's lectures, we understand that the old forces at higher levels have long been destroyed by Master, while only the evil specters and demons in the Three Realms and superficial dimensions continue their evildoings. However, the remaining bad things are left for Dafa practitioners' cultivation. If anyone still can't step forward, then he or she will regret it for eternity.
When we follow Master's teachings, practice genuine cultivation, and accomplish our mission, we will find that the old forces are only a paragraph in the annals of history.
“In fact, the old forces are just acting up during this gap of time before the Fa-rectification arrives;” (Touring North America to Teach the Fa)
“... no matter how the old forces went about arranging things, I let them arrange them, but in the end this undertaking absolutely can't be done according to their requirements. ” (Touring North America to Teach the Fa)
“All that I have done in the cosmos is most worthy of cherishing, and it is what I will affirm and acknowledge in the future. Things that I don't want cannot be acknowledged or affirmed--they are a disgrace. So in Fa-rectification, no matter what kinds of demonic ordeals I encounter or what kinds of blows I am dealt, they cannot alter my will, nor change what I plan to accomplish.” (“Fa Teaching at the U.S. Capital” from Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. VIII)
The closer to the end, the more seriously we should treat our cultivation.
“Our work is not yet completely done, though, and in terms of personal cultivation, each step might be critical in determining whether each Dafa disciple can reach Consummation.” (Teaching the Fa at the Western U.S. International Fa Conference from Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. VII)