Birth and Life (生- Sheng)
(Minghui.org) Greetings, Master! Greetings, fellow Practitioners!
I recall attending Master’s Fa-Lecture During the 2003 Lantern Festival at the U.S West Fa Conference. It was a very long lecture and Q&A period. One thing that Master said that day stuck with me for a very long time. He said:
“So for the beings of the old cosmos, and this includes all the elements of beings, when it comes to the Fa-rectification and what I choose, all beings' harmonizing and completing things according to my choices and contributing their best ideas and approaches--not to change what I want, but to harmonize and complete things according to what I've said--is the best thought a being in the cosmos could have.”
I recall leaving there very surprised, asking myself, “Did Master really just tell us what the best thought a being could have is!? Really!? There is only one best, and now we know what it is!? Wow that makes everything a lot easier!” From that day forward I created a righteous thought that I would use to face any evil that arose in my cultivation. I would just say, “I want what Master wants.” If something looked off, or was clearly an attachment, I would say very clearly, “I don’t want that, I only want what Master wants.”
Very shortly after the conference I faced a situation where I was afraid of losing face while validating the Fa. I closed my eyes to clarify that I did not want to save face and only wanted what Master wanted. At that moment I saw a large Chinese character appearing before me. It was shining and beautiful. When I looked directly at it I was shocked that it did not fade away. I was allowed to examine it very closely and I did not want to forget it.
I was not studying Chinese at the time, so I went to a fellow practitioner to help me draw it out. Once we finished I asked them what it meant, and the practitioner said “Sheng means birth and life.” This was deeply touching as I understood it related to all beings, of which I was one, and not separate from anyone. We were all in this. It felt so personal and yet so all-encompassing of all sentient beings. I recall a period of about ten months where I felt as though I was ascending very fast, and my mind became more and more calm and expansive. There seemed to be very few things I could not take lightly and very few areas where I could not be helpful.
As I marched onward in my cultivation a thought occurred to me, “Isn’t it an attachment if I always hold onto this 'best thought'?” After some calm searching I thought I should just let it go and take a natural course, focusing my thoughts on Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance and being clear on the thoughts that are not me, while continuing on with cultivating in various projects. I then thought, “Wow, this Dafa and Master are so righteous and pure, because we do not even get attached to even the ‘best thought’.”
A deeper more fundamental attachment then surfaced, which I did not see for the following 15 years. Early in 2018 I began to clear karma physically in my body. I didn’t think much of it, as I never have. Karma comes and goes. Some pain here or there is not much, because it passes. But this time it escalated again and again. It had been a while after taking me off my feet. And at this time I had kids, a business, and a project as responsibilities. In the past I would shut out the world and just study the Fa. I could not do that this time. Each time I thought it had reached the extreme and was about to turn around, it got worse.
I am a health professional so I have a developed an understanding of how human beings work at this level of the Fa, and it was being used to attack me. Once I was taken off my feet the karma began to flow from my mind and I found myself going mad, not knowing who I really was, or why I was living. Sometimes it was just pure mental anguish. Falun Dafa is not an insurance policy so the evil arranged for a life-threatening illness to appear. This went on for almost two months. It seemed I was finally done as the pains subsided, my mind was clear, and I was back at work. But the very next day I suffered a concussion.
Never had my brain been so impaired during my cultivation. Even if I had a lot of thought karma tormenting me, I had my mindset to fight it off. This time even a small mental effort made me very tired, and dizzy. At one point I had symptoms of a stroke and I immediately jumped to my feet and started pacing around my house and shouting NO in my mind. I still worked, but between clients I would sleep. I then had to stop work altogether. I could not read as I would just pass out, so I just listened to the Fa instead. I listened to the nine lectures almost three times in seven or eight days.
After eliminating all of my hidden “insurance policy thoughts,” I gradually made it through this tribulation too. I naturally had a lot of time to look inside. The main thing I saw during this time took me 15 years into the past. When I stopped choosing this “best thought” I mentioned earlier. This thought “I want what Master wants.” I began to feel a pride for how righteous I thought Master and Dafa are. This began to motivate me. But this isn’t correct.
In the article “Cautionary Advice” (Essentials for Further Advancement) Master said:
“Your ways of thinking, your understanding, and your appreciation towards me and Dafa are the product of ordinary human thinking. But what I’m teaching you is in fact moving beyond ordinary humans to a rational, true understanding of Dafa!”
This human thinking arose a passion in me. After the 2004 battle in New York I did not want to leave and decided that I needed to be here in the USA. This is not wrong, but my motivation was not pure. I wanted to be closer to Master and the “core” group of practitioners. It was like wanting to be cool, only a lot more serious and profound. This in itself does not seem all that terrible if it was not for the fact that the more I felt closer to Master in this dimension, and the more prominent I felt within the body of practitioners, the less I actually did to help save sentient beings. This type of thing does not happen overnight. The evil is just pulling on one loose thread, until it can get another and another. Low-level demons are often mad and hysterical, but ones a bit higher are patient.
My father taught me at a very young age that I was the best. I never knew how deeply attached I was to this idea. With this belief I decided that not much else mattered. And when I found Dafa, I thought, “Perfect. Now I can really, truly be the best. Wait, now I know what the ‘best thought’ is, forget about it, this is a done deal. Hey, I do not even need this ‘best thought’. Even better! What can stop me! I am indeed the absolute best!”
Being part of the Dafa body became more and more important over the years while the sentient beings, who are in grave danger, became less and less important. Sitting there and seeing 15 or so years of cultivation in a glance was unsettling. Especially when you see yourself going off track. It had been a long time since I had been able to let go of a failure quickly, but this time I did. This was before my concussion, so I was able to read. And when I did, I had a very special experience. Zhuan Falun was a brand new book again, every line.
I do not really have a problem finding confidence. My direction in life has always been clear and I have always had a plan. It sometimes changes, but there is always direction and a plan. This has led me to be a person with a strong sense of who I am, knowing what I want and what I do not want. I know what I am doing and what I am not doing. But how is this possible? How could I know who I am? This helped me realize that all of the things that I associate with my identity, my personality, and all of the ways I know myself were all attachments and potential tools for interference. Even the idea of cultivation itself is something I have personalized over years of doing it. And it is not just this life. I have seen past lives of mine too. All of it is piled on top. It is not even a bad thing because we need some surface layer to be here. The lives we lived and all the associated layers are just part of the play. But this surface layer is just clothing and should never be anything more.
In Master’s article “Cautionary Advice” (Essentials for Further Advancement) he also said,
“If you do not want to change your human state and rationally rise to a true understanding of Dafa, you will miss the opportunity. If you do not change the human logic that you, as an ordinary human, have formed deep in your bones over thousands of years, you will be unable to break away from this superficial human shell and reach Consummation. You cannot always count on me to eliminate karma for you while you fail to truly progress in comprehending the Fa and rise above human understandings and notions.”
Back in 2003 there was no Shen Yun and there was not even Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party. We still did not know about organ harvesting. The media was all very new. Very often we had little idea what it was we were doing. We only knew we needed to act and when we did, we needed to follow Zhen-Shan-Ren. We now know exactly what to do. All that is left is the “how.” Yet when I remember back to any time, be it before the persecution, shortly after it started, or these far more developed times, one thing has been consistent. When practitioners were actually a part of accomplishing something real and they shared how it happened, there always comes a time in the story when words struggle to capture their meaning and they are left amazed by the power of Dafa and Master. It is never about them, and if they act that way, then it seems odd to the rest of us.
Our projects are now decided and we have only three things to focus on. In the past I used to view “personal cultivation” as a limited understanding of the opportunity and task presented to cultivators at this time in history. I now view it similar to breathing. If you do not breathe you do not get to stay in this dimension for very long. Well if you do not do personal cultivation you are not able to fulfill your vow and help Master, and in a worse case situation you can eeetven become a hindrance.
In Master’s article “Cautionary Advice” (Essentials for Further Advancement) he also said,
“In practicing cultivation, you are not making real, solid progress on your own, which would effect great, fundamental changes internally. Instead, you rely on my power and take advantage of powerful external factors. This can never transform your human nature into Buddha-nature. If every one of you can understand the Fa from the depths of your mind, that will truly be the manifestation of the Fa whose power knows no boundary—the reappearance of the mighty Buddha Fa in the human world!”
Thank you, Master. Thank you, fellow practitioners.