Insights Gained from Reading the Book Zhuan Falun
(Minghui.org) Zhuan Falun, the main book of Falun Dafa, is written in everyday language. While everyone can understand it on the surface, it is up to us to enlighten to the higher principles beyond that.
How can we study the Fa teachings effectively? My experience is that we first must be respectful and calm and then let go of self. The goal is not to read fast but to enlighten by gaining without pursuit. Although I have yet to realize more and deeper connotations, I would like to share some understandings that I personally have about the Fa at my current stage.
Removing Scientific Notions to Understand the Inner Meanings of the Fa
Like many practitioners, I sometimes unintentionally think about the Fa with scientific concepts and do not evaluate science with the Fa. I seem to have a scientific track in my head and will follow that track if I do not pay attention.
In the first lecture, Master [Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Dafa] explained why practicing does not lead to results:
“To help you picture what happens, imagine that there is a bottle filled with dirt and that’s capped tightly. If the bottle is tossed into water it will sink to the bottom. But if you pour out some of its dirt, and toss it into the water again, it will float up this time; and the more that’s poured out, the more it will float. Pour out all of it and the bottle will float all the way up.” (“When Practicing Doesn’t Bring Results,” The First Talk, Zhuan Falun, 2018)
I don't think this is about physics. In physics, whether an object floats or sinks simply depends on its density.
I enlightened that Master was talking about the Fa, not physics. He used this physical example to help us break the barrier of scientific concepts. While the density of water never changes, Dafa has different expressions at different levels and cultivators will be where their levels are.
More than that, it often says in Zhuan Falun: “someone thinks,” “modern medicine reveals,” “scientists think,” and so on. My understanding is that those “thinking” may not necessarily be right. They may be limited and/or wrong (i.e. Darwin's theory of evolution).
Master used those terms in his teachings to lead us to understand the principles behind the universe's Fa. If he'd started his teaching at higher levels, his listeners would have difficulty understanding or become confused about right and wrong, which can be different at higher levels. This same approach can be applied to our efforts to clarify the truth.
“A notion, once formed, will control you for the duration of your life, influencing your thinking and even the full gamut of emotions, such as your happiness, anger, sorrow, and joy.” (“Buddha Nature,” Zhuan Falun Volume II)
One crucial thing in Fa study is understanding its connotation. To do that, the first thing is to get rid of those notions that sway us.
Why the Uneasy Feeling?
One day when I was reading the section about “Jealousy” in Zhuan Falun, I suddenly realized that “feeling uneasy” was mentioned seven times, and it more or less seemed to point at me each time. I was unable discern my true self when stubborn notions influenced me.
“People can’t ordinarily see all of this, and so they always think that they should get whatever position or role they’re fit for. As a result they spend their lives competing with others and end up hurt, believing that life is painful and tiring; they never know peace or contentment.” (Jealousy, The Seventh Talk, Zhuan Falun, 2018)
In the Shen Yun projects, I often thought about who should have done what, why, and how. When a project did not seem to dovetail with my thinking, I would feel uneasy and become passive and uncooperative. I understand now that the root of my feelings was basically my jealousy. My attachments were so hidden by the excuse that it was “for the good of Shen Yun” that they weren't easy for me to identify.
I also realize that my discomfort and mental distress are, many times, expressions of jealousy.
Two days ago, I was telling a middle-aged man, who was generally supportive, the facts about Falun Gong. When I tried to encourage him to quit the Chinese Communist Party, another practitioner suddenly stepped in and took over the conversation. I was unhappy about that, even though I knew it did not matter who did the talking as long as the person was helped. I didn't understand why I was unhappy at the time, but later I realized it was jealousy.
From the Perspective of the Other Person
If someone asked whether it was all right to read the books of other religions or practices, I would say, “Of course not.” Thinking of Master's answer, I enlightened that Master always explains the reasons from the perspective of the other person so that the person can easily accept and understand the point.
“I am sometimes asked whether it’s okay to read the books of other religions or practices. Our take is that religious works teach people to develop their character, and Buddhist texts particularly emphasize the mind. Our practice is Buddhist, so in principle there’s no problem. But that said, many passages of scriptures are inaccurate due to the translation process, and many commentaries were made with varying degrees of understanding and baseless interpretations—all of which undermine the teachings.” (Your Thinking Needs to Be Right, The Sixth Talk, Zhuan Falun 2018)
I was not patient and calm many times when I clarified the truth to people, shared experiences with fellow practitioners, and discussed issues with my family. I now understand why. It was because I did not consider the perspective of the other person.
Sometimes, I have talked to my family with an attitude of “I'm saying this for your own good” and did not pay attention to the words I said and tone of my voice. I really was not considerate of them at all. It was a result of my level of cultivation.
We held the first Shen Yun performance in our town a few years ago. In one group experience-sharing gathering, an older practitioner had an argument with the coordinator and I sided with the senior person. The following day, another practitioner said that I had misspoken the night before.
“What did I say wrong?” I pondered. Superficially, I was right to support a senior practitioner. But that interpretation was too narrow. I should have looked at the problem from the perspective of the whole group and on the basis of the Fa.
Minding Great Aspirations
In Zhuan Falun, Master taught us to honestly cultivate and focus on great aspirations. In “Sage” in Essentials for Further Advancement, he taught us to be “full of great aspirations while minding minor details.”
These two statements seem to contradict each other superficially. Actually, they don't. Talking about sickness karma, Master wants us to look at the great aspects of others and not get entangled in the small things. We have to be strict with ourselves. Otherwise, any small attachment will become a big issue.
“Some of our practitioners are struggling with passing the tests of sickness karma. Don’t think that it’s necessarily something major [that causes that]. You might think that you haven’t done anything majorly wrong, and that you are very firm in your faith in the Fa. However, you shouldn’t treat the little issues you have like they are nothing. The evil will seize upon any gaps. Many practitioners have even passed away on account of little things; it really was due to something very minor. That’s because cultivation is something serious, and requires having no gaps.” (Fa Teaching at the 2015 West Coast Fa Conference)
Thinking Deeply about Odd Occurrences
In his teachings, Master always guides us to improve our ability to understand and think deeply when we run into something odd. To me, “thinking deeply” is to think of historic debts from past generations and the interference of the old forces.
Master encourages us to think deeply about the odd things so that we can remove hidden attachments. The attachment and karma are related. Once our attachments are removed, Master will help us get rid of the karma and improve our ability to understand.
Many odd things have happened to me while I've clarified the truth, shared experiences, and encountered domestic conflicts. I sometimes let go of them without thinking them over carefully. Two days ago, my wife used chopsticks to cook. To keep her from giving me the same chopsticks at the dinner table, I took them from the stove counter and put them in the sink.
That upset her and she lashed out at me. It seemed so strange for her to lose her temper over such a minor thing. Not only did I apologize to her insincerely, I also did not maintain my xinxing and bickered with her. To my surprise, I suddenly became hoarse. Noticing that, she stopped complaining and started looking inward herself.
Thinking about this incident afterward, I realized that, because of my attachment to fighting, I wanted to make my wife wash the chopsticks. I thought that she would have to wash them once they were in the sink. It was a bad thought. I wasn't being considerate of her.
Writing articles to share cultivation experiences is another way for us to improve. So is editing the articles. While talking about guarding your speech, another practitioner said, “A festered mouth may be caused by saying something that should not be said. It may also be due to failing to say what should have been said.” I think writing articles is also like that.