Sharing a Few Understandings on True Cultivation
(Minghui.org) As our cultivation in Falun Dafa proceeds further and Fa-rectification progresses, we practitioners may run into big tribulations that may seem hard to overcome. I would like to share my understandings on how to deal with them.
1. Believing in Master, Believing in Dafa, and Transforming Our Notions
“Believing in Master and believing in Dafa” is a key issue in our cultivation.
“Isn’t any form of pressure a test to see whether your faith in the Buddha Fa is fundamentally strong? If you still are not fundamentally resolute in the Fa, everything else is out of question.” (“For Whom do You Practice Cultivation?” Essentials for Further Advancement)
“Throughout the entire course of your cultivation there will be the question of how you fundamentally understand the Fa and whether you can be steadfast—you’ll be tested on whether you are steadfast in the Fa all the way until the last step of your cultivation.” (“Suggestions Given at the Beijing Falun Dafa Assistants Meeting,” Explaining the Content of Falun Dafa)
We should be clear that everything of ours is managed by Master. No one else can evaluate us, and the old forces' mechanisms cannot have any effect on us. No matter how big the tribulations we face, we do not need to fear them because Master controls everything, including our lives and deaths.
If we trust in Master and Dafa completely, we can pass these tests. As Master said,
“When it's difficult to endure, you can endure it. When it's impossible to do it, you can do it.” (“People with Great Inborn Quality,” Lecture Nine, Zhuan Falun, 2014 Translation)
However, when some practitioners face tough challenges or are even at the turning point where the hardship has peaked, they decide to give up. They lose their confidence in Master and Dafa and instead let their human attachments take over. They switch back to human medicine or other human methods, yielding to hardships, the fear of death, or pressure from their relatives.
Some practitioners have said, “Even a 99.99 percent belief in Master and Dafa is not enough for a cultivator, because the old forces can take advantage of the remaining 0.01 percent.”
The old forces can intensify tribulations to keep practitioners within the illusion of sickness for a long time, or set up even bigger hurdles to block these practitioners from advancing.
For practitioners, “believing in Master and believing in Dafa” is not just a saying–it must be put into action. We must change our human notions to be truly able to believe. Whenever we run into a test, we face two options: do we take the human approach, or do we take the practitioner's path?
For example, when a practitioner was adjusting the paper on a paper cutter, her two-year-old grandson accidentally touched the safety button, and the blade chopped off her thumbnail, taking off a piece of flesh with it. She put the flesh back on the spot and tried to wash the blood off, but blood kept pouring out. She looked within, found a big attachment, and got rid of it. Then the bleeding stopped, the pain disappeared, and she recovered in a few days.
Another practitioner fainted at home. She was taken to a local hospital, transferred to a big hospital, and was told to stay there for three months. She thought, “How can I let non-practitioners decide what to do with my body and health?” She rode a taxi home and was able to hike to the top of a mountain right away.
Unfortunately, some practitioners are troubled by “sickness” symptoms and take them seriously. They eat ginger when they cough, eat garlic when they have diarrhea, take medicine when they don't feel well, and take nutrition supplements regularly. That is walking upon a human path, and the old forces are likely to create trouble for them for doing so.
2. Don't Be Lax with Fa Study and Truly Conduct Ourselves According to the Fa
Master has repeatedly told us to study the Fa more and study the Fa well. He said,
“The Fa can break all attachments, the Fa can destroy all evil, the Fa can shatter all lies, and the Fa can strengthen righteous thoughts.” (“Drive Out Interference,” Essentials for Further Advancement II)
We all know there are several ways to study the Fa: we can read it, memorize it, and hand-copy it. More importantly, after we study the Fa, we need to conduct ourselves according to the Fa. When we run into tribulations, we should think about what Master taught us and whether our actions meet the Fa's requirements. We should try to align our every thought and action with the Fa.
A new practitioner was vomiting and having diarrhea at home. She felt that she was losing all her energy and could not breathe. She wondered, “Will something happen to me?” Right at that moment, a line from Zhuan Falun appeared in her head:
“Whether you come across them or not, I can assure you that you will not be in any danger – I can guarantee this.” (“What Has Teacher Given To Students?” Lecture Three, Zhuan Falun, 2014 Translation)
Master had given her a hint. Then, she was able to fall asleep. After she woke up, she felt great. She was able to eat again and was completely fine.
So, when big tribulations come, it is important for us to think of the Fa. Master told us, “The solution is to without exception make studying the Fa a priority and to study the Fa diligently.” (“Shed the Human Mindset,” The Essentials of Diligent Progress, Vol. III)
Master also said in “Solid Cultivation,” Hong Yin (Translation Version A):
“Study the Fa and gain the Fa,Focus on how you study and cultivate,Let each and every thingbe measured against the Fa.Only then, with that,is it actually cultivation.”
3. Clarifying Truth to Lives at All Levels
Master told us to clarify the truth to people and help people understand Falun Dafa. Many practitioners have been doing this diligently.
We can also clarify the truth to lives in the macroscopic or microscopic levels of the cosmos. In the Dharma Ending period, lives in various dimensions have all become bad. We can let them understand that Master came to save the cosmos and all sentient beings, that Falun Dafa is good, that Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is the Way, that Falun Dafa practitioners are assisting Master to rectify the Fa, and that whoever interferes with Fa-rectification is committing a crime.
4. Using Benevolent Resolutions
For beings that interfere with our cultivation, we can try to give them a benevolent resolution because we may have hurt or insulted them in our previous lives.
We can repeatedly recite Master's words,
“During the Fa-rectification of the cosmos, I can make a reasonable arrangement for those of you who don't interfere with my validating the Fa; I can have you become beings in the future. Those of you who seek a benevolent resolution should leave me and wait in my surroundings. If you really cannot leave me, then don't have any part in interfering with me. In the future I will be able to achieve Consummation, and I will offer you a benevolent resolution. Those who are completely bad, who still interfere with me and who cannot remain will, according to the standards, have to be eliminated. Even if I don't eliminate you, the Law of the cosmos won't let you remain.” (“Teaching the Fa at the 2004 International Fa Conference in New York”)
5. Declaring That We Only Follow Master's Path
Master has set up a righteous path for each of our main souls to cultivate. In parallel, the old forces have arranged another path. Their arrangements contain details about every thought and every action that we have or take. They and the evil lives that they control are trying to make us follow their plan. So if our thoughts or actions do not match what Master wants, our paths will follow the old forces' arrangements.
We can make a solemn declaration to the universe in our mind, “I am Master Li Hongzhi's disciple. I will only take the path that my Master has arranged for me and follow everything my Master wants me to do. Master said, 'We negate even the very emergence of the old forces and everything that they've arranged; we don't even acknowledge their existence.' (“Teaching the Fa at the 2004 Chicago Conference,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. IV) My Master does not acknowledge the old forces' arrangements, so I do not acknowledge them either. Anything I had promised to any entities or individuals (except my Master) in my lives is void. I will only take the path that my Master has set up for me. No one can make me waver.”
We can also repeatedly recite this section of the Fa:
“'I'm Li Hongzhi's disciple, I don't want or acknowledge any other arrangements' – then they won't dare to do that. So it can all be resolved. When you can really do that, not just saying it but putting it into action, Master will definitely stand up for you.” (“Fa-Lecture During the 2003 Lantern Festival at the U.S. West Fa Conference”)
6. Avoiding Mixing Other Things into Cultivation
This is regarding the issue of “no second cultivation way.” (“Practicing Only One Cultivation Way,” Lecture Three, Zhuan Falun, 2014 Translation) We cannot mix any other influences into our cultivation, such as other qigong exercises, the Communist Party's ways of thought, or materials from other religions.
For example, some people like to watch the news, read the newspaper, go on WeChat (online social media), and take in Communist Party propaganda in other ways. Some people like to read cultivation stories from other religions. All of these are not part of our cultivation.
7. Looking Within
We should always look within for our own attachments and seek to eliminate them, especially the most obvious ones.
Master told us,
“For a cultivator, looking within is a magical tool.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2009 Washington DC International Fa Conference,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. IX)
Some practitioners do not know how to look within. Here are some questions that have helped me in this process:
1. What have I been thinking about the most?
2. Which events around me have caused me to move my heart?
3. Which ordinary thoughts disturb my tranquility the most when doing the exercises?
4. Has there been any intrusive external interference showing up in my mind?
Sometimes certain attachments are very hard to get rid of. We may know that they should be removed, but we just cannot let them go. They keep popping up into our minds and even make us unable to eat or rest. We should be clear that they are not part of ourselves. They are from our “fake selves.” Our true selves do not want them at all.
Sometimes we may run into a messy situation where our bodies do not feel good and our environments are also bad. It is like what Master said: “Abundant troubles rain down together, All to see: Can you pull through?” (“Tempering the Will,” Hong Yin, Translation Version A) In fact, this situation is generated precisely for us to jump out of our human mindsets and sentimentality.
During these trials, we can close our eyes. We can try to visualize jumping out of the human world to be by Master's side while thinking, “I don't belong to any old forces.” When I do this, I can feel the Earth becoming smaller and smaller and getting farther and farther away. Anything on Earth is no longer important or related to me. Then, I can feel the lightness and the sense of great joy that comes from letting go of all attachments and worries.
Of course, regardless of whether or not we still have attachments, any evil force or rotten demon has no right to persecute or interfere with us. Master is watching over us. All of our attachments will be rectified on the cultivation paths that Master has set up for us.
I have seen my attachments and other interference several times. We should work to eliminate those bad things. Keep in mind that Master has told us, “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”)
8. Sending Forth Righteous Thoughts for a Longer Duration
We should send out the purest, firmest, and strongest righteous thoughts.
Sometimes, I would find that my righteous thoughts are either limited in magnitude or restricted to only a small area. In these situations, I usually choose to send forth righteous thoughts for a longer duration to disintegrate more evil.
One night, I did that in two sessions for a total of over one hour. Under Master's strengthening, I felt a strong energy field and the power to destroy all of the old forces' mechanisms at different levels of the cosmos. Master hinted to me in my dream afterward that he had removed the restriction that the old forces put on me, thus completely negating the old forces' arrangements and persecution of me.
I felt that my body was light when I woke up. Since then, I would send forth righteous thoughts for a much longer duration periodically. I recommend making this a habit and not waiting to do this until big tribulations come.
9. Understanding Who We Are
“You play the leading role in this period of history, and the existence of everything at present, whether it be evil or the upright gods, has to do with you. It is walking straight your path that is most important.” (“Walk Straight Your Path,” The Essentials of Diligent Progress, Vol. III)
He also said,
“Whatever you experience during your cultivation—whether good or bad—is good, for it comes about only because you are cultivating.” (“To the Chicago Fa Conference,” The Essentials of Diligent Progress, Vol. III)
Therefore, when facing tribulations, we should view ourselves as being big and view the tribulations as being small, not the other way around.
If we cannot resolve the issue, we can ask for Master's help or hints. In the case of emergencies, we can shout out repeatedly, “Master, please save me!”
We should not be lax on the three things that Master asked us to do. It can impact us during tests if we have not done them well. Some practitioners only read Dafa books but do not do the exercises or clarify the truth, some only do the exercises and study the Fa but do not clarify the truth, and some only clarify the truth but do not study the Fa. We need to fix all of these situations.
When trying to do the three things well, we should view everything that happens to us as steps in our cultivation: each discomfort in our body and every troubling matter is homework for our cultivation; it is there for us to develop righteous thoughts and take righteous actions. All small hurdles are our cultivation quizzes, and all big tribulations are our cultivation exams. Only when we do our homework well every day can we score high on the quizzes and ultimately ace the exams!
Master said in “Unimpeded,” Hong Yin Vol. II (Translation Version A):
“The paths of cultivation are variedBut none is outside the Great Law”
Let's all progress diligently on the paths that Master has arranged for us!