Understandings Gained from Repeated Tribulations
(Minghui.org) I became a Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong) practitioner, likely through predestined connections. I did not suffer from any serious illnesses and neither was I searching for something in life. However, I started to realize the true meaning of life after reading Falun Gong and listening to Master's audio lectures. As a result, my outlook changed and I became happier and more content. In recent years though, as cultivation requirements became stricter, I started experiencing episodes of severe suffering and tiredness during times of challenging tribulations. I experienced these same feelings before becoming a practitioner, and the resurfacing of these negative emotions left me troubled and confused.
Much later, I realized the reason behind my negative state was due to my emotions. Though I experienced a number of tribulations, which could be traced to my human emotions, the sufficiently different situations made it hard to identify this as the true obstacle to my cultivation practice.
In Zhuan Falun Master Li tells us:
“Everything has its karmic relationship. Why can human beings be human? It is because human beings have qing. They live just for this qing. Affection among family members, love between a man and a woman, love for parents, feelings, friendship, doing things for the sake of friendship, and everything else all relate to this qing. Whether a person likes to do something or not, is happy or unhappy, loves or hates something, and everything in the entire human society comes from this qing.” ( Lecture 4, Zhuan Falun)
I grew up under the influence of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) Socialist Education Movement, the Cultural Revolution, the Anti-Rightist Campaign and the campaign to denounce the teachings of Confucius. Moreover, my family and that of my husband were considered to fall within the “Five Black Categories” [Cultural Revolution term for groups that were considered “enemies of the revolution,” i.e. landlords, rich peasants, etc.]. As a target of persecution and humiliation, I became familiar with disappointment, hardship and desolation. As a result, I had little opportunity to closely examine or encounter other human emotions.
Human Emotions Are the Greatest Obstacle in Cultivation Practice
After obtaining the Fa, I strove to keep up with the requirements of a practitioner. However, my unwavering belief and hard work was undermined by my unconscious attachment to human emotions. Eventually, this negatively affected my cultivation and created problems for the local cultivation community.
A fellow practitioner gave me much help and support when I became homeless due to the persecution. When he was released early from the labor camp, I refused to admit to myself that he had been brainwashed by the CCP. Other practitioners even warned me that he had conspired with authorities in the labor camp to arrest me. However, memories of his former kindness and friendship were at the forefront of my mind, and I told him where I was currently staying. He then personally led a group of policemen to my doorstep. I was kidnapped, along with another practitioner who was staying at the same place with me. Despite this incident, I still could not recognize my own shortcomings.
My attachment was further displayed when a practitioner and his wife from his second marriage, approached me for help when they became homeless. This practitioner had been illegally detained, tortured and fired from his job. His first wife had divorced him and taken their only son with her. In consideration of their economic situation and safety, I took them in. My initial act of kindness in aiding a fellow practitioner was certainly correct.
But in the years to follow, I unconsciously began to incorporate human affection into our interactions. Initially, as I relied on their specialized skills for some work, I let them eat, drink, and live in my home as recompense. Before long, our cultivation environment devolved into that of an everyday person’s family. We forgot to hold ourselves to the requirements of a cultivator and I started treating them like close relatives instead. Our actions were observed by fellow practitioners, who warned me, “Don't bring human affections into Dafa cultivation practice!” However I turned a deaf ear to their advice.
One day, another practitioner reported some remarks I had made about the practitioner who lived with me. Though this was taken out of context, the remarks caused a rift between us. Eventually, the couple made the decision to move out of my home. Despite this loss, I did not search inward for my failings and instead used an ordinary person’s thinking to consider this issue. “My years of sacrifice and effort on their behalf were disregarded over some paltry words that were taken out of context?” I remained unable to shed my human emotions in cultivation practice. This incident troubled many of our local practitioners and impacted our overall cultivation environment.
These, and many other incidents, severely affected my heart and mind. I began to feel bitter and tired. However, Master continued to give me chance after chance. Having uncovered the importance of searching inwards, I finally realized my flaw. I had turned to fellow practitioners to fulfill my yearning for human affection. I had mistaken love for compassion, while using human emotion and logic to view problems that had cropped up in my cultivation path. My actions were not in accordance with the teachings of the Fa. From now on, I am determined to eliminate the human emotions that I have brought into my cultivation practice.
Manifestations of Human Affections
Cultivators who harbor attachments may manifest them in the form of human emotion. I have observed, in myself and others, strong feelings that resulted in conflicts between fellow practitioners and disruption to the cultivation environment as a whole.
For example, fellow practitioners who get along well with each other tend to talk non-stop. They are also quick to offer assistance to each other. Those who do not get along well show disdain for each other. They tend to avoid the other party and refuse to get involved when the other is in trouble. When forming Fa study groups, many also try to find those whose mindsets are aligned with theirs. Those whom they disdain are ostracized, an action which mirrors the teachings of the CCP. Such actions can hinder a practitioner’s cultivation progress, foster animosity between fellow practitioners and affect our work in saving sentient beings.
Additionally, I have noticed an excess of human affection among practitioners, which manifests as love for family members, love between spouses, and parental love for one's children. These cultivators are unable to clearly delineate cultivation from their family relationships. They spend much effort in preparing and cooking meals for massive weekend family gatherings. However despite practicing Dafa for over 20 years, they dare not mention the words “Falun Gong” at home and sneak around their family in order to participate in Falun Dafa activities.
Using the excuse of adhering to the requirements of ordinary human society, some practitioners frequently bring their families traveling, both abroad and within China. However they dare not display their Dafa books openly at home, nor openly tell their relatives and friends that they are practicing Falun Gong. They live cautiously, taking impeccable care of their loved ones. However, their home cultivation environment has stagnated for more than 20 years. Yet other fellow practitioners spend excessive amounts of time and effort to take care of their grandchildren.
Those who refuse to let go of their excessive human emotions and do not cultivate in an upright manner will eventually harm themselves and their families.
Human Emotions Are the Root of Attachment
In Zhuan Falun Master Li teaches:
“Since human beings have qing, being upset is qing, so are happiness, love, hatred, enjoying doing one thing, resenting doing another thing, preferring one person to another, hobbies, and dislikes. Everything belongs to qing, and everyday people just live for it. Then, as a practitioner and one who rises above and beyond the ordinary, one should not use this approach to judge things, and one should break away from them. Therefore, as to the many attachments that come from qing, we should take them lightly and eventually abandon them.” ( Lecture Six, Zhuan Falun)
Human emotions are ultimately born from our selfish desires. Jealousy, competitiveness, recognition, resentment, selfishness, arrogance, all have their roots in human emotions. Fa-rectification period Dafa practitioners should have an open, compassionate mindset. Compassion is different from love. It is selfless, unaffected in the face of all harm or disruptions. It is important to recognize the difference and eliminate this root of human attachments.