(Minghui.org) For the longest time, cultivators seemed to evaluate problems with negative thoughts. I was one of those. I thought it was my normal way of thinking, and didn’t know how to do otherwise. We may suffer many unnecessary ordeals due to these negative thought patterns. If all of us were aware of this earlier, we may have avoided many tribulations.

Master said,

“We’d say that a good or bad outcome comes from one thought. The difference in one thought leads to different results.” (The Fourth Talk, Zhuan Falun)

If one holds a righteous thought, the result of something might develop toward the right and good direction. However, if negative thoughts arise, things might head toward the wrong side.

Source of Negative Thoughts

We study Master's teachings, and know that as cultivators we should maintain righteous thoughts to evaluate problems. But why do negative thoughts surface immediately whenever we run into problems? Master said,

“I mentioned that everything has its origin.” (Lecture Nine, Zhuan Falun)

Let us dig a little deeper and find the origin of negative thoughts, and maybe we can solve the problem. My understanding is that these negative thoughts come from the old forces, as that is how they operate. Because of that mentality, things like persecution can take place. The destructive testing of Dafa disciples completely deviates from the jurisprudence of Master, which requires that cultivators rectify themselves within the Fa.

Master said,

“During the 1950s and 60s people were rather simple and kind. But the old forces thought it would be too easy for people like that to gain the Fa, as people’s thinking was too wholesome and virtuous. And so they brought about many modern ideas, modern art, and modern theories. Every field and domain is filled with modern, negative and bad things, and with time the negative elements came to dominate the world.”

“I’m well aware just how hard it is to become holy or be a virtuous person in a world where negative elements are so dominant.”

“It’s hard to save people once negative factors come to dominate their minds and society’s thought. That’s because their rational minds have been overtaken by negative factors, and they can’t tell that the things they are doing are not the product of their own thoughts.”

“The notions that people now have, at the surface layer, contain very modern, and abnormal, ideas, owing to the things society has taught them, which are dominated by negative and unhealthy things now. The negative factors that influence the notions they form in this lifetime are by no means simple—evil specters are behind them. Whether it be Satan or the evil specter of the evil Communist Party, they are ruling the world and controlling people through their evil minions. Today’s people can’t tell whether their actions stem from their own thoughts or the control of negative factors.” (“Fa Teaching Given at the New York Fa Conference Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Dafa’s Spreading”)

When I realized that, I intensified my Fa study. I read “Disintegrating the Party Culture,” listened to the “Divine Imparted Culture,” and the Minghui series “Eliminating Party Culture.” One story left me with a great impression:

Two of Confucius disciples became the county head in different districts. One was his nephew, the other his student.

Confucius asked his nephew how much he learned and obtained after becoming a county head. His nephew said that he obtained nothing but had many losses. He had so much to do daily, had no time for studying, and even when studying he was not able to calm down and learn anything. His salary was so meager that he could not take care of his relatives, so they gradually grew apart. Alas, the urgency of his official duty requires his attention at all times. Besides, he did not have time to visit the sick, and was not understood.

Confucius visited his student. He noticed that the area had abundant goods, and people were courteous and kind. He asked the same question of his student, who answered that he had nothing to lose, but obtained a lot. Despite the tedious official duties, he accepted guidance from the sages, and practiced it in the real world, which helped him understand the truth better. Even with a meager salary he could still take care of his relatives and their needs, so they grew closer. Despite many urgent duties, he still found time to visit the sick and needy. He received great support.

The two students received the same education and faced the same situation, so why was the outcome so different? It was because they used different ways to evaluate things, one positive, one negative, of course their outcome was different.

Importance of Using Righteous Thoughts

We should evaluate things from an active, positive, and upright viewpoint, plus feel gratitude. We understand the principle of mutual generation and mutual inhibition, as it governs everything in the human realm. No matter how bad things seem, there is always a good side. We need to find the good part and develop it and not let the bad part dominate. When the entire human society, media, and propaganda are full of negativism, and people keep listening to the Party's poisonous indoctrination, we have a tendency to follow along without being aware of it.

Many Dafa practitioners went to Beijing to appeal for Dafa after the persecution began, and many were arrested, detained, and sentenced. Many held the thought before they left, “I will be arrested in Beijing – so what – just detention that's all. Labor camp was the best place for one's cultivation.” Many suffered unnecessary persecution, and they were not even aware that this was an incorrect understanding, until Master's Fa teaching was published.

Some went there with righteous thoughts, “I came to validate the Fa, I did not come here to be arrested, or taken to a detention center or labor camp. That is not a place for good people, and it had nothing to do with me.” They went there to validate the Fa and returned home safely.

Another example is when a fellow practitioner went to post Dafa truth clarification materials. She then raised her head and saw a camera, and thought, “Oh no.” She was arrested two hours later. Another practitioner thought this camera had nothing to do with her, so she would be fine. She was fine! Should we learn something from this?

Distinguishing Between Positive and Negative Thinking

When we follow the Dafa principles, and hold righteous thoughts, we are able to see things from another perspective, including feelings and longings. It also makes others feel upbeat, positive, and relaxed.

When we have negative thoughts, we have a tendency to consider ourselves first-- our benefits and reputation. We may focus on others’ shortcomings and become jealous of others’ success. We don’t enjoy or appreciate other points of view, and have a tendency to blame others. We will not be able to handle criticism, and will refuse to admit mistakes or apologize for any wrongdoing.

Without negative thoughts, we should be happy, carefree, hopeful, and confident. Otherwise, we may be fearful, pessimistic, resentful, and hopeless. Whenever we are stuck in a certain situation, we have to think if our thoughts are righteous. If not, we should turn around and use righteous thoughts to evaluate things again.

I was once stuck in a serious sickness karma state, I kept wondering what kind of illness it was. I could not keep food down, not even water, I had no bowel movements, and the abdominal pain was excruciating. I worried if I would make it. What about my family? All I had were negative thoughts.

Then, a fellow practitioner visited, looked at me, and said, “No problem, you can make it.” Her righteous thoughts, and her positive and upbeat mentality, encouraged me greatly. I changed my way of thinking. I turned to Master and the Fa and finally got rid of the sickness karma. I also learned from my experience how precious and important the righteous thoughts and support from fellow practitioners are when we face tribulations.

Using righteous thoughts to evaluate things is a crucial part of cultivation. We should rectify our each and every thought. Some we might not even be aware of. But, if we pay attention from now on, we will break through the negative thought pattern and improve.