Do Not Study the Fa Teachings with Pursuit
(Minghui.org) First, I would like to state that I am not trying to make a causal connection between studying the teachings of Falun Dafa and attachments. I'm only sharing my understanding on this topic to help us truly cultivate and cultivate more diligently.
I do not think that studying the Fa is an attachment, but I do think that studying the Fa with pursuit is an attachment. Being obsessed with the formality of Fa study is also an attachment.
Master Li has said that every Dafa practitioner must do the three things well. The most important of the three things is Fa study—the most basic requirement for a practitioner and the foundation for reaching enlightenment. Its importance is self-evident and unquestionable. Therefore, Master has always compassionately encouraged us, directly or indirectly, to study the Fa more.
Enjoying the Ritual of Fa Study
For a long time I have noticed several things among practitioners with regard to Fa study. I am not here to point fingers at anyone or fight about what is right or wrong. I just want to share what I've observed so that we can improve together.
One of our local practitioners lets us use her home for our group Fa study. Each time we went to her home, she would always welcome us enthusiastically. She said that she liked to study the Fa and liked having practitioners over. I really admired her enthusiasm about Fa study. No matter the circumstances, as long as she studied the Fa, she was full of energy. I believed that she was diligent and a true cultivator who listened to Master.
But her situation over the past few years puzzled me: she began to encounter one tribulation after another. Cultivation seemed to exhaust her and she was sometimes lost and confused. She no longer knew how to cultivate and did not feel she was improving. However, she still felt full of energy during Fa study—it just seemed that once she put Zhuan Falun down and the practitioners left, she reverted back to an everyday person. She was stuck in this state for a long time and was unable to break through.
We shared her situation in our group several times. She had a lot to talk about each time and showed that she understood the Fa principles well. Sometimes she told us that Master gave her hints from what we just studied. But when she was involved with specific things, all of her attachments would manifest and she would be unable to handle things properly.
During her everyday cultivation, she could not deal with things as a practitioner by herself and needed help from other practitioners who had to spend a lot of time and energy helping her. After a long time, the practitioners in our group also became concerned about her situation and pointed out her attachments. We all looked within, but her problems still did not go away. What was going on?
Every practitioner knows this principle Master taught us: "gaining naturally without pursuit."(Fa-Teaching Given at the Conference in Sydney) Today, I gained a new understanding about it. There are many reasons for this practitioner to have repeated issues, but the true cause seems to be related to her attachment to Fa study. Otherwise, why was she so keen on group study? Why did she depend so much on the formality of Fa study and the help from other practitioners?
More Attachments Behind Fa Study
Practitioners like her often pursue returns from Fa study or try to find solutions for their problems through Fa study. Tribulations from sickness karma or troubles in everyday life are what motivate them to study the Fa, do the exercise, and send forth righteous thoughts. When they want to seek help from other practitioners, they come to the group study and have other practitioners help sending forth righteous thoughts for them, even though they have the chance to solve their problems themselves.
Some practitioners hoped that Dafa would take care of their children and thus forced their children to cultivate and join group study. Even though they came, the results were the opposite: some kids grew resistant and no longer wanted to come. How can we force anyone to cultivate? After we provide our children with a good cultivation environment, we should follow the course of nature and let them naturally decide to begin cultivation from their own hearts.
On the surface, these practitioners' actions don't seem very wrong. But there are a lot of attachments and sentimentality hidden behind them. When we look further, we find more attachments.
Some practitioners are afraid to fall behind during the Fa-rectification and not be able to reach Consummation. This shows their attachment to enlightenment.
Some practitioners do not truly like to study the Fa. For them it is just an occasion to socialize. Sometimes, they can get help from other practitioners about their personal difficulties. If they ask their friends or relatives for help, they have to think of ways to reciprocate. They do not worry about anything when seeking help from practitioners since practitioners are all good people.
This kind of behavior is a sign of strong sentimentality between practitioners and the dependence of these practitioners on others. They do not truly or completely believe in Dafa.
Some practitioners are busy with everyday life and do not have time to do all the three things well. So they try to do as much as they can. Studying the Fa is one thing that they can manage to get done, and studying the Fa at home is safe and comfortable. It is very unlikely they will run into any danger staying at home as compared to going out and telling people the truth of Dafa. This mentality clearly demonstrates attachments to fear and seeking comfort. There were many examples of this.
Truly Studying the Fa
Why are some practitioners unable to truly cultivate or improve even after studying the Fa? Because they only emphasize the formality of Fa study but do not pay attention to their xinxing or their attachments. When studying the Fa with so many attachments, its deeper meanings will not manifest. If the principles aren't revealed to them, how much can they enlighten to on their own? Without enlightening to the Dao, how can anyone elevate and improve? If a person cannot elevate according to the Fa, they will just end up just like an everyday person and deal with everyday people's troubles.
Some practitioners are like this: When they hold Zhuan Falun and study it, they forget their attachments and their troubles. When they come to group study, meet other practitioners, and study the Fa together, they feel full of energy. It is the manifestation of Dafa's magnificence and power and Master's mighty virtue. It is as Master said: “Bathed in divine light, conduct and thought become right.” (The Third Talk, Zhuan Falun).
We as practitioners should show our gratitude. We should not claim that we have cultivated well. When we suddenly encounter any tribulation or test in our cultivation, there will be no time to get our Dafa books or get together with other practitioners. Our cultivation is up to us. How can we pursue anything from Dafa or count on other practitioners? How can we cultivate with such a crutch? Are we truly cultivating? Are we cultivating solidly?
Master has told us about Fa study:
“You all know what state of mind a person must be in to see the Fa's principles. You know it without my having to say much. When your eyes read the Fa and yet your mind isn't on the Fa, think about it, aren't you reading in vain? Who are you reading for? You yourself aren't really studying the Fa, then. Haven't I told you to make sure that you yourself truly obtain gong? Then if your mind isn't on the Fa when you're studying the Fa, who are you studying it for? This isn't to criticize you--I'm just telling you that this is a really critical situation. So, no matter how busy you get, when you study the Fa you have to set aside all other thoughts--don't think about other things at all, just study the Fa. Maybe as you study the Fa the issues you've been thinking about will be resolved, since behind every word are Buddhas, Daos, and Gods. How could they not know exactly what you want to resolve and what you're anxious to get done at that time? Then how could they not tell you? But there's one thing: you must achieve the state of studying the Fa without any pursuit. You understood this a long time ago--you can't read the Fa with an attachment to solving your problems. Just read calmly, and the effect is sure to be excellent. So when you study the Fa, don't just go through the motions. You have to calm your mind when you read it, and truly study it. Don't let your mind sneak away from you. Once your mind wanders off, you'll be studying in vain. If we look at it from another angle, when you study the Fa and your mind isn't on the Fa, it's not only a problem of just going through the motions, but also that the person studying the Fa is actually not being very respectful of the Fa. How could the Fa reveal itself, then? So from this angle, I think that you have to calm your mind when you study the Fa, and remember to keep your mind steady during Fa-study when you're busy.” (Fa-Lecture at the Conference in Florida, U.S.A., Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. II)
As a true practitioner, we must listen to Master and study the Fa more. However, we cannot regard reading the teachings, memorizing them, copying them, attending group study, and going to group sharing as indications of diligence in cultivation. If we consider these formalities the same as cultivation, we have already deviated. In the Fa-rectification period, Dafa disciples must do all three things well—that is truly striving forward in cultivation and Fa-rectification.
When we study the Fa, we should check on ourselves by asking why we study the Fa and how we should study the Fa. These are not trivial questions, but keys to determining if we can actually cultivate and reach enlightenment.
From my personal understanding, the root cause of all the attachments behind Fa-study is the attachment to enlightenment.