My Understandings on the Issue of Lust
(Minghui.org) An ancient belief in the cultivation community states that a human being's flesh body is the most vulnerable thing because it is slave to the five senses and a system of nearly automatic cognitive response systems. One of these cognitive response systems is lust.
A Postnatally Acquired Attachment
Lust as a cognitive response is quite straightforward; our sensory organs receive messages from our external environment and pass them to the relevant response systems, and then we recognize the stimulus as lust and react accordingly. For an ordinary person, this process goes nearly undetected by the conscious mind, and is experienced as something instantaneous and automatic.
For example, people have always been drawn to the arts. But the modern arts, including music, have become corrupted, with various demonic or pornographic influences incorporated into them. Whenever someone looks at these images or listens to these songs, they risk having their sensory organs transform these stimuli into feelings of lust.
I used to think that it would be nice if I could go back to being a child who didn't have any notion of lust at all. Back then, I believed that such a system was superimposed onto the mental processes of humans and reinforced by sentimentality (qing) in order to control human behavior. For example, men are attracted to a beautiful woman, but a tiger feels nothing – so why is the tiger unaffected? Couldn't I become like the tiger?
Later on, I realized that it was precisely this superimposition that made lust a part of the human condition, and thus impossible to completely remove before reaching consummation – before becoming fully superhuman. However, it is possible to make this sentiment weaker and weaker. If we can get to the point where we no longer register any desire to act when facing these temptations, that would be a divine state.
As a cultivator of Falun Dafa, we should always control ourselves before these various temptations, for that is real cultivation.
A practitioner once asked Master a question at a U.S. Fa conference:
Question: Whenever I experience challenges with emotion (qing), I always have the feeling of not being able to let go no matter what. Am I one of those people who are unwilling to change their innermost nature?
Teacher: It’s wrong if you treat emotion as your own rationality or something that is part of your body. But if you intentionally push yourself to give up something that you haven’t reached the standard for, then you are forcing it. Through the process of continual cultivation, reading the books, and practicing the exercises, a person can gradually understand the Fa from within the Fa. You have a higher requirement for yourself and try your best to restrain those bad thoughts and things that you are attached to; you do your best to take them lightly and resist them. The portion of you that manages to meet the standard, even if it’s just for a split second, is then fixed there. It continually and constantly breaks through toward the surface in this way. When finally it has broken through completely, when the very last layer is broken through, you will discover that your thinking and thoughts are completely different from before. Even your way of thinking will be different from before. That is your true self, your true nature, whereas everything and anything that you think about and can’t let go of are postnatally acquired notions which are entangling you.
Along with those notions, man also has a special environment in this dimension, that is, emotion. In the Three Realms everything is soaked in emotion. You can’t even be separated from this emotion—you are within it. Actually, what you need to do is find a way to break away from emotion. Although what I said is very explicit, those who have cultivated for a short period of time can’t do it. It’s also hard for veteran students to completely do this before Consummation. Be strict with yourself in cultivation and eliminate those bad things. In Dafa cultivation everything can be changed. If you constantly read the book and try your best to conduct yourself as a cultivator in everyday life, that will enable you to undergo a complete change, since Dafa is tempering you. (Teaching the Fa at the Western U.S. Fa Conference)
Don't Attempt a Test If You Still Have the Attachment
There is a story that talks about a demon who transformed into a beautiful woman to seduce a monk who had been cultivating for a long time. For a long time, her efforts were in vain – none of the methods she tried were able to move the monk.
In the end, she said to the monk, “If you are able to let me get close to you and just sit in your arms without doing anything, then that would prove that your state of cultivation was truly solid.”
The monk believed that because he had cultivated for so long, it wouldn't be a problem. So he allowed the demon to get close to him. In the end, the monk broke the commandments under the demon's seductive influence.
From the story of the monk, I learned that a cultivator shouldn't try to “test” how much we have gotten rid of our attachment of lust, for it is just another excuse.
When I was struggling through the tribulation of lust, a thought came into my head: “How about you look at those pictures? It's time to let go of your attachment. If you aren't affected after looking at them, it means that your cultivation is solid.”
I then went to look at those pictures, and ended up failing the test. Before I looked at them, I thought that I could control myself well, but as long as I looked at them, my body would go out of my control. This kind of thought is a kind of trap laid down by demons to deceive us. The so-called test is in fact an excuse for contamination, not a test.
After reading Master's lecture “Fei Tian College Lecture on Classical Chinese Dance,” I realized that most modern arts have been contaminated by demons and evil spirits. Many films, TV shows and paintings contain lustful messages. Some are direct, like bedroom scenes. Some are indirect, but also just as seductive.
What is important is that we do not passively accept these things. For example, while walking on the street, maybe a nude picture will appear right in front of you once you raise your head – we should look the other way.
But when we watch films or TV shows that contain demonic elements, it is just like how the monk allowed the beautiful woman to sit in his arms. The demon will then throw those dirty things into your dimension, which will stir up your attachment of lust, and in the end, make you fall in your cultivation.
My recommendation is that practitioners try not to watch films or TV if it is not for work, especially films or TV programs from mainland China.