African Practitioner: A Connection Between the Realm of Cultivation and the Realm of Plants
(Minghui.org) I am a practitioner from Africa and I live in a rural environment. I’ve been cultivating for many years, and during these years I’ve always noticed an incredible connection between the realm of cultivation and the realm of plants.
Each time I enlighten to a new meaning common to both realms, it is as if the plant realm is a big metaphor for the realm of cultivation. The term “cultivation,” to begin with, is common to both. Cultivating oneself is like cultivating the earth or cultivating a tree—with all that it implies, taking care of something that will grow and evolve gradually. It is a continuing effort. If one stops taking care of a plant, it will die, just as if one neglects and gives up cultivation, one will return to being an ordinary person and then be subject to aging, illness, and death, without the chance for enlightenment.
In Zhuan Falun and other Fa teachings, Master stresses many times that a practitioner should be able to go on and to “continue” in his cultivation, because it is not always easy to “continue” until the end. To “continue” carries a very deep inner meaning.
In the cultivation realm there is the “three flowers gathering above the head,” a relatively advanced state a practitioner reaches at a certain point in his cultivation. In the plant realm, flowering is also a relatively advanced step—only a tree that has been well cultivated will produce flowers. Flowering is the step prior to producing fruit. In the cultivation realm, we have also something called “fruit status.” It represents what one finally gains from his cultivation, just as the fruit is the high point of a tree’s evolution.
Master uses many other terms and concepts related to the plant world to refer to cultivation.
Master uses also the word “seeds” and the word “planted” to speak about the qi mechanisms put into our bodies to make us able to cultivate.
“What we do here is to place in you a falun, energy mechanisms, and a wide array of things needed for spiritual development—thousands upon thousands. All of these must be given to you, and they are planted in you like seeds.” (The Third Talk, Zhuan Falun)
When speaking about the cultivation process of a cultivator’s body, Master compares it to the rings of a tree. Each ring of the tree represents a step, a layer developed as the tree ages, and with each ring removed, a further layer is removed in the process of our cultivation.
“The human body is like the annual rings of a tree, whereby each ring contains sickness-karma. So your body must be cleansed from the very center.” (“Sickness Karma,” Essentials for Further Advancement)
When I read about the theory of three thousand worlds within a grain of sand in Lecture Eight of Zhuan Falun, it always reminds me of the plant world. When I see that a gigantic tree can grow from such a tiny seed, I understand how a world can encompass and include many other worlds. See how many seeds a tree produces. Each seed is, by and of itself, a whole world. All these countless worlds exist in a bigger world which is the tree! Each seed can produce a tree, and this tree will have so many seeds, each of which can produce a tree with so many seeds, and so on…it’s just countless.
We read in The Second Talk of Zhuan Falun:
“At the time of a person’s, or any life’s, creation, a composition unique to his being and his innate qualities will be formed in the most micro of realms.”
Likewise, within the tiny seed, are encompassed all the elements that form a big tree. Although we can’t see it with our human eyes, all the elements exist there and are compressed within the seed.
When speaking of cultivation, Master recommends that we dig down within ourselves to remove the bad elements and the hidden attachments. The deeper we dig within our hearts, the more we will be able to root out the attachments, the bad elements, and the postnatal concepts, and progress in our cultivation.
In the first exercise, we are instructed to keep our head high, as high as the sky, and keep our legs firmly planted on the earth. That reminds me again of the tree, with its roots in the earth and branches high above it. I know that the deeper a plant’s roots are within the earth, the higher it can grow.
The lotus flower, too, with its lower half in the mud and its upper half fresh and pure, is another metaphor of the cultivator who has to be pure and radiant while living in a filthy and complicated environment.
These are some of my understandings that I wanted to share. Please point out anything inappropriate. Thank you, Master. You have offered us such a wonderful cultivation method and so much wisdom. And thank you, fellow practitioners!