(Minghui.org) Greetings to Master! Greetings to fellow practitioners!
I have been practicing Falun Dafa for more than nine years. When I was pregnant about 26 years ago, two of my intervertebral discs were injured. After that, I had back pain almost all the time. The pain lessened greatly after I started to practice Falun Dafa, and it only hurt at certain times.
But about eight months ago, I was sitting behind the driver in a car with my friends. We were on a highway and had to stop due to traffic, but the driver behind us didn’t notice and plowed into the back of our car. The accident had a big impact on my vertebral column. I felt as if my head had separated from my body, but after a while, I got over the shock and noticed that the car had hit us so hard directly behind me that our tire wouldn’t even turn. Continuing our trip was impossible. We all had terrible headaches while waiting for the police and tow truck. We had to get home in another car.
I thought I had sustained a simple bruise and would be fine, but as time passed, I noticed that my ability to move my neck and back became more and more limited. I am the only Dafa practitioner in my family, but my husband and son have always supported Dafa and my participation in Dafa projects. They didn’t insist that I go to the hospital because they knew I had always overcome tribulations by studying the Dafa teachings and doing the exercises.
But after 40 days, I started to have agonizing pain all along my vertebral column, as if hot lead was being poured down my spine from my neck down to my toes. Since I was familiar with pain related to the dislocated intervertebral disc, I started to develop the notion that my discs had been injured.
My parents were finally informed. I didn’t want to worry them, so I hadn’t told them about the accident. When they found out that I hadn’t recovered in 40 days, they insisted that I go to the hospital. With their persistence, my husband said I should get an X-ray. I was reluctant, but since I didn’t want them to form a negative opinion of Dafa, I agreed to go to the hospital. A CT scan showed that three discs in my neck and three in my back were dislocated, and my spine was slightly crooked. This caused such great pain in my back that I could only meditate for 15 minutes. It was unbearable.
The doctor prescribed medication, physiotherapy, and rest to relieve the inflammation. Then I would need further treatment. I didn’t take the medications but went to a clinic for physiotherapy at the urging of my family. After a few sessions, there was no improvement in the pain, so I used that as an excuse and didn’t have any further sessions.
Due to the pain in my neck, studying the book was very difficult, so most of the time I listened to the audio lectures.
This continued until one night, when the pain grew truly unbearable. That night I was listening to Lecture Six and heard:
“But you are not yet that stable at the moment. If you are given this tribulation right away, you will not be enlightened to it at all, and neither will you be able to practice cultivation whatsoever. Tribulations may take place in different respects.
“In the course of cultivation practice, one must practice cultivation this way to ascend to higher levels. Thus, once some of you feel physical discomfort somewhere, you will think that you are ill. You always fail to treat yourselves as practitioners, for if this happens to you, you will consider it an illness.” (Lecture Six, Zhuan Falun)
I suddenly enlightened to a deep understanding of sickness and maintaining a righteous mind when facing such tribulations, as well as faith in Dafa and Master.
First, I personally experienced that medical treatments really didn’t have any effect on me. I could sense this and understood the meaning of real faith in the Fa principles.
Second, I enlightened that I was always afraid that the pain in my back would recur and was unconsciously being cautious, always careful not to put any pressure on my back. I could sense that I had a deep-seated fear of pain. I noticed that maybe this fear was a fundamental attachment that had been substantiated in me over the years, and that I had to eliminate it layer by layer. I had read this section of the book many times, but this time I had a new understanding that was interesting and strange to me. It was as if I had suddenly awakened from sleep.
Third, I noticed that, although I hadn’t visited any doctors during these years or used medications, I wasn’t doing it based on a devout belief; I didn’t actually have a deep understanding. Apparently, I had not realized the correct meaning of devout belief and faith and only thought I shouldn’t consider it a sickness. I was observing it superficially. I realized the meaning of truly understanding Master’s words, the meaning of letting go of worries and fears, as well as the meaning of faith and trust in Master. It means that we should have faith wholeheartedly and in each and every cell of our body. We should feel this faith and show this belief in our heart and actions when facing tribulations and suffering.
Fourth, we sometimes tolerate the sickness and don’t go to the hospital because we don’t want others to judge or blame us, because it is written in the book or because another practitioner has shared his or her understanding with us. Only the person himself knows deep down the reason for his reaction to sickness.
I used to consider having attachments, eliminating karma, and interference with doing the three things to be the reason for the pain. Even after the accident, I frequently looked inside to find attachments and counted the attachments that I needed to eliminate. If someone looked from the outside, the person would see that I was considering everything and trying hard to resolve the situation.
But after realizing my lack of deep faith, I understood that no matter what the reason was for this incident, I needed to elevate to a new realm of cultivation. From this incident and the new understanding that I had gained, I noticed that I needed to wholeheartedly take the Fa principles more seriously and at a fundamental level, and not simply do a series of defined tasks while thinking that I was cultivating diligently.
Master said in Lecture One of Zhuan Falun:
“What is xinxing? It includes de (a type of matter), tolerance, enlightenment quality, sacrifice, giving up everyday people’s different desires and attachments, being able to suffer hardships, and so on. It encompasses various things. Every aspect of xinxing must be improved for you to make real progress. This is a crucial factor in improving gong potency (gongli).”
I understood that one aspect of xinxing is to enlighten. Cultivating diligently requires continuously enlightening to higher principles. This won’t be achieved by only “doing things” diligently. I understood that cultivation is not child’s play. Cultivating every attachment requires bearing significant pain, which will awaken us like a stick warning.
“With every bit of improvement in your state of mind, some bad things will be eliminated from your body. In the meantime, you should also suffer a little bit and endure some hardships to reduce your karma. You can then move up a little bit; that is, the characteristic of the universe will not restrict you as much.” (Lecture One, Zhuan Falun)
Knowing the theories and repeating them without understanding them is not enough to constitute true cultivation. Also, simply denying the interference may not be sufficient. Although not considering my situation as an illness and denying the interference is part of cultivation, it was not enough. That should come from deep inside and with true belief. Maybe these matters are obvious for us and we have heard them multiple times, and maybe one wonders, “Why haven’t I come to this conclusion all these years?” Actually, talking about it is very simple, but only when a test comes up can one’s faith be tested.
Even when we appear to pass the test of illness karma successfully and are happy that we have learned our lesson, let go of that attachment, and eliminated the interference, I think some layers of that fundamental attachment may still remain until we are again in that special situation, the attachment causing the illness manifests itself, and our thinking is evaluated.
I subsequently started to improve and gradually became able to sit and continue doing the three things. Although I haven’t completely recovered I try to bear some of my own karma with the pain I tolerate, and this pain reminds me to cultivate continuously and not to slack off. I consider the pain as a sign of many attachments that I need to seek out within myself and eliminate.
These are my understanding at this level of cultivation.