Only by Eliminating Our Fundamental Attachments Can We Walk Our Path Righteously
(Minghui.org) I am a student in my fourth year at the National Taiwan University of Arts. I would like to share my cultivation experiences.
I started cultivating Falun Dafa, also known as Falun Gong, with my father when I was young. When I graduated from high school and came to Taipei, I was not accustomed to the environment, because everything around me was corrupt and I was challenged by many temptations. Everything was dragging me away from being a cultivator.
The Dangers of Going Online
Though I did not have a habit of playing games, I still spent a lot of time browsing social media. Another practitioner reminded me not to do that. Thinking back, I was spending at least four or five hours a day on my cellphone. Since I had a lot of schoolwork, I excused my cellphone use as a way to alleviate my stress, as I thought it was relaxing.
It was not until one day that I remembered what Master said,
“When feeling tired from work or from writing something, one may want to take a break by smoking a cigarette. After puffing a cigarette, one feels refreshed. Actually, it is not true. It is because one has taken a break. The human mind can create a false impression and illusion that later can indeed become a concept or false impression that smoking does refresh oneself.” (Lecture Seven, Zhuan Falun)
Going on my cellphone had become an addiction like smoking, and I found that I was also attached to personal fame and profit. I did not want to feel left out and be ridiculed by my classmates, so I thought that by following people on social media, they would in turn follow me. After realizing my attachment, I deleted all the social media applications on my cellphone, leaving only the basic communication applications. Not only was going on social media harmful but any message or idea that is conveyed online is also harmful as well.
“As soon as your thinking aligns with a particular type of being, it will be able to instantly exert an effect on you. Yet you won’t be aware of where your thoughts are originating from, and will still think that it is your own will. But in fact, it was precisely your attachments that resulted in those things having an effect on you, and that led to their strengthening your attachments.” (“Dafa Disciples Must Study the Fa,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. XI)
These negative substances emitting from my cellphone had prevented me from doing the three things with a calm mind. I would turn on my social media applications whenever I was on my way home from school. I started to listen to Minghui radio after I deleted the applications. I can now better assimilate to the Fa and send forth righteous thoughts.
Overcoming Sickness Karma
I had always been guided by adult practitioners during my younger years of cultivation. At the university and with non-practitioner relatives around me, I began to fall behind in my cultivation. Because I was busy doing schoolwork, time was really tight for me, and I often skipped doing the exercises. Gradually my body became unwell and I started to feel discomfort. I was retching, feeling weak, and had headaches for several days. I started to get worried and thought: “Will this affect my life?” I realized it was because I was not doing very well in cultivation and did not take doing the exercises seriously.
“You claim that you are too busy and don’t have the time. Actually, you are afraid that you don’t get enough rest. Has it ever occurred to you that cultivation is the best form of rest?” (Teachings at the First Conference in North America)
I always regarded myself as still very young with a healthy body and thought to myself: “Even if I practice the exercises, my body will not feel any different.” After feeling more discomfort, while studying Master’s lectures, I read,
“As one keeps practicing, one finds that the head is gone as well, leaving only one’s own mind, a little thought that one is practicing here. It is sufficient if we can achieve this state. Why is this? When one practices in this state, the body is being fully transformed, and it is the optimum state. We thus require you to achieve this state of tranquility.” (Lecture Eight, Zhuan Falun)
Thinking back to when I did the exercises, I realized that I always had stray thoughts in my mind. Master talked about “Cultivation of Mind and Body.” When our cultivation level upgrades, our level of ding, or samadhi, becomes deeper. So cultivation of mind and body actually complement each other. When I did the fifth mediation exercise that day, all of my discomforts vanished and I was able to experience what Master said,
“When you sit there, you should feel wonderful and very comfortable as though you are sitting inside an egg shell;” (Lecture Eight, Zhuan Falun)
Right when I started to feel better from this sickness karma, I started to work on Dafa projects. The people I knew said I was under “a lot of pressure.” What they actually meant was that I had a heavy workload and wanted to be responsible for everything. I realized that it was because I wanted everything to be perfect and felt that things had to be done my way. This was very selfish because I wanted to display how hardworking and capable I was instead of thinking about how to upgrade myself as a cultivator.
In addition to my omissions in cultivation, I found that the old forces were also trying to test my willpower when they attempted to use sickness karma as an excuse to instill fear and doubts into me about my cultivation. I negated the interference caused by the old forces and realized that the sickness karma was testing me as to whether I truly believed in Master and the Fa. If I continued to be afraid, the sickness karma would continue.
When I was driving to school one day, everything in front of my eyes went blurry. I was a little scared and very worried that I might not be able to attend school. But I told myself, “I am a cultivator and the old forces will not succeed in interfering with me. I will carry on with what I am supposed to do. I am Master’s disciple. Nothing and nobody will be able to affect me.” My righteous thoughts emerged, and though I still had a headache, I was not scared. The discomfort vanished right after I rested for a bit after arriving at school.
I realized the importance of the exercises after overcoming my sickness karma, so I started to make a breakthrough with doing the exercises in the morning. I procrastinated the first week and was never able to wake up, regardless of how many times my alarm sounded. This was perhaps due to the fact that I was still not determined enough. I told myself I had to get up and not to be lazy. The next day, I went to the group practice site. I still missed my alarm at times and realized that there is no grey area in cultivation. It is either you pass the test or you don’t. It does not linger in the middle, and I have to strictly adhere to the Fa. Wanting to sleep for an extra minute or two is an attachment to comfort that needs to be relinquished.
I felt sleepy doing the exercises in the morning. I was very passive and thought that nothing could be done. I thought it was normal to feel sleepy since I did not get enough sleep the previous night. I realized I needed to overcome my notion that a lack of sleep had caused me to feel drowsy when doing the exercises. After a while, I realized that no matter how many hours of sleep I’d had the night before, I still felt drowsy the next morning while doing the exercises. As a result, I decided to open my eyes and maintain a clear consciousness while I practiced.
In the midst of breaking through my attachments, I realized I had an attachment to comfort. I was very passive about improving myself and did not want to suffer any hardships. Master said,
“You fall asleep while studying the Fa, you fall asleep while reading the book, you also fall asleep while doing the exercises. You haven’t even broken through the beginning stage yet. It’s about willpower! As you know, during your cultivation, not only will all elements that constitute your humanness try to stop you from breaking away from being a human, but also everything that constitutes the human environment won’t let you leave. You have to break through everything and overcome all kinds of ordeals. The biggest manifestation is the suffering they create for you. Suffering comes in different forms, and sleepiness is one of them.” (Teachings at the Conference of Changchun Assistants)
I needed to make a breakthrough and become more active to overcome this tribulation. Only then would I be able to eliminate my attachment to comfort and eliminate my drowsiness.
Enlightening to My Most Fundamental Attachment
I reached a stalemate in my cultivation for a period of time. Though I studied the Fa and did the exercises, I was not enlightening to anything new. I was worried and started to look inward. I found that I was attached to how long and how many Dafa projects I’ve done. I was afraid that I had done too little and would be eliminated. If the time spent on a certain Dafa project was not as long as I wanted, I would switch over to another project in hopes of spending more time on it. I became very picky about how much work I had done and this was me being attached to my desire to do things.
“It is in fact time to let go of your last attachments. As cultivators, you already know that you should, and in your actions you have, let go of all worldly attachments (including the attachment to the human body) and have made it through the process of letting go of life and death. Then is being attached to reaching Consummation an attachment? Isn’t it also an attachment born of human desire? Would a Buddha be attached to reaching Consummation? As a matter of fact, those cultivators who are truly approaching Consummation don’t have this attachment.” (“Eliminate Your Last Attachment(s),” Essentials for Further Advancement II)
I realized being attached to the time I've put in and how much work I’ve done on Dafa projects is also an attachment to consummation. I enlightened to the fact that we need to upgrade our xinxing in order to better clarify the truth, and we should not be attached to superficial things. There was a student from China that recently joined my major. I wanted to clarify the truth to him but my attachment of fear held me back. I made up the excuse of not being acquainted with him and how it would be strange. I know I was being selfish and did not want to lose face saving sentient beings.
“Fear can cause one to make mistakes, and fear can cause one to lose a predestined opportunity. Fear is a death trap on a human being’s journey toward divinity.” (“Pass the Deadly Test,” The Essentials of Diligent Progress Vol. III)
Where did the fear and the selfishness come from? During the process of looking inward, I came to see that the old forces arranged tribulations for me when I was clarifying the truth. I was not very diligent during that time and was passively enduring everything, which resulted in building up many attachments. I realized that I was clarifying the truth based on the perspective of qing, or the attachment of sentimentality.
Recollecting my experiences of clarifying the truth, I would always set off by first determining whether this person was to my liking or not and whether I was familiar with the person. I still have many shortcomings when I clarify the truth and have realized that my attachment to sentimentality not only surfaces when I clarify the truth but also in many other aspects. To truly make a breakthrough, every thought and idea needs to be assimilated to the Fa and needs to deny the arrangements of the old forces.
Lastly, I would like to share a section of Master’s Fa.
“The Fa can break all attachments, the Fa can destroy all evil, the Fa can shatter all lies, and the Fa can strengthen righteous thoughts.” (“Drive Out Interference,” Essentials for Further Advancement II)
(Presented at the 2020 Taiwan Fa Conference)