Faith and Fundamental Attachment
(Minghui.org) I have recently gained a new understanding of “faith” and “fundamental attachment.” I would like to share it with you.
In my cultivation, I had never been able to understand the meaning of “faith” very well. In a general sense, it seemed that “faith” means believing even without seeing.
And I knew that faith in Master and the Fa is fundamental to Falun Dafa cultivation, or else there would not be any cultivation to speak of. So, how can one have faith, and what is the ultimate basis for faith in Master and the Fa in cultivation? I didn't have a clear answer before, but I was recently inspired by something that has given me a new understanding.
Faith with Different Interpretation
First of all, I want to mention an interpretation of “faith” in the Catholic dictionary that I happened upon recently. It says that faith is a divine quality or a divine characteristic (Divine Virtue).
Therefore, it is not something that ordinary people in the world can just possess. People in the secular world can acquire the qualities of prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance through their own efforts or upbringing. However, “faith” cannot be obtained by one's own efforts. It must be given through the grace of God. In Catholicism, there are three such divine qualities: “faith,” “hope” and “charity.”
In reading the Catholic explanation, I believe that the “hope” referred to is a desire to return to the truth of life. They call it a desire for reunion with God (Divine Union). And “charity” is compassion. Neither of these qualities belong to a person in the secular world. Returning to one's original true self is the Buddha-nature of a person, and compassion is something that a person soaked in human emotions cannot have – it can only come after one transcends human sentimentality.
So what is “faith”? The Catholic explanation is that the wisdom of a being is blessed and strengthened by God such that he can be very firmly convinced that the transcendence and manifestations that God has revealed is the truth. This knowledge and conviction of a higher truth cannot be attained through human reason but must be granted by God. It can only be obtained under the empowerment of God.
Faith vs. Enlightenment
I understand that this “faith” is the “enlightenment” that Master told us. Master said;
“Religions in the West used to teach faith, while those in the East would teach enlightenment.” (Teachings at the Conference in Europe)
In other words, “faith” and “enlightenment” are actually the same thing. That state is reached when a being assimilates to a higher realm, or when Master helps us to open up our sealed-up innate characteristics, we naturally realize and firmly believe in the truth of a higher realm. Because that part of our life is already in that realm, it is natural to understand and accept the truth in that realm. I realized that this is also the manifestation of our assimilation in the Fa.
I remembered that when I first started practicing Falun Dafa, I had endless questions when reading Zhuan Falun. I felt it was illogical here, it was different from my notion there, or it was inconsistent somewhere else. In short, there were endless questions. However, after studying the Fa extensively for some time, all those questions were gone. I can't remember even what the questions were at the beginning. I now feel that what Master says is very natural for me to accept.
I wondered at the time where all those questions had gone. Now that I think about it, it is that in the process of learning the Fa, my life has elevated and assimilated to the Fa. When I was in a higher realm, I naturally accepted the higher teachings of Master's. All those lower-level thoughts cannot reach me anymore and I cannot remember them as well.
The Process of Salvation
Of course, this state is beyond the world. Only in cultivation can it be achieved through Master’s grace. In fact, this is the process of being saved by Master. In Dafa cultivation, the most important manifestation of this process is our Fa study.
Master told us:
“I’ve often said that I have incorporated into this Fa everything that can allow you to cultivate and advance, and everything that you can attain through cultivation. Although you are in different realms, none of you can truly understand the weight of my words. You will obtain everything so long as you cultivate. But do you know how many things of mine are incorporated into what you obtain?” (Teachings at the Conference in Switzerland)
Master reminded us:
“I have also told you that this Fa is so powerful, and that I have infused my immense abilities into this Fa, so this Fa can do anything for you.” (Teachings Given on Lantern Festival Day, 2003)
By taking on mountains of sin on our behalf and on behalf of the sentient beings we want to save, Master enables us to continuously reach higher realms through Fa study and cultivation.
Speaking of faith as a divine quality, perhaps there is another meaning – that all beings in the heavenly world are already in that realm. These beings have a very natural understanding and firm belief in the principles of the law in that realm and the words of the Lord of heaven, because he is part of that realm. But when a person is in a lower realm, in delusion, he cannot understand and believe in the state of a higher realm. Simply speaking, one’s understanding of things is determined by one's realm.
Developing True Faith in the Fa
If “faith” or “enlightenment” is the process by which a life continues to assimilate to the characteristics of the universe, then the requirements for cultivators in this process are also constantly being elevated. At the beginning, we may rely on Master to make improvements in us. But in the end, all the faith must come from our own assimilation to the Fa, so that we can reach the standard.
For example, in the early years of introducing Falun Dafa to the public, Master showed many miracles, including healing many people at the Eastern Health Expo. Because our foundation at that time was just at the level of ordinary people and our connection with the Fa was weak, Master gave us some “crutches” to help us get started. The more we cultivate, the fewer “crutches” Master gives us.
In addition to Master not giving us “crutches” anymore, we have to throw away those we've made ourselves. Specifically, in the past, we may have had some human notions that aligned with the superficial level of Dafa. In the beginning stage of our cultivation, these notions, such as sense of justice or pursuit of goodness, may help us enhance our faith in Dafa.
But as we make progress in our cultivation, especially at the final moment of Fa-rectification, we need to let go of our own human notions and have complete faith in the Fa. For example, some practitioners believe that justice in the world is of utmost importance and that the divine will certainly uphold justice for mankind. So when the Chosen One (Trump) lost the election and on the surface, justice didn’t triumph over evil, these practitioners were perplexed and developed doubts about Dafa.
But as British conservative philosopher and devout Christian Edmund Burke once conveyed, world politics is not the embodiment of Christian truth. I think so as well and I would like to add: the politics of the world is not the embodiment of the truth of the Buddha Fa.
According to my limited understanding, Dafa's salvation can only be done by redeeming and changing people's hearts, rather than relying on the political power of the world or the display of otherworldly powers. To put it more clearly, the outcome of the U.S. election in itself does not directly validate Dafa in the human world.
Other than human notions, there are other areas that need to be improved in our cultivation. For example, some people came to the practice because of the miraculous effects of Dafa in healing and fitness. If one sees that many cultivators have illness karma just like ordinary people, and even pass away, does this shake the foundation of their faith?
Others have certain expectation of cultivators as a group, such as how noble Dafa disciples should be, or how well Dafa projects should be performing. But if things don't meet their expectations, do they still believe in the Fa?
In other words, all these false foundations of so-called “faith” must be removed in the end. Only under such circumstances can one see where the foundation of our faith actually is.
For true faith that meets the criteria, it can only come from the assimilation of a life to the Fa, which brings about the knowledge and conviction of the truth of the universe in the higher realms. That kind of faith does not need external confirmation or support, as it is the instinct of an enlightened being. And it must not be blind and irrational in its expression. For it is itself a sublimation of wisdom empowered by God.
In fact, what could be a more solid confirmation than feeling the revelation of your own life's ascension?
In the end, I realized that the false basis of “faith,” or pursuit, is the fundamental attachment that Master has told us about. Everyone has a different “fundamental attachment” to overcome in their cultivation. When I revisited Master's Fa “Towards Consummation” in Essentials for Further Advancement II, I gained a more clear understanding about what our “fundamental attachment” is.