Putting Our Hearts into Fa Study, Striving Forward Vigorously in Rectifying the Fa
I learned a lot from my trip to America this past October. I came to truly understand the seriousness of cultivation and I saw that, compared to my fellow practitioners, I still have a long way to go in my cultivation.
When I sent forth righteous thoughts, for a long time I had been in a state in which I was interfered with by distracting thoughts and was unable to stay focused and clear-headed. However, I couldn't figure out how to change this. When I sent forth righteous thoughts in Chicago, I was again in that state. Even though I appeared to be sending forth righteous thoughts, my mind kept wandering about and I was unable to become calm and focused.
Originally, I thought that it was because I hadn't laid a solid foundation in my cultivation. I took it to be a long-term problem, so I didn't expect to be able to quickly break through this kind of state. However, when we shared experiences with each other in Houston, a fellow practitioner said that his understanding was that we should "strive forward vigorously" when sending forth righteous thoughts. As I understood it, what he meant by striving forward vigorously was that our main consciousness had to be strong and that we should try our best to fight the distracting thoughts. I had known this already but I kept cutting myself some slack due to the influence of pursuing worldly comforts over such a long period of time in the past. I was not strict with myself at all.
After this realization, when I sent forth righteous thoughts, I started to strictly follow what Teacher taught us in the article "Righteous Thoughts." In the beginning, my mind still tended to wander about. So I tried very hard to stay focused. It was very agonizing during those few minutes, which seemed like dozens of years to me. However, after struggling like this several times, things started to change. Now when I send forth righteous thoughts, I am able to stay very clear-headed and focused.
For a long time, I had been in a similar state when I studied the Fa. That is, my eyes were on the book, but my mind was somewhere else. So I started to demand of myself to be as serious with studying the Fa as I was with sending forth righteous thoughts. I wouldn't place so much importance on how much I read. Instead, I tried to absorb each and every word into my heart. I would repeat the words if I hadn't really read them with a fully focused attention. I felt a difference immediately. I've never had any experiences similar to what other practitioners talked about in seeing the true meanings of the Fa when studying the Fa. But now my personal experiences are telling me that all the Fa principles that Teacher has taught us are not just narratives. It is really true that I can understand the meanings of the Fa at different levels by reading the books. After putting my heart into studying the Fa, I have found that I can't let go of Zhuan Falun.
I've also had the same problem with practicing the exercises. I seldom did the exercises. My excuse was always that I was too busy. In my heart, I thought practicing the exercises was not as important as studying the Fa, and I used this justification to cover my laziness. I've come to realize that "being busy" was not the true reason. The true reason is that I didn't take practicing exercises seriously. Teacher has told us that Falun Dafa is a cultivation practice of mind and body and that the exercises serve to transform one's benti [one's physical body and the bodies in other dimensions]. The exercises are an inseparable part of the Fa. The reason that I didn't do well with this aspect was because I didn't take the Fa principles that Teacher taught seriously.
In regards to clarifying the facts of the persecution of Falun Dafa, Teacher told us: "This, more than anything, is what you should do with all your effort, and it's the most magnificent." Teacher also said, "Every single Dafa disciple needs to do this. Don't miss a single opportunity" (Teaching the Fa at the Washington, D.C. Fa Conference). I didn't do well with this at all. I didn't really put my heart into it and I didn't put much effort into seeking opportunities. That was also because I didn't seriously consider the Fa principles that Teacher taught us. If I had taken it as one of the most important things to do, I would have found a lot of time and a lot of ways to clarify the truth. For example, it is very convenient for me to distribute fliers and CDs on my way to work or on my way home. And there are also ways to directly clarify the facts to Chinese people even when I have to stay at home.
Because we are cultivating in a maze, we are unable to see the true situation of many things. So it is the most important thing for us to firmly believe in the Fa, in each and every Fa principle and in everything that Teacher has taught us. Furthermore, we need to take them more seriously. Only by doing this can we have fewer regrets in the future. At times, we did not understand the seriousness of some things, such as practicing the exercises, sending forth righteous thoughts, and clarifying the truth. It seemed that it didn't matter if we cut ourselves some slack when doing those things. However, the differences are huge in other dimensions. Actually, Teacher has taught us so in the Fa.
I've also enlightened to some other things about my life. For example, I'm very bad with directions. The true reason is that I don't want to bother paying attention to it and I think that it wouldn't negatively affect anything in my cultivation anyway. However, I have missed several important events recently just because I got lost. I was also reluctant to learn some other basic life skills. I thought I was already too busy with the important things that I didn't have time for such trivial matters. Then when certain things needed to be done, I had to spend much more time figuring things out just because I had not been inclined to learn those basic skills. After many such lessons, I came to understand that I shouldn't have ignored those skills. I would have reaped the benefit for the amount of work that I put in. Similarly, we should pay more attention to our cultivation because there is nothing that is more serious or more important in life than cultivation.
When the parts of us that have obtained the Fa become stronger and stronger, we will realize that there are too many regrets in our cultivation and then we might feel overwhelmed. Actually, it does cost us a great deal each time that we take a lackadaisical attitude towards our ordinary human attachments or our laziness, although we may be unable to see it right now. However, there's no use in feeling regretful or in feeling bad about it either. The more important thing is that we need to do better in the future. I used to spend a lot of time reviewing what I had not done well and then making up my mind to do better afterwards. I later discovered that this approach didn't really work because I would still make the same mistakes if I hadn't truly improved myself and gotten rid of those attachments. Teacher has said that cultivation is not something like an everyday person's self-examination or repentance. My understanding is that those approaches are for ordinary people. The only thing that can help us truly improve is the Fa. So now when I realize that I have some attachment, I study the Fa with a calm mind. It's just as what Teacher said, "Whatever happens, only by keeping up your Fa-study can you get rid of your human thoughts, can you get rid of your attachments, and can you thus be unaffected by any human things" (From Teaching the Fa at the Washington, D.C. Fa Conference).
The above are my recent personal understandings. Please point out anything that is inappropriate.