Interference in Fa Study
(Clearwisdom.net) During one experience-sharing session, a practitioner mentioned wanting to study the Fa (1) well and to improve based on the Fa. However, this practitioner felt that he/she could not enlighten to anything or have new understandings. This practitioner had been like this for a long time and it was especially obvious when he/she was studying Zhuan Falun (2). This practitioner was very disturbed at not being able to figure out why he/she could not learn anything. In this article I would like to discuss some factors which cause this interference in studying the Fa, for everyone's reference. Please correct me if there are any improper points.
When I had just started practicing Falun Dafa, I subconsciously studied the Fa like a theory. I was taught in school to emphasize things such as, "central thoughts," "points in each paragraph," "concise and accurate" and "famous quotes and warnings," etc. While I was studying the Fa, I was judging the Fa based on these restricted thoughts. For example, I often thought, "This paragraph is really significant and that paragraph is plain," "This paragraph is very logical," "How good this title is," "This paragraph is related to the topic and that one is not," "This sentence is so good that it can become a famous quote, and that one is just giving an example," or "This sentence is grammatically correct and that one is not."
Sometimes I took knowledge that I had previously learned from textbooks as the absolute truth. For example, textbooks talk about molecules and atoms in a certain way, which prevented me from understanding the Fa when Teacher talked about this concept. The textbook defines, "light year" as a unit of length, however, in the "Practicing Evil Cultivation" section in Zhuan Falun, it talks about "light years" as a unit of time. This is an example of how in the learning process, using everyday people's knowledge restricts the mind. It severely affects Fa study if we use those standards to measure the Fa.
Initially when I studied the Fa, I often looked for further meaning. I read the words literally and tried to figure out the deeper meaning of a phrase, a term, or a word, and I was never able to understand anything. Sometimes I was enlightened to a little something from a sentence or a paragraph and I thought that I had seen the real meaning and I would become attached to it. I was afraid that I would forget it and I tried hard to remember it. The next time I read the same sentence, I immediately thought of what I had enlightened to last time and still wanted to think about it when I read. Hence after studying the same section many times, I still couldn't get any new understandings. The pursuit and attachment to further meanings severely interfered with my learning the Fa.
Sometimes I studied the Fa with attachments. I liked to read parts that fit my attachments and I would just glance through the parts that pointed out my attachments. Sometimes, in order to cover up my attachments, I tended to look for a basis to defend my attachment while I studied the Fa. For example, I didn't want to admit that I like to snack frequently. When I read "If one does not have any attachment, it is fine to eat just about anything to fill the stomach" in Zhuan Falun, I memorized it. The next time practitioners would talk about the subject, I would reply with that sentence to whomever mentioned my attachment. Sometimes I had differing opinions with another practitioner. When I studied the Fa and saw a sentence that I thought might be able to persuade this practitioner, I would memorize this sentence so I could be ready to "give him/her a lesson" next time. Sometimes I saw a practitioner's attachment and told it to this practitioner and he/she would not accept it. I couldn't let go of it. Next time when I studied the Fa and read a sentence related to the issue, I subconsciously thought, "This is exactly talking about him/her!" Studying the Fa with all these strong attachments also severely interferes with study.
Sometimes I used human notions to study the Fa. For example, I would think, "How come this topic is taught in this chapter and not that chapter?" or, "How come the topics in this chapter are organized in this way and not that way?" When I read the topics on "Bigu," "Stealing Qi," "Collecting Qi," or "Zhuyou Ke," I felt that those topics had nothing to do with me since I didn't do any of them. My human notions considered these topics to be not important or not as important as topics like "Upgrading Xinxing" (3). I considered the paragraphs which talked about cultivating Xinxing to be the most important and those that talk about supernormal abilities or gave examples were not important, and I would quickly flip through them. When I read the topic regarding "unknowingly practicing an evil cultivation way," I thought that this was a problem for those who practice regular qigong. Since I practiced Falun Dafa, this topic has little to do with me. When I read a paragraph that I could understand or feel, I considered it meaningful; and if the paragraph made me feel nothing or was just giving an example, I considered it meaningless. I also considered paragraphs that I could accept as making sense and I would not try to understand a paragraph that had a different point of view from mine. A lot of the time we use human notions to look at the Fa subconsciously. These notions exists deep inside our thoughts and are not easily detectable. However, they do affect our Fa-study to a great extent.
When I studied the Fa, I did not position myself as being inside the practice. Teacher says in Zhuan Falun that what he is teaching, "...are all principles for cultivation practice at high levels." However I often divided the Fa into two parts when I studied it; one part was relevant to my practice and the other not. For example, the paragraph which pointed out my shortcomings looked to me like it was talking about a practitioner in charge of our group. In one lecture Teacher talked about the old forces wanting to change others and not themselves, and I thought Teacher was talking about the old forces. In another lecture Teacher mentioned that the Communist Party would not admit its faults to people and likes to say it was "always correct," I thought Teacher was talking about the Communist Party, and that he was absolutely right! When Teacher mentioned that some practitioners couldn't stand being corrected, I thought Teacher was talking about the person in charge of our group, the coordinator, and the practitioners who worked in the area of computer technology. Now that I think of it in a more clearheaded way, when I thought of others being wrong in a conflict, when I argued with practitioners, when I insisted on my point of view or my proposal and would not give up, and when I refused to listen to other people's criticism and suggestions, wasn't I protecting that self? Was I looking inside myself based on the Fa? Was I truly cultivating myself and taking the Fa as Teacher? Or did I have the thoughts of being "always correct" hidden deep inside of me?
Every word in the Fa is for guiding us practitioners to improve ourselves, and nothing is irrelevant to the practice. The things Teacher mentioned that need to be eliminated in our practice and all kinds of shortcomings that exist in all of us; some are visible in our behavior, some in our thoughts, and some in our understandings. However, some are not easily visible and are hidden deep inside of us. If we can't treat ourselves as genuine practitioners, we can't position ourselves inside the practice. If we feel a certain sentence or paragraph irrelevant to ourselves, then our human notions are interfering with our Fa-study and our improvement based on the Fa.
There is a lot of interference, many obstacles and factors that hinder our studying the Fa. For example; fatigue, sleepiness, daydreaming, and random thoughts can easily be detected. We can try to eliminate them and clear them out with our righteous thoughts and a strong main consciousness. After some time we will be able to eliminate those kinds of interference. However, the interference which comes from our human notions is not easily detectable. Only when we can truly calm down and study the Fa, can the Fa break through all obstacles, attachments, and human notions.
- Fa: Law and principles; the teachings of Falun Dafa.
- The book, Zhuan Falun, comprises the principal teachings of Falun Dafa.
- Xinxing: mind-heart nature, moral character.