Practitioner from Iran: Diligence
In "Teaching the Fa at the Eastern U.S. Fa Conference" (New York, March 27-28, 1999), Master addresses the following:
"Question: In my mind, I don't want to do anything. After reading Teacher's scriptures, I feel shocked and a sense of urgency, yet I can't get my mind up to speed.
Teacher: That's because laziness has started to wear you down, so you have to break through it. Everyone will encounter this. Sometimes it manifests quite strongly; other times it seems relatively mild. That's what prevents you from doing the exercises or being diligent in your cultivation. Break through it! Smash through it. Maybe its hinge, or the crux of this barrier, is your attachment, and if you unlock that you might overcome and break through it instantly. (Applause)"
For a long time I hadn't seen any progress in my cultivation and often found myself failing to reach the standard of a true disciple. Even when I was trying hard to be a real cultivator, I would fail and eventually give up trying. Master is aware of every single disciple's heart. I had an opportunity to travel to another city with other practitioners for a 5-day Fa-study. I went to the study with a solid will to really change myself from the innermost core.
During those days, with the great compassion of Teacher, everything started to change. On the first day I was faced with many attachments such as fame, self-interest, validating myself, lust, and fear. Facing them was quite difficult, but because I kept my mind sincere, I was able to overcome each and every single thought that did not belong to me and finally freed myself. During those days I was really trying to make sacrifices and always consider others before myself, and this caused me to make a leap forward in cultivation. I was really strict with myself and tried to make the best use of time. At night I went to sleep after sending forth righteous thoughts (1:25am Iran Time) and woke up a little after 5:00 a.m. to do the exercises.
The second day I experienced a kind of special cultivation state, where I was separated from my physical body and there were a few meters of space between the real me and the physical body. While in this state I was able to see the thoughts in the physical body even before they formed and discern where they came from or what they were going to do. For about an hour I experienced this state. After experiencing this state, I felt a great urgency and it made me steel my will even more and become more diligent and more earnest.
Those few days of Fa study were really a great opportunity for me. After that I continued to be diligent. I'd like to share my experience about what happened after that:
The day after returning, I kept the same schedule of going to sleep after righteous thoughts at 1:25 a.m. (Iran Time) and woke up at 5:15 a.m. and went to the work. For a while I was extremely sleepy, and even when walking I was in daze. In an instant a thought flashed in my mind: "I am a cultivator. How long does a cultivator need to sleep? I heard there are some practitioners who sleep only 2 hours a day. Compared to this I had a lot of sleep." With these thoughts my physical body started to change and the sleepiness started to go away. I continued with: "I am a practitioner and I must not lose precious time by sleeping too much." The sleepiness and numbness further dissipated but there was still a little left. I said: "OK, there is a few minutes left of sending righteous thoughts. If you don't want to completely go away, you will have to be eliminated." After sending righteous thoughts there was no sign of sleepiness and numbness. My body reached the standard of true cultivator; meaning it was light, fresh, energetic and clear headed.
A few days later, at 12:30 a.m. I said to myself: "OK, I did a lot today. I am going to take a nap until it's time for righteous thoughts and by that time I will become energetic and clear headed again." Regretfully, I not just missed the 1:25 a.m. righteous thoughts, also I missed 7:25 a.m. righteous thoughts too! After waking up I was really upset when I realized what happened, but like a real cultivator started to look within myself. Then our compassionate Master gave me a hint with the poem "Steadfast":
Steadfast from Hong Yin II:
"Those who enlighten, transcending the world, are revered
Those who earnestly cultivate, sincerely believe in reaching Consummation
In the midst of great tribulation, one should be steadfast
The will to advance wholeheartedly cannot be altered
May 3, 1999
Modified in February 2004"
Yes, that was the problem. I had altered my will. In the past I had a lot of shortcomings in this regard. For example: Once I decided to send righteous thoughts for 30 minutes a day at a specific time. After a while I said: "Today I have done a lot and am tired. Twenty-five minutes is enough." A few days later I said: "Twenty minutes is good enough." Later, I once again said: "From now on I will do the standard 15 minutes only, even at additional times set by myself." And then I even forgot when it came time for sending righteous thoughts this time.
A few days later I found that reading the Fa was difficult and during work I was sleepy and not doing the work well. Even the thought of "I am a cultivator" was not working well. I searched within myself and during Fa study Master gave me a hint: "You have to really be strict with yourself. In Buddha Law cultivation you have to boldly and vigorously forge ahead." (Zhuan Falun, "The Ninth Talk") I understood that this is the standard of a genuine cultivator. He/she is always is strict with himself/herself, always in a kind of bold and vigorous state. I understood through Fa study that our cultivation is connected with the cultivation of the universe, so if we want something and when our xinxing is in line with Fa standards, that thing must be there for us. If we want some kind of matter such as vigor and an energetic state, we will have it.
One or two days later, I realized that my usual thinking is not working against the laziness demon. Through Fa study, I realized that not only do we have to raise our xinxing, but we also have to always raise our standard and develop stronger and stronger righteous thoughts.
A few days later I started Fa study at 9 p.m., but I was sleepy, and my mind was not clear. I thought to myself: "I am tired; let me sleep for about 10 minutes so that I can rest a little; after all I am under so much pressure." I slept, but was awakened by the 1:25 a.m. Righteous thoughts alert ring! While sending forth righteous thoughts, I was still sleepy. Looking back on this situation the next day, I understood that I used an ordinary human mindset to look at the issue (I am tired, I must bear the pressure, I am under so much pressure). Why didn't I call on Master for help? Why didn't I send forth righteous thoughts? Why didn't I do the exercises? Being a cultivator is a supernormal thing, and thus we have to see our problems from a higher realm. We can't use ordinary people thoughts to evaluate things.
Through studying the New York 1999 Fa Lecture, I understand that the demon of laziness has this kind of impact: In this dimension everything is mortal and this laziness is the cause of the degeneration of our righteous thoughts and our will. It destroys our thoughts slowly, step by step and bit by bit, wearing them out. Because of human emotion, (qing) and desires, we can't recognize these changes, shortcomings and the wearing down of righteous thoughts in ourselves, because emotion and desire have a numbing, dazing and intoxicating impact on people's consciousness, much like alcohol.
Laziness is like a sticky and gummy liquid and surrounds every attachment to protect it from attack. Laziness is cooperating with all attachments to protect them from disintegration. I would like to add my understanding about some well-known effects of laziness that appear in our human dimension: Feelings of weakness and incapability, thinking that something is too hard, not being able to tolerate hardships, numbness and weakness in our thoughts and body, disappointment, putting less effort into the work, seeking comfort, moodiness, not being able to concentrate and sleepiness especially during Fa study; these are just some of the manifestations.
In Zhuan Falun, Lecture 5, Master says, "One good can overcome a hundred evils." When someone is studying the Fa without concentration and with sleepiness, it shows that he/she at that time has not even 1/100 of the righteous thoughts of a true cultivator, and he/she is studying with an ordinary person's mindset.
In the past, while studying the Fa I have become sleepy and treated it like a non-practitioner would. For example, I washed my face with cold water and tried other methods to stay awake. But doing it this way is like looking at the problem with an ordinary person's mindset. I did realize that this state was not normal for a practitioner, but because of numbness caused by desires and emotions, I never thought about it seriously.
When we truly get rid of laziness and steel our will, the mountain-like hardship become like tiny hills. Then, when we look at them and look at our path, we will understand: "This is the way that I should go." We will understand that we are just here for a short period of time in a temporary residence, and soon we will have to let go of everything and leave in a hurry.
Endurance, perseverance, and having a steeled will - achieving these is a major test until the end of our cultivation. As long as we are in this dimension, everything has to go through birth, aging, illness and death, even every aspect of our ordinary human thoughts.
I once had a conversation with a fellow practitioner. He said, "I don't slack off and I am still cultivating like before. But I don't understand why everything is standing still and nothing is improving!" I said, "My friend, I understand that the standards of being a real cultivator have been greatly raised and now they are pretty high up. If we continue with our previous way of handling things we will not meet those standards. We have to improve." He said, "Oh, it really makes sense. As I understand from Master's Fa lecture, as even more evil beings are destroyed and our environment is becoming clearer, we have to be even more diligent. I believe that the standards are raised every day and we have to improve ourselves along with them".
Dear fellow practitioners! If we fail to fulfill our vows, if we fail to steel our wills, if we fail to reach the standards of a true cultivator, I think that not only will we miss this huge opportunity, but also, the sentient beings that have put their hopes in us will never forgive us for this loss and we will never be able to cultivate.
I would like to end this sharing with Master's teachings:
Zhuan Falun, Lecture 4:
"We have given you so much. For each of you, as long as you really cultivate and act strictly according to the Great Law, I'll take you as my disciples and guide you. As long as you cultivate Falun Dafa we'll take you as disciples and guide you. But if you don't cultivate we can't do anything for you..."
"Teaching the Fa at the Eastern U.S. Fa Conference" (New York, March 27-28, 1999):
"Question: In my daily life I don't care about many things. Does that also cause me to be unconcerned with the tests during my cultivation?
Teacher: If during your cultivation Dafa can't stir you and it seems to be no different than all other ordinary things, then I think it really is a problem. In that case you should spend more time focusing on reading the Fa, and overcome this hurdle. When it's like an iron wall and can't be broken through, and it seriously impedes your enlightenment quality and your understanding of the Fa, why don't you break through it and open it?"
Zhuan Falun, Lecture 9:
"Lao-zi said, "When the highest type of men hear the Dao, with diligence they will practice it. When average men hear the Dao, it seems some is kept and some is lost. When the lowest type of men hear the Dao, they laugh at it heartily. If they didn't laugh at it, it wouldn't be the Dao." For a true cultivator, I'd say it's easy--it's not some impossible mission."
Please point out any shortcomings in my understanding.
Category: Journeys of Cultivation