Be Diligent, As If We Are Just Starting Cultivation
(Clearwisdom.net) I always put xinxing cultivation as my first priority when I first obtained the Fa. I studied the Fa and practiced the exercises every day, rain or shine, even during holidays, all year long. Although I slacked off a bit occasionally, my determination to be diligent was never diverted.
I was able to keep up my cultivation and validating the Fa, even during the years when the evil old forces intensified their persecution and when I was locked up in the detention center. However, returning to the relatively loose environment, I began to slack off—I did not study the Fa as much as before, nor did I send righteous thoughts as many times as before. Furthermore, I kept postponing the things involved in offering sentient beings salvation. As a result, time flew by quickly before I was able to accomplish anything in a day. Sometimes I was even bothered by ordinary people’s trivial matters, such as imagining “a good future” in society. Thus, my willingness to be more diligent was not as strong as before.
After reading an experience-sharing article entitled “Examining Our Understanding of What It Means to Be Diligent” (http://www.clearwisdom.net/html/articles/2011/6/3/125788.html) I was shocked. I agree that cultivation is hard, because we need to constantly strive forward and make diligent progress. Suffering from the evil persecution, living in endless and hopeless loneliness, tempted by the various kinds of attachments in the Dharma-ending-period of human society, we can still maintain our mindset such that we just started to cultivate at the beginning to improve our xinxing. This is being diligent. It is just like Master told us,
"I hope that Dafa disciples can take the Fa as their teacher, deter interference, and cultivate solidly--this is how a person makes diligent progress." ("Comments for Republication" in "Explaining the Content of Falun Dafa")
There are not many things that are righteous in the society in its Dharma-ending-period. No matter how hard one repels the bad things, they still pollute one’s mind. Nevertheless, if one allows one's mind to go after the attachments, one’s mind will be polluted even more. The closer we are to our final destiny, the more serious it becomes. A small slip can cause us to fall back to the human side. In “Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Houston,” Master told us a story,
“Very early on, in India there was a disciple of Brahmanism cultivating. He was quite diligent in cultivation and he cultivated in solitude in the mountains. One day a hunter tracked down a deer, wounding it with an [arrow] shot. This deer ran off [to where the cultivator was], and he hid the deer, protecting it. Alone in the mountains, he was very lonely, so he started to take care of the deer. Humans, if they don’t pay attention, can get attached, and indeed the human feeling of pity and attachment to emotion were both poured on this small deer. With time he became very attached to the deer, and eventually the deer became his closest companion. As a result, he put all his energy into the deer, and when he meditated his mind couldn’t become calm; he would be thinking about what to feed the deer. He slackened his resolve to stride forward.
“A few years later, the deer suddenly died one day, and he was greatly pained. He always thought about the deer, and even less could he make diligent progress. By this time he was advanced in his years, and if you aren’t a cultivator, your life can’t be prolonged. He could no longer cultivate and his life ended. When his life came to a close he didn’t think of the Buddha Law; he was still thinking of the deer, and because of this, after he died, he reincarnated as a deer. When a person is on his deathbed, he may reincarnate into whatever he is attached to and thinking about, so in an instant he reincarnated into a deer. How lamentable. A cultivator—one who cultivated quite well—was in the end ruined in that instant.”
We should learn a big lesson from this story. The evil old forces use every single opportunity to persecute us. We all know that they persecute practitioners by locking us up in prisons, labor camps, and brainwashing centers; and they have never stopped persecuting practitioners outside those regime-run facilities. They manipulate the attachments that practitioners have not entirely eliminated to create illusions that weaken our determination and interfere with us in doing the three things well. This is also a form of the evil forces’ persecution.
In China, practitioners in many areas have resumed group Fa study, which is one of the cultivation formats that Master gives us. I have noticed that many problems have emerged when we study the Fa together. In some places, only two to five people join the group study, and conflicts have never ceased to occur. Although there were cultivation problems for us to resolve before the persecution started in 1999, they were not as obvious. No matter what kind of problems we have, we should look at them from the perspective of the Fa: we should search inside ourselves, for only by doing so can we improve. Depending on how we stand on the basis of the Fa, if we solidly improve ourselves as cultivators should do, be unattached to our egos and be considerate of others and the entire body, the evil forces will not find any opportunity to persecute us.
Master wants us to cultivate solidly. We should not let the outside environment affect us, nor should we allow attachments to interfere with us so that our tasks to rescue sentient beings will not be wasted.
“A Dafa particle should at all times consider being responsible to the Fa, responsible to practitioners, responsible to society, responsible to oneself, and consider issues from the perspective of the principles of the Fa. This requirement, judged by the progress of the Fa rectification, should not be too much to ask.” (“Principles of the Fa and Human Sentiment (Qing),” by Clearwisdom Editors on July 9, 2001)
Master reminded us,
"That is why it's said that always cultivating as if you were just starting will surely result in achieving your ultimate rank." (“Fa Teaching at the 2009 Greater New York International Fa Conference”)
We not only need to study the Fa and practice the exercises, but also to improve our xinxing, and do it as if we are just starting. As we advance in understanding the Fa, we should constantly search inside ourselves and improve ourselves to offer more sentient beings salvation. We should feel the urgency.