Advancing Diligently On the Path of Cultivation
(Clearwisdom.net) Since I obtained the Fa in 1996, I have grown from a 9-year-old practitioner who did not clearly understand the Fa, to become a practitioner who can understand the Fa rationally. I used to be self-centered and pursued fame, personal gain and emotional satisfaction, but now I am a practitioner who actively assimilates to the Fa and saves sentient beings.
Learning from practitioners to find my shortcomings
After I started to practice, I tried to get rid of my strong attachment of being self-centered, but I could never get rid of it completely. I had a strong attachment of pursing fame among practitioners, and I liked to force my ideas on others.
I was close to another practitioner of the same age for a while, but I thought that many of this practitioner's actions were not based on the Fa. So I would criticize her every time we met, but she would never answer back. I felt anxious for her improvement, but did not see any changes. I was very disappointed and even felt tired of her. One day, I thought about what I wanted to say to her when we next met. A word immediately came to my mind, “criticize.” I looked inward and realized that I always criticized others. This practitioner was new and she did many things well, but I always focused on her shortcomings. Even if she did not cultivate well, as long as she persisted in cultivation, she was better than everyday people. How could I use unkind words towards her? I changed my thoughts and did not feel any more anger towards her. I realized that it was all my fault. When I met her again, I frankly acknowledged my mistakes and asked for her forgiveness. She said, “Before now, I had already closed my heart to you.” I was surprised. If Master had not enlightened me to look inward, I could have pushed this practitioner away from the Fa.
When I met a practitioner who was always busy doing Dafa work, I worried that he did not have enough time to study the Fa and cultivate himself well. He also seldom shared his experiences with others, and only talked about Dafa work. I even felt that he went about things with a human mindset and was not improving his xinxing. I later realized that every practitioner has a different path in cultivation and that I cannot force my understandings upon others. I subconsciously used various excuses not to do Dafa work, and I lacked the will to take responsibility. But this practitioner was always trying his best to utilize his talents to validate the Fa. How could I judge him like this? We should really look at the positive aspects in practitioners, as our focus is to improve as a whole.
Getting rid of fear by studying the Fa
I had a strong attachment of fear because I had been arrested several times before, and it had brought my family a lot of trouble from the authorities. Although my family members are also practitioners, they often called me and worried about me when I went out to talk to people about Falun Gong. They even told me that they thought bad things might happen to me if I went out. This was actually a result of my thoughts not being righteous enough. The old forces also used our emotional attachments to interfere with us.
I even counted down the days before sensitive dates on the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) calendar. My mind was full of thoughts about being persecuted. I knew my state of mind was not right. I then read Master's Fa lecture:
Disciple: My father is a veteran practitioner and lives outside China, but he doesn't have the courage to step forward. I don't know what I should do.
Master: Then he's not making the grade. (Laughs) For one thing, it would be best if he could realize for himself what to do, since this is cultivation after all. Another thing you can do is to serve as a catalyst for him and help him along. The evil won't suddenly tell him one day, "We're not going to persecute you anymore." If a person wants to cultivate, he should just go ahead. What's actually at work is fear. Everyone talks about "setting aside all thought of life and death," but when the pressure increases a little they can't come through. Don't be a "lesser man who hears the Dao." (“Fa Teaching at the 2009 Greater New York International Fa Conference”)
If I made up my mind to do cultivation until consummation, there is nothing I should be afraid of. I cannot continue to hold on to my attachment of fear, hoping that I will reach consummation. My path of cultivation is decided and arranged by Master. As my true self is assimilated to the Fa and is a particle of the Fa, thoughts that do not conform to the Fa are fake. The feeling of fear was actually forced upon me by the old forces in order to destroy me. I should push the corrupted matter of fear back to them, because it is the old forces that truly have the fear of being eliminated. Gradually, I could feel that although I still have some amount of fear, I could actively start to eliminate it.
I recently passed through a security checkpoint at the train station, and was asked to open my travel bag. There were a few cell phones in there that I used to clarify the facts to people. I told the security guards that they were just items that I purchased. I was able to leave the train station and returned home safely. I looked inward and realized Master's Fa principle, “The appearance stems from the mind.” (“Fa Teaching Given at the Epoch Times Meeting”) I still had fear, and it was this fear that caused me to be stopped and searched. I was told that many practitioners had been arrested in this city recently. Since I did not strengthen my righteous thoughts, the danger manifested at the train station, and I was stopped. I also realized that the old forces are very afraid of the things that practitioners do. We must have a steady and firm mind when we validate the Fa, and we must send strong righteous thoughts to eliminate the old forces' elements that try to interfere with us.
Young practitioners' responsibilities
Growing up as a young practitioner, I really felt that I was very lucky to have Dafa deeply rooted in my heart. Many young practitioners diligently cultivated in the past while they were with their parents, but when they came into contact with everyday society, they soon slacked off or even stopped practicing. They did not truly realize the importance of cultivation and the preciousness of Dafa. Once they were away from their parents' supervision, they could not resist the temptations of ordinary human society.
Young practitioners do not have as many illness tribulations as older practitioners, but we must not relax, since we face greater temptations from the pursuit of fame, personal gain and other emotional attachments. We need to be serious about handling things according to Dafa's standard and rectify our every thought. Master said:
“A cultivator has no role models. The path each person is to take is different, because each person’s foundation is different, the sizes of their various attachments are different, the characteristics of their beings are different, their jobs among everyday people are different, their family environments are different, and so on. These factors determine that each person’s path of cultivation is different, that how they get rid of their attachments is different, and that the sizes of their tests are different. Therefore, amidst the manifestations of things it’s very hard to find a path that others have made, and it’s even less possible for a person to get a ride down one. If there really were pre-made paths and effortless rides, that definitely would not be cultivation.” (“Path” in Essentials for Further Advancement II)
Older practitioners may have stronger human notions generated from a lifetime of social interactions, which can lead them to have greater difficulty in understanding the Fa. However, young practitioners have fewer human notions and better memory, and so usually find it easier to understand the Fa. When we cannot pass a test, we find excuses to justify ourselves, like, “We are still young and cannot endure a lot.” We also often hear some older practitioners say that we are “not bad at cultivation for our age.” All these thoughts contain human sentiment and are not based on the Fa. The standard for consummation is the same for everyone and will not be lowered for young practitioners. Although our paths of cultivation are different, the process of getting rid of attachments is the same.
Every time I see the young practitioners' wonderful performances during Shen Yun, my heart is full of admiration. However, our own responsibilities are also important. Although we do not perform on stage, we are also helping Master to rectify the Fa. It is a great predestined relationship that we are fortunate enough to be born when the Fa is being spread and that we acquired the Fa. We should do better.
I once asked a practitioner to reinstall my computer's operating system, and was surprised to find that this practitioner was over 40 years old and that she did not know anything about computers before. I was ashamed of myself for not trying to solve the problem on my own.
When others asked me how many years I had been cultivating, I was often ashamed to tell them. I did not deserve to say that I was a veteran practitioner. But now I realize that it is also because I didn't want to take the responsibility that a practitioner must shoulder. Facing so many temptations in the human world, I have not always controlled myself well, and missed many opportunities to do the three things well.
I am no longer passive in my actions and know that I should learn from my mistakes. Master said:
“Amidst challenges, or when things can’t be resolved, people are always trying to think of some tactic to use. But there is no shortcut, in fact: you have to truly put cultivation into practice, and cultivate in line with the Great Law.” (Fa Teaching Given at the 2010 New York Fa Conference”)
As long as we study the Fa diligently and improve ourselves within the Fa, we will walk the path of cultivation well and fulfill our vows.