Eliminating the Attachments of Lust and Fear
(Minghui.org) I have recently begun the process of returning to diligent cultivation and have discovered a few things that may help shed some light on the attachments of lust and fear, as well as how to properly remove them and the interference that they can cause. I decided to share this process of what I’ve enlightened to, both as a cultivation process for myself to “cement” what I have enlightened to, and also to help fellow practitioners that may be struggling with similar issues.
On the topic of lust, Master said,
“There is one more type of evil that you will face, and it’s one that all of you, without exception, will encounter. And this is the demon of lust, something very serious.” (Sixth Lecture, Zhuan Falun)
The ancients regarded lust as something particularly filthy, and it can lead to other attachments and cause much interference in cultivation. The demon of lust is relentless and will jump at any opportunity to exploit any loopholes in one’s xinxing. It is also easy for the old forces to use the demon of lust as a tool to cause interference in one’s cultivation.
In my own process of removing the attachment to lust, I realized that lust was something that I wasn’t even aware was so filthy when I first began cultivating. When I was in grade school, we were taught in my country that it was okay to explore your bodies. So I noticed when I began digging deeper and truly looking inward, that I had, during childhood, formed the wrong notion that doing that was normal. This was a consequence of society’s declining moral values. When I began enlightening to just how filthy such thoughts are, I could scarcely believe that a schoolteacher was allowed to say such nonsense to 15-year-olds in my country.
In any case, I also noticed that once I resisted the lustful thoughts and focused on sending forth righteous thought to eliminate the interference, it was very often replaced by a sense of fear and dread--fear of “succumbing to the attachment again,” but also fear “that the beings above would think less of me for having such thoughts.” I have since enlightened that these were not my own thoughts to begin with, but thoughts that formed as I matured from a child to a teenager to a young adolescent, and were formed postnatally after birth. They do not belong to my true self. I therefore have nothing to be ashamed or afraid of, as long as I do my best to subdue and eliminate such interference from the demon of lust, my own desire (which in my understanding is external to one’s true nature), and the interference from the old forces and their dark minions.
Also, getting over and letting go of the shame of having watched pornographic videos on the Internet in the past is part of eliminating the attachment to lust, as the demon of lust, I noticed, readily uses this sense of shame and regret to further interfere with me.
Master taught us that anger, blame, and regret are selfish, and I fully believe that in the process of eliminating attachments and raising one’s xinxing, one should not neglect to eliminate such thoughts. Moving forward and breaking free of regretful thoughts has proven arduous, but I realize it is a direct consequence of my upbringing that I have such thoughts to begin with.
In the beginning, I found it very difficult to be compassionate and kind to myself whenever I made a mistake in cultivation or did not pass a test well. It is getting easier, though, and I found that it helped to share with other practitioners and not be ashamed to speak to them about what I was like in the past or how I was “ruined by lust and pornography.” It also helped to be open to their suggestions and critiques, and apply the views that other practitioners have to my own understandings. I am apparently not alone in having had huge issues with the demon of lust and the attachments to self-interest, seeking comfort, and various desires.
Other practitioners have shared that they, too, have experienced much interference from lust, particularly in the beginning phases of their cultivation. But I have yet to encounter anyone else who managed to “fail the lust test three times,” and therefore it has been a rather lonely process of self-discovery. Eliminating the attachment has proven to be quite difficult.
I still sometimes struggle whenever I am out-and-about in the world, with images of scantily clad women all over the place. I also had to stop watching television, as the commercials and certain programs I was watching had impure elements. I read a practitioner’s experience sharing article a while back, titled “Just Another Glance,” and that’s precisely what I noticed, that the demon of lust and the attachment that is alive in another dimension want me to do--“just glance” at a beautiful, scantily clad young woman on the street. Once I noticed that, I immediately sent forth righteous thoughts. I am meant for cultivation practice and not for satisfying physical or emotional desires. The interference became less and eventually began disappearing entirely for longer and longer periods of time.
In order to eliminate any interference from lust, one must be ever-vigilant in recognizing such thoughts as external and not belonging to the true self. Master teaches us that each being is born in the space of Zhen-Shan-Ren (Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance) and in the space of the universe, adopting the characteristics of the universe. So how could such base, filthy thoughts like lust and sexual desire form in one’s mind? I believe it depends on how one was brought up and educated. Personally, I was never taught growing up that it was wrong to indulge in such thoughts and wicked behavior, so I formed strong notions that it was “normal.” These are, of course, everyday human notions and are something one should remove in cultivation.
The fact that fear often replaces lust, and that lust can easily lead to other attachments, such as jealousy and the show-off mentality, self-interest, and seeking comfort, is something one should also be aware of and eliminate.
On the topic of fear, Master said:
“The truth is, losing this opportunity of the ages and not fulfilling the real purpose of coming to this world are more terrifying than the attachment of being too ashamed to face others. Cultivation is cultivation, and cultivation is about getting rid of one’s attachments, putting a stop to bad human behavior and all kinds of fears, including the human attachments of being afraid of this and being afraid of that. You went down a wrong path because of your attachments and fears to begin with, and now, when you want to come back, you are again being held back by fear and letting it block your return.
Fear can cause one to make mistakes, and fear can cause one to lose a predestined opportunity. Fear is a death trap on a human being’s journey toward divinity. You have made huge mistakes because of it already, and yet now that you want to correct them you are afraid of people finding out about them. Cultivation is a serious matter. If you keep harboring fears like this, when are you going to stop being held back by fear? To those students in particular who have been covering up all of these things and have seemingly acted better than most other students, if you don’t let go of this attachment, stop your sinful behavior, and get rid of your fears, then no matter how many Dafa disciples’ things you do, you are doing them to cover things up. If you let go of these sins that you have been carrying around and suppressing inside and you make your way back, then everything you do will be clean and part of a Dafa disciple’s cultivation.” (“Pass the Deadly Test,” The Essentials of Diligent Progress Vol. III)
On that note, I find that in my own cultivation, having failed the test of lust so many times in the past, the interference is less when I focus on Fa-study. When my mind is on studying the Fa, it is like the demon of lust doesn’t dare interfere with me! When I am sending forth righteous thoughts, I find that the interference is sometimes so severe, it wants me to put down my legs and stop cultivating entirely! This is, of course, interference because I had not previously fully identified the root cause of the loophole that the old forces and the demon of lust were using to cause the interference. Namely, I was “lonely” and yearned for “companionship” in the form of a wife or life partner.
A fellow practitioner once said, as I recall from a past phone conversation we had, “If you are lonely, come closer to Master.” When I tried to do this, calling out to Teacher in my mind, I found that I was being held back by shame, fear, and regret. “Cultivation is serious,” and one must follow the “Law of Non-Omission.”
Master has said, again on the topic of fear:
“If a cultivator can let go of the thought of life and death under any circumstance, evil is sure to be afraid of him. If every student is able to do this, evil will of itself no longer exist. All of you are already aware of the principle of mutual-generation and mutual-inhibition. If you are not afraid, the factor that would make you afraid will cease to exist. This is not to be self-imposed, but is achieved by truly and calmly letting go of it.” (“Eliminate Your Last Attachment(s)” in Essentials for Further Advancement II)
On the topic of loneliness, I read in a fellow practitioner’s experience sharing article: “Repeatedly feeling lonely indicates that one’s willpower for cultivation is lacking. The feeling of loneliness comes from one’s attachment to self, time, and seeking comfort.” I have, since reading this article, begun the process of eliminating my attachments to self, time, and seeking comfort, and am, once and for all, making diligent progress in cultivation!
This article is my own understanding of lust and fear, and I hope that it can help other practitioners who are struggling like I was to find some peace of mind and to send strong righteous thoughts on the matter of eliminating the attachments of lust and fear.
Category: Improving Oneself