(Minghui.org) I recently heard that yet another practitioner was diagnosed with advanced cancer. I’ve known several practitioners that were diagnosed with cancer. In the past, I didn’t know what I could do for them, because Master Li clearly addressed this issue.

This practitioner diligently studied the Fa. He was also very determined to cultivate and was very confident. Whenever anyone mentioned looking for his own shortcomings, however, he became irritated. I heard later that he died.

I thoroughly looked inward and identified my bad habits, human notions, and attachments and believe I understand what issues these practitioners may have had, so I'd like to share my insights.

Meeting Dafa’s Requirements and Truly Cultivating

I always thought I’d cultivated pretty well. I’d witnessed Master’s benevolence during the persecution and felt that there were no tribulations I couldn’t overcome. I thought I was firmly determined in cultivation and was able to easily tell right from wrong when I met with conflicts or tribulations.

A few years ago, however, my relationships with my family members who don’t practice Falun Dafa became strained. Dafa requires us to unconditionally look within whenever we encounter problems. Even though I didn’t think that I’d done anything wrong, I continued looking inward and tried to fix our relationships.

This intense self examination was truly painful. The teachings helped guide me to see where my faults were. I knew my thoughts that “Nothing is wrong with me; it’s other person’s fault” was an attachment to who was right or wrong.

Master Li said,

“...going awry and following an evil way simply refer to people searching for external help. With Buddhism in particular, if you search for external help, you are said to have taken a demonic way.” (Lecture Nine, Zhuan Falun)

When I truly followed Dafa’s requirement to cultivate myself, my human notions and attachments kept re-surfacing. I hadn't experienced this before because I thought I’d cultivated “pretty well.”

If I didn't eliminate my ego, then I couldn't eliminate any of my attachments. My ego would protect my attachments and they would just get bigger.

When I unconditionally admitted that my strained relationships with my family were my fault and truly looked within, I removed my attachment to ego and saving face at their roots. I still wasn’t willing to hear myself being criticized, however, and it was very painful when I acknowledged when the situation was my fault.

Through unconditionally examining my faults, I could clearly see how far I was from Dafa's principles. I'd formed so many notions and attachments that I needed to get rid of!

Looking back, I had overcome a lot of tribulations and therefore believed that I’d accomplished a lot and cultivated well. But I never really solidly cultivated myself, because I couldn’t unconditionally acknowledge that I was wrong in a conflict.

The more I thought I had cultivated well, the larger my attachment became. Through this experience, I feel I understand what those practitioners with advanced cancer went through. Like me, they were firmly determined to cultivate but never eliminated the roots of their attachments.

Covering Up Mistakes Only Makes Matters Worse

I arrived at this simple truth after years of painful cultivation. I realized that I always wanted to avoid making mistakes and that other people’s mistakes bothered me. The more I resented mistakes, the more mistakes people around me made. And those mistakes were often outrageous.

I always tried to do things well, but I was often criticized. I felt wronged and angry. Through looking within unconditionally, I realized that it was because I wanted to protect myself by avoiding mistakes. I saw mistakes as something shameful. So I always wanted to prove that I wasn’t wrong. Now I understand that was a selfish thought.

When I really looked inward, I understood that making mistakes is not shameful, but that running away from them or covering them up is an issue. We resent those who make mistakes because we have attachments.

Being Respectful of Master and Dafa

I thought I was very determined to cultivate myself. The more I cultivated, however, the more loopholes I saw in myself.

For example, when I was persecuted or going through tribulations, I remembered Master's words. But when I interacted with everyday people, I was quick to express my own opinion. I always thought that I was right and blamed others for mistakes.

I thought I was pretty good. Now I realized that when I was going through a tribulation, I was using Dafa to help me through it. I didn’t really cultivate myself. This was not being respectful of Master and Dafa.

We Should Cherish Every Cultivation Opportunity

I realized that I had a lot of loopholes and attachments, but Master never gave up on me. He keeps giving me opportunities to genuinely cultivate and eliminate my attachments. I am truly grateful to Master.

Although I no longer feel the sharp pain of my attachments being hit on, I still feel uneasy during conflicts. But if I can firmly and unconditionally look within, these tribulations help expose my attachments so I can improve. Many articles have been published about practitioners who overcame life and death tribulations. Their experiences prove that Dafa is powerful. We're responsible for cultivating solidly and eliminating our attachments once they're exposed.