(Minghui.org) I was reading the section on “Bigu” in Zhuan Falun during the summer of 2014 when I “saw” the following: I was once a Daoist cultivating in a cave, where I later died. Every time I read this section, I saw episodes from that lifetime, including scenes of heaven and of the Daoist master taking another me away, while the other me went through reincarnation.

Throughout history, it was the assistant spirit that cultivated. Master made this point very clear to us long ago.

In the The Great Way of Spiritual Perfection, Master wrote:

“For thousands of years, all other practices introduced among everyday people have refined the cultivator’s assistant consciousness; the person’s flesh and main consciousness have served only as mediums. Upon reaching Perfection, the cultivator’s assistant consciousness would ascend and take the gong away with it. There would then be nothing left for the person’s main consciousness and innate body—a lifetime of cultivation effort is in vain.” (Chapter I The Features of Falun Dafa, The Great Way of Spiritual Perfection)

In Zhuan Falun Master wrote:

“According to Buddhism, this person will still go through samsara. Since a great enlightened person has been successfully cultivated in his body, this person has also accumulated a lot of de. So what will happen? He might become a high-ranking official or make a big fortune in his next life. It can only be this way. Didn’t his cultivation end up in vain?” (Lecture 8, Zhuan Falun)

I’m writing about my cultivation story with the hope that others can understand how bewildering cultivation was in the past, and I hope the fellow practitioners can be more diligent after reading this.

In that life, I was the son of wealthy, prestigious parents. I was named Fu Liansheng. To be famous in the future, I painstakingly studied the Chinese classics, the Book of Songs, and the Book of History from the time I was young. When I was 15 years old, a Daoist with long white hair and a white beard, but with a young face free of wrinkles, appeared in my room. He looked at me and said, “Your foundation isn’t bad.” I looked at him in astonishment. It was weird, he didn’t even open the door. How did he pass through the wall like that? The Daoist said, “It’s extremely exhausting to study so attentively. I have a wonderful teaching I’d like to pass on to you. It can allow you to gain immortality and avoid the pain and sufferings of the human world, thus gaining ultimate freedom and leisure.” I shook my head and said, “My life comes from my parents. How could I abandon them? I will later attain glory and honor to repay them for bringing me up.” The Daoist laughed and said, “Follow me to cultivate and attain liberation. Then you can come back to repay your parents.” I shook my head again. The Daoist said, “The pedantic adherence to old ideas has blinded and deafened my disciple. I’ve already decided to take you as my disciple. Even if you resist, it’s of no use.”

The Daoist grabbed my arm and patted my head. I became dizzy and confused and had the feeling I was riding on mists and clouds. All I could hear was the sound of wind. I couldn’t open my eyes due to the wind in my face. After a bit, I felt my feet making contact with the ground. I opened my eyes to find myself in a cave dwelling. It was very tidy. I noticed a great big Taiji symbol on the ground, with something rotating inside. A kind of indescribable, fantastic energy attracted me. I couldn’t stop staring at it. “Obedient disciple, take a careful look [at the Taiji symbol]. I’m going out to take care of some matters,” said the Daoist, who then turned and left.

I kept gazing at the Taiji symbol, then felt hungry. I saw some mountain fruit atop a stone table and grabbed a few to eat and drank some water from a gourd. Afterward, I kept gazing at the Taiji symbol. The more I looked, the more tranquil I felt. I had no thoughts in my mind. Now and then I felt something spinning inside my head. I kept gazing at the Taiji until I felt sleepy, then went to sleep on a wooden bed. I kept repeating this whole process in the cave again and again. I don’t know how much time passed.

One day I suddenly remembered my parents and felt quite vexed. I wanted to go home. I tried to find the mouth of the cave but couldn’t, even after walking a full circle. When I began to get impatient a voice said, “Diligently practice cultivation. Don’t think of returning home.” Looking around the cave, I was the only one there. Where did that voice come from? It sounded as though it came from above my head. I raised my head only to find nothing there. I was puzzled. I tried again in vain to find an exit. Eventually I got tired and went back to sleep.

I suddenly noticed a breeze beneath my feet and got very excited. I managed to run all the way home. At my front door, the gatekeeper stopped me and said, “Where are you from, young Daoist? You’re not allowed inside.” I looked at myself and found I was wearing a child’s Daoist robe. I said, “I’m the son of this house.” The gatekeeper laughed and responded, “Look, the son has arrived.” I took a look and saw a boy who looked exactly like me walk out. He was wearing my good clothes. I stared blankly. The gatekeeper pushed me, and I fell head over heels on the ground.

Just then I heard a voice in my ear, “Quickly wake up, don’t sleep.” The moment I opened my eyes I saw the Daoist. I grabbed his arm and said, “I want to go home.” The Daoist told me, “You just returned home, but weren’t allowed through the door. You even fell over. What’s the use of returning home?” I was heartbroken. The Daoist continued, “Why are you so obsessed? Others want to take me as their Master, but I ignore them all. I saw that your foundation was good, so I took you in. How about this, I’ve already fetched you some food you’ll like. It’s on the table. Once you’re done eating, I’ll let you return home.” I was very happy to hear that. I saw sumptuous food on the table, so I picked up some chopsticks and began to eat. Once I put the food in my mouth, however, it tasted awful. I couldn’t eat it. I paused and looked at the Daoist.

The Daoist burst out laughing, “You’ve been cultivating here for two months. You ate the mountain fruit and drank the water. Not even high-ranking officials or royalty can consume these things. You’ve already undergone changes. If you don’t believe me, let’s go out together and you can check out your abilities.” Only partly believing him, I followed the Daoist out of the cave.

The Daoist pointed out a large tree 20 meters away and said, “Fly over there and pick the fruit.” I levitated upwards and found myself as light as a feather. I flew over to the tree, picked the fruit, and flew back. The Daoist said, “There’s a mountain spring over there. Extract some water.” The Daoist told me how to extract the water from a distance, and I did so accordingly. I held my hands up in the direction of the distant mountain spring and saw a stream of water flying towards me from that faraway spring. The Daoist whipped out his gourd and the water flowed inside it. It puzzled me how the gourd could contain so much water. The Daoist then said, “Ok, that’s enough.” I put my hands down. The Daoist placed the gourd on the ground.

He then picked up a few rocks and closed them in his hands before rotating his hands twice. He indicated to me that I should collect the stones [from his hands], so I held out my hands, but he handed me some chicken eggs. They were still warm, too. I was very surprised. The Daoist said, “Just a little trick, it’s nothing really. Take me as your Master, and I’ll impart the Dao to you. You can become an immortal and attain liberation.”

I thought for a moment, then knelt before the Daoist and said, “Your disciple wants to take thee as Master, but I keep thinking of my parents. May I ask you to show me my family.” The Daoist again burst out laughing. He casually drew a circle in the air with his hand and said, “Take a look for yourself.” Mists filled the circle before parting to reveal my family. I saw my wife giving birth to our child. Later, my parents found me a concubine, and she bore me a son. Ten years later I fell ill and became bedridden. My father’s concubine had poisoned my food, and I died. She also poisoned my mother’s food, and she died, too. Then, she became the main lady of the house. My wife was kicked out of the house and had to return to her parents' home. My father’s concubine mistreated my son. He got tuberculosis and died.

The scene vanished suddenly, and the Daoist asked, “Is this kind of life interesting?” I was speechless. The Daoist then turned the gourd upside down and flung it onto a branch. He said, “The water inside the gourd is hot right now. After you take a bath, take me as your Master.” I took my time washing myself in the hot water, then changed into a Daoist robe.

I kowtowed to the Daoist and said, “Master.” He helped me up and said, “I’ve already re-arranged your life from today on. Don’t have any more wild fantasies. I transformed the jade you used to wear into another you. He’ll fall ill after half a year and die. Your mother owes your father’s concubine a life, so she’ll need to pay back that karmic debt.” I thanked my master for revealing this to me, then followed him back into the cave to cultivate.

He had me put my legs in the lotus position, then tied my hands behind my back. He also tied my legs. I said, “Master, there’s no need to tie me up.” He laughed and said, “You should practice diligently. I’m going out for a bit.” After he left, I practiced according to the teachings of the heart he passed on to me. I was quite comfortable at the start, but my legs gradually started to hurt. As my legs became even more painful, I wanted to take them down, but I couldn’t move my hands. I was sweating all over from the pain. My bones felt as though they were breaking. I was moving all about and couldn’t remain seated on the bed. I became foggy-headed. The pain became increasingly real. It felt like a knife was cutting through my flesh, then scraping my bones. It was so painful that I bit my lips until they bled. I couldn’t bear the pain any longer and fainted.

I don’t know how much time had passed when I heard my master address me, “Why are you goofing off and not diligently practicing?” I didn’t dare to speak. He said, “Falling ill and being poisoned are more painful than this. Enjoying leisure and comfort while wishing to become immortal—how is that possible?” He assisted me up into a proper seated position for meditation. He indicated that I should open my mouth, then placed a small, pellet-shaped dan pill into my mouth. He taught me two verses, then left again.

For a brief moment I felt light, then the pain started rolling in again, making it hard to endure. No matter how I twisted or turned, the ropes binding me wouldn’t loosen. I then fainted from the pain again. My master got angry with me one day after seeing how I kept fainting from the pain. He picked up a whip and started whipping me, saying, “If you can’t endure the pain, then return home without delay. What kind of disciple are you? Once Master goes out you just go to sleep.” I was beaten severely. He was extremely angry. I felt ashamed and couldn’t help but cry. This made him angrier. He untied me and said, “What are you crying for? I don’t want you, return home without delay. Go and get married and get your beautiful concubine. Even if you get poisoned, you won’t need to go through all this hardship each day...”

With tears in my eyes I knelt before him and said, “Master … I’m wrong. Even if you beat me to death I won’t leave. Please calm down, Master!” I repeatedly kowtowed. He said, “Raise your head.” I raised my head and looked at him. He looked at me and said, “You were born into a wealthy family and can’t endure suffering. It’s best you just go back.” He untied me and put the ropes aside. In despair he said, “I need to relax. By taking in an unsatisfactory disciple, I almost died of anger.” He left, but my heart for cultivation solidified. I picked up the ropes and grabbed some stones. I spread the stones around my bed in a circle. I folded my legs in the lotus position, then tied them up. I made a vow, “Local spirits, please strengthen me. I mustn’t and will not faint.”

Soon after folding my legs in the lotus position, enduring the pain was difficult. But regardless of how painful it got, I didn’t budge. After enduring the pain for a bit, I felt a brief spell of lightness. After a little bit, it became extremely painful again. At this moment, I heard a female voice, “Senior Brother, are you there? I’m here.” A Daoist nun holding a horsetail whisk appeared. She looked at me and said, “You’re that disciple my brother took in. You’re a pretty good disciple. You’ve been badly beaten and have been tormented by my brother, so you look like this. You should take me as your Master. I’ll teach you.”

After saying this, she took out a gourd, drank a mouthful of water, and puffed out her cheeks. Then she sprayed a mist all over my body, and I felt extremely comfortable. I found my wounds which were inflicted on me by all the whipping were healed. My legs were no longer painful as well. The Daoist nun continued, “Brother’s temper isn’t good. He abuses his disciple. Take me as your master. You can easily and leisurely learn a lot of techniques and skills from me. You don’t even need to bear any suffering.” I said, “A master for a day is a father for a lifetime. I cannot betray my master.” The Daoist nun got agitated and rebuked me, “I’ll smash down this cave and throw you into the deep lake, where the turtles will eat you.” I said, “If you do that, then you’re no cultivator.” The Daoist nun was angry, then turned and left. Soon after, Master returned. He looked at me and said, “You’re a good disciple. Master made no oversight with you.”

After that, those painful days gradually passed. My master talked to me amicably, and often told me about Daoist techniques and stories of immortals. He taught me how to practice certain techniques. He repeatedly stressed, “The essentials of this school are, ‘The shishen [conscious spirit] dies, the primordial spirit is born.’ The shishen causes a person to be infatuated and grows all kinds of greed. You should inhibit your shishen; don’t allow it to exhibit itself. The primordial spirit shall attain great freedom and liberation.” Five years later, he took out a rolled up silk book. “Soon, I’ll hand over this secret book to you. After 20 days, go into the mountains to cultivate. You now need to leave this mountain.”

As I left the mountain on which my master resided, I bumped into another cultivator. He said to me, “Daoist friend, you carry in your backpack something most precious. It’s bright and shiny and connects straight to the heavenly palace. But you still have far to go. Plus, there’s a rotten demon on the road ahead demanding payment. Daoist friend, take care.” I said, “What kind of principle says that cultivation should be easy? I’m completely devoted to my cultivation and have a master protecting me. Once I discard all distracting thoughts, I can wholeheartedly cultivate.” The cultivator responded, “Many caves can be found on both sides of the Three Gorges of the Yangtze River. It’s a fine spot for cultivation. You should go there.” I thanked the cultivator. After taking a few steps I looked back and found no trace of the cultivator, not even his footsteps. I thought to myself, “It must be a supernatural being from the secret book of cultivation I’ll be following. He was giving me a hint.”

By this time, it was three days away from the time my master had allotted me. I suddenly thought I would check out my hometown. I figured there would be enough time, so I returned home wearing a worn-out robe. I arrived at the front door and heard someone say, “Madam [referring to my concubine] and her son have come out.” I turned and left upon hearing this. From then on, there was no longer anything I missed about home. When I was about to go I noticed my neighbors approach, holding their four-year-old daughter. The neighbor didn’t recognize me, but their daughter looked at me and smiled. Her smile was so incredibly pure. Unexpectedly, my heart was moved.

I put to use my supernormal powers and arrived at the Three Gorges of the Yangzte River. I found a cave I liked and used a supernormal power to seal its entrance. Then I began to practice. Before I began to meditate I made a vow. “I’m determined to cultivate. So long as I haven’t cultivated to completion, I vow not to stand up, and will continue sitting in this cave. Should I violate this vow, I’m willing to be struck by lightning.”

Interfering scenes kept manifesting during my cultivation process. I saw my parents come to me weeping, but I wasn’t moved. I heard the sound of a fierce tiger making its way through the sealed entrance. I could hear it breathe. My heart remained unmoved. I saw a dragon fly into the cave and coil around me. I remained motionless. I saw heavenly maidens place food and drink before me in the cave, but I wasn’t moved. I saw officials from hell come to me and say, “Come with us to the underworld to cross your name off of hell’s register. Then come back to cultivate.” As before, I remained motionless. All sorts of humans, immortals, ghosts, and beasts from heaven and earth appeared before my eyes. I was not confused and was free of doubt. I did not stand up no matter what. Once, I heard the bizarre sound of a thin shirt being ripped, but I didn’t open my eyes. The joys of cultivation also came about. I saw myself wandering in the sky, flying at an inconceivable speed. The mountains, rivers, and the earth were vivid before my eyes. I vaguely felt the enormity of my body, and that it could contain the high mountains and large rivers.

One day, a young girl appeared before me and said, “I am the girl who used to live next door to you. We have a predestined relationship. I am 16 now and long to practice cultivation. I wish to take you as my master.” I didn’t speak. She said, “From a young age, I could see many bizarre things, so I feel no attachment to this world. Higher beings kept pointing out to me that I should cultivate. Later, a higher being helped me to find you. I want to cultivate. I ask that you teach me.” I pretended not to hear her and remained motionless.

Every day this girl would come and stay for an hour. Sometimes she’d stay silent, sometimes she would speak. She did this for four years. One day the girl came, didn’t say a word, and sat in meditation off to the side. Still seated, she ended up leaning against the cave wall and sat till nightfall. She then lay down on her side and slept. She didn’t say a word the whole day. I had cultivated for so many years and saw through all the affairs and predestined relationships of this world. But I couldn’t make sense of this. This was a real girl of flesh and blood. She was not a spirit, nor a demon, neither was she evil. I was flabbergasted.

One day, the girl knelt before me and said, “I will cultivate wholeheartedly. If Master doesn’t accept me, I’ll keep kneeling and won’t stand up, even if I become emaciated. I vow not to stand up.” That girl knelt there for an awfully long time enduring the pain. Although I had my eyes closed in meditation, I could see her skin creasing in pain. I was determined to treat this as a demonic illusion, and remained unmoved in my heart.

One day the girl said to me, “Jiang Ziya was a flying bear in a previous life. He wanted to take the Primitive God of Heaven as his master. But the Primitive God of Heaven refused to accept the flying bear because animals are not allowed to cultivate. That flying bear had strong willpower and kept kowtowing there without moving. The Primitive God of Heaven took a nap. When he awoke, 800 years had passed. The flying bear’s body had already turned to ash, but its Primordial Spirit was whirling around on the ground there. The Primitive God of Heaven was moved and said, ‘Go reincarnate as a human. I’ll definitely accept you then.’ I now have a human body and want to cultivate. Master, why don’t you accept me? When I die, if I reincarnate as a rock, I’ll miss the chance to cultivate. Would this be your fault?”

Her words caused me to ponder the matter. I thought what she said made sense. But, if it’s the demon of temptation using her to bewilder me, if I stand up, I’ll definitely die in the cave. I best be careful.

I kept meditating as usual, then saw a scene of the young girl’s pure smile, and then of the girl before me who was facing imminent death. I wondered, “What’s to be done?” I hesitated for a few days. This had already caused serious interference to my meditation. Suddenly a voice sounded in my head, “Make a decision in half a month.” It was a very strong voice. I was then finally able to enter into ding. The girl disappeared.

Very quickly, half a month passed and a line of golden characters appeared before my eyes, “The day of completion of cultivation is the time of death.” I didn’t realize that I’d have to shed the human body when I completed my cultivation. An imperial chariot appeared before my eyes, albeit vaguely. I saw a celestial crane and heavenly officials. I was shocked to see one person stand up from among the heavenly officials. It was precisely that young girl that had kept coming to my cave.

I was totally surprised. A voice sounded in my head, “Quickly, look at the one who’s kneeling before you. Save her. You have your place you are to go.” I opened my eyes and saw the young girl. As before, she was still kneeling, but dying. Urged on by the voice, I didn’t even think and suddenly stood up.

The instant I stood up, I saw the heavens full of immortals watching me. It was as if they were all waiting for this moment. One immortal in heaven unfolded the vow I had made when I entered the cave, while another prepared an electric flower before striking me with lightning. I was killed in the cave in that instant. I emerged from my body, then stopped in midair. My body was light and graceful.

I saw my mangled body in the cave, together with that young girl. She was actually the reincarnation of a piece of magnetite from heaven. That magnetite was called Qi Zuoshi [which means: The Stand Up Rock]. It was when I started cultivation practice that Qi Zuoshi incarnated as a girl. Her ultimate goal was to get me to stand up. She fulfilled her mission, which the immortals in the upper world entrusted to her.

What puzzled me the most was that I saw another me that was glowing with health and vigor. I saw that he carried with him all sorts of supernormal abilities. I saw him emerge from my body. Then I saw my master appear, and that other me kowtowed to him. My master took that other me on a luan [a mythical bird related to the phoenix] and they flew away together. I was utterly bewildered.

One immortal told me, “Go reincarnate at once. You have endless glory and splendor to enjoy in your next life.” I asked, “I did not cultivate for glory and splendor. Why didn’t my master take me with him? Who was it that he took with him?” The immortal didn’t utter a single word. Another immortal said, “You should just quickly go and reincarnate. Don’t miss the time.” When I was being led away by another immortal, I heard yet another immortal say, “This isn’t so fair.” The other immortal responded, “It’s always been done like this, and this is how it’s set. There’s no mistake here. Although this cultivator has witnessed it, he’s not clear on what’s going on. Once his brain is cleared he’ll forget all of this.”

When I heard this, I suddenly felt a sense of agonizing bleakness that words can’t accurately describe. I reviewed my cultivation practice. It was absolutely painstaking. And the end result was to reincarnate. That was a feeling of utter hopelessness, of despair. At that instant I thought of so many things. In that state, my way of thinking had become open and exceptionally active. I was able to make sense of many things by linking them together and guessed what had happened. I knew that what I realized was right.

I recalled the time before I took the Daoist as my master, when I had heard a voice, “Diligently practice cultivation. Don’t think of returning home.” And the voice I heard before I died saying, “Quickly, look at the one who’s kneeling before you. Save her. You have your place you are to go.” The same voice said both things. At critical moments, those thoughts and voices came from within me. Could it be that they came from that other me, that he was manipulating my thoughts, and controlling my body?

I thought: I painstaking practiced cultivation with the end result being reincarnation, yet another life obtained the Right Fruit. Who is he? Did that other life borrow my body to practice cultivation? That’s what happened, right? My master said he changed my course of life, but it was actually that other life’s course of life that was changed, because I still have to reincarnate, right? Master said he had arranged my path of cultivation. Is it that my cultivation is doomed to be as such, that I vow to die in the cave and that rock [referring to the girl] was arranged long ago? Everything had been set, and I was just going along with the arrangements. The one who obtained everything was actually another person. Isn’t this arrangement just too heartless? Have I not been used?

No one could affirm my guesses as to what happened, nor did anyone provide me any answers to my questions. I quickly reincarnated.

Three years have since passed since I came to learn of this. I reluctantly wrote this article. Even though I wrote it, once I came to the part about dying in the cave, I stopped writing for a long time. It was just too painful. I didn’t want to put it down in writing. I eventually put forth great effort into finishing this article, because I thought I was avoiding it, not wanting to stir up my painful memory. I wasn’t willing to face the helplessness and pain I felt at that time.

Memories from my past lives as a cultivator have also been awakened. I remember after I started practicing Dafa, I read in “Explaining the Content of Falun Dafa,” Master said:

“In the Dao School, only one or two disciples is brought up, and only one of them receives the true teaching. They’re really strict with their disciples, and they beat disciples for just about anything. They don’t care whether you can bear it or not, as they have to make you come through. So they usually adopt forceful methods, such as tying up disciples’ legs and tying the hands at the back; you wouldn’t be able to untie it yourself, not even if you were to lie down. So some people have felt so much pain that they fainted. That’s how some people did it in the past; cultivation was really tough back then.” (Explaining the Fa for Falun Dafa Assistants in Changchun, Explaining the Content of Falun Dafa)

It was deeply moving for me when I read this paragraph. As I read, I grimaced, feeling a kind of pain in my heart, the pain and suffering described actually happened to me. My heart trembled. When I read the section in Zhuan Falun “Whoever Practices Cultivation Will Attain Gong,” I felt an immense gratitude for Master in a way I can’t put into words. My tears flowed uncontrollably. I was so moved to learn that I can now truly practice cultivation. I can return home. I feel that revered Master truly treats his disciples well.

Cultivation practice in the past entailed enduring so much suffering, but it still wasn’t truly cultivating oneself. The “rock girl” in the story above once existed at the 28th level of heaven. I accidentally put her into the water. Before, she was in a special place where she was able to absorb the essential energy from heaven and earth, but after falling into water, she couldn’t get out. In the water, she began to resent me endlessly. So, she complied with the immortals’ arrangement to reincarnate as a girl to entice me to stand up. It seems that everything in cultivation practice occurs for a reason. Nothing is random.

In Dafa cultivation, our revered Master Li has given us the very best of everything and provided benevolent resolutions to all resentment and hatred. Moreover, Master protects us and is saving us. So, how could we slack off? Moreover, Master has clearly indicated the mechanism and outcome of the Fa teaching:

“Cultivate with the heart you once had, and success is certain.” (Fa Teaching on World Falun Dafa Day)

I’ve written this to remind fellow practitioners that cultivators in the past who didn’t handle themselves well would lose their life. And no matter how they cultivated, it would be the assistant consciousness cultivating, cultivating according to arrangements laid out long before. Cultivating and cultivating … still, the main spirit could never obtain the Right Fruit. It was cultivating in vain, and being used as a vehicle for another being. So, we should cherish the predestined opportunity to cultivate in Dafa, and genuinely cultivate ourselves and unconditionally look within ourselves. By cultivating ourselves well we will be worthy of revered Master’s merciful salvation and finally return to our true homes in heaven.