(Minghui.org) Quite a few fellow practitioners in our area have passed away lately and we are all rather upset. At the same time, I feel we must draw some positive lessons from such incidents and enlighten on the basis of the Fa so that we can do even better.

I would like to share some of my understandings and cultivation experiences, which also include input from group sharing and discussions with individual practitioners. What I share here is limited by my own level in cultivation. Please kindly point out anything inappropriate.

Fulfilling Our Vows

Master has published a new article “Wake Up.” My own understanding is that our cultivation has come to an extremely serious stage, along with the progress of Fa-rectification, during which unqualified people are being weeded out while Dafa disciples are also being tested. Everyone is facing tests of various requirements.

For Dafa disciples, one of the requirements is to see if we have made good on the vows we signed with our lives when we came down to this world. More specifically, it tests how we assist Master in saving sentient beings, if our hearts are set on saving people, if our time is spent on saving people, and if our conduct is based on saving people.

The mission of Fa-rectification period Dafa disciples is to save people. However, since we live among everyday people, with a human body and everyday people’s thoughts, we may also be driven or contaminated by everyday society, and we may slack off in cultivation and downplay our sense of mission and responsibility. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that we straighten out the relationship between our work and life among everyday people and our mission to save people.

Master said in Zhuan Falun,

““When I come to this ordinary human society, it’s just like checking into a hotel for a few days. Then I leave in a hurry.” Some people are just obsessed with this place and have forgotten their own homes.” (Lecture Nine, Zhuan Falun)

We are not only to return home ourselves—we are to take all the sentient beings who have been saved with us. This mission is enormous and extremely challenging, and only by doing well in Fa study, the exercises, and sending forth righteous thoughts can we be freed from the interferences of everyday society.

It is also very important that we keep a good balance between personal cultivation and Fa-rectification, between life and work among everyday people and saving people. We need to assist Master in Fa-rectification and fulfill our vows while constantly improving ourselves with due diligence.

My Understanding on “Getting Vaccinated”

Master has explained the Fa principle about “sickness karma,” and we all know that cultivators do not need injections or medication. As veteran practitioners, we understand these principles very well. However, on the issue of “whether we should get vaccinated,” it requires a more in-depth understanding.

If our understanding is based on concerns such as whether the vaccine would harm our body and whether getting the vaccine is the same as having injections, taking medication, and receiving treatment, that understanding is rather partial and superficial.

At first, I also thought of those Fa principles, thinking that a cultivator does not need a vaccine because our body has been purified and should not be contaminated by such things as vaccines. However, this is the understanding of a cultivator at the elementary stage.

Then I thought: We do not get the vaccination because we are feeling unwell and require treatment with an injection or medication. Vaccination has become a social phenomenon, a kind of a way out that people are seeking in a society that is constantly closing in. Although it is a wrong remedy, it is now a government-mandated action and social norm, a reflection of cosmic changes in human society.

Master has also told us that we are under no obligation to change society. As Dafa disciples, our top priority should be set on how to save people under such cosmic phenomenon.

For example, many theaters now require both the Shen Yun performers and staffers to be fully vaccinated. Should we give up saving people by refusing to get vaccinated? Are we going to cling to the purification of our body or to sacrifice ourselves to save people?

Everyone is facing such tests. If we base our views on ourselves and place the purification of our body above everything else, then the decision would be definitely not getting the vaccine shot. If we base our thoughts on saving people, then we would get vaccinated when necessary, even if we may experience some physical discomfort as a result. We get the vaccination because it is an action we need to take to be able to save people.

The fact is, even if we get the shot, it will not affect our bodies in any way, because the gong in our bodies eliminates any bacteria or virus in everyday society, not to mention we have Master’s protection. Because we did not seek those viruses and bad substances in the first place, they cannot have any effect on us.

From another perspective, the new universe requires “altruism” as its standard, and Dafa disciples must strive “to attain the righteous Enlightenment of selflessness and altruism” (Non-Omission in Buddha-Nature, Essentials for Further Advancement) through cultivation. Even in the minor ways of cultivation in the past, there was the story of Buddha Milarepa who drank poisonous milk in order to save arrogant Geshe Tsakpuhwa, let alone those of us who cultivate in Dafa. If we give up or restrict ourselves from saving people for fear of being contaminated ourselves, wouldn’t it be like putting the cart before the horse?

Clearly, the characteristic of “selfishness” and “egotism” of the old universe runs through to very high levels. Master taught us the principle of “complete sacrifice” in "Perfect Harmony" in Essentials for Further Advancement, a requirement of Dafa Disciples.

Seeing through False “Sickness Karma” and Negating All Arrangements of the Old Forces

When tribulations and elimination of karma take place, our first thought should be on the Fa and we should strive to rectify ourselves in the Fa. For example, when we experience physical tribulations, is our first thought to see them as a good thing or a bad thing?

Master has long told us,

“Whatever you experience during your cultivation—whether good or bad—is good, for it comes about only because you are cultivating.” (“To the Chicago Fa Conference,” The Essentials of Diligent Progress III)

The above line appears simple, yet there is much to enlighten to. If we can treat a physical tribulation as a good thing and take it calmly, then it will not only help us eliminate karma, but also offer us an opportunity to find out where we have fallen short in xinxing cultivation and in understanding the Fa principles, and to rectify ourselves accordingly. If we act with righteous thoughts, we will be able to overcome the tribulation easily because we have met the cultivation requirements.

But if our first thought when we encounter a physical tribulation is that it is a bad thing, we will instinctively reject it and might become anxious and fearful or strive to get rid of the “sickness karma,” or passively endure the tribulation and develop more attachments as a result. Then, as the tribulation gets worse, we might have fewer righteous thoughts, let alone righteous actions. As a result, the test will likely last a long time. Even though we are given opportunities to improve ourselves, if we can’t live up to the requirements, the tribulations will likely become more formidable as time goes on.

In fact, the process of karma elimination is truly for the improvement of our enlightenment. Genuine cultivators do not have illnesses, but we do experience karma elimination and can feel discomfort and have physiological symptoms.

If one’s mind subjectively associates the physical discomfort with symptoms recognized by medical science in everyday society and accepts that connection, then he/she has already fallen into the trap of false sickness appearance.

The more one fails to enlighten to the true picture, the bigger the test and the longer the tribulation will last. That’s why some people find it very hard to get over their “sickness karma,” because their wrong understanding has turned the karma elimination into “sickness karma,” which then became “illness.” They brought that on themselves. If one cannot pass the test, one will bring trouble to oneself.

Some practitioners chose to close themselves off when they experienced karma elimination. They shut the door and focused on karma elimination at home as their top priority, thinking they would do Dafa work after they got over the karma elimination. However, the longer they behaved this way, the longer it took them to eliminate their karma and the more serious their tribulations. By and by, they became accustomed to “recovering from sickness” at home.

There are also some practitioners who tried to conceal their physical condition from others when going through the false appearance of “sickness karma” for fear that they might be looked down upon. They stopped participating in group Fa study and group exercises, thinking, “I will share with others after I have pulled through, as there is nothing to share when I haven’t gotten over it.”

My understanding is that the old forces try to keep us away from our cultivation community and the environment in which we can advance together. They try to isolate practitioners who are experiencing “sickness karma” tribulations and to intensify the persecution until they succeed in taking their lives.

It’s easy to fall into the speculative mentality of ordinary people when experiencing a tribulation of “sickness karma,” a bit like “trying everything to find a cure.” For example, they may think, “I am experiencing this ‘sickness karma.’ Maybe I have not done the exercises enough.” So they do the exercises more, but when they don’t improve, they think: “Maybe I have not studied the Fa enough.” So they do more Fa study, but their condition doesn’t change. They then think, “Maybe I have not done well sending forth righteous thoughts.” So they send forth righteous thoughts more often and more intensely, but their “sickness karma” remains.

They are trying to eliminate the “sickness karma” for the sake of getting rid of it, and the way they do it is an attachment in itself. They are deluded by the false appearance of “sickness karma” and fail to see the essence of cultivation behind the false appearance on the basis of the Fa. They hold onto the “speculative” mindset of everyday people, hoping that they might be able to get rid of the “sickness karma” by trying different ways.

In fact, the false “sickness karma” serves as a way to eliminate our karma and purify our body. It is for us to understand the Fa principles and to improve our xinxing. If we can enlighten to the Fa principle about “sickness karma,” we will have no fear about it and will not be interfered with by such false appearances. Instead, we will be able to face up to them rather than endure them passively.

Practitioners who experience “sickness karma,” please do not shy away from the cultivators’ community. Stay in touch with fellow practitioners and share openly with them, so that we can all improve and elevate through group sharing.

At the same time, local practitioners should help fellow practitioners who are going through tribulations by sending forth righteous thoughts together to help them clear out the evil factors in their dimensional fields and strengthen their righteous thoughts so that we can pull through together as one body.

A Prolonged Life May Be in Danger If It Is Not Spent on Saving People

If one holds a wrong thought, thinking that his or her prolonged life is to enjoy everyday society instead of saving people with all due diligence, then that life will be in danger.

Some practitioners experienced a long period of physical tribulations, then went to the hospital for surgery to have tumors, cancer, or organs removed. They saved their lives by seeking regular medical treatment and gradually started living like everyday people. They slacked off in cultivation and saving people, and even though they lived a few more years, they died in the end due to aggravated illnesses.

Master told us,

“All the prolonged lives must be used one hundred percent to practice cultivation, not for living among ordinary people. So if one is not aware that his life is borrowed time, he will not be able to handle himself well either, and cannot follow the requirement for a practitioner one hundred percent. Then, he will face the danger of passing away at any moment. This is the issue that faces people of old age.” (Lecture in Sydney)

My understanding is that, in the stage of personal cultivation, an extended life must focus one hundred percent on cultivation, while in the Fa-rectification, one should also fully focus one’s life on saving sentient beings. If one cannot fully commit to assisting Master in saving people and fulfilling one’s vows, then the extended life becomes meaningless. Everyday people follow the inevitable path of “birth, old age, sickness, and death,” while the meaning of life for Dafa disciples in the Fa-rectification period is to save sentient beings.

Be a Genuine Dafa Disciple and Let Go of Fundamental Attachments

It has been 21 years since Master published the article “Towards Consummation.” We are now in a transitional stage to the Fa-rectification of the human realm and also the last stage of Dafa disciples walking towards consummation. We really need to take a closer look at our fundamental attachments and see if we have indeed let go of them. It is certainly not the case that if you are a veteran practitioner and have been cultivating for a long time, your fundamental attachments will have all disappeared.

I still remember how astounded I was when I first read Master’s article “Towards Consummation” 15 years ago in Boston.

I was introduced to Dafa by my husband. When I read the book Zhuan Falun, I felt it was a very good book, but I was not ready to cultivate then. My husband and I had a very good relationship, and, in fact, I had a more emotional attachment to him.

My husband was very diligent in cultivation after he obtained the Fa. Apart from work commitments, he spent almost all his spare time studying the Fa, doing the exercises, and spreading the Fa. He hardly had any time left for me.

I had just arrived in the U.S. at the time and was unfamiliar with the new environment. I felt rather uncomfortable and distressed with the change in our family life. Although I argued with my husband a number of times, when I saw his steadfast determination to cultivate in Dafa and there was no way I could change him, I gave in. I thought I would change myself and study the Fa with him, because only then could we do things together and would I have more time with him.

So, with a strong attachment to everyday people’s “sentiments,” I started to cultivate in Dafa.

After reading Master’s article, I realized that my fundamental attachment was “human sentimentality” and that I took up cultivation because I could not let go of my emotional attachment to my husband. Even though I realized this fundamental attachment, it took me years to let go of it.

I attached great importance to the loving relationship between husband and wife and valued it much more than the bound between us as fellow practitioners. I thought it was a good thing to have a loving relationship and I really enjoyed it and found it hard to let it go. For years, I failed to relinquish this fundamental attachment in my cultivation. Even though I studied the Fa and engaged in activities to validate the Fa, and sometimes I even felt I was doing quite well with diligence, still I could not let go of this “sentimentality” deep in my heart. In fact, I didn’t even want to let go of it.

Master dropped hints to me via other practitioners, but I didn’t pay much attention and held onto that sentimental attachment to my husband even after he passed away.

I was in shock when my husband passed away, but it also helped me wake up from my muddle-headedness. I started to re-examine myself and treated what happened around me more seriously in cultivation.

I looked inside deeply and dug out my fundamental attachment, thinking: I began to cultivate in Dafa with a rather impure heart. Is it because of this everyday people’s mindset that I still keep going in Dafa? Now that my husband is gone, should I still cultivate? Do I still want to cultivate now that I have lost the affectionate life with my husband?

Through more Fa study and looking deeply within myself, I came to realize that human sentimentality, even if it may be taken as a good thing by everyday people, once we become attached to it, it can severely obstruct our cultivation. People who cultivate in everyday society have families and work like everyday people do. We should maintain such norms and yet not get attached to them because our purpose for coming to the human world is to assist Master in Fa-rectification and saving people. Only by letting go of all human sentiments can we develop compassion through cultivation. If we hold onto human sentiments, then we are no different from everyday people. I came to this enlightenment only after my husband passed away.

Furthermore, even though I realized where I had fallen short, it did not mean I could reach the required standard, and I experienced many more tests afterward.

I was promoting Shen Yun ticket sales in a mall not long after my husband passed away. Each time I saw couples walking by holding hands, happy memories of my late husband would surface, and my heart was filled with emotions of longing and missing him. My stubborn attachment was still not cleaned up and it was still in my dimensional field, so I still reacted to such things.

Whenever these thoughts appeared, I would reject them and analyze them with the Fa principles, reminding myself that they were not from my main consciousness, because my main consciousness had already realized they were attachments that should be relinquished. I would not acknowledge them, even less accept them. Such thoughts did not come from my true self but an external interference.

As soon as those unrighteous thoughts came to my mind, I would immediately negate them and break the attachments with the Fa principles. By and by, such tests became fewer and fewer, and my heart was never moved again when loving couples walked by in front of me. The temptations were no more than a light breeze blowing past, with no sound and no trace. I knew that I had already let go of my fundamental attachment to human sentiments and affections.

Sending Forth Righteous Thoughts to Eliminate All Evil in My Own Dimensional Field

We all know the importance of sending forth righteous thoughts. Master has given Fa-rectification period Dafa disciples the ability and power to eliminate evil and protect ourselves. If we fail to do it well, we will not only be interfered with ourselves but other practitioners as well. We could even lose our lives as a result of persecution.

In “Teachings at the Conference in Los Angeles” 2006, when a disciple asked Master how we could truly improve at sending righteous thoughts, Master said,

“Let me put it this way: Dafa disciples need to do three things well on their way to Consummation, right? And sending forth righteous thoughts is one of those things. If it’s that important, why can’t you do it well?! Why do you think of it as such a simple thing and not take it seriously? You do know how important it is. Besides, if you don’t do one of the three things well, then what?”

“Not only must you do your own part well, but you should help others, too.” (Teachings at the Conference in Los Angeles)

I used to have quite a few problems sending forth righteous thoughts. An incident that happened a few weeks ago struck me like a serious warning stick.

A fellow practitioner in our local area suddenly passed away. Someone told me that this practitioner often failed to keep his palm upright when sending righteous thoughts, and he even fell asleep.

I realized the seriousness of the problems I had and was determined to make breakthroughs in this respect. I set rules for myself: First, be focused when sending forth righteous thoughts. Second, try not to miss any of the set times to send forth righteous thoughts. Third, should I miss one, make up for it. Fourth, send righteous thoughts with a calm and clear mind. Fifth, don’t get drowsy and always keep my palm upright.

When sending forth righteous thoughts, I try to keep my body and hand gestures upright. If any irrelevant thoughts sneak into my mind, I repel and eliminate them, because nothing should interfere with me when I send righteous thoughts.

In less than two weeks, I could feel a big difference. I felt that my dimensional fields at various levels were cleaned out and no external interference could affect me. I felt I was truly sending forth righteous thoughts myself, and I was truly in charge of myself.

What surprised me even more was that after I dealt with my problems in sending forth righteous thoughts, I began to experience other improvements as well. For example, I now find it easier to keep a calm mind when doing the meditation exercise, with very few distracting thoughts, and I do not feel sleepy anymore; my posture is also upright and I can feel myself “as tall as Heaven and incomparably noble.”

I no longer feel sleepy when studying the Fa, and I am more energetic and able to focus on what I do; I also seem to have made a breakthrough in playing the trumpet—as if I have grasped the essentials. My mind is clearer and it feels like I can get twice the results with half the effort.

All these improvements have come naturally from eliminating the evil and clearing out my own dimensional fields, without pursuit. I have truly experienced what it means by holistic improvement and holistic upgrade. It is such a wonderful experience in cultivation.

The passing away of the fellow practitioner and my own experience helped me realize that it is so very important to eliminate evil. If we don’t do well sending forth righteous thoughts, our own dimensional fields will harbor many hidden evil factors, which can interfere with us from time to time; they strengthen our attachments, weaken our faith in the Fa, diminish our righteous thoughts, impose sickness karma upon us, and so on.

If we lagged behind in sending forth righteous thoughts for a long time and fail to pay any attention to the issue, we nurture evil factors, and when they constantly become stronger, they gradually take control of our main spirit and the tribulations they have created destroy us.

Although we show little difference on our human side while sending forth righteous thoughts, the impact in other dimensions can be earth-shattering. The process of rectifying ourselves in various dimensions is precisely the process of us assimilating to the Fa.

I have also realized that Master arranged for me to have these experiences in sending forth righteous thoughts, not just to let me see my own improvements, but also to encourage me to share with others so that we can advance diligently together in Dafa cultivation.

Concluding Remarks

I have come to the understanding that cultivation progresses along with the elimination of karma, tribulations, the endurance of hardships, and overcoming tests, and that each experience is a holistic elevation in levels and realms. Nothing is trivial in cultivation, and the “omissions” we have in our cultivation will be tested ultimately when we walk toward consummation. Cultivation means to actively assimilate to the Fa rather than being passively tested.

Cultivation requires us to be able to let go of life and death, but some of us can let go of “death” but not of “life.” They find that life is too hard and they no longer want to bear the pain and misery they experience when eliminating serious karma, and some choose to pass away. Some cannot let go of “death,” and as soon as they experience a “sickness karma” they treat it as an illness like everyday people and are scared of death. Cultivation is a very serious matter, and we must be very careful and treat it with due diligence. Cultivation is like sailing against the current: If we fail to forge ahead, we fall back.

If an ordinary person wants to accomplish great things, he or she has to make painstaking efforts with a lifetime commitment. We as Dafa cultivators aim at acquiring a brand-new life as the king or the lord of a world in the new universe. Our consummation is more than just one of personal cultivation, but a great consummation of us with the saved sentient beings together.

How can we possibly accomplish such an enormous task with a perfunctory attitude about cultivation? We have a mission that deserves all our efforts and diligent commitment. I hope that all fellow practitioners, including myself, can enlighten on the Fa principles with a clear and rational mind, cultivate ourselves solidly in the Fa when facing the issues around us, and walk well on our path of cultivation so that we can achieve the great consummation Master has arranged for us.