(Minghui.org) I live in Japan and found that some practitioners around me do not know how to look within and solidly cultivate themselves. As a result, they remain stuck at certain levels for a long time and are plagued with various tribulations, which has not only affected their efforts of truth-clarification and validation of the Fa, but also weakened their own faith in Dafa. Such a situation is very dangerous.

In Lecture One of Zhuan Falun, the first two sections are “Genuinely Guiding People Toward High Levels” and “Different Levels Have Different Fa.” My understanding is that these two sections and their titles are very profound. Once we begin to practice, Dafa guides us toward higher levels. During this process, we will be exposed and enlightened to Fa principles and heavenly secrets at various levels.

Solid Cultivation

It is my understanding that the conflicts and tribulations that we encounter are opportunities for us to improve our levels, remove karma, and purify ourselves. This will help us move toward divinity. Without solid cultivation, however, we will stay as human being or get stuck at a certain level for a long time. Karma will accumulate, leaving us trapped in many tribulations. This is a result of failing to follow Master's teachings to solidly cultivate ourselves.

Only solid cultivation can resolve this issue. Otherwise, we would not be able to see the Fa principles at various levels that Master shows us. As a result, we cannot experience the process of being lifted up by Master, which may result in our becoming confused or even losing confidence in Dafa.

Some practitioners outside of China, such as those around me in Japan, think that they cannot cultivate to high levels because they are outside China and have not experienced the severe persecution. Some think they may have poor inborn quality.

To me, this is a misunderstanding of cultivation in Dafa. The Fa is boundless and Master has given us many opportunities to improve. Even small things can be used to improve ourselves. This is unrelated to our social status, education level, place of residence, and whether we have been persecuted. Master treats us all the same. As long as we dare to let go of human notions and follow the Fa principles, we can improve quickly.

Master said,

“When Sakyamuni became enlightened under a Bodhi tree, he did not reach the Tathagata level right away. He was also constantly improving himself during the forty-nine years of his Dharma teaching. Whenever he upgraded himself to a higher level, he looked back and realized that the Dharma he just taught was all wrong. When he made progress again, he discovered that the Dharma he just taught was wrong again. After he made further progress, he realized again that the Dharma he just taught was wrong. He constantly made such progress during his entire forty-nine years. Whenever he reached a higher level, he would discover that the Dharma he taught in the past was at a very low level in its understanding.” (Lecture One, Zhuan Falun)

I have had such experiences many times. I think many practitioners also feel the same way. As we keep improving ourselves, we'll see higher Fa-principles and improve even faster.

Looking Within

There is a practitioner in my region who has experienced numerous conflicts in her family over the past year. But she was able to look inward, no matter how badly her family members treated her. As she let go of her attachments, she was enlightened to more Fa principles. She told me that she finally understood what looking within means.

Her experience made it clear that Fa principles did not reveal themselves to her because of her pursuit, but only after she cultivated solidly and removed her attachments. In the past, she thought that as long as she studied Zhuan Falun and other lectures, she would gain understandings from the Fa without solid cultivation.

This practitioner told me several times that she finally understood what cultivation really is. By looking within, she found her own human notions instead of complaining about her husband and child. When she was able to look inward, Master showed her more Fa principles. This practitioner said Zhuan Falun became almost like a new book to her since she often enlightened to new principles. She said to me, “Now I know one can succeed in cultivation no matter where they are.”

As a result, she now understands articles on Minghui that describe how tribulations arise and how one should handle them to pass the test. Her understanding of Fa principles improved even when she was just reading experience-sharing articles on Minghui.

Looking back at her twenty-plus years of cultivation, this practitioner said she only came to know what cultivation is in the past year. She is grateful to Master for the opportunity and wished she had come to understand this earlier. She knows Master has been extending the time for Dafa disciples to catch up. She said she will cherish the time left to solidly cultivate herself so as not to let Master down.

Story of My Daughter

I haven't experienced extraordinary things in my cultivation. I am a stay-at-home mom who also works as an editor in a Dafa project. But I always try to cultivate myself in my daily life. Every time after I was strict with myself according to the Fa principles, Master eliminated my karma, increased my level, and showed me more Fa principles as well as miracles from time to time. Like the practitioner mentioned above, I also feel the book Zhuan Falun is new to me, and I am so impressed by how profound Dafa is.

Here is an example. My daughter is a young adult who does not want me to interfere with her personal affairs. Her peers all think this way, and the laws in modern society support this perspective. I respect her opinion, but as her mother, I had always been afraid that she might date the wrong man.

One day, she dressed up and left home without telling me good-bye. I felt uneasy, worrying if she might have gone on a date. And, what if she got cheated by a bad guy? After all, she is not a practitioner. I knew I had an attachment of fear and I needed to let go of it.

In the past, as soon as I wanted to eliminate the attachment of fear, it would be gone. But this time it didn’t work. I knew the Fa had a higher standard for me. I kept telling myself that Master had explained to us that everyone has his or her own fate, so worrying like an everyday person would not help much. I already knew this, but that day I gained a deeper understanding.

Then another practitioner called me. I talked about my fear and how I had cultivated on it. I thought the practitioner would praise me for how well I had done. But she said, “If you were a new practitioner, I would say you have done well. But as a veteran practitioner, I think you’d better improve yourself instead of getting stuck at the same level.” She said I was using Fa principles to justify and accommodate my attachment of fear. Instead, I should be clear that fear is not part of me. As a genuine Dafa disciple, I should have compassion for all beings without any attachment to fear.

Arrangements by the Old Forces

That conversation helped me a lot. I also knew this was not accidental and that Master probably arranged for her to call me so as to help me become enlightened to Fa principles. I felt relieved. When I studied the Fa again, I had a different understanding of how to eliminate attachments. The improvement was real, and I could clearly see that those attachments were not me. I no longer worried that much about my daughter.

I also came to more understandings. I realized that human notions were like a fake version of me. The fake me was arranged by the old forces, and it has happened across many life cycles. The old forces have set up what attachment would surface at what time for me to have certain feelings. All these were interference for me, but they were not me. This way I had a better understanding of negating the old forces. That is, looking within according to Fa principles is the key for us to improve. Later on, I was able to remain clearheaded and recognize that those notions were not me. Rather, they were from the old forces to trap me.

I knew this in the past, but only that day did I come to understand it clearly. Many of our feelings and thoughts may seem to come from us, when in reality they are external interference. Only following the Fa will help us find our true self and be clearheaded.

Looking within has helped me improve myself and understand more Fa principles. From that day on, any time my human notions raise their ugly heads, I know they are not me but instead things imposed on me by the old forces. Tribulations would come if I acknowledge the notions to be me. So I firmly negate such arrangements and send forth righteous thoughts to disintegrate the human notions.

Above is an example of solid cultivation. I think we must take it seriously and cultivate solidly. Only then can we be enlightened to more Fa principles and progress toward divinity. Cultivation is very serious. The time left is limited, and we have to make the best use of it. We should treat conflicts and tribulations as opportunities to improve ourselves.

Editor's note: Views expressed in this article represent the author's own opinions, for which the author is solely responsible. Readers should evaluate the article's merits on their own.

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Category: Improving Oneself