(Minghui.org) (Continued fromPart 1)
[Background: After the sudden death of a fellow practitioner, Ms. Chen (pseudonym), a practitioner close to her shares insights into the shortcomings that may have led to this tragedy, which the author feels are widespread among practitioners and thus beneficial to share as a compassionate warning.
In Part 1, the author wrote, “How could such a diligent practitioner pass away during Fa-rectification?...I will try to recount the lessons I’ve learned from this tragic loss. I believe it is also Ms. Chen’s wish that they are shared so they can be of help to other practitioners.”]
My cultivation state was poor for a while, yet I was not rational and still went out to clarify the truth about Dafa every day. I thus encountered serious interference, and my cultivation state hit rock bottom. The old forces seized this opportunity, imposed one big obstacle after another, and nearly destroyed me. I learned my lesson from that experience, and am no longer attached to going out to clarify the truth every day.
I realized that we need to have righteous thoughts in order to save people. Therefore, when my cultivation state was poor, I prioritized and strengthened my Fa study and righteous thoughts. Once I improved, I resumed clarifying the truth in person with Ms. Chen. However, Ms. Chen didn’t understand why I sometimes had to take time off to focus on Fa study. She told me quite a few times, “You should go out and clarify the truth every day regardless of your cultivation state. As long as you clarify the truth in person your cultivation state will improve.”
I didn’t listen to Ms. Chen, and did what I felt was right for me. I was going every other day instead of every day, but distributed more fliers than Ms. Chen. Things always went smoothly, so after finishing all my fliers I would help her. I believe it was because I took the time to always send righteous thoughts before leaving my home.
After being released on bail, Ms. Chen’s cultivation state plummeted. Even with the police constantly harassing her, she didn’t strengthen her Fa study nor righteous thoughts to eliminate the evil. She failed to look deeply inward to find her fundamental attachment, and instead quickly resumed her routine of going out every day to give out fliers. That was already quite irrational of her.
Ms. Chen’s drive for clarifying the truth was no longer simply to save sentient beings, but out of fear that she would lag behind in truth-clarification and consequently her cultivation. She seemed to be clarifying the truth for a selfish reason, and this loophole was exploited by the old forces.
She was followed to her daughter’s home and forced to climb out of the window when the police surrounded the apartment.
Ms. Chen didn’t maintain a normal family, work, and community environment, and didn’t interact a lot with others. She therefore didn’t have many opportunities to discover her notions and attachments. This was a big limitation of hers.
This practitioner’s family used to live in a small apartment until she purchased another unit, and moved in by herself. She enjoyed the simple and quiet lifestyle, but her husband and daughter didn’t understand why she wanted to move away from her family. Her strange action made it hard for her family to be open minded about Dafa. Her husband eventually moved into the new apartment with her.
After her husband retired, he convinced his elderly mother to live with them, so he could take better care of her. Ms. Chen’s didn’t see this as an opportunity to comply with the state of ordinary people, and failed to recognize it as a great cultivation environment. She thought the living situation was too crowded, and tried to figure out a way to move out.
Practitioner Chen didn’t interact with people around her that much. She studied the Fa and did the exercises at home, and went out only to distribute Dafa brochures. After finishing distributing fliers, she went straight back home to study the Fa more. She seemed very diligent and spent all her time on the three things required by Master, but she had in fact gone to extremes, and was no longer living in accordance with the state of ordinary society.
When she first moved into her new apartment, the friendly neighbors greeted her, but she responded tersely and didn’t engage in any conversation. As time passed, the neighbors stopped saying “hi” and she became more and more isolated. When her home was ransacked, the neighbors speculated and distanced themselves even more. It was more and more difficult for her to communicate with others and become part of the community.
I shared with her my opinion on this issue, explaining that if she was working it would be more understandable if she didn’t interact with others much, because of her busy schedule. But if she didn’t work, she should interact and meet up with the people around her. Through her kindness, people would learn what good people Dafa practitioners are, and how wonderful Dafa is. It is Dafa practitioners that are saving people, not the brochures alone.
I think she knew I was right but had a hard time changing her habits, or she didn’t take it very seriously. She felt that her personality was like that and that’s just who she was. In fact, it was not. Maybe the old forces had arranged this long ago and it had become hard for her to recognize it, since she had been like this since she was young. She thought it was naturally the way she was, and didn’t consider changing it.
If practitioner Chen had lived normally and clarified the truth to people around her, they would truly feel that Dafa practitioners were wonderful people. When they shared this with their friends and families, even more people would learn what Dafa truly is and how wonderful the practice is. Word of mouth is the most effective way to spread the truth.
When Master taught the Fa in person, Dafa spread solely by word of mouth instead of through advertisements on TV, or in the newspapers. Now, when we clarify the truth, we should also use word of mouth as our main channel. I would like to give an example, although I am not sure that it is an appropriate one. When we interact with people around us in a socially normal and accepted way and show them how wonderful Dafa is, it is, in itself, spreading the truth about Dafa. To count on only brochures to save people is like counting on only advertisements and promotion to sell a product.
I am not saying fliers don’t work. I am saying that we should not put the cart before the horse and depend solely on giving out fliers to save people. Validating the Fa and spreading the truth face to face in our daily lives is also important.
Some practitioners quit their jobs and moved out of their homes to live alone so they could spend all their time studying the Fa and giving out fliers. Their actions caused more negative effects among family, friends, and people around them. It’s not that distributing fliers is not good, but their strong attachment to having a quiet and simple lifestyle and wanting to arrange their own cultivation path is not aligned with the Fa. The fundamentals are all wrong.
Some practitioners said, “I don’t interact with ordinary people that much because I’m not cultivating well enough. I don’t want to tarnish Dafa’s reputation. I better just stick with giving out fliers.” But isn’t ordinary society our cultivation environment? If we are not cultivating well, it is time that we immerse ourselves and cultivate in ordinary people’s complex environment. If we stay away from people and conflicts, then how do we cultivate? By just studying the Fa at home?
I once heard of a group of ordinary people calling us “mentally ill.” They commented behind our backs and said, “Those who practice Falun Gong don’t do anything. They don’t take care of their families, they don’t work, and all they do is to try to get us to quit the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).” Because of their perception of us, they refused to quit the Party. When they later met a Dafa practitioner who worked a nine-to-five job, they were shocked, “Wow. Do Falun Gong practitioners also work like normal people?” This practitioner eventually helped the group quit the Party.
In fact, our goal is to save people, not to distribute fliers. For some practitioners, they feel that they better achieve Dafa’s goal the more fliers they give out. But, even if you cover the entire city with fliers, it doesn’t mean you have saved everyone in the city. Many people nowadays are hard to save, and our effectiveness depends on where he or she holds a misunderstanding. We have to strategically clarify the truth little by little. It may seem ineffective, and that we’re not making progress at times, but people are slowly learning the truth about Dafa, and are changing their minds about the practice. Only when we do it with our hearts can we truly save people.
Practitioner Chen obtained the Fa in the 90’s. When the persecution was launched in 1999, she cultivated by herself for some time. She didn’t know anything about Master’s new lectures published during that time until she rejoined our local Fa-study and truth-clarification effort in 2012. She had strong righteous thoughts then, measured each of her thoughts and actions against the Fa, and truly cultivated. However, her xinxing cultivation remained on that level when she failed to address her fundamental attachment.
The first few times Ms. Chen was arrested, she held no fear because it didn’t touch her fundamental attachment. While going through a serious sickness karma incident before her most recent arrest, she told me one time, “I now know that I am far behind you guys [the local practitioners] in terms of cultivation.” I think she had recognized that she had attachments that needed addressing.
Our local practitioners have been clarifying the truth since the onset of the persecution and have gone from being fearful to being steadfast and rational. It is a process of tempering the mind and cultivating the heart. We recognized that being brave and clarifying the truth simply out of our faith in Master and the Fa is not enough. We need to continue cultivating ourselves and completely get rid of all our attachments, so we stay unaffected regardless of the situation—only then will the true nature of our being be elevated to a level that is beyond the state of a human being.
During the process of truly cultivating ourselves, overcoming numerous tribulations, falling down countless times, and getting back up again, we were able to recognize our fundamental attachment and become more mature in truth-clarification. Cultivation is not a sprint. Many of our human notions and attachments are hard to recognize if we don't cultivate solidly in our every day life. It took me making mistakes, falling behind, and getting back up and catching up again. It’s hard to walk the path of cultivation well if we solely depend on our faith and passion.
It was around 2007 when I first recognized my fundamental attachment. My cultivation state at the time was very similar to practitioner Ms. Chen’s. When a fellow practitioner pointed out to me that my fundamental attachment had not been removed, I felt that some substances of my very being were touched on a very microscopic level. I didn’t know what it was, but I knew it was very stubborn.
My cultivation suddenly became very difficult and it was almost impossible to stay diligent. I felt that I had to get down a big cliff and then climb over a ridge. I knew deep in my heart that if I wanted to elevate to a higher level I needed to get over this hurdle, but once I tried to get over it, I would be facing interference and danger at all times. At that moment, the faith I had in the Fa and the sense of mission I had toward saving sentient beings of the universe won out. My true nature and true self decided to face this fundamental attachment head on.
The more difficult it was to stay focused, the more I forced myself to study and memorize the Fa. If I dozed off, I’d splash my face with cold water. When I sent righteous thoughts, my mind was filled with all kind of thoughts, and I didn’t feel it was effective. However, I made myself sit there for an hour without moving and I sent righteous thoughts for three hours each day. After about two months of it, I was finally able to calm my mind and not be easily moved. When I sat down to send righteous thoughts, my mind was no longer controlled by the evil, and I sat with a still mind, unmoving like a mountain.
During the past more than ten years, I often fell into a state of despair and felt that there was no hope, but I reminded myself that I couldn’t fall. I am sentient being’s hope. When I completely lost confidence and felt hopeless, I told myself, “I don’t need to believe in myself, as long as I have faith in Master and the Fa.”
I often thought of what Master said,
“The more hopeless things may seem, it’s possible hope will appear right before your eyes.” (“What is a Dafa Disciple,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. XI)
When I slacked off in my cultivation, I completely lost control, and was impeded by my own fundamental attachment. The old forces surrounded and trapped me, and I just couldn’t pull myself out of the situation. I’ve fallen many times, and each time when I got myself back on track I just couldn’t believe the things that I had done.
Luckily, Master has always been watching over me. The process of falling down and getting back up was the process of cultivation and improving myself. Little by little, I recognized the human notions that I had accumulated in my past lives, and the fundamental attachment that keeps a being from breaking free. Looking back, I find those seemingly dire situations I had been in were just a tempering process. The old forces are only here to help us cultivate—they are nothing. However, we encounter real danger in our cultivation. I’ve lost count how many times I called out to Master for help, and only then passed the tribulation. It is taking me quite a process to recognize and get rid of my fundamental attachment.
I recognized Ms. Chen’s fundamental attachment, but when I tried to talk to her about it, she wouldn’t take it to heart. When I pressed harder, she rejected it. When she was about to encounter danger, Master arranged for me to tell her to memorize the Fa and send righteous thoughts for longer periods of time. But blocked by her fundamental attachment, Ms. Chen couldn’t be persistent with memorizing the Fa, and couldn’t calm her mind when she sent righteous thoughts. When her mind was not focused, she just couldn’t look inward to examine herself and cultivate herself.
Without having recognized her fundamental attachment and muddleheadedness, practitioner Chen went out to give out a large number of Dafa fliers. This left a loophole that the old forced exploited – to persecute her.
Practitioner Chen had told me many times before that if my home was surrounded by the police, I could tie the bed sheets together to make a rope and escape by climbing out of the window. She told me I could use this method in an emergency situation. I didn’t think much about it when she mentioned this and just nodded and said, “I know.” Only after the accident that claimed her life did I wake up. She used ordinary people’s ways trying to resolve the old forces’ persecution. This thought of hers may have been put into her mind by the old forces.
Nowadays, many apartment buildings have safety nets installed to prevent theft. But it so happened that the police tracked Ms. Chen down at her daughter’s home where there was no safety net. The old forces used this thought of hers to cause her death. Practitioner Chen had walked the path arranged by the old forces.
Practitioner Chen had mentioned this to me many times, and maybe it was Master who made her reveal her plans so I could remind her not to use ordinary people’s solutions to negate the persecution. However, I was also interfered with and didn’t realize it before it was too late.
When her cultivation state was poor, practitioner Chen didn’t put in the time to strengthen her Fa study and work on finding and eliminating her fundamental attachment. Instead, she couldn’t resist the temptation of the Internet and slacked off. The old forces used the American presidential election to draw her in, and she spent even less time studying the Fa. Practitioner Chen talked about ordinary people’s things more and more, and was falling further and further away from the Fa.
Because practitioner Chen didn’t take criticism well and didn’t like it when others pointed out her shortcomings, she didn’t take it to heart when fellow practitioners reminded her not to read or watch those news pieces, and instead distanced herself from other practitioners.
In fact, Master had arranged a job opportunity for her before. Although the pay was not high, it was an easy job with a flexible schedule. Ms. Chen could have utilized her free time to study the Fa. With this job, this practitioner could have tempered her own heart while working and living among ordinary people, cultivated herself solidly, and clarified the truth to those around her. But with little experience interacting with others and little interest in improving, this practitioner didn’t want to face the complex environment. She never settled into her role, felt that work was a waste of time, and eventually quit.
After she quit the job, Ms. Chen didn’t thoroughly examine herself and find her fundamental attachment. Instead, she was eager to get back to her old routine, since in her mind, distributing a large number of fliers equated to being diligent.
In this series of events arranged by the old forces, practitioner Chen placed herself in a very dangerous situation. The evil exploited her loopholes, and used the one thought that they had planted in her head to get her to make a rope to climb out of the window. As a result, her life was taken by the old forces.
Practitioner Chen’s case is very typical, and many of her problems are widespread. I want to write about these problems in more detail and hope to remind fellow practitioners, including myself, to remember at all times that cultivation is a serious matter, and nothing in cultivation is a small matter.
When we realize something is not right, we should correct it right away. When others point out our shortcomings, we should take it seriously and examine ourselves until we find the root cause of the problem. We should also take righteous thoughts seriously, not get distracted by ordinary people’s news, and spend more time on studying the Fa. We should look within at all times, and cultivate well. Only when we continuously hold ourselves to high standards, be strict with ourselves, and truly treat ourselves as cultivators, can we walk the path of cultivation well and save more sentient beings.