I began practising Falun Dafa in 1998. Like every fellow practitioner, I went through tests and karma-elimination. After the persecution began on July 20th, 1999, I lost the environment of group practise and fell into an ambiguous state of not quite genuinely cultivating.
In 2001, although I knew that Falun Dafa is good, I stopped practising for several years due to the detention of my family members. In 2004, with the help of fellow practitioners, I started practising and studying the Falun Gong teachings again. However, I didn't strive forward diligently in cultivation. Since I had stopped practising for several years, I doubted that Master would still look after me.
I had chronic asthma for more than a decade. It was severe enough to have caused emphysema and heart problems. I started cultivation in Falun Dafa with the hope of curing my diseases. Because of my attachment to my illness being cured, I once blamed Falun Dafa when I was facing strong illness-karma tribulations: "Why do other people get cured and not me?" Fellow practitioners told me that the old forces will take every opportunity available to persecute people, but I didn't pay attention to them.
I repeatedly studied Master's lecture, "Teaching the Fa at the 2004 International Fa Conference in New York." Master said:
"If a person can't cultivate in the Fa, then he isn't able to truly understand the Fa. Only when a person has truly grasped the Fa can he walk the path righteously and can his being be assured a good outcome. Otherwise that kind of being remains in the most perilous situation, because the evil can take advantage of his gaps at any time. If he were an ordinary person, no matter how bad he was, the evil wouldn't pay any attention to him. Because he wants to cultivate, though, the evil will try to stop him from cultivating. And when you don't cultivate solidly you become a target for the evil's persecution."
If I don't let go of the attachment to my diseases being cured, the old forces will take advantage of my omissions and will have me suffer from diseases, so that I cannot go out to do what a Falun Dafa practitioner is supposed to do. Therefore, this is a "metal cage" that the old forces have set for me and locked me into. I suddenly realised that I was a Falun Dafa practitioner, how could I follow the arrangements that the old forces made for me? Since it is a "metal cage," I should destroy it and break out of it. Didn't our Master ask us to righteously walk our path? Only when we truly grasp the Falun Gong teachings, can we righteously walk our path with righteous thoughts.
Since then I started intensifying my Fa (Law or Principle, the teachings in Falun Gong) study, reading with my heart and doing it repeatedly. Besides sending forth righteous thoughts, I remember, "I am a Falun Dafa practitioner. I only walk the cultivation path that Master has arranged for me." I completely negate the old forces. This way, when I have strong righteous thoughts, all the discomforts from illness tribulations become weakened. I feel I should keep righteous thoughts every moment. Sometimes when I listen to some of the advertisements on the radio about some new medicine, it easily leads me to think that the new medicine would cure my "disease." Then I immediately realise that I was viewing myself as a non-practitioner. Disease is not for practitioners. I need to fight it off and be free from it.
As a matter of fact, lots of issues are emerging because of our own attachments. One day, when I looked in the mirror, I found that my face was very yellow. I immediately thought it was because of my liver malfunction and blood circulation being congested. Wasn't this all following mind-intent? When encountering illness tribulations, the first thing we should do is to negate it, and the second thing is to look inward and pay attention to every single thought.
I think that if one wants to break out of the "metal cage" of long-term-illness tribulations, the most important thing is to have the courage to walk out and clarify the truth to people. Based on my own experience, every time I walk out the door to clarify the truth, I always have so much energy. I truly experienced the difference between individual cultivation and cultivation during Fa-rectification. Doing well all three things that Master asked us to do is so important. As long as we get rid of the attachment of fear and clarify the truth to more people, we will change and improve.
On my path of cultivation, our compassionate Master often gives me hints. One day when I woke up, I found it was only 4 a.m. and when I fell back to sleep, I had a dream. On the floor there were two electric heaters and an electric oven. Then a fire started. I immediately realised that it was Master who was trying to give me hints about the sense of urgency. I got up right away and was no longer sleepy, and I started practising the exercises. This hint helped to give me a sense of urgency for cultivation.
Fellow practitioners, especially those who have been struggling with long-term illness tribulations, why can't we let go of the attachment to illness? At the root, there is the attachment of fear, fear that Falun Dafa did not cure our illness or what the illness might do. Although our compassionate Master gives us opportunities again and again, it is up to us to treasure and make full use of these chances.
Let's all remember Master's words in "Teaching the Fa at the 2004 International Fa Conference in New York":
Let us all firmly believe in Falun Dafa, firmly believe in Master, persevere in our beliefs and cultivate more diligently.
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