Master has warned us many times that "cultivation practice is a serious matter" ("Digging Out the Roots" in Essentials for Further Advancement). Although our time of cultivation is coming to an end, we cannot lower the standard for ourselves or slack off in cultivation. Even at the last moment, there will still be tests and tribulations for every practitioner.
I still frequently hear news about fellow practitioners being persecuted. Some of the practitioners around me have also been arrested, sentenced to jail, or hampered by sickness karma. Some even lost their lives. My spouse, who had been cultivating for more than ten years, passed away recently. My heart has been heavy in the face of these events, so I decided to put together my recent understandings and write about them. Maybe they will be a good reminder for fellow practitioners who have been in similar situations.
Admitting Shortcomings Is a Must for Practicing Cultivation
Some practitioners are very good people in everyday society and are doing the three things (the Fa [the teachings of Falun Dafa], send forth righteous thoughts and clarify the truth about Falun Dafa and about the persecution to the world's people) well in cultivation. However, they don't admit their shortcomings. They don't want others to talk about it and if others do, they get angry. Master seriously brought up the problem of not admitting shortcomings in "Teaching the Fa in the City of Los Angeles" in order to remind these disciples. But for some practitioners, it is very hard to change because the attachments have formed very hard substances in other dimensions over the years.
Some fellow practitioners just can't seem to reach the standard. They are studying the Fa, they are doing the exercises, but they just don't let people bring up their shortcomings and don't admit their shortcomings. That means they are unable to change themselves, making cultivation impossible. These fellow practitioners, strictly speaking, have not yet truly stepped into the door of cultivation.
Not Acknowledging Evil Is Key
Practitioners have human attachments throughout the process of cultivation, and this is normal. Shortcomings are what need to be corrected and cannot become excuses for the evil to persecute practitioners. The key is to not acknowledge the evil.
As long as Dafa practitioners do not acknowledge the evil, the evil will not dare to persecute them. Master doesn't acknowledge this persecution, but why are there so many practitioners still being persecuted? This is because, although these practitioners say they don't acknowledge evil, in reality they have accepted it, which leads to them being persecuted.
Practitioners have human notions, and although they cannot be used as an excuse for evil to persecute them, they nonetheless are a prerequisite for the evil to take advantage. The evil takes aim at these human notions. Without human notions, there would absolutely be no persecution. If we draw an analogy between eliminating evil and swatting flies, then our human notions are like rancid meat. The flies are attracted to the stench, so being good at swatting flies can't compare to removing the rotting meat in the first place. Getting rid of the rotting meat, eliminating human notions, and reaching a higher level is the fundamental way to avoid persecution.
Some fellow practitioners look quite diligent on the surface. They study the Fa a lot and have read Zhuan Falun hundreds of times. But in the end they passed away due to sickness karma. I feel so sorry for them.
"...so many people who had severe health problems or incurable diseases before they learned the Fa became well after learning Dafa, so why is it that some students on the other hand can't make things work? Is it that Dafa makes distinctions among sentient beings? Is it that I, your Master, treat students differently? I really have to ask you: Are you truly cultivating? Have you truly followed Dafa's requirements?" ("Teaching and Explaining the Fa at the Metropolitan New York Fa Conference")
Master also said,
"If you, as a cultivator, only part with things superficially while deep down inside you still stick to something or cling to your own vital interests that you don't allow to be undermined, I'd say to you that your cultivation is fake! If your own thinking doesn't change, you cannot advance even one step and are deceiving yourself. Only when you truly improve from within can you make real progress." ("Lecture at the First Conference in North America")
Looking within oneself is a fundamental for cultivation. We must truly cultivate ourselves and change our very essence, from the deepest places in our hearts. We need to cultivate well while doing the three things, and try our best to reach a point where in our mind there is only Master, Dafa, and sentient beings, but no selfish mentalities. This is the realm that a practitioner needs to achieve on the path of cultivation.
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