A few days ago, I learned that a local practitioner had developed serious illness karma and that the situation has lasted quite a long time. Many fellow practitioners have gone to his place to send forth righteous thoughts for him, but his condition has not improved. This practitioner has lost confidence in cultivation and has even thought of committing suicide. The practitioners who went to help him were also frustrated when seeing that he did not improve. Fellow practitioners said that this might be his test of life and death. The most crucial thing is that he should have righteous thoughts. I have heard about several such cases. The sickness karma lasted a long time for some practitioners. Some even lost their lives and quite a few were not able to pass the test.
I was very upset upon hearing that. On one hand, I understand the difficulty of fellow practitioners in tribulations. On the other hand, I am also thinking about another issue: Why is it that we do not take our personal cultivation seriously every day? Why do we accumulate tribulations to such a great amount that we cannot pass it unless we let go of life and death? We do have the test of life and death during cultivation, but Master is very compassionate. Master has made systematic arrangements according to our Xinxing (character, heart and mind nature) level step by step and divided our karma into many small portions. As long as we want to pass it, we will be able to pass it and at the same time, eliminate the karma and raise our xinxing. As long as we are strict with ourselves in raising our xinxing with each test and tribulation, it is actually not difficult to pass the last test of life and death. Since our xinxing would have already reached a high level, the test of life and death would merely be a tribulation a little bit bigger than what we can endure at the level we are already on. Therefore, as long as we can raise our xinxing, we should be able to pass it without suffering too much. Master has also mentioned in Zhuan Falun,
"These are all your own tribulations that we use to improve your xinxing, and you will be able to overcome them. As long as you upgrade your xinxing, you can overcome them. Unless you, yourself do not want to do so, you can make it, provided you want to overcome them."
However, it becomes dangerous when we are not strict with ourselves and do not look inward when encountering problems. Instead of being resolved, the tests and tribulations pile up one after another. The karma also piles up little by little and becomes very big. When it manifests in this human world, it might be in the form of serious illness karma that emerges all of a sudden, or the practitioner being arrested and persecuted in prisons, a serious financial crisis, or something else that is unexpected. When the tribulation comes, you might feel like the sky is falling and that you are not able to pass the test at all. Some cultivators may even go over to the opposite side in despair. Some practitioners were not able to pass those major tribulations that emerged all of a sudden even though they continued doing the three things (studying the Fa, clarifying the truth about the persecution and sending forth righteous thoughts). Other practitioners would wonder: "Why can't he make it?" It is exactly because his xinxing cannot break through to such a high level. Master has also mentioned in Teaching the Fa in San Francisco, 2005:
"When you meet with a little bit of hardship or a little something here and there, you can't make it through. And when eventually it accumulates to a very large amount, it becomes a major test, and that test is one you can't pass without letting go of [the attachment to your] life. What could be done, then? The tribulation could even become so great that you couldn't even things out even if you did let go of [that attachment to your] life. The old forces wouldn't let you make it through, and your righteous thoughts wouldn't be strong enough. You tell me what could be done."
In contrast, some practitioners who have been steadily doing the three things were not persecuted. Some of them may have been arrested, but were able to get out of prison with righteous thoughts and without being persecuted. They were able to do that because their xinxing was already at that level. Although they encountered tribulations, they were able to make it. However, in this dimension, everything seems natural. Those practitioners are usually the ones who take their personal cultivation very seriously. I have met several such practitioners and feel that their major characteristic is that they always look inward. No matter what kind of problem they encounter, they say that it is because they did not do well or that it is because of certain attachments. They therefore keep improving little by little. After cultivating this way for years, their xinxing becomes very stable. They have passed many tests and do not pile up so much karma that it becomes a big tribulation of life and death. Even though sometimes they may also encounter a tribulation because they have notions which were taken advantage of by the old forces, they can easily overcome it because of their solid foundation. This is something that cannot be achieved unless we pay attention to every small detail during our cultivation.
Here is an example: A senior practitioner in our area had cancer before she obtained the Fa, but she recovered after beginning cultivation. Master said in Zhuan Falun that "...the life prolonged beyond your predestined time to live is completely reserved for your practice." She has been very diligent, not just in Fa study, but also in doing the exercises, and doing the three things. One of her noblest characteristics is that she never complains to others when encountering problems. Instead, she looks for what she might have done wrong. So, after many years, she has walked her path very stably and firmly. She has not had any major tribulations or any sickness karma that affected her doing the three things and the environment around her has been very good. Although all the practitioners around her say that her cultivation is very stable, she doesn't have the mentality of showing off. She always puts herself among Dafa disciples and recognizes that all her abilities can only manifest when she is on the Fa and that everything is given by Master. This elderly woman looks like a common person in this human world, but she is very precious when seen from the perspective of a cultivator.
Some fellow practitioners say that we are now in the Fa rectification period and that Master has not arranged any tests for personal cultivation at all. They would use the excuse of negating the arrangements of the old forces for not cultivating their xinxing and treat all the problems they face as arrangements of the old forces. Why is it like this? During the Fa rectification period, Master does not acknowledge any of the old forces' arrangements. However, the arrangements of the old forces indeed exist. In order not to be taken advantage of by the old forces, we should look inward more strictly and truly work on our xinxing. We can walk on the path arranged by Master only if we can truly discard all our attachments. Otherwise, if we just pay lip service to negating the arrangements of the old forces and don't let go of the attachments in our hearts, the old forces will still persecute us. For example, Master has the requirement for us that "I have often said that as a person cultivating in a righteous Fa, the first thing you must achieve is to not fight back when being punched or insulted." (Teaching the Fa at the Fa Conference in Australia). However, some practitioners still cannot meet the requirement. Some are able to make it on the surface, but they cannot let it go in their hearts.
A practitioner visited me today. She repeatedly complained about how unreasonable her mother was. She criticized her mother for doing this and that wrong, and she felt mistreated. After I heard that, I really felt sad that she was still commenting on the rightness or wrongness of specific things after having cultivated more than ten years. How could she go on like that? If she cannot pass those very small tests and tribulations and cannot upgrade her xinxing, how will she be able to pass the next test? How will she manage it if the tests and tribulations accumulate? The old forces can only enhance our attachments and enlarge them. They keep enlarging the attachments and eventually give you a fatal strike. Some people then are not able to pass it. Many practitioners who went to the opposite side or enlightened along an evil path have problems like this. I have seen such examples too.
I knew a fellow practitioner in my hometown who got involved in printing truth clarification materials in the year 2002. However, she did not walk her path well in using money. It was said that she used the money donated by fellow practitioners for printing materials to improve her own life. I met this practitioner twice. During our conversation, I found that she had a strong mentality of jealousy and was very self-centred. When other practitioners found out that she had misused the money, they did not allow her to print materials any more. Later, she printed materials at another place and was arrested by the police. After writing the Guarantee Statement, she was released but developed serious illness karma. She sold all her assets to raise money for medical treatments. At that time, her tribulation was already very big, but she still would not look inward and was not enlightened to the issue. Eventually, it was extremely difficult for her to pass. Fellow practitioners went to see her compassionately, but she started to curse Master and Dafa. In the end, she passed away. She left Dafa due to the persecution of the old forces. It was really very sad.
The reason I wrote this article is because in the past I also did not pay serious attention to my personal cultivation in each test and tribulation. I eventually encountered the test of life and death and went over to the opposite side of Dafa. After committing serious wrongdoings, I started to wake up and came back. The process of coming back to Dafa is extremely difficult. I was able to make it through at last. The lesson was very hard. Therefore, now, I don't dare to slack off in my personal cultivation and don't dare to take cultivation lightly anymore. Now, no matter what I encounter, I insist on looking inward and at the same time treat others kindly. Of course, I don't dare to slack off in doing the three things either. To those fellow practitioners who are in the midst of tribulations, please do not be anxious and frustrated. Even though you may not be able to pass the tribulation with your current xinxing level, you will be able to make it one day as long as you can be strict with yourself from now on, be forbearing when encountering problems and look inward at the same time. Improve yourself little by little and do not lose faith in yourself. Trust that Dafa can certainly make you let go off your attachments.
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