Understanding the Meaning during Fa Study Is Most Important

During sharing between fellow practitioners we often hear the following questions and replies:

“Did you study the Fa today?” Reply: “I did.”

“How many lectures did you cover?” Reply: “ One (or two or three).”

When I first heard this, it seemed quite normal. Reflecting upon it further, it appears that the number of lectures covered has been equated to diligence and advancement in cultivation. Over the last ten years I thought this was the correct interpretation. Indeed, this kind of view, once accepted, becomes important. Practitioners reading less than one lecture a day are afraid to say so, while those who read two or more lectures are looked upon with admiration.

Over time, practitioners decide each day how many lectures they want to read. The focus is on completing or exceeding the desired number of lectures, i.e., quantity instead of quality.

I did try to change the lack of emphasis on quality but was not very successful. In September of 2012 I read the article, Dafa Disciples Must Study the Fa, 2011 and the following statements,

“Do you know what has become of Fa-study in many places? In some areas it has lapsed into a formality. When some people read Zhuan Falun they are not concentrating, but rather, thinking about other things, and not able to focus their attention on cultivation. It thus amounts to wasting time. And not just wasting time—instead of it being the time when they are to be elevating, they are using their minds to think over issues and things that they shouldn’t concern themselves with, and thus, not only aren’t they elevating, but on the contrary, they are often dropping in level. If you don’t study the Fa well, there are many things you will not be able to do well.”

Actually, I read these statements before but didn't see their importance. This time I realize that the purpose of Fa-study is to understand its meaning and put the ideas into practice. With this realization, I no longer rush to cover more pages. Instead, I read slowly to understand the material. The time I spend each day is still the same, and I feel a lot better with this approach. Understanding what I am reading is now the focus. I do not care how many lectures I cover. If a fellow practitioner asks, “How many lectures have you read today?” I just say, “I have spent several hours studying.”

Not getting the meaning of the Fa can be caused by one's own distraction. For example, while reading the Fa, a practitioner might think that drying the clothes outside might not work to-day because it might rain, or she needs to finish reading earlier because she has an appointment with a friend, etc. Allowing these random thoughts to flow interferes with the Fa-study and prevents the mind from being quiet.

As Dafa disciples, we must be prepared to give up distractions before and during Fa-study. If something has to be done, get it done before Fa-study. A quiet mind is needed during Fa-study. Otherwise, the real meaning behind the words cannot be ascertained.

In my view, there are two requirements to acquire the meaning of the Fa: one, we must focus on the meaning of the Fa, not the number of pages read, and two, we must let go of distracting thoughts. These problems are self-created and we should plan ahead before studying the Fa.

I recommend reading slowly to make sure we know the meaning of what we are reading. Reading quickly may force us to focus on reading itself instead of the meaning of the words. If we are reading by ourselves and did not get the meaning of a paragraph, I recommend reading the paragraph again to get the meaning. This is important. Do not be afraid to read slowly.

Pronouncing every word clearly is also important, especially during group study, because both you and your fellow practitioners are studying the Fa. A clear pronunciation also helps to get the meaning of the words. However, you must not be thinking about how well you do or how fellow practitioners view your reading. These thoughts are distractions. Just focus on reading and getting the meaning of what you read and you will be surprised at what you have learned.

This is just my personal view about Fa-study. Please point out anything that is not proper.

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