In the last eleven months, I have suffered a lot from physical and mental pain. The old forces imposed a lot of karma on me, and it is has become a huge interference to me. Now I can say with certainty that this process is actually a test of faith and determination in my cultivation, an issue of trusting Master and the Fa. In looking for the root of my problems I have discovered that it is because I didn’t study the Fa well. Here are some of my personal understandings about sickness karma as a veteran practitioner. In order to make my understanding clear I will start from the most basic point.
The first principle of the cosmos is “truth”. As Master mentioned in “Falun Gong”, “Sincerity is a prerequisite if you are to rectify your mind.” My understanding is that if I truly believe in Dafa, I must treat myself with sincerity and put Dafa as the top priority in my life. I need to introduce Dafa to people and promote the Fa. However, I’ve found it is very difficult for me to do this for a long time.
No matter what happens, the first thing to do is to look at the problem from the foundation of Dafa’s principles – truthfulness. In other words, the angle of looking at things should be broad. My understanding is that the so-called “illness” does not exist at all if I refer to the principle of truth. I realised that whether it is an ordinary person or a cultivator, their suffering from illness physically or mentally is all caused by their karma, which originally comes from their attachments and fears.
On this point, Master also mentioned that the principle of “truth” is a high-level Fa. My understanding is that there is a difference between a practitioner and an ordinary person. When an ordinary person suffers from misfortune or pain, he or she doesn’t know that the cause is based on his or her karma, and one is even unable to know where karma comes from. In this process one will feel fear because one is unable to see the truth behind it. Also one doesn’t know how to confront it, so one is forced to use drugs to treat one’s illness. But regardless of whether one is a cultivator or an ordinary person, this is actually a way to eliminate the karma, and the manifestation in this dimension is completely indistinguishable.
From the most basic point of view, in the book “Falun Gong” a practitioner asked Master a question about what the difference is between a practitioner and ordinary people. Master’s answer was:
“There’s not much difference. Your tribulations are arranged according to your path as a cultivator. Everyday people are paying for the karma of everyday people, so they all have tribulations. But, your being a cultivator doesn’t mean you will be free of tribulations and that person, since he’s an everyday person, won’t. It’s the same in both scenarios. It’s just that your tribulations are orchestrated for the purpose of improving your character, whereas his are orchestrated to pay off karmic debt. The truth of the matter is, tribulations are one’s own karma that I utilize to improve a disciple’s character.”
“Falun Gong”, Chapter 5
In fact, everything has been arranged, no matter how great the tribulation is, it is all Master’s arrangement. However, I still feel I have endured more tribulations than Master has arranged for me. As I have cultivated for many years, the old forces have used my deficiencies, no matter how big or small, to give me a lot of karma and let it last longer. As Master said at the Metropolitan New York Fa Conference: “the key is how you do it yourself”.
So I asked myself: “What part of my heart do I need to improve?” The answer was: my faith and determination in Dafa (like I have been tested at the beginning of my obtaining the Fa), because it determines which part of me needs to improve more and be better. In fact, I think I will encounter interference and tribulations in the future because of the part I haven’t cultivated well. My understanding is that even though the old forces imposed karma on me, I should still use the Fa as the standard for my cultivation. No matter what sort of attachments or how great the tribulation is, I must actively cultivate and overcome them, and reach the level that I can attain; it doesn’t matter whether it existed in this dimension. Therefore, sending forth righteous thoughts is very essential as it is clearing away the interference from the old forces.
Therefore, I understand that whether it is interference or eliminating karma at the beginning of cultivation, it is the same. All are an illusion; it is not true. The sole purpose is to help us to remove our attachments. In fact, illness is not illness, nor tribulations or resistance, although they look like the same thing, but the only difference is that if it is interference, the tribulation will become bigger, because it needs to be a greater challenge to test one in this maze environment, as well as to impose more karma (tribulation), so one must require more enlightenment ability to see though this illusion. To summarise, it is basically caused by karma; it is a process to help a practitioner to remove attachments and fear.
Master said in “Zhuan Falun”, Chapter 2:
“And even if you one day have converted all of your white matter, more can still be had by reworking your black matter through suffering. And if that’s still not enough, you can take on the sins of your close friends or family who don’t practice, and increase your energy that way. But, this only applies to you if you have progressed to an extremely advanced stage. You shouldn’t even think of assuming others’ sins when you only recently came into the practice as an ordinary person. That much karma would doom most people’s practice. The guidance I am giving here applies to different stages of practice.”
My understanding is that, for veteran practitioners, it is not simply thinking about one’s karma, but it includes other factors. Because we must save sentient beings, that karma will be imposed by the old forces, and endured by Master and His disciples. If those sentient beings are saved and stay in our worlds (in our body), then their karma is ours; no matter whose karma it is, it must be eliminated. If a practitioner hasn’t kept up with the process of Fa rectification, and didn’t cultivate well, one will induce interference and persecution. So I realised in cultivation, we must upgrade our xinxing level, as it determines our fruition status in the future. If some practitioners do not reach the standard at the end, they can still reach fruition status at different levels.
Sending forth righteous thoughts to clear interference
Sending forth righteous thoughts can also reflect faith and determination in Dafa. And one has to believe what one has done. I asked myself: “Do I really know why I am doing this? Do I really trust Master’s words?” Those are the basic questions, and finally I have my answers to these questions.
At the Metropolitan New York Fa Conference, Master mentioned that:
“When you're eliminating karma it is painful, and that's why you can improve. That's how things are."
“As to whether there are old forces interfering, when you're changing your own most surface bodies there is a portion that you need to endure yourselves. But relatively speaking it isn't much, and it won't have too much of an impact on validating the Fa. When big hardships come along, that has to be the evil interfering, and you have to send righteous thoughts to eliminate it!"
“Teaching and Explaining the Fa at the Metropolitan New York Fa Conference”, Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. III.
At the 2015 West Coast Fa Conference Master also mentioned:
“Some of our practitioners are struggling with passing the tests of sickness karma. Don’t think that it’s necessarily something major [that causes that]. You might think that you haven’t done anything majorly wrong, and that you are very firm in your faith in the Fa. However, you shouldn’t treat the little issues you have like they are nothing. The evil will seize upon any gaps. Many practitioners have even passed away on account of little things; it really was due to something very minor. That’s because cultivation is something serious, and requires having no gaps. If for a long time you haven’t dealt with those things through cultivation, small as they may be, if you haven’t taken them seriously for a prolonged period of time, then it is a big issue. Many people have passed away on account of such things. The old forces wouldn’t venture to directly persecute Dafa disciples at present—none of the larger beings that assume a form would venture to do that. Then what sorts of things are doing that now? Things like worms, bugs, bacteria, and all kinds of foul things like that. Sending righteous thoughts is extremely effective in these cases! They are annihilated in large batches. But there are a lot of them, given how big this cosmos is; and the cosmos consists of many layers. So after you have wiped these things out, shortly after, before long, they might infiltrate again, and you need to eliminate them again. So you need to keep sending righteous thoughts like this, and persist with it for some time, before you will see obvious results. Don’t lose confidence just because, after feeling good following a while of sending righteous thoughts, things don’t seem to go well again. I can tell you that they are using this approach to wear you down—to whittle away at your strong sense of conviction. So you need to be alert to these things.”
“Teaching and Explaining the Fa at the Metropolitan New York Fa Conference”, Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. III.
I followed what Master had said word for word. In this process I have found that this is also a test of my belief in Dafa. So, every time I had interference come, almost everything, especially my fear, tried to crush my faith.
From Master's teachings, I understand that I still have persistent attachments, for example, an attachment to fame, arrogance, lust and fear. I understood that the interference comes from these attachments that I haven’t removed yet, so I said to myself: “If the interference comes from these, then I should not be afraid of the current situation, because these attachments are going to be removed by myself, fear will only strengthen them. What I have to do is to send forth righteous thoughts and deepen my faith in Master.”
I know that the old forces will make me feel uncomfortable because of my attachments that I haven’t given up yet. They make me feel weak in the process of giving up my fear and in the process of my cultivation, so I cannot send strong righteous thoughts. The old forces don’t want me to keep up with my cultivation. So after I realised this I sent forth righteous thoughts continuously. Sometimes it lasted for four hours. Even in the evening, even when I couldn’t see any hope, I was still sending forth righteous thoughts, and always insisted on my faith in Master and Dafa. The more I persist in doing that, the less bad substance I carry, and my mind becomes clearer, and my enlightenment ability becomes better; hence my righteous thoughts become stronger and stronger.
In this way, I continue to send forth righteous thoughts to eliminate these bad substances from my field and interference from outside: Follow Master’s requirements, upgrade myself during my cultivation, eliminate my fear no matter how small it is, and don’t let the evil have a chance. I don’t recognize the thought caused by my karma, because that is not my true self. When karma arrived it wasn’t just reflected in my physical body but also mentally; it reveals my attachment, making me think that thought is from me, thinking it is an illness, but they are all an illusion. It acts as a test for me to choose between the illusions that are caused by karma or belief in Dafa. They are karma; they were brought from elsewhere by the old forces. As a practitioner, we have the ability to eliminate karma; this ability is given by Dafa. Sending righteous thoughts can help us to enhance our ability and improve our enlightenment ability. All I have mentioned only works if one studies the Fa well. In addition, when studying the Fa, Master’s other lectures will help us to comprehend “Zhuan Falun” better.
After I remove my fear, this kind of problem and karma will no longer exist. As Master said “You will be made to learn from this lesson so that your fear can be removed, and you can advance.” – “Zhuan Falun”, Lecture Six.
So in my understanding, this kind of karma acts as an illness, but it is in fact to help us to cultivate ourselves. I cannot treat it as an ordinary person does; I should look at it from the opposite side. An ordinary person thinks it is illness, but to me, it is not; it is my chance to remove my fear towards illness. Although it might last for a while, it is a good thing, because it is to remove karma, as well as to elevate my energy potency. The most important thing is not to have any other attachments, otherwise other tribulations might occur. No matter how karma manifests in this dimension, it is an illusion, as a way to help me remove my karma. As karma and attachments are the things we need to remove, we shouldn’t indulge them.
The one who loses gains. If virtue comes to you, don’t let it go. If I want to do that, I must remove my fear. Otherwise my karma won’t change into virtue. In the process of removing karma, one must endure pain; that is to see whether one can be tolerant or not, as well as compassionate and truthful, because they are related to each other. I am not meaning that we need to bear it like an ordinary person, because that kind of forbearance comes along with fear. I think only real tolerance can rapidly eliminate karma.
The same principle holds when you have conflicts, so it is necessary to cherish the moments when there is a conflict, interference, a tribulation and chance of eliminating karma, because in that process, virtue is going to be transformed into gong (energy). It is truly a good thing, because it eliminates your karma. Of course, I must be calm in my heart when I encounter this.
If I want to practice cultivation as I did when I first obtained the Fa, I should have strong faith in Dafa and remove my fear; hence my heart will be calm. So no matter what happens it should be fine, because my karma will be gradually eliminated. However, now I was thinking that I can do it to remove the karma, so my heart will be calm. If the karma belongs to me I will wait to let it gradually be eliminated; if the karma is imposed by the old forces then I should send forth righteous thoughts to eliminate it.
Even if I have done something wrong in the past, I can’t be trapped in remorse and be paralysed, because the old forces have led me to the wrong path (of course, there are factors that I need to cultivate in myself); they want me to live in remorse and stop moving forward, and let me keep enduring the karma. Master has mentioned that in the Fa. In my understanding, as a practitioner, even if I didn’t do well in some part of my cultivation I should still send forth righteous thought to eliminate the evil’s interference. If one has cultivated for a long time, and still cannot truly hold him/herself to a practitioner’s standard, then one cannot send forth righteous thoughts as a practitioner to remove the fear, and eventually one must go to the hospital, regardless of the impression in the eyes of others. This is my understanding.
Finding my own shortcomings and correcting them immediately
I understand why it is very important for me to encounter such interference, because only then can I correct myself, not repeat the same mistakes, and keep myself away from the same type of test.
In the last six or seven months, when the karma was at its worst, I realized many shortcomings. (The first three or four months of symptoms were the lightest, but I didn't pay special attention at the time).
Two years ago, I publicly shared my understanding on questions about eroticism with local fellow practitioners. I think this is my fundamental attachment. This is because, at the beginning of my cultivation, I thought about developing a good appearance through practice, thus satisfying my attachment to love and lust. From an early age, I fantasized about my own love life, so I was very emotional and it evolved into a passion for erotic desire. I started to look at beautiful girls from time to time on the street, and started to look at erotic things.
Two years ago, after I shared my attachment and incorrectness with practitioners, I corrected my behaviour. At the very least, I have not done anything wrong in this regard. But in the past, especially during the most stubborn time, the process required the most endurance and was painful. I think it is because these attachments are brought about by my past life, so I must remove them from my thoughts, really remove the pursuit of this aspect, and remove other substances that have been accumulated because of my other attachments.
One year after sharing about my desire with practitioners, that is, last year, I began to eliminate karma in this area, that is, the interference caused by this unhealthy behaviour. It took me some time to realise that these tribulations were due to problems in this area, because after a year, I refused to believe that this was the reason. But after looking inward, I confirmed that connection.
The test in this respect was that the lower part of my body was very itchy, and then my whole body surface was broken and itchy, and then my face had the same reaction. This made me realise that I still had the pursuit of fame and it was a test of this attachment. Of course, the most direct connection, and the most fundamental reason, was the attachment to lust. The pain in this area was very intense, and the mental torture lasted for a long time. It also partially confirmed the last sentence I said when I ended my sharing: "I am waiting for the karma generated by my attachment to bring me pain. But with my determination and Master’s great compassion, I will overcome it. I can do it." But I did not expect it to be so painful.
My understanding is that in the initial period, people don’t have the attachment to fear. This attachment is unknowingly nourished. The purpose is to let us get lost in the maze, so that we can't find the truth, and we can't accept the principles of the universe. With no faith in God, one pays more and more attention to human interests and personal gain, so one will do all evil things for that purpose. Because of the principles of mutual generation, with the creation of various attachments and feelings, like joy and sexual desire, the opposite also creates fear, that is, the fear of losing the things that are very important to people in the world. Because people experience a thrill from and a love for life, they also have the fear of death. Because of the attachment to fame, one also develops the fear of losing fame and reputation.
Therefore, the karma accumulated in this area is related to love and sexual desire. It is also the first attachment one must remove. Because of the principle of mutual generation, if one can get rid of one’s fear, one will remove the attachment that generates the fear. In Master’s “Essentials for Further Advancement II”, He said:
“All of you are already aware of the principle of mutual-generation and mutual-inhibition. If you are not afraid, the factor that would make you afraid will cease to exist. This is not to be self-imposed, but is achieved by truly and calmly letting go of it. Whenever I see you suffering, Master feels even more troubled than you; whenever you do not take a step well, it really pains my heart. Everything that the evil has done has actually targeted the attachments and fears that you have not let go of.” – “Essentials for Further Advancement II”, Eliminate your last attachment(s).
My understanding is that love and fear are the same type of attachment, but it has this double manifestation, which is why I start to feel fear when I feel sick, and I also think about getting better soon. This is also an emotional attachment to a happy life.
In addition to love and lust, I also developed laziness and the attachment to comfort. For a long time, I haven’t got up in the morning to send forth righteous thoughts and I was not focused enough when I was sending forth righteous thoughts. Then I got up very late and slept for a long time. This kind of attachment is also related to love, from relatively small preferences to a greater attachment to libido. The bizarre thing is that although I know that I am a cultivator, I continue to anaesthetize myself and let myself keep a small part of my attachments. In fact, I don't really have the will to remove them.
These long-term bad things, including fear of the attachment, gradually strengthened and accumulated, so that it later became a major tribulation, but also became the main entrance point for evil interference.
I haven't really valued cultivation for a long time. I think I am special and lucky, so I don't need much effort. Therefore, for a while, I have not only regarded this test as a test of the determination to cultivate, but also more like my own test of life and death. In addition to the great itching, many times I felt my heart twitching and I would often get pain in my chest. It had lasted five or six months. This made me think that I could not pass this test, and I almost gave up. I was afraid that these symptoms were caused by infection.
However, in a few days, my condition improved. During that period, I continued to participate in the truth clarification activities, because clarifying the truth is one of the three things that Dafa disciples should do. I think we should concentrate on doing things. During a tribulation the main focus will be on improving the mind and trying to keep calm. Other things are not that important. Don't think about doing things to solve the problem. That will be enough. Because I used to do things (getting up early, sending forth righteous thoughts, clarifying the truth) with a purpose, such as to solve the problem, it came from selfishness, thus it will not be enhanced by the Fa. Also because of weak determination in my cultivation, I could not always consider others first. In fact, I didn’t have enough confidence, I didn’t believe that I could cultivate into a Buddha. I was not clear what I really wanted. Maybe I have developed some energy potency, but I am easily effected by fame and human desires.
Master said in "Teaching and Explaining the Fa at the Metropolitan New York Fa Conference":
“When problems occur, instead of searching for problems in their xinxing, fundamentally improving themselves, or truly letting go of the matter and coming through in an open and dignified manner by another route, they focus on the thing at hand–"Goodness! why is it that I still can't overcome this thing? I've done better today, so it should have improved a little. Tomorrow I'll do even better and it should improve some more." He can never let go of that thing. On the surface it appears that he's letting it go–"Look, I'm doing well now." You're doing well now but you are doing well now for its sake. You aren't doing that for the purpose of doing what a true Dafa disciple should do!”
Master said in “Zhuan Falun”, Lecture Three:
“Without cultivating the heart, no one can make it. Conversion is a formality of everyday people. Are you a member of the Buddha School after conversion? Will Buddha then take care of you? There is no such thing. Even if you kowtow everyday until your head bleeds, or even if you burn bundles of incense, it is still useless. You must truly cultivate your heart to make it work.”
I found that other attachments are actually related to lust, such as a competitive heart, jealousy, remorse and arrogance. The competitive mind is strongly related to my arrogance. I always want to do everything better than other people, and want to be recognized by others. In addition, I was attached to the mistakes that I made in the past. In fact, I also have low self-esteem, which might be driven by karma. As a result, sometimes I do things by following others but not the Fa, as well as having a strong attachment to my family.
Another very serious attachment is that I don't want to be frustrated, so I like to only encounter good things. Similarly, I work hard to make myself feel comfortable. For example, only when faced with good things can I feel peace of mind; for negative things, I can't do it at all. I also understand that if I am very obsessed with being affirmed by others, I usually can’t get what I want. For example, when my family start to say something bad to me, the purpose is to help me to remove my attachment and my pursuit of recognition from others, so I should treat it with a peaceful mind. In addition, I have a show-off mentality. I am too infatuated, doing things without putting in much effect, and still wanting credit. I even want to let Master and other practitioners see I have done something in a Dafa project, but I didn’t do it with all my heart. Sometimes I am too self-absorbed; even a tiny achievement would make me so happy, so I could find self-satisfaction.
I realized that I should not avoid problems. On the contrary, I have to be prepared to face them all the time, because for a cultivator, problems will definitely happen, but what I have to do is not to get drawn into it and thus not stir up the dispute. On the contrary, we have to recognize the karma behind it, and not be afraid of it, because these are opportunities for improvement.
Although I feel that my current understanding is already improved, my behaviour is still far from good enough. Therefore, I would like to give myself a reference point to start from the beginning, and I hope my sharing will help other practitioners.
Thank you Master, thank you fellow practitioners.
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