Searching inward is the key to upgrading one's level. This is something that Teacher has repeatedly emphasized in Zhuan Falun and his Fa lectures. Teacher said,
"Whenever you encounter problems you should each look inward to search for the cause within, regardless of whether you're to blame or not. Remember my words: Regardless of whether the problem is your fault or not, you should look inside yourself, and you will find a problem." ("Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Europe")
In the Fa lecture to Australian practitioners, Teacher once again emphasized the importance of searching inward. I remember an article I read in "Minghui Weekly" where the author with his third eye open wrote, "When surrounded by the police attempting to arrest me, all I needed to do was to search inward and the police would freeze instantly. No one could get near me."
In looking back over my cultivation experiences over the past ten years, I have had a challenging journey. One of the root causes was that I failed to search inward. I would like to share my experiences in searching inward. Please kindly point out anything erroneous.
Forming the Habit of Searching Inward
A few years ago, I didn't know to search inward. Hence, I faced a lot of conflicts and problems. The most I had done was to discuss these conflicts and problems with fellow practitioners or study relevant Fa lectures for the purpose of solving these problems. As a result, I was very slow in upgrading my xinxing. (heart and mind nature) In hindsight, I didn't really understand the meaning of searching inward.
It was not until July 2005 that I started to pay attention to the issue. That was when I caught the attention of the secret agents from the State Security Bureau by distributing Falun Gong truth-clarification materials. At the time I thought I was doing the three things (study 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.) very well. I had no idea what went wrong. Then I studied "Teaching the Fa at the 2002 Fa Conference in Boston" and was motivated by the lecture. Teacher said,
"The old forces don't dare to oppose our clarifying the truth or saving sentient beings. What's key is to not let them take advantage of the gaps in your state of mind when you do things." ("Teaching the Fa at the 2002 Fa Conference in Boston")
In the past two years, I had a mental block when distributing informational materials. Since the second half of 2003, I had been distributing truth-clarification letters. At the time I lived with an elderly practitioner in a retirement home. With the help of fellow practitioners, I collected the contact information of over 10,000 people from the local city government, colleges, courthouses, and many government agencies. Each week I went to the city to distribute fifty letters. In the first two years, I did a very good job. But over time I treated it as a job. Sometimes I wrote to three people in the same organization at the same time. When a fellow practitioner dissented, I refused to listen. Some practitioners praised me and said that I was a good writer. Some practitioners provided me with lists of contact information. After a while, I decided that writing letters explaining the facts was the very best form of clarifying the truth. I thought there was a higher accepting rate associated with truth-clarification booklets distributed to mailboxes. I was pleased with myself and refused to listen to different opinions. In 2005, a large number of the letters I sent were intercepted before they reached their recipients. Special agents from the State Security Bureau found out my home phone numbers when my former office called me. Kindhearted former colleagues suggested that I go into hiding. I began to seriously look inward. Next, I distributed truth-clarification materials to colleges, neighbourhood offices, courthouses, and nearby villages. Meanwhile, I reinforced the frequency of sending forth righteous thoughts. I was impervious to the searches by the State Security Bureau. On the contrary, I did even more truth-clarification work since I changed my thinking. In less than a month, the State Security Bureau stopped looking for me. This experience made me realize that the only guarantee for personal safety is searching inward, eliminating human thoughts, and doing the three things well.
Since it is so important to search inward, how did I form a good habit of searching inward at all times? After many years of studying the Fa, I have come to the conclusion that it is not enough to focus on a section of the Fa. It is important to understand some other parts of the Fa related to it. In my humble opinion, it is because the Fa harmonizes. I also think it helps me understand the meaning of searching inward. I came to understand that when we seriously ponder on the Fa it is important to know that the laws of the Three Realms are opposite those in the higher realms and thus the Fa is that of this level only. Now I know that nothing is coincidental for practitioners. Teacher said,
"One's gong level is as high as one's xinxing level" (Lecture One of Zhuan Falun)
The more active I search inward, the faster I will upgrade my xinxing and the higher my gong level will be. As long as I don't let go of the opportunity to search inward and persevere in searching inward, I will maintain the good habit of searching inward.
Eliminating My Mentality of Strife and Solidly Searching Inward
Mainland Chinese people born in the 70s represent the generation that were most severely poisoned by the culture of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The mentality of strife formed by the CCP's philosophy often manifests in me. This is one of the reasons why I have not been able to attain a mentality of kindness and compassion. It directly prevents me from saving sentient beings. I have not done enough to clarify the truth to my relatives. My sister-in-law forbid my own brother from speaking to me for a long time.
My brother was a woodsman. Because he worked all year round in the forests cutting trees, he suffered from many illnesses, including arthritis, hepatitis, heart disease, and muscle spasms. He often said that he would be "better off dead" and depended on medicine daily. After I started practising Falun Gong, I introduced the practice to him in June 1998. After a few months, he no longer needed any medicine because he became completely healthy. My sister-in-law and their children were very pleased and thanked Falun Gong for saving my brother. However, when the CCP began its suppression of Falun Gong, my sister-in-law's attitude towards Falun Gong changed abruptly. When the police searched their home and arrested my brother, my sister-in-law, out of fear of the CCP, vented her anger on me and Falun Gong. She cursed me daily. My brother has a very good foundation and enlightenment quality. No matter how much his family tried to stop him from practising Falun Gong, he continued to follow the teachings of Falun Gong. When my sister-in-law saw that she could not stop him from practising , she hated me and Falun Gong even more. In early 2007, I heard that she was diagnosed with bladder cancer. I had mixed feelings when I heard the news. On the one hand, I thought it was a good warning that might deter her from cursing Teacher and the Fa. On the other hand, I thought I was partially responsible for her fate. She had been poisoned by the CCP's biased education and had not been able to tell right from wrong. But had I tried to clarify the truth to her? Had I clarified the truth to her sufficiently? Although she lives about six hours away, I should have paid her a visit to clarify the truth. Was it because I was unwilling to let go of my ego? I think the more likely culprit was my attachment to strife.
For nearly a year I was tremendously inspired by all of Teacher's articles and all the articles on the Minghui website (Chinese version of Clearwisdom.net) about clarifying the truth to families and relatives. Teacher said that it is our fault if we have any conflicts with non-practitioners. Indeed, my sister-in-law is not a cultivator. She fussed with me and I fussed back. Hadn't I sunk to the same level? Cultivators are supposed to follow the Fa's requirements that are higher than the level of non-practitioners. That's how a cultivator should be! Why had I forgotten the most fundamental righteous thoughts? Would a divine being have a conflict with a human being? That's impossible. I wrote her a long letter of several thousands words. I apologized to her first and then explained that Falun Gong is not in the wrong. It is Jiang Zemin that has violated the Chinese constitution to deprive Chinese people of their constitutional right of spiritual freedom. It is Jiang Zemin and the CCP that are in the wrong. I urged her to discern right from wrong and stop cursing Falun Gong, a practice that saved my brother's life. I suggested that she issue an apology to Master Li on the Minghui website and pledge not to say or do anything like that again. I decided that if the letter didn't work, I had to take time out to visit her. She was my family. Even if she were a stranger to me, I could not just sit here and watch her go to her doom!
In early August 2008, I left for my brother's home after attending my son's wedding reception. When I was waiting for the transfer train, I called my brother's number, but it was my sister-in-law that picked up the phone. The first thing she said was, "Why are you coming?" I said, "I have come to see you." "Ha! You are too kind! I am not worthy of your concern!" Then she hung up on me. I had planned to sleep for a few hours on the train that would arrive at dawn. However, I tossed and turned and couldn't fall asleep. I thought, "I am humiliating myself. I have subjected myself to her insults! It is humiliating!" But I thought, "I am a Falun Gong practitioner. I am a cultivator on the path to divinity. Why am I disturbed by human thoughts? If I don't let go of these thoughts, how do I protect the Fa's dignity? How do I save sentient beings?" Then I calmed down and slept for an hour before the train arrived.
To give my sister-in-law time to calm down, I stayed one night at my brother-in-law's home. I took the opportunity to clarify the truth to my brother-in-law and his children. They are very supportive of Falun Gong. My niece said, "Fortunately you are practising Falun Gong. Otherwise, you might have already passed away like my mother. When my mother was alive, she urged me to practice Falun Gong with you." I was very pleased to see their positive attitude towards Falun Gong. The next day my brother took me to his home. The first thing my sister-in-law said when she saw me was, "I hate you to death." Then she started to vent her anger. When she saw me smiling in return, she became all the more furious. "You need not smile. Your brother alone is a handful for me. I have a weak heart. I will not survive the two of you together. Go back to your own home." I said, "I have just sat down and you are asking me to leave. Isn't that unreasonable?" "What's reason these days? Go home and live your own life."
I followed Teacher's teaching and did not say things she would be unable to comprehend. When my brother was making dinner in the kitchen, I talked about how chauvinistic my brother used to be before he started practising Falun Gong. The subject led her down memory lane. She started to complain that my brother used to have a bad temper and make decisions without consulting with her. She started to cry when she remembered those difficult days. Then I asked her, "Since he started practising Falun Gong, has he ever used violence on you or the children?" She admitted that my brother is a changed man since he started practising Falun Gong. It was not just the improvement of his temper, but also his health. My brother is nearly 80 years old and is completely illness free. I asked her, "My brother was a violent man with a bad temper and poor health. Is there anything else in the world that could possibly change him and his health?" She admitted that only Falun Gong has that power. Then I asked her, "Is Falun Gong good? Is the Master of Falun Gong good?" She became silent. We talked about why Jiang Zemin began persecuting Falun Gong and how the CCP created lies to justify its persecution. I also talked about Falun Gong's popularity worldwide. She said, "Falun Gong is good, but the CCP is suppressing it. Why do you have to go against the government?" I was glad that she knew Falun Gong is good. She had made a big improvement.
That night my brother and I sent forth righteous thoughts together to eliminate the wicked elements from other dimensions that had been manipulating my sister-in-law. The next day, she bought a chicken and a large watermelon to treat me. My brother is a bad cook, so I took over cooking the next day. Every day I talked to her about Falun Gong and stories of karmic retribution. I watched the Olympic Games with her. She complained that my brother never watches TV with her. I explained to her that the TV programs are full of lies due to CCP control, and it's not worth the time. Besides, my brother had little education and reads very slowly. He has little time left for TV. However, I asked her to advise my brother to spend more time with her and the children. She said, "Compared to your brother, you know how to enjoy life." Soon a week had passed. I was going to buy my train ticket home when my sister-in-law said, "It is but five days before the Olympic Games end. Why don't you stay until the Games are over?" Apparently my sister-in-law had decided to be kind to me. I happily agreed to stay longer since I wanted to study the Fa more with my brother. In the remaining five days, my brother read the Fa aloud. When he couldn't identify a Chinese character or understand a sentence, I explained them to him. Together we studied Hong Yin and Essentials for Further Advancement. We also clarified the truth to people in public. Every day my brother persuaded more than ten people to quit the CCP. When I was leaving, my sister-in-law bought a lot of gifts for me to take back home. She told me repeatedly, "You are welcome to visit your brother anytime should you miss him." A malevolent relationship of eight years had turned into a benevolent one. One thing that pleased me the most was that no cancer cells were found during her latest examination. Her life has been saved.
Searching inward is indeed a painful process. If I had not made up my mind to eliminate the poisonous elements of the CCP, it would have been very difficult to solve this problem. Only when we search inward will we be able to upgrade our levels.
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