Cherishing the Fa
Experience sharing from the 2009 Canada Fa Conference
[PureInsight.org] Greetings Master. Greetings fellow practitioners.
Today, I want to share about the basics of my cultivation, about a topic that manifests in everything I do, from the Dafa projects to the ordinary things I do, from my ordinary work to sending righteous thoughts, from clarifying the truth to studying the Fa. It touches everything.
It is about “Cherishing the Fa and having the chance to be a Falun Dafa practitioner in the Fa Rectification period.”
Master says at the end of Lecture One of Zhuan Falun:
“There is one thing that I must also point out: At present, no other person is truly teaching people toward high levels like me. In the future you will realize what I have done for you. Thus, I hope that you do not have very poor enlightenment quality. A lot of people want to practice cultivation toward high levels. This is now provided right before you, and you may still be unaware of it. You have been everywhere looking for a teacher and spent a fortune, yet you have found nothing. Today, it is offered to you at your doorstep, and maybe you have not realized it! This is an issue of whether you can become enlightened to it and whether you can be saved.”
Through different situations, I realized I was actually not cherishing the chance Master gave me by teaching me this Great Fa and giving me the chance to cultivate. A few signs made me understand there was something wrong in my understanding.
One sign is that I often feel cultivation is quite hard. The requirements from Master are challenging for me and I feel worried about whether I can achieve consummation or not and if I can really be up to par to be a practitioner of this Great Fa and not disappoint Master.
A second sign is that I've never been able to study the Fa every day and do the exercises on a regular basis. It can be because I think I have no time or some days because of different forms of interference or other times just because I don't want to do them.
A third sign is that too often I feel that sending forth righteous thoughts is a burden or a task that I have to do instead of doing it with my heart.
A fourth sign is the way I treat pressure coming from Dafa projects and don’t always have a good mindset when I work on Dafa projects. They should be done with Zhen-Shan-Ren and with the requirements of a Falun Dafa practitioner in mind, but often this has not been the case.
A fifth sign is that sometimes I don't want to be with other practitioners to share understandings on different things, or if some meetings are too long, I feel impatient and want to leave because I think I am wasting my time.
I can't recall all the signs or the situations that made me think that there was something wrong within my cultivation but still this gives you an idea.
Then recently I went to a meeting in Toronto about Shen Yun. For some reason, this meeting enlightened me on the importance of studying the Fa and doing the exercises, the importance of sharing more together regarding our deeper understandings of our cultivation and projects, and the importance of cherishing the Fa and the chance to improve together and help each other to raise our understanding and reach Master's requirements. I came to realize that this is what can make a real difference in what we do. This is how Master wants us to improve.
This meeting was mostly related to Shen Yun, but for me, it unlocked something and helped me to enlighten on some basic things in my cultivation practice. I'm not saying that after this meeting my understanding completely changed, but it helped me to take a step back, to think and question my actual state, and helped me to raise my understanding. One of the things I enlightened to since this meeting is about cherishing the Fa.
I would like to share with you different experiences related to this topic that I’ve had since I started practicing, and what my recent enlightenments are.
Improving in Doing the Three Things
Master asks practitioners to do the Three Things well: study the Fa, send forth righteous thoughts, and clarify the truth.
In cultivation, it is important to always improve. Never stay on the same level or have the attachment of self-satisfaction because that means falling down is probably close. I did experience this feeling of being on some kind of a “plateau” and I still feel this sometimes. I realize this is a reflection of how I treat the Fa and the Three Things. Over the last few years, I'm more and more involved with different Dafa activities and projects. I've done more and more, taken on greater responsibilities, and always tried to do better to support different Dafa projects.
My intention was good and I was trying to do what a practitioner is supposed to do. I felt I was growing and my understanding was getting deeper and my heart purer. But at some point, I felt like I was missing something. My understanding was not rising as fast as before and I started to feel overwhelmed and was not doing things as righteously as before. I was still studying the Fa, sending forth righteous thoughts, and clarifying the truth, but there was something missing. I didn't know at the time, but now I have come to the realization that I was not cherishing the Fa. I wasn't seeing the magnificence of Dafa and the chance I have to cultivate within this Great Fa. I took it for granted. It made me realize that I can't just do the Three Things routinely; I need to push forward to always improve how I do the Three Things. How can I study the Fa more, with a calm heart and a clear mind? How can I have stronger righteous thoughts and improve my understanding about it, to be able to eliminate more evil? How can I clarify the truth better and be able to assist Master in saving more sentient beings?
I can now see the differences in the way I treat projects and how I see Fa study and sharing among practitioners. The deeper meaning of what I'm doing is clearer and I understand how fortunate I am to learn this Great Fa.
Master says in Lecture One of Zhuan Falun:
“To truly practice cultivation, you must cultivate your mind. This is called xinxing cultivation. For example, in a conflict among one another, you should care less about various personal feelings and desires. While competing for personal gain, you want to improve your gong—how can that be possible? Aren’t you the same as an everyday person? How can your gong increase? Therefore, only by emphasizing xinxing cultivation can your gong increase and your level be upgraded.”
I have to say, nowadays, improving xinxing could be more of a priority for me. At the beginning of my practice, I put a lot of emphasis on my xinxing but it seems that with the passing of time and with the amount of work that needed to be done, I've put a lot of importance on accomplishing things instead of on improving my xinxing. I've become comfortable with other practitioners and self-satisfied because of my involvement in different projects, but this doesn't replace the basics of cultivation. I came to realize that all these projects are there to save sentient beings and also for Falun Dafa practitioners to improve and cultivate through the process. This is first and foremost. Whatever actions we take or things we do in this ordinary society, the root of these actions needs to be done from the perspective of a practitioner who studies the Great Fa.
For me, another aspect of improving xinxing is the challenge of living in this ordinary society full of karma and being able to stay clean and righteous and leave an example for the future with my actions and way of doing things. In my day-to-day life, I can see how easy it is to slack off or lower my standard because of laziness and comfort. Some days, I thought about monks and nuns who live far from society in temples and are surrounded by righteous people in a wonderful environment, and I felt kind of jealous because of the wonderful environment they are in. Then I realized that this understanding was completely wrong. From the exterior, it can look as if I have the heart for cultivation and want to be like a monk, but actually I can see this reveals an attachment of fear—the fear of facing my fundamental attachments and getting rid of them instead of trying to get away from them.
Master says in Lecture Eight of Zhuan Falun:
“Therefore, we should accord with everyday people as much as possible. Materially, you will not really be made to lose anything. But in this material environment you need to upgrade your xinxing. It is convenient because of this. Our school of practice is the most convenient, as one can practice it among everyday people instead of becoming a monk or nun. It is also most difficult because of this, as one will practice cultivation in this most complex environment of everyday people. Moreover, it is the best because of this, for it enables one to attain gong oneself. This is the most crucial point in our school of practice, and today I have disclosed it to everyone.”
After reading this, I realized I need to seriously cherish the Fa and appreciate the chance of being in this unique school of practice that allows my Main Spirit to attain gong. So many times I complained, I felt pressure, I felt cultivation was too hard, but actually Master prepared all of that for us to assure the best future for Falun Dafa practitioners. This is something magnificent that is in no way comparable with the difficulties we are facing because of our attachments.
Getting Rid of My Fundamental Attachments
One more thing I want to mention in my sharing is the importance of uncovering our fundamental attachments and getting rid of them. Since I started practicing Falun Dafa, I got rid of different attachments and improved in many aspects, but I know some fundamental attachments are still there and I need to break through them to elevate higher in my cultivation. It is easy to put them aside and be busy with other things, but Master says in the scripture, “Towards Consummation,” in Essentials for Further Advancement II:
“After cultivating for a period of time, are your thoughts still the same? Are you continuing on the path because of those human attachments? If so, you cannot be counted as my disciple. It means that you haven’t gotten rid of your fundamental attachments and that you are unable to understand the Fa from the Fa.”
After reading this quote from Master, I feel I need to be responsible for my own cultivation and look inside to get rid of these fundamental attachments. At this moment, there are two attachments I would like to expose and eliminate so I can raise my level.
One is pleasing others. In some situations, I can see how this attachment can affect decisions and choices by adding the emotion of pleasing others, of not wanting to disappoint others, or being afraid of what others will think of me. This affects my cultivation directly because instead of putting the emphasis on understanding the Fa deeply, part of me worries about what others will think if I do this, say that, or don't participate in this. Today is a good example. I was afraid to write this sharing and expose myself for fear of being judged.
A second fundamental attachment is the fear of not being saved. I can see that sometimes I do certain things because of fear. I don't do them righteously from my heart or because I want to save people or I want to cultivate, but because I'm afraid of not being saved. I'm afraid of doing something wrong, or afraid of not following the path Master made for me, so it’s fear that pushes me to do more. I sincerely want to get rid of this attachment so I can really do everything from the bottom of my heart, because I know Falun Dafa is good. I want to assist Master in this Fa-rectification period, I want to study the Fa, do the exercises and send forth righteous thoughts from my heart and not because I'm afraid of not being saved.
I thought it was important to include this part in my sharing because I need to put more emphasis on getting rid of my fundamental attachments. It is something I enlightened to, that if I cherish the Fa more and understand the importance of cultivation, I will try to expose these and get rid of them for the good of my own cultivation and to save more sentient beings.
I want to finish by saying that Falun Dafa practitioners have some big responsibilities in this special period of time. We have many projects that we absolutely need to do; we need to sacrifice a lot and let go of our attachments so we can fulfill the vows we made a long time ago. But one thing is important: while we are doing all this, we cannot afford to forget why we are doing it or what the deeper meaning of all this is. In the ordinary and concrete actions that we need to take to accomplish certain things, we need to remember that Master and the Gods are there looking at us, watching how we do things, and looking at the process and not only the results. We need to remember that what makes the difference is not only what specific actions we are taking or what tools we are using but also what kind of mind-set we are in—with what kind of heart we do things. We need to remind ourselves of the chance we have to be Falun Dafa practitioners and all the things Master is doing to save us and the rest of the world.
Right now, I have many responsibilities with different Dafa projects. I'm married, I have a little boy, an ordinary job, two sisters, friends to keep in touch with, etc... We all have so many things to do. There's one way I can see I can make it through and do well in all these aspects: it is by cherishing the Fa and using every opportunity to improve and cultivate.
Thank you Master.
Thank you fellow practitioners.
Chinese Translation: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2009/5/23/59690.html