Reviewing Doubt

A Practitioner from the U.S.A.

PureInsight | February 16, 2004

[] This week I spoke to a Western practitioner who shared with me various doubts he'd been having for a long, long time. After speaking to him, I concluded that he didn't believe in the purpose of Fa-rectification. I came to this conclusion because he not only saw a problem in the whole approach practitioners had had in dealing with Fa-rectification—that being, given the nature of any authoritarian regime, by our "stepping out," we have helped create and maintain the evil environment which now persecutes us—but this practitioner went even farther. He voiced doubts about some of Master's claims and explanations. He felt that it often seemed that Master explained things after the fact, as more of a justification for things gone wrong . . . like why the situation in China was not improving, like why things were taking so long to conclude, and why Master wasn't protecting practitioners even though in Zhuan Falun Master explicitly says that he will protect practitioners.

My friend had shared these long-hidden doubts with several other Western practitioners and told me that he had discovered others who felt the same way.

The fact that a group of people might be experiencing these very substantial doubts bothered me quite a bit. As Master said in "Immutable" in Essentials for Further Advances, "Whether it be at present or in the future, those who can undermine our Fa are none other than our own disciples."

I quickly concluded and shared with him that the end result in following his logic would be to say a couple of terrible things. We would have to say that we belonged to a deluded cult, and we would have to say that our beloved Master was somehow deranged. I couldn't see any other way around this conclusion if I allowed myself to follow the path of thinking along these lines.

Despite this understanding, after this very disturbing conversation, I felt my own doubts resurface. Usually, my doubts about my practice have to do with self-doubt: can I actually succeed in cultivation? And, over time, these doubts have almost disappeared. But after this conversation, doubts similar but not as far-reaching as my friend's that I had glossed over in the past and repressed without fully thinking about came back to haunt me.

On the other hand, I could understand my friend's point of view. If you simply follow regular logic, the way people usually think, what he said makes perfect sense

But I could still think like a practitioner, and realized that this was a personal test for me. In fact, preceding this conversation, I had just passed a major personal hurdle and had a new Fa project ahead of me. These doubts would certainly keep me distracted from Fa work. I could also see that it was interference.

I could also see my own irresponsibility in my past neglect. If I had not glossed over my doubts about Fa-rectification would my husband still be considering Falun Dafa a cult? If I'm not perfectly sure in answers to any questions I have, aren't I creating an environment that allows evil to harm others? In fact, perhaps in glossing over rather than discussing my own doubts, I had unwittingly contributed to the environment that had allowed my friend's doubts to fester.

But still the doubts lingered and resurfaced during this day. In order to resolve this issue of doubt for myself, I needed to go backwards in my cultivation. I felt that I had to review things from nearly an ordinary standpoint.

For example, I had to think about practitioners I know and the improvements I have seen in their conduct over time. I examined my own improved ability to take responsibility in daily life and to free myself from the desire for comfort and approval by others. And, through this process I resolved for myself the following: that if I am wrong in following Dafa, at least I am wrong with good intentions. In fact, I can imagine no intentions to be better than those I pledge myself to in helping with Fa-rectification.

After this first step in getting past these doubts, I tried to review the process of repressing itself. I thought about how Master often asks us to repress bad thoughts. So, I wondered, why didn't repressing thoughts work for me? I saw that repressing thoughts successfully can only be achieved if you stand on firm ground. If you can find a place and stand in the place where you have NO doubt, even if you only find that place for a second, then you can repress your thoughts and move on. Otherwise the act of repression is based on fear or some other attachment. It is the repression of ordinary people who do not wish to deal with their own realities. In this case it might be motivated by the fear of having a doubt, or fear of being sacrilegious in your own or others' eyes, or motivated by laziness and not reviewing things sufficiently because it is easier to skate along the surface and think that Master will take care of everything.

A day or so after this reflecting, I came to see that I was afraid of being wrong. My fear that I might be wrong had allowed these doubts their power and also accounted for previous self-doubt. Once I realized this, all nagging feelings disappeared.

I am truly grateful to my friend (who is feeling better now) – He allowed me to take the plunge and follow his thinking. Actually, I allowed myself to take the journey into delusion for his sake. During our conversation, there was a moment when I consciously chose to be kind and listen to what he had to say. In fact, after this experience, when I apologized to Master for having doubts, he gave me a great gift at that point—a new understanding. He allowed me to see that in my going along with my friend, in going into this confused state and talking with him from his point of view, I had undergone what gods do when they enter the maze. I entered into his world in the attempt to help him get past his. The only thing I took with me in this journey (at that point) was compassion and patience and an attempt to get at the truth.

We often say to each other that faith is the key. I agree. But having faith doesn't make doubt the enemy, which I think I believed before. Doubt doesn't have to be fought (any more than the old forces have to be fought). They and doubt will disappear. Doubt itself will be swallowed up if Zen-Shan-Ren is followed.

Thus, Master gave me a new understanding about doubt itself. I think that when we are bothered by anything, after looking inside to find our human notions or attachments, we should pause again to consider whether our doubts are gone or not. Those doubts might best be shared or reviewed immediately so that they can be addressed immediately. If my friend had met and eliminated his doubts when they first appeared, although they might resurface later in layers of tests, would his mind have followed the journey to the degree it had?

And even in cases without such drastic outcomes, shouldn't even small doubts be discussed? For if we do not heed our own doubts before we proceed, what do we really contribute to the Fa-rectification process? If we just go along with other practitioners in the Fa-rectification process, without sharing our opinions, are we really helping the process? I recently heard that a thousand email messages were sent to the French Parliament and most of them were just copies of one letter. Did practitioners, who participated in this email campaign, follow their own paths, speak their own truths? Did they overlook the thought, the doubt, that they should write their own email, irrespective of their ability with English or the amount of time it would take? I think quite a few must have, although I cannot know.

It seems that if we ignore our doubts, we run the risk of either our doubts finding a life of their own, or of our thoughtlessly plodding ahead, rather than our following a path where we continue to voice our own truths and correct each other together.
In any case, I think that doubt, whether small and pointing us to a truer path, or large and determined to overwhelm us, does not need to be avoided anymore than any other conflict. Doubt allows us a moment to make a choice, a good one, if we don't run from it.

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