PureInsight | June 7, 2004
[PureInsight.org] Lao Tze had this to say in "The Way of Life."
Noxious insects will not sting him;
Wild beasts will not attack his flesh
Nor birds of prey sink claws into him...
Harmony experienced is known as constancy;
constancy experienced is called enlightenment;
exuberant vitality is ominous, they say;
a bent for vehemence is called aggressiveness…"
He continues with these paraphrases:
He shares the constancy of nature and is therefore enlightened. He is not exuberant or aggressive. So may the sovereign be.
If he continues with the way, there will be no decline in his strength or virtue. If he parts from the way, he is doomed."
I first read these sayings in my senior year in high school. It was required reading then for a philosophy class in Germany. The words did not have much meaning for me back then, except for tinges of the exotic, because they were bits of wisdom from the Orient, from many centuries ago. Then, in 1957, I bought an English language copy of the book here in America because I had lost my German copy. I did not yet know then that there was much greater wisdom and profound teaching coming in my direction, not until much later.
In the intervening years I had not thought much about this old wisdom. About seven years ago I began to seriously study Falun Dafa. I suddenly remembered this text I had read so long ago, because several things I have since learned from absorbing Zhuan Falun, Li Hongzhi's masterwork, struck a chord. Two of Master Li's messages in particular have been a guide throughout my cultivation struggles:
You need to treat all of the troubles you encounter as cultivation practice, because they are definitely cultivation practice.
(From "Lecture at the Conference in Switzerland," unofficial translation) The other message comes from Zhuan Falun (1998 English Translation), where Master tells us that the "seven emotions and six desires"* [qing, sometimes translated "sentimentality"] wreak havoc in people's lives.
Much of Master Li's wisdom, conveyed through his teachings in Zhuan Falun, as well as in his poetry and lectures around the world, have given me a much better and more thorough insight into the frailties of the human mind, how it can be healed and possibly become one with a greater entity. Ever since practicing Falun Dafa I have discovered greater wisdom in Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance and all the profundity included in those "simple" words, and have gained much more than Lao Tze's words could have ever taught me. This week I have realized the interconnectedness of all living things, and that evil things cannot be allowed to flourish.
How do I manage "to be immune to evil," as Lao Tze says, by applying the principles put forth in Zhuan Falun? I am making myself immune to it. It starts with small things, such as no longer even looking at pictures of abased art, forgoing modern music, preferring classical composers' creations; avoiding any kind of sexually-slanted or blatantly violent TV programming, preferring lovely nature offerings or old-fashioned movies with a moral message and the classics in literature; staying away from people who are bent on amassing "things" instead of collecting values. Sometimes this is a lonely existence. Frankly, quite often I don't even read a newspaper, because the common media reek of what I call "guts and gore," meaning news items that offend the stomach, sensationalizing incest here, child rape there, political brouhaha on the next page, with a couple of murders thrown in for good measure, spiked with domestic violence. Why cram those good-for-nothing things into my brain and pollute my thoughts?
Training myself to give up old habits, old notions and old conventions is sometimes successful and at other times presents quite a struggle. At the beginning of each week I write down three things on a piece of paper that I want to give up/get rid off for this week. Last week my list consisted of giving up all negative thoughts for a week, not eating in front of the computer and not eating sweets of any kind. That sounds easy and almost childish. On the other hand, since I am still living in this realm, I find it particularly difficult NOT to think a negative thought here and there. Instead of thinking,
what a stupid thing to say," or " that outfit looks terrible on her," or some other such comment, I tell myself, "hm…s/he said something," without editorializing, and let it go. It was quite challenging to do that for a whole week, but got easier toward the end. The next time I attempt to rid myself of some unproductive habit, using all the self-discipline I can muster might make it easier.
I appreciate "the constancy of nature," as the sage calls it – where there is a rhythm, a balance to everything, such as the ebb and flow of the tides, the rising and setting of the sun, night and day, the seasons and all they bring with them, down to the decaying of this year's flowers in the beds. Those make "couches for tress of another year." Even an occasional thunderstorm has its place. The intrusive noise is hard on my ears, though, but the ions it gives off make the air smell so refreshed - a fragrance is not unlike linens dried outside on a sunny, breeze-whipped spring day.
Keeping away from as much banal interference and influences as possible is my lantern that lights the way on my cultivation path. I make this conscious choice, to continue on the road, bolstered by Master's encouragement and his never-failing grace. Some might argue that one cannot avoid facing unpleasant situations in this "vale of tears." That is true, but my reactions and attitudes toward those situations make or break my progress on the bumpy road. No one can "force" me to do anything unless I let them! No one can make me quit or become hypocritical; I am the one who would have to give consent for that to happen. No one can break me – but I have to be flexible within reason, and if others (old energies, enticing influences, other practitioners, deranged devils, old minions or whatever I want to call them) try to push too hard, I must have the courage to say "Stop right here, no further! I am a Dafa practitioner and won't allow you to influence me like this! Occasionally I have the urgent need to call on Master's fashen to keep me on the straight and narrow – the myriads of worldly temptations won't go away by themselves.
Struggling along is difficult, but the end result, to have found meaning and purpose in Dafa is definitely worth any struggle. Master Li's many texts and teachings, so generously bestowed on us, cannot help but lead us in the right direction of "home."
*seven emotions – joy, anger, grief, worry, fear, melancholy, affection
six desires – lust, vanity, melodic sounds, good life/death, sensual pleasures