Cultivation Then and Now

A Falun Dafa Practitioner from

PureInsight | January 16, 2006

When I first started practicing nearly four years ago, my state of mind and thoughts about cultivation were very different. I remember while reading Falun Gong for the first time, I was thinking, "All I have to do is be a kinder person and I can get supernormal powers? That's easy!" Obviously this was a strong attachment, and cultivation is not as easy as I had thought.

With a thought, I could release some form of energy that felt like clouds of heat. What this was useful for, I did not know, but I was quite please with it nonetheless. It became quite frequent where I would release this energy to see if I could still do it. As one may expect, this ability was soon locked up.

Shortly after being locked up, I became concerned that perhaps I was doing something wrong and my cultivation was going nowhere. It took me a long time before I realized that Master had spelled it out for me very early on in Falun Gong. He said: "Supernormal abilities themselves represent neither the level of one's gong potency nor the level of one's cultivation."

All of my worries had come because of my lack of supernormal abilities. Looking back, I see that this state of mind is completely incorrect and I was not truly putting the Fa first in cultivation. Back then I could only grasp Falun Dafa on a very shallow level because I came into the practice with such strong pursuits. However, even on a shallow level, my life changed dramatically. In less than 200 pages, Master Li had given me a new life. My perceptions of the world changed and I became determined to be a better person.

I studied as many of Master's lectures as I could, absorbing as much as I could. As so many other people have said, it was everything I was looking for. A little over a month passed and I was introduced to Sending Forth Righteous Thoughts. I learned more about the persecution and the old forces. I continued to study and cultivate and time quickly passed.

After practicing for six months, I decided to go to Houston, Texas when the head of the evil would be there. This was the first large Falun Dafa even I had ever been to and it was simply amazing. I stood in line with thousands of righteous Dafa disciples, standing tall against the forces of evil. The disciples I came in contact with were tremendously kind and giving. The first day I was there, the rain was pouring and the wind was howling. The disciples were quick to act and handed out raincoats to those in need. I walked around among the disciples and everyone I met eyes with greeted me with a warm smile. I was touched by the compassionate environment. All of these hearts came together for the benefit of everyone and out of their own will. The people brought out there by the consulates to support the head of evil quickly lost interest when the weather turned cold. Hearts cannot be bought.

It is like Master said: "No matter what methods the evil uses or how much money they spend, they can't achieve what they want to achieve in damaging Dafa. We're doing these things with our hearts, while they're doing things with money – they could never compare" ("Teaching the Fa at the 2002 Fa Conference in Boston").

The majesty of righteous thoughts and righteous actions was truly displayed before me. This was the first time I had seen the body of Dafa in action and it was an amazing scene. It was then that I knew that Master has truly taken us to a pure land.

As time went on, I realized more about this concept of being one body. Master mentioned it many times. He said: "You're all clarifying the truth, sending righteous thoughts, and studying the Fa, so the specifics of the things you're doing are different but the division of roles is orderly, together there's a form, and separated there are particles" ("Explaining the Fa During the 2003 Lantern Festival at the US West Fa Conference").

I continued on in my cultivation, contributing to various projects and attending group study. Many people in my area discussed the issue of being one body as in certain cases we felt isolated from each other. It was true that some people did not come out to different events we held, but most contributed in their own ways.

My understanding of being one body is that it ties directly to Fa-rectification cultivation. In the past, people would do personal cultivation focusing on increasing gong and transforming their bodies. In Fa-rectification, not only our bodies are purified. As the Fa-rectification continues, disciples around the world elevate together and change their environments. As disciples gain deeper understandings and assimilate more and more to Zhen-Shan-Ren, the body of Dafa has a stronger manifestation in the human world. It is like each particle of the body continues to purify itself and contribute more and more and when each particle becomes stronger, the entire body becomes stronger.

According to being one body, if part of the body is immobile, shouldn't the rest of the body help get it moving? If our feet were sitting in the water and were about to be attacked by sharks, wouldn't we pull them out?

However, sometimes when I would want to help, my fears held me back. Fear of conflicts, fear of pain, fear of a damaged reputation, fear of consequences; and so on have followed me for a long time. My fear of consequences led me to do poorly in the area of clarifying the truth because I was afraid people would misunderstand me.

Something I realized from this is that our thoughts can go places. This should have been more apparent because our righteous thoughts travel, but I did not realize the application to regular thoughts.

Master said in Zhuan Falun when talking about consecration: "Today, those who study the human body have discovered that our human mind activities or human thoughts can generate a substance. At a very high level, we have found that it is indeed a substance, but this substance is not in the form of the brain waves as we have discovered in research today. Instead, it is in the form of a complete human brain. Typically, when an everyday person thinks about something, what he or she generates is something in the form of the brain. Because it does not have energy, it will disperse shortly afterwards. A practitioner's energy, on the other hand, can be preserved much longer."

So if our minds are filled with things such as fear and trepidation, what could we be sending out to those people we are thinking about? It seems that many times if I had a fear of someone misunderstanding, they indeed did not understand me. I think it was because I had already sent this notion out from my mind. In addition to having an exploitable gap in myself, I also created a barrier between me and the being I wanted to help.
For one year, I lived in Japan teaching English. I experienced the world from a different point of view from within a different society. My xinxing was tested and my endurance was pushed, but it gave me a great opportunity to improve myself. Sometimes it felt like I was living in front of a mirror. Any deviation in thought or development of a notion came at me in full force. I saw the narrowness of the path we must take and it was here that I came to realize how my thoughts affect people. I also found that many things have happened in Japan to cause the general public to be less receptive to spiritual practices. Thus, this notion has developed in me and other that the Japanese people would not understand us. Yet, everyone is here for Dafa. My feeling is that the old forces did as they could to cause practitioners trouble everywhere.

Master said in "Teaching the FA at the 2004 International Fa Conference in New York":
"I remember that in the past the entire Asian region, and I'm not referring to Middle-Eastern countries or India, used Chinese characters or at least partially used them, since there were a lot of Chinese people there. The Chinese were doing business or even became government officials there, so there were quite a lot of Chinese schools, too. In the past, the Chinese language was widely used in the Asian region, whether in business or cultural exchanges. That made things quite easy. But the old forces were just intent on impeding the world's people from obtaining the Fa and at the same time creating adversity for me to do Fa-rectification."

The old forces damaged the situation in Asia to make things difficult. In my understanding it appears that they do not want people in Japan to obtain the Fa easily, either. However, that is only a surface obstacle. I think it truly depends on our hearts. A righteous heart can break through the barriers. We have seen many, many people in Japan that are receptive to us. People are waiting for the Fa all throughout the world. If I develop the notion that they will misunderstand due to the old forces arrangements, isn't that acknowledging the old forces? What we are telling people about is the Fa of the cosmos, not anything that is ordinary. Therefore it should touch them on a different level.

Master said in "Teaching the Fa at the 2004 International Fa Conference in New York": "The energy Dafa disciples carry as they cultivate and stick to righteous thoughts and actions, as well as the mighty virtue from their cultivation, have an additional effect."

I believe that when I treat myself as a practitioner, that is when supernormal things can manifest. The human notions are what interfere. Sending forth righteous thoughts can also clear away the obstacles interfering with those we speak to. When the thoughts are pure and righteous amazing things can manifest. One example of this is a practitioner in China who wanted to show a truth-clarification VCD to some people, but the VCD player did not have batteries. However, the righteous thoughts were so strong, the VCD player still played. Physical laws are limited by human wisdom as they were set forth by humans to explain the world as they see it. The "impossible" is only what is inconceivable to the human mind.

Strength of Mind, Strength of Heart
One day, a friend, who is not a practitioner, told me straight: "You are strong. Your heart is weak." It took an ordinary person telling me that to make me enlighten to it. Indeed, we have been blessed with everything and have powers that I cannot even comprehend, yet I still doubt myself. When conflicts arose and people said bad things about Dafa or refused to listen, I became sad and lost confidence in what I was doing. Aren't all of these obstacles tests for my xinxing? Meanwhile, if I have this gap isn't that exactly what the evil is looking to exploit? They make people and sentient beings turn bad just to achieve their goals. Since they deem our personal cultivation to be most important, they think they can test our attachments and arrange things to "test" us. But that is not for them to do. I have only one master. What they do interferes with what I should be doing and with me helping people. However, that problem came from my own attachments. If I had no attachments, there would be nothing to exploit.

I have been practicing Falun Dafa for over three years. In my time prior to going to Japan, I had become healthier, rarely experiencing sickness karma. However, in Japan, I lost my voice numerous times and experienced many cases of sickness karma. This night before I submitted a truth-clarification project I had been working on I woke up at 3 AM after experiencing wild and almost violent dreams. My body felt like it was burning up. I hadn't been able to eat anything for an entire day. My mind was racing, but it was not me that was thinking. I wanted it to stop, but it would not, so I could clearly see it was not me. I sent forth righteous thoughts, studied the Fa and read Clearwisdom. After some time, I was able to strengthen my main conscience and drive out the interference. My situation gradually improved.

I think this came about because I had not done well in any of the three things Master told us to do.
In "Teaching the Fa at the 2004 International Fa Conference in New York," a disciple asked:
"Some students don't participate in group study or exercises. Are those students at risk? How can we help them get rid of their fear?"

And Master answered: "I think that with newer students, you shouldn't be too hasty. It's all right for them to take their time. But you should try your best to advise them to take part in group study sessions, because the group study environment is indispensable for your helping each other improve, it is essential. Why, back early on, did I ask people to hold them? Because the form of cultivation that this Fa takes dictates that it be done this way. Why did the people in the past have to leave the secular world to cultivate? They knew there was a problem: when they were back in the secular world and interacted with ordinary people, they became like ordinary people and couldn't stay diligent. Moreover, they cultivated their subordinate souls. That is why they left the secular world and grouped themselves together. The cultivators could help each other improve and see how they compared with others, they always had things to share that were specific to cultivators, and they formed a cultivators' environment."

"Without that environment, then... think about it, it's the same with today's Dafa disciples: when you go back out there into ordinary society, you are in the environment of ordinary society. If you don't seize the day [to cultivate], then today you might feel like reading and so you read a little, but tomorrow you might get lazy and read less... so without that environment it's hard to stay diligent. After all, it's human beings who are cultivating. So with human laziness and all kinds of disturbances affecting people in this world, it's very hard for you to see on your own where you fall short. And in particular, if on top of that you aren't diligent, you don't read the book a lot, or you don't comprehend the Fa very well, you won't be able to see your attachments at all. That's why you have to participate in group study and exercises."

We are one body; therefore we are responsible for each other. When a practitioner doesn't do well, it reflects on all of us. However, if we just say some cold words and tell them they have attachments and need to go cultivate, that might push them down further. We are cultivators and we need to look inside when we receive criticism, but sometimes when we are at the low point, we need some support.

Several months ago, there was a practitioner who died. This pains me deeply because I was not able to help her. We went to the hospital to support her with righteous thoughts and studying the Fa. She was able to leave the hospital after that. Even if it was only a part of me, I felt a sense of relief that she had recovered. Instead, I should have felt a sense of urgency to help her more. I should have tried to setup a time to study and exercise with her, but I did not. I did not offer the help she needed to be pulled out of her dangerous situation.

In Japan, I felt like I hit a low point in my cultivation. One night, I was being assaulted by sickness karma. My nose started to bleed almost every twenty minutes. I felt worthless. Not knowing what else to do, I called another practitioner to discuss the situation. The support I received was tremendous. We studied the Fa together and I was able to strengthen my righteous thoughts. Soon I was able to overcome the hardship. If it hadn't been for the Practitioner's help, though, it may have taken me a longer and more painful time before coming out of it.

I feel like all of these issues revolve around being one body and cooperating well together. A fine example of this was the Pedals of Peace bicycle ride from Nagoya to Osaka. I cannot speak Japanese well and I speak Chinese even less. Yet with the combined efforts of many practitioners using their wisdom, the bicycle ride was success. There are so many examples of the power of cooperation and the harmony of Dafa. When the idea was first proposed it met with much resistance, but when the righteous thoughts were strong, it became a beacon that blazed a trail through Japan and united the practitioners from all over the country in a fortified unit.

My time in Japan flew by. I learned a lot, improved, and also saw where I need to do better. I know I could have helped Japan more and maybe in the future I can. I wish everyone there all the best and to strive forward together with diligence. Together is the word I want to emphasize, as that is the only way we can reach more people and have maximum impact.

In a little over three years I have changed so much. Cultivation then has progressed into cultivation now. I see that those so-called "low points" in my cultivation were actually the tests to see if I was determined to make it or not. The tests are opportunities to improve and hardships allow us to ascend.

Master told us: "The path for cultivating gong lies in one's heart. The boat to sail the boundless Dafa rides on hardships."

Three years later, Master's words from the first book I read continue to guide me to loftier realms of thought and selflessness. I hope I can do better and meet the standard of a Fa-rectification period Dafa disciple.

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