Walking Steadily on the Path of Cultivation with Strong Righteous Thoughts
Experience sharing from the 2009 Canada Fa Conference
[PureInsight.org] Walking steadily on the cultivation path that Master has arranged for us is a responsibility Falun Dafa practitioners must do well. The things we do and the thoughts we have affect the sentient beings around us and may play an important role in whether they can be saved and have a chance to enter the new cosmos.
Master said in “Fa Teaching at the 2007 New York Fa Conference:”
“Right now, one important thing that needs to be attended to is the matter of how to save more sentient beings, and it is something Dafa disciples are to accomplish during their current process of achieving Consummation. This is Dafa disciples' mission, a duty that cannot be shirked, something that they must do and must complete.”
Cultivating well, having strong righteous thoughts and doing the three things well that Master has told us to do: studying the Fa, sending forth righteous thoughts, and clarifying the truth, are things every practitioner must accomplish.
For several years after I began cultivation I held a human notion that time was limited so I had to make compromises. Both work and family placed demands upon my time, and then there were so many things that needed to be done in the Fa-rectification that I felt I couldn’t do everything that needed to be done. As a result I was studying the Fa very little each day, and I would go long periods without doing the exercises. I justified this by telling myself that this was because I was so busy doing things to clarify the truth in order to save sentient beings.
I felt I was sacrificing myself to save more sentient beings. I felt I would spend more of my time doing things that would save sentient beings and that Master would help me where I fell short in my cultivation. But this is a principle that doesn’t meet the standard of a Falun Dafa practitioner in the Fa-rectification period. As I reflect back, I believe now that it was following the arrangements of the old forces and not following Master’s arrangements. When our cultivation state is poor, our righteous thoughts are weak and we can’t have the effect of saving sentient beings, but when our righteous thoughts are strong, that is when we can truly have the effect of saving sentient beings.
At one point several years ago, I was involved in the Epoch Times, NTDTV and many other projects to clarify the truth and save sentient beings. My cultivation state was exceedingly poor but I thought I was doing okay. Even though I looked inside, I couldn’t see the attachments that were causing so many problems because I wasn’t able to look at myself from the Fa’s perspective.
When the English Epoch Times was first starting, I was helping with a bit of coordination, and I found I was always involved in a lot of arguments with other practitioners about how the newspaper should be managed. Many times my conduct was not at all like that of a practitioner. In addition, the things we needed to coordinate with the municipal government were very rocky, mainly because of misunderstandings and miscommunication. My own poor cultivation state had contributed quite a bit to arguments over the management of the newspaper and arguments with the municipal government over where we could distribute our paper.
I had many very strong attachments, and because I wasn’t cultivating well, I wasn’t able to recognize them, so they kept growing larger. There was a point about four years ago where everything fell apart all of a sudden. I stepped back from the English Epoch Times. My involvement with NTDTV changed quite a bit. My business partner decided he wanted to go in a different direction, so he took the business and I was without a job. My family situation was extremely tense. Then I got hit with sickness karma that left me in extreme pain and so weak I could barely get out of bed.
I was very strongly attached to wanting money, even though I told myself I wanted it for Dafa projects. As a result, I lost my business and my job. I was very strongly attached to wanting to play an important role among practitioners, which was a desire to validate myself rather than a desire to validate the Fa. As a result, I suddenly found myself hardly involved in any projects. Worse, because I hadn’t done well, I felt a lot of practitioners felt they couldn’t trust me anymore, so I felt very separated from practitioners and alone.
I spent months at home in extreme pain. My family wanted me to go to the hospital, but I refused. My wife at that time was not supportive of Dafa and couldn’t understand what I was doing. My physical condition became very poor to the point that my family members thought I would pass away within a matter of weeks. Practitioners were very worried.
In this time, I studied the Fa a lot and did the exercises regularly. I felt very calm inside and despite my physical condition felt very confident that I would be alright. As I studied and looked at myself, I knew it was possible that I had made an arrangement in the past to leave early. But I also knew that no one could force me to do anything that would cause interference in the Fa-rectification. I refused to acknowledge anything of the old forces and firmly believed in Master.
Each day I was in so much pain that I couldn’t bear it and I had to ask Master to help me. One night I was having some physical difficulty and I knew in my heart that this was it, one way or another, this was it. I thought about why this was happening. I realized that so much pain had been put on me and I had turned around and come to a point where I could bear it. Then so much more pain had been put on me and I had sort of stabilized where I could bear it. Then more was added and I would ask Master for help and I could bear it. I realized that the old forces could just keep putting more and more pain on me and drive me lower and lower, but what did it mean? Nothing. What were they trying to accomplish? They were trying to make it so difficult for me that I would give up cultivation. At that moment, I got really angry and I ripped my hat off my head and threw it on the ground and said I will never give up. I will never quit. Never.
Through Fa study, I had strengthened my righteous thoughts enough that I could reject the arrangements of the old forces in this way, which was one part. The other part was that I was able to be more diligent and conduct myself better. I found many thoughts that I had toward my wife that were not righteous, and not thoughts that a practitioner should have. When I realized those thoughts were not my true thoughts and not me—that was when I noticed big changes in my physical condition. I recovered fully within a matter of several weeks.
In the past four years, I’ve gone through this kind of physical tribulation several times. I think it has been four times. Even though each time the sickness karma has been fairly similar, I’ve changed quite a lot. I struggle with being diligent, maintaining a clean and pure mind, sending forth righteous thoughts at set times, truly studying the Fa, doing the exercises and clarifying the truth. Each of those things is the best thing and none of them are difficult to do, but still I struggle to be diligent with them.
Earlier in the spring I went through this sickness karma again. I spent a week where I couldn’t get out of bed and do the exercises. I wouldn’t accept the arrangements of the old forces. As I looked at myself and tried to understand where I fell short, I realized that I had been studying with my son secretly, when my wife wasn’t home, and that this wasn’t right. Again my thoughts toward her were not righteous. I spoke with her about it and told her that our son wanted to study Zhuan Falun, and she came around and said that she wouldn’t do anything to interfere.
Master has told us that our path is very narrow. The only way to keep on our path and to do well the things we need to do is to keep strong righteous thoughts. I have fallen short in many ways and at many times. I’ve stumbled a lot. Looking back, I realize also at my own level how compassionate Gods and Buddhas are when they arrange for people to suffer. The suffering practitioners have gone through to improve their Xinxing and upgrade themselves is precious.
I recently went back to the English Epoch Times to help write articles. My hope is that if I can write well that it will contribute towards lifting the esteem people have for our newspaper. The more people trust what we write and look to our paper, the more they will have a correct perspective and a better opportunity to have a good future. My understanding at this time is that this is the best thing I can do to save sentient beings.
In Zhuan Falun it says:
“If something is not within the scope of a time-field, it is not restricted by that time. In other dimensions, the concepts of time-space are different from ours here. How can the time here regulate matter from other dimensions?”
At my level, my understanding is that despite having to do so many things at this time, we are able to handle work, family and saving sentient beings. We are able to do all of these things if we do them with righteous thoughts and follow Master’s arrangements. When I look at myself, I don’t do the three things Master has asked us to do well enough. There are imperfections. I find that where I fall short is not because of a lack of time, it is always because of a lack of diligence. Lacking diligence is directly connected to lacking strong righteous thoughts.
The things practitioners have to do right now are critical for sentient beings and we must not fail. We can do all of the things we need to do—whether they are family responsibilities, work responsibilities or clarifying the truth. For myself, I find I have to pick myself up, dig a little deeper and try again. Stepping forward steadily on the path of Fa-rectification is being firm about doing what is most righteous.