How to Pass the Test of Life and Death

A Dafa Disciple in Mainland China

PureInsight | October 26, 2009

[] A few days ago, I learned that a local practitioner had developed serious sickness karma and that the situation has lasted quite a long time. Many fellow practitioners have gone to his place to send forth righteous thoughts for him, but his condition has not improved. This practitioner has lost confidence in cultivation and has even thought of committing suicide. The practitioners who had gone to help him were also frustrated when seeing that he had not improved. Fellow practitioners said that this might be his test of life and death. The most crucial thing is that he should maintain righteous thoughts. I have heard about several such cases. The sickness karma lasted for a long time for these practitioners, with some unable to pass the test of sickness karma and even losing their lives.

I was quite upset upon hearing this. In one way, I understand the difficulty of fellow practitioners regarding tribulations. However, I am also thinking about another issue: Why is it that we don’t take our personal cultivation seriously every day? Why do we accumulate tribulations to such a great amount that we cannot pass them unless we let go of life and death? We do experience the test of life and death during cultivation, but Master is very compassionate. Master has made systematic arrangements according to our xinxing (heart-nature) levels, step by step dividing our karma into many smaller portions. As long as we truly want to pass it, we are able to pass it, and at the same time, eliminate our karma and raise our xinxing. As long as we are strict with ourselves in raising our xinxing with each test and tribulation, it is actually not difficult to pass the final test of life and death. Since our xinxing would have already reached a high level, the test of life and death is merely a tribulation a little greater than what we normally endure for our particular levels. Therefore, as long as we can raise our xinxing, we should be able to pass it without suffering too much. Master has also mentioned in Zhuan Falun:

“These are all your own tribulations that we use to improve your xinxing, and you will be able to overcome them. As long as you upgrade your xinxing, you can overcome them. Unless you, yourself do not want to do so, you can make it, provided you want to overcome them.”

However, it becomes dangerous when we are not strict with ourselves and do not look inward when encountering issues. When unresolved, the tests and tribulations accumulate one after another. The karma also accumulates little by little, eventually becoming large. When it manifests in this human world, it might take the form of serious illness karma that emerges suddenly, a practitioner being arrested by the evil and persecuted in prison, a serious financial crisis, or something else unexpected. When a tribulation manifests, you might feel like the sky is falling and you are unable to pass it at your level. Some cultivators may even go over to the opposite side in despair. Some practitioners have been unable to pass major tribulations that suddenly emerged, even though they have continued doing the three things. Other practitioners would also wonder, “Why can’t he make it?” It is exactly because his xinxing cannot break through to such a high level. Master has also mention in “Teaching the Fa in San Francisco, 2005:

“When you meet with a little bit of hardship or a little something here and there, you can't make it through. And when eventually it accumulates to a very large amount, it becomes a major test, and that test is one you can't pass without letting go of [the attachment to your] life. What could be done, then? The tribulation could even become so great that you couldn't even things out even if you did let go of [that attachment to your] life. The old forces wouldn't let you make it through, and your righteous thoughts wouldn't be strong enough. You tell me what could be done.”

In contrast, some practitioners who have been steadily doing the three things were not persecuted. Some were arrested but were able to get out of prison with righteous thoughts without being persecuted. They were able to do this because their xinxing was already at that level. Although they encountered tribulations, they were able to overcome the situation. However, in this human dimension, everything seems quite normal. Such practitioners are usually those who take their personal cultivation very seriously. I have met several such practitioners and understand that their major characteristic is that they always look inward. No matter what kind of problems they encounter, they always say that they did not do well or that it is due to their attachments. They therefore keep improving little by little. After cultivating this way for years, their xinxing becomes very stable. They have passed many tests, and they do not accumulate so much karma that it becomes a huge tribulation of life and death for them. Even though sometimes they may also encounter a tribulation because they have notions that were taken advantage of by the old forces, they can easily dissolve it because of their solid foundation in cultivation. This is something that cannot be achieved unless we pay attention to every small detail throughout our cultivation.

Here is an example: A veteran practitioner in our area had cancer before she obtained the Fa, but she recovered after beginning cultivation. Master said in Zhuan Falun:

…the life prolonged beyond your predestined time to live is completely reserved for your cultivation.”

This practitioner has been very diligent, not just in her Fa study, but also in doing the exercises and the three things. One of her noblest characteristics is that she never complains to others when encountering problems. Instead, she looks inside to find what she may have done wrong. So, after many years, she has steadfastly walked her path. She has not encountered any major tribulations or illness karma that affected her doing the three things, and the environment around her has been very good. Although, the practitioners around her say that her cultivation is very stable, she doesn’t have the mentality of showing off. She always places herself among Dafa disciples and recognizes that all her abilities can only manifest when she is within the Fa and adhering to the arrangements made by Master. This elderly woman appears to be a common person in this human world, but she is very precious when viewed from the perspective of a cultivator.

Some practitioners say that we are now in the Fa rectification period and that Master has not arranged any tests for our personal cultivation at all. They would use the excuse of negating the arrangements of the old forces for not cultivating their xinxing, and they treat all the problems they encounter as the arrangement of the old forces. Why is it like this? During the Fa rectification period, Master does not recognize any of the old forces’ arrangements. However, the arrangements of the old forces indeed exist. In order to not to be taken advantaged of by the old forces, we should look inward more strictly and truly work on our xinxing. We can walk the path arranged by Master only if we can truly discard all our attachments. Otherwise, if we just pay lip service to negating the old forces’ arrangements and don’t let go of the attachments within our hearts, the old forces will still persecute us. For example, Master has the requirement for us:

“I have often said that as a person cultivating in a righteous Fa, the first thing you must achieve is to not fight back when being punched or insulted.” (“Teaching the Fa at the Fa Conference in Australia”)

However, some fellow practitioners still cannot meet this requirement. Some are able to make it on the surface. However, they cannot let it go in their hearts.

A practitioner visited me today, repeatedly complaining to me how unreasonable her mother was. She criticized her mother for doing this and that wrong, and she felt mistreated. After I heard that, I really felt sad that she was still commenting on the right or wrong of specific things after having cultivated for more than ten years. How could she continue like that? If she cannot pass these minor tests and tribulations and cannot upgrade her xinxing, how will she be able to pass the next test? How will she manage if the tests and tribulations further accumulate? The old forces can only strengthen our attachments and enlarge them. They keep enlarging the attachments and eventually deal you a fatal blow. Some practitioners are then unable to pass the tests. Many of those who have gone to the opposite side or enlightened along an evil path have problems in this regard. I have witnessed such examples.

I knew a fellow practitioner in my hometown who became involved in printing truth clarification materials in 2002. However, she did not walk her path well in using money. It was said that she used the money donated by fellow practitioners for printing materials to improve her own life. Having met this practitioner twice, during our conversation, I found that she had a strong mentality of jealousy and was very self-centered. When other practitioners found out that she had misused the money, they no longer allowed her to print any more materials. Later, she printed materials at another place and was arrested by the police. After writing a “Guarantee Statement” (a pledge to stop practicing Falun Gong), she was released, but then developed serious illness karma. She sold all of her assets to raise money for her medical treatments. At that time, her tribulations were already very large, but she still would not look inward and was not enlightened to the issue. Eventually, it was extremely difficult for her to pass the tribulations. With compassionate hearts, fellow practitioners went to visit her, but she started to curse Master and Dafa. In the end, she passed away. She left Dafa due to the persecution of the old forces. It was really very sad!

The reason that I wrote this article is because in the past I also did not pay serious attention to my personal cultivation with each test and tribulation. I eventually encountered the test of life and death and went over to the opposite side of Dafa. After committing serious wrongdoings, I started to wake up and returned to cultivation. The process of returning to Dafa is extremely difficult, but I was able to make it through at last. The lesson was very hard. Now, I wouldn’t dare to slack off in my personal cultivation and don’t dare to take cultivation lightly anymore. Now, no matter what I encounter, I insist on looking inward, and at the same time, treat others more kindly. Of course, I also don’t dare to slack off in doing the three things either. To those fellow practitioners who are in the midst of tribulations, please don’t be too anxious or frustrated. Even though you may not be able to pass the tribulation with your current xinxing level, you will be able to make it one day as long as you can be strict with yourself from now on, be tolerant when encountering problems, and at the same time look inward. Improve little by little, and don’t lose faith in yourself. Trust that Dafa can help you let go of all of your attachments.

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