Notes of Cultivation: “Being Cleansed” (Part One)

– Looking Back on My Cultivation Journey
Tian Zhen

PureInsight | November 22, 2020


Over a month after I was released from a labor camp in 2013, I went with a fellow practitioner who was illegally arrested and jailed with me to the home of a local fellow practitioner auntie to get some truth clarification materials to hand out. Before being illegally arrested in 2011, I had contacted and cooperated with her one on one for many years. We made truth clarification materials together in each other’s homes, so I occasionally met other fellow practitioners at her home. This time I met a relatively young couple who were relatives of the local fellow practitioner. They were not cultivators, but they had already gotten to know the truth from the auntie and were very supportive of Dafa. The man seemed to be friendly and straightforward. The lady looked dignified and composed, talking and behaving in a peaceful and polite way. Everyone was sitting in the living room talking lively and happily. After greeting the couple, I barely said anything and mostly listened. About ten minutes later, the lady suddenly looked at me with a smile on her face and said, “You have very pure and clean eyes.” She sounded calm and certain. “Thank you!” I smiled back, feeling quite surprised and somewhat delighted.

On the way back to my place, I thought that if ordinary people could recognize my purity, then the gap between my realm and that of ordinary people must be notably huge. However, I was well aware that I should not harbor that sense of delight and that this was actually an opportunity for me to cultivate away another layer of zealotry. I knew that I was far from ultimate purity, and she was after all an ordinary person. I understood that ordinary people’s standards could not surpass their realm, and things in the human world that were considered pure might be extremely impure in the eyes of gods at average levels, much less by Dafa’s criteria. I was also wondering whether this was Master’s encouragement. I had this thought because I felt that her words did not seem to be consciously articulated on the surface; instead, Master might have used her mouth to encourage or test me. Rather than implying that I was already quite pure and had cultivated fairly well, this may had instead been a hint that I needed to further purify myself.

Years ago, a fellow practitioner read some experience sharing articles that I published on PureInsight and left a very short and simple comment that the articles were “pretty clean.” I assumed he meant that very few human attachments were mixed in, and there was nothing of the Party culture. However, I was well aware of my mentality during the process of writing those articles: I was indeed focused with very few human attachments most of the time and was in a purer state than normal, but occasionally attachments would emerge, especially the mentality of showing off — I assumed that I had outstanding talent and language mastery, possessed rigorous logical thinking, or gained in-depth understandings of certain Fa principles, and thus felt good about myself. This narcissism was sometimes mildly detectable and at other times so obvious that it made me itch. It was a mixture of showing off and zealotry, a “laughable and pitiable” mentality (Essentials for Further Advancement II, “Towards Consummation”). But I found that this attachment was sneaky as it offered a sense of delight in order to make me cling onto it. Fortunately, I was always on my guard and saw through it immediately.

However, I also found that just because I noticed it, it did not mean it completely disappeared. It would resurface later and still existed even after being suppressed and eliminated multiple times. It just became weaker and weaker. During the course of cultivation, as I have discovered through my own experiences, the process of attachments resurfacing and being eliminated is as follows: they gradually weaken instead of disappearing altogether. Once the attachment of zealotry appears, the selfish desire of self-validation may mix with the effort of validating the Fa. If one indulges the attachment, then one is disrespecting the Fa, which is nothing minor.

Upon taking a close look at my attachments and consciously seeing my impurities, I see the attachments I still have not completely relinquished and the interferences and losses caused by those attachments. I cannot imagine how far I still am from the standard of genuine purity in Master’s eyes!

I always deeply remember these words by Master in Explaining the Fa during the 2003 Lantern Festival at the U.S. West Fa Conference, “And at even higher levels, concepts like eliminating karma, enduring hardships, and cultivation no longer exist, and it's just a choice! This is the principle at high levels of the cosmos: you think someone is good enough, so you choose him – that's the principle… We just want to cleanse it, cleanse it step by step, all the way up. Cleanse it – it's as simple as that!”

We have been chosen by the Creator and fortunately became Fa-rectification period Dafa disciples being cleansed “step by step, all the way up.” We were endowed with the holy mission of assisting Master in Fa-rectification and saving sentient beings and will become the greatest beings in the cosmos. As a member and particle of the whole body of Dafa disciples, I have somehow come to understand, through my own cultivation experiences, how hard the process of “cleansing” can be. I have also had a tiny glimpse at the Creator’s great wisdom manifested during the process.

I was born quiet and introverted, totally disinterested in sports, and kept a distance from machinery and technology. I loved reading although I never read the evil CCP’s official newspapers. I enjoyed being lost in deep thought and had an extremely active internal world. When I was very young, I was filled with curiosity about the universe and pondered of my existence. I consciously and subconsciously explored answers to questions related to the ultimate purpose of life. Certain negative elements were forced into my mind and personality, which will be discussed later. As for my positive traits, this made me introspective and sensitive to internal change. This is a reason why I found it relatively easy to understand the Fa principle of looking within and felt that doing so was not difficult, especially during the early phase of my cultivation. I attached little importance to sentimentality and personal interest before cultivating in Dafa. I was honest, frank, and kind-hearted since childhood and refrained from competing against others. I found endurance easy. Of course, when I was still an ordinary person, I often had no choice but to endure and by no means had the heart of great forbearance in high realms. My main consciousness had always been very strong and rational, which made it easy for me to not be swayed by others or the environment. My attachments were pretty weak, and I had very few human notions, perhaps because in history I had already relinquished many human things through cultivation. In addition, my mentality was somehow largely Western, which might have meant that some traces of my memories of reincarnations in the West manifested while most were sealed off. I used to be really into traditional Western fine arts, and classical Western music had always deeply touched my heart. During the course of my English studies, I came into contact with many aspects of Western civilization. (Of course, at the early stage of my English studies, all the English texts I read were censored and even tampered by the evil regime. Thus, the essence of Western civilization, especially spiritual beliefs, had been removed.) More importantly, after many years of cultivation, barely any Party culture remained in my mind. Therefore, when I came to the Western world, there was no need for me to spend time adapting to society, be it the daily environment, people’s mindsets, or ways of interaction. Instead, I felt like I returned to another hometown in this human world, one that was apparently far more suitable compared to mainland China. So after reincarnating, obtaining the Fa, and then being tempered and forged in China, I came back to this hometown with blurred memories. I just had a really clear feeling, like what Master said, “Coming to this world is like staying over at a hotel, which we quickly leave after a short stint.” (The Ninth Talk in Zhuan Falun). A Western fellow practitioner said that judging by the way I talked and behaved, I was very much like an American. In fact, I felt that as a cultivator, I was neither like a Chinese person nor a Westerner.

Of course, I was an ordinary person before cultivation and since birth was immersed in all-pervasive evil Party culture and was brainwashed by the evil regime in school. Thus, I was inevitably contaminated by the Party culture and even believed some of the wicked theories that the evil Party trumpeted. However, as I was always protected by Master even back then, the contamination was actually very shallow. It was just like what Master said in Fa Teaching Given at the 2014 San Francisco Fa Conference, “No matter how mainland Chinese have been polluted, below the surface there is a film-like layer separating things, and once that is lifted, then the person beneath is revealed.”

It was already predetermined and arranged by Master in history for me to obtain the Fa, so the process of me obtaining the Fa came very “naturally” and happened quickly. In fact, every Dafa disciple’s predestined tie with the Fa and specific way of obtaining the Fa were long pre-arranged. Of course, our ways of obtaining the Fa differed since the specific arrangements were different, which is part of each individual’s cultivation journey. Before obtaining the Fa, I did not remember what I experienced in history and why I came to this world. Fortunately, that did not cause any trouble for me to obtain the Fa, and even the CCP Party culture that had contaminated me was not an obstacle. At the end of 1996, it was opportune for me to obtain the Fa. One day I met a newly retired colleague for the first time, and she introduced me to Dafa. I was very interested, happily accepted what she said, immediately borrowed Zhuan Falun from her, and started reading it with curiosity.

When I read the two paragraphs beginning with “Why can this be done for a practitioner, then?” and “The entire human society is on the same level” in the first part of Lecture One, I was stunned. The CCP Party culture notions in my mind completely evaporated in a split second — Master lifted the “film-like layer” for me, leaving not a trace. Strongly attracted to Zhuan Falun and totally focused on what I was reading at that moment, I did not even notice that the poison instilled in me by the evil specter was eliminated. I just thought, “Oh, my! This is how human beings came to earth, not by evolving from monkeys! I was fooled for so many years!” I felt like the truth of the cosmos was unfolding before me; it was vast and deep, breath-taking and soul-stirring. I realized that the window to the genuine and ultimate purpose of life was being opened for me. Elated and thrilled with hot energy roaring inside my body and sweat emitting from every pore, I could not help but exclaim in my heart, “Wow! Now I see! I bet I also fell from a high level in the cosmos. Then I must return through cultivation. I want to return to my origin!”

I was born badly near-sighted, but was otherwise healthy. I guess I had very little karma this lifetime because Master had thoroughly eliminated my karma in previous lifetimes. So when I started cultivating, I had perfect health except for the bad vision. When the fellow practitioner introduced me to Dafa, I did not have any mindset of improving my health through cultivation practice. Thus, my reason for starting cultivation was not for healing and fitness. I later came to understand through Zhuan Falun that cultivating in Dafa would purify my body to be genuinely free of disease. Since the beginning of my cultivation, I had never gone through any significant sickness karma, except in the form of minor cold symptoms. I also did not start cultivating for other reasons like feeling unappreciated or seeking spiritual comfort as I did not pursue fame and fortune even before cultivation. In a short time, I recognized Dafa and was determined to cultivate in Dafa completely because I enlightened from Dafa’s principles shortly after reading Zhuan Falun. I realized that the ultimate and sole purpose of my life in this human world was to cultivate in Dafa and return to my origin. Therefore, human attachments could not interfere with me, and my starting point for cultivation was not in the wrong place. Of course, this is just my perspective.

Being selected by the Creator; following the Creator and ascending with other gods layer by layer in the firmament; reincarnating and suffering in the human world and history, seeking the Fa, waiting for the Fa… on the human surface, I could not remember any of this. My knowing side was aware of everything, yet my human side seemed to be asleep. I was not sleeping too soundly and could be easily awakened. When Dafa started unfolding before me, I woke up immediately. Of course, it was not a complete awakening but just the very beginning. I believe that the process of complete awakening is the process of cultivation, the process of being “cleansed,” and the process of fulfilling the mission of assisting Master in Fa-rectification and saving sentient beings.

When I had newly obtained the Fa, my human side felt that I was supposed to cultivate in Dafa to return to my origin. It was totally unaware that I was chosen by the Creator; unaware that everything was already pre-arranged; unaware that the Creator had been using His boundless wisdom to renew the cosmos and the firmament, to “cleanse” and salvage the countless old beings; also unaware that Fa-rectification cultivation would begin soon wherein I would face ruthless tests of life and death; surely unaware that Dafa disciples shouldered such a tremendous and holy mission; and of course unaware that years later when I looked back, I would face such a cultivation journey!


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