Dear Master Li,
My last year of cultivation was a turbulent one. I would like to think, and I do hope, that I genuinely cultivated -cultivated with an enthusiasm and with the heart when I first stepped in Dafa. I am sure that I could have done better, I could have looked inside more and I could have been more diligent. I stumbled many times, but after all I was always able to get up and continue my journey, for which I am very grateful.
I would like to share with you three understandings I acquired amidst tribulations. They are on the topic of cultivation and looking inside.
The roots of the attachments
In the beginning of my cultivation I made a decision: The things I don't understand, I don't understand, when and if I have to understand them, I will understand them. But what I did understand from the beginning was that I should look inside and eliminate my attachments, and so I took the decision that this was what I should focus on.
From those words I understand some principles - one of them being to focus on what you are responsible for and to leave what you are not responsible for to the people who are. So I understood that I am responsible for and should focus on looking inside, eliminating attachments and elevating xinxing.
For instance, at present I still don't understand the structure of the cosmos, but I choose not to focus on that but rather on how to elevate my xinxing. For example, to become even more diligent I look inside, to find that I have attachments which are interfering with me from doing so. As I really wanted to eliminate them, I understood that I should track them down to the root, to the origin, and cut them from there. To understand what they are doing and why they are there in the first place.
Amidst tribulations, like me behaving not the way I really want to and the way a Dafa disciple should, I've looked inside. Also, fellow practitioners helped me tremendously, for which I am grateful. For example, when I see a conflict I am not involved in, I still find it important to look inside, and to some degree I am able to observe not only others’ attachments but also and most importantly mine.
In Zhuan Falun, Lecture 3, Master says:“From the high-level perspective, one’s life is not meant for being human. Because one’s life is created in the space of the universe, it is assimilated to Zhen-Shan-Ren, the characteristic of the universe. Its nature is kind and benevolent. Nonetheless, after the number of lives increases, a social relationship forms. As a result, some people become selfish or bad and cannot stay at very high levels.“
From those words I understood that probably our life didn't begin here in this place. And that with the passing of the time we became selfish; this particular selfishness is the key for one going up or down through the levels. But then I ask myself the question, why? Why did I become selfish?
Master says: “The Fa's law of formation-stasis-degeneration-destruction created all of the elements, matter, and life in the old cosmos, and at the same time established the Fa's law that everything would degenerate. That's the deterioration from within of all of the elements that make up the cosmos, manifesting itself among the beings as the degeneration of the standard of thoughts and conduct, and once they decline to a certain point they're unsalvageable, and from there they head towards the final stage of destruction.” (Fa-Lecture During the 2003 Lantern Festival at the U.S. West Fa Conference)
From this, my understanding is that as I am a being from the old cosmos and as such I was under the Fa law of formation-stasis-degeneration-destruction. And it is very likely that I became selfish long before I came here. And the attachments in this human world are just manifestations of that same selfishness. The attachments themselves are not the root, they are just the symptom. I should eliminate the selfishness that I acquired before coming here! I found that this is not an easy task and I can't do it overnight, as it has been within me, the real me, for more time than it can be tracked. But nevertheless the standard for the new cosmos is very high and I want to cover it.
The second topic I want to share about is tightly connected with attachments and selfishness. As I want to eliminate selfishness, I am looking to find what is the opposite. In human terms the opposite of selfishness is altruism.
In Zhuan Falun I've read: “We have also said that if every one of us cultivates his inner self, examines his own xinxing to look for the causes of wrongdoing so as to do better next time, and considers others first when taking any action, human society would become better and ethical standards would again rise.“(Zhuan Falun, Lecture 9)
For me the opposite of selfishness is to think of and consider others first. To think of and care about them before I think about myself.
During our being kidnapped in Serbia and afterwards, I had quite a few tests. And some of them were about sacrifice. One can sacrifice a lot of things in this setting: comfort, freedom... For instance, one of these tests occurred while we were put in the black vans, knowing nothing, not knowing where we were going and why we were being detained. While traveling in pitch black we decided that we were going to send righteous thoughts until we got wherever they were taking us. While sending the righteous thoughts I had some strong experiences, one of them was the test of life and death. And it was in the form of sacrifice. The ultimate sacrifice, would I give my life to save another? This was not new for me, as I had it before and I had been able to pass it.
But few months after we came home I had another test on this matter. In a sense it was scarier test for me, one that I hadn't encountered before. It was very hard for me. and it was frightening, no doubt the scariest thing I can imagine.
And for me that was the biggest test so far on whether I can let go of the 'self' or not.
Faith and cooperation
I came to the understanding that without faith, unwavering, unconditional, unquestionable faith in Master, everything will be stagnant, shaky and groundless. But that's not what I want to share about. I want to share about the faith in fellow Dafa practitioners.
Master says: “Just think for a moment about what it was like for a divine being to come to this world and be human. Wouldn’t he have been aware of what the human world would be like? It is perilous and terrible. And yet he had the courage to forgo his divine status and take the leap, coming here and turning human. So just on the merit of this alone Dafa disciples should save him. These beings are just like you Dafa disciples, who managed to come here and take on such tremendous missions and responsibilities. Could you not have known what would become of this setting? It would have been hard to imagine saving people when you yourself might have even been ruined here. And yet you came. And they did the same.“ (Fa Teaching Given at the 2015 New York Fa Conference)
My understanding is that a great, unimaginable responsibility was bestowed upon Dafa practitioners. This alone brings out an immense respect from me to those who can shoulder that responsibility today. For those who stepped up and jumped here in this realm, and now are walking this path as this includes ordinary humans as well.
Also for me it is not unthinkable that we gave vows to each other before jumping here. We promised to help each other, if someone falls - to help him stand up. Today amidst this rough place, amidst everyday conflicts, I may forget this sometimes. But isn't that actually the help? Creating all those supposed conflicts so attachments can surface and so they can be seen and eliminated? Isn't this a tremendous help already?
And if those great beings have faith in us, Dafa disciples, shouldn't we have faith too? I even think that Master by granting us this honour, trusts us, believes in us. Then shouldn't we even have more faith in each other?
This faith allowed me to cooperate even better! All I need to know is that this practitioner is responsible for this. That's all! I don't have to follow him around or always have him in mind. Even if he fails, most of the times nothing extreme will happen and together, only together we can make up for it.
This builds trust among us. Which then leads to an even more genuine environment. Where sharing with open heart is a daily thing. Without the fear of being so called 'attacked'. And all this leads to a great deal of support and most of all – cooperation.
I have faith in you my fellow practitioners. I trust you. I cherish you. Thank you!
And I would like to conclude with those words from Master. I wished to add them here for myself maybe, to remind myself and to never forget them.
“Divine beings see it like this: a person’s behaviour and how something turns out in the end are what truly represents that person as a being, rather than what he says, which might be at odds with what he does. That’s how high-level beings view things.” (Fa Teaching Given at the 2015 New York Fa Conference)
I have no words to really thank you Master! And to thank you, fellow practitioners.
I tried to the best of my abilities to write this sharing free of attachments and as clean as possible, but I'm ashamed as I know I have them and therefore please accept my apologies. Please point out if you find anything inappropriate.
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