Removing All Elements that Impede Our Advancement in Cultivation

Teacher's recent article, "The Closer to the End, the More Diligent You Should Be" again reminds us of our lack of diligence in self-cultivation. After looking inside myself, I would like to share with you how the following areas have been affecting me.

1. The Weekend is Coming, Relax

Prior to 1999, when Falun Dafa was banned by the Chinese government, my workload had been rather light and I had plenty of time for Falun Gong exercise and study of the Falun Gong teachings. However, in 2001, although my workload still remained about the same, we had lost the cultivation environment where we often practiced together in large groups. In addition, frequent "illegal arrests" of many Dafa (same as in Falun Dafa) practitioners by the authorities heightened our fear, and hence group Fa1-study and practise became a rare occurrence. Obviously, it was loopholes in my cultivation that offered the old forces opportunities to interfere and I was transferred to a post where I had to devote virtually 24 hours a day to properly carry out my duties. Even when I was not at work, my mind was still on the job. By the time I had realised the seriousness of my predicament, it was too late to regret it. Under this circumstance, I was hoping to catch up with my Fa-study, exercises, righteous thoughts, and efforts to clarify the truth during the weekend. But, when weekends arrived, the thought of "I need to relax" again dominated my mind. I did what a non-practitioner would do - window shopping, looking for entertainment, etc. My attempts to steer myself back onto the right path failed every time. Only recently did I realise that those distractions themselves were tangible matter - they were things that have life, clinging on to me and making it difficult to shun them. I finally realised that I had to remove those things before I could become free to properly carry out the three things stipulated by Teacher.

2. Feeling Inferior and Making Excuses for Slacking Off in Cultivation

All along, the old forces have been trying to find ways and means of weakening Falun Dafa practitioners' righteous thoughts. As soon as a practitioner realises that he has done something wrong, they will try to magnify his fault, make him feel guilty and discourage him from practising. As time goes by, the person will further develop a feeling that he is not worthy to learn the Fa, not worthy to be a messenger of the truth, and slowly begin neglecting his practise. This typical form of "feeling inferior" seriously affects one's cultivation, and stops one from advancing. We need to keep up with our righteous thoughts all the time and must not allow "feeling inferior" to be an excuse for our lack of diligence.

3. Hurting Others and Damaging Ourselves with Unrefined Language

When one does not refine one's spoken language, one often hurts others unwittingly. Often, a person who speaks may not mean what he says, but the person who listens will take offence. When that happens, the environment will become tense, directly affecting one's emotions. This often happens when people start to joke. At first, the jokes are clean. But, when everyday people's corrupted notions creep in, the jokes begin to change flavor. They soon become cynical, infuriating, and ridiculing. The worst thing is when 'adult' jokes enter into the conversation, which greatly spoils a Falun Dafa practitioners' image. These jokes not only hurt others, but also damage us. When one becomes aware of the consequences of their wrong words, one will feel unworthy as a Dafa disciple, and this in turn will lead to "feeling inferior," the state of mind mentioned above.

4. Seeking Repayment for our Good Deeds

If an everyday person can repay an offence with kindness, a practitioner should be able to do even better. In our everyday lives, normally when one gives something, one seeks repayment. When one does not get repayment, one feels angry, bears a grudge and becomes agitated. A little boy of a close relative was boarding with us. I like the boy because of his innocent behaviour, and I devoted a lot of attention and care to him. I felt that I was doing it unselfishly, and was not asking for anything back. However, as time went by, I noticed that the boy had a lot of bad habits. When I tried to steer him back onto the right path, the boy began to avoid me, and sometimes even lied to me. I was rather upset by his response and told my friends that I was neither doing it for myself, nor asking for any return. I only wanted him to be honest with me. In fact, I did not realise that this too was an attachment.

5. Neglecting Details Causes Interference with Cultivation Advancement

To get to the root of it, the cause of my own lack of diligence is a lack of in-depth understanding of the Fa, resulting in the failure to evaluate and assess everything with the Fa as the standard of reference.

Teacher says in Zhuan Falun:

"As practitioners, you will suddenly come across conflicts. What should you do? You should always maintain a heart of compassion and kindness. Then, when you run into a problem, you will be able to do well because it gives you room to buffer the confrontation. You should always be benevolent and kind to others and consider others when doing anything. Whenever you encounter a problem, you should first consider whether others can put up with this matter or if it will hurt anyone. In doing so, there will not be any problems. Therefore, in cultivation practice you should follow a higher and higher standard for yourself."

Recently, an article entitled "Human or Divine," written by a fellow practitioner, gave us another warning. How can we not hurry up and be diligent in our practise?

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