I just want to share a few things that I recently realized. I discovered I had been unknowingly following a path arranged by the old forces. If I had continued down this road it would have ultimately lead me to turn against Dafa, ruining the vows I made so long ago. Fortunately, Master was still watching over me and had been giving me hints all along. Finally, before I reached a point of no return, I realized what was happening to me, and turned back to the correct path. I am a young practitioner in my early twenties. I have many skills among ordinary people that I have put to use in various Fa-rectification projects. I always made sure to diligently study and put my whole heart into cultivation. I never would have imagined I could be following the old forces arrangements or that I could ever turn my back on Dafa. But for a long period of time I kept finding myself falling into states of depression. I knew something was wrong and searched within whenever this happened, but I could never truly discover what was causing it. It got to the point where even when I wasn’t in a despondent state, I was anxious and fearful over when I would ultimately fall back into it, this cycle happened very frequently.
It felt like I was mired in mud. Every time I managed to pull myself out of it a bit, something would come along and just push me right back down again. I struggled with balancing my everyday person’s business and my Dafa work. With my energy spent, I began to feel like my burden was too much to carry. I felt like I didn’t have any righteous thoughts left. Without realising it, I became like the Buddha worshipper in Zhuan Falun, who prays to the Buddha to help him with his problems. When his praying doesn’t work, he gets angry and throws the Buddha statue to the ground and loses everything. Slowly, over time, I began having negative thoughts about Dafa: “What’s the point of the exercises? All they do is take up two hours of my day, which I could use to get more work done, and I never notice any change.” Eventually I began thinking, “Studying [Fa] doesn’t help either. I’ve been practising for so many years now and I’m still exactly the same as I was when I first started out (which isn’t true, but these sort of thoughts aren’t based on rationality).” I realised I was becoming angry with Master. I was trying so hard, but nothing was changing. “Did Master abandon me? Maybe none of it is real.” I went to bed tired, sad, and dejected.
In the morning, I woke up and read on Clearwisdom.net a sharing by a practitioner called, “The Old Forces Drag Me Through Life and Death Test Because of Lust and Other Attachments”, which saved me from destroying myself. Early in the sharing, there is a quote from “Teaching and Explaining the Fa at the Metropolitan New York Fa Conference”:
“Even when an ordinary person shouts out ‘Falun Dafa is good’ today, Master will protect him, since he's shouted those words I can't not protect him amidst the evil. And how much more so am I protecting you cultivators!”
My first thought upon reading this was, “I don’t get it. I’m a cultivator, but I’m not being protected and I can certainly say ‘Falun Dafa is…’” And I realized I couldn’t say it. Of course Falun Dafa is good! I’ve been cultivating for years. I’ve experienced so much during that time, why couldn’t I say it?! Then I saw clearly what had happened and what the old forces had arranged for me.
It started several months ago, although the seeds of it were in the attachments that I carried with me from the beginning. I was dating another young practitioner at the time. One day she came to me in tears and told me that a few other practitioners we were working with had told her that I was cheating on her and planning to break up with her. To this day I still don’t know why they told her those things. It was completely untrue. She wouldn’t tell me who they were, which was wise of her because I had no control over my anger at the time and was using some very colourful language to describe whomever they were. I eventually cooled down but the rumours apparently still continued. Over time she became more and more emotional and depressed, until she drifted away from everyone, made some big mistakes and quit practising (although since then she has taken up cultivation again.)
At the time I was very calm. I saw it was clearly the old forces trying to stir up trouble and create barriers between practitioners. I was determined to forgive the practitioners who started the rumours, because for whatever reason they did it, they probably thought they were doing what was right. I was steadfast that I wouldn’t let the situation stop me from cultivating or interfere with my Dafa work. I was even proud of myself for so clearly seeing what was happening and not allowing myself to be moved. Although one practitioner had fallen, I wouldn’t let the old forces’ plan take me down too. But that wasn’t what the old forces had planned for me. It was much more subtle, something I wasn’t prepared for.
Despite my best efforts to avoid it, I had lingering bitterness after this situation and I let my image of practitioners be tarnished. Over the next several months I was made to see more and more cases of practitioners getting into conflicts, sometimes acting worse than everyday people. Slowly but sure I was beginning to have anger towards others in my heart. I was beginning to think that Chinese practitioners are such and such and Western practitioners behave like this, the practitioners in this project just don’t have the right idea, and practitioners are so hypocritical. I was just making generalisations that didn’t really have any connection to any specific people, just developing a broad, ever growing sense of resentment and animosity. I stopped thinking practitioners were good.
It’s no wonder I wasn’t able to say, “Falun Dafa is good” if I didn’t think the particles of Dafa were good. It’s no wonder I was continually depressed. If I hate practitioners, don’t I also hate myself? I came to realise that it never was a problem with other practitioners, but a problem with myself. Master has often used boats and sailing as a metaphor for cultivation. I had a vision of myself alone in a tiny boat on turbulent waters. But rather than trying to find my way back to the fleet, I was in a rage, tearing apart my own ship.
I never considered lust to be much of an issue for me. I’ve never engaged in premarital sex, nor have I ever been tempted to, so I never paid too much attention to it. But now looking back, I realise that lust is a big problem for me. I did not handle myself properly with my practitioner girlfriend. We mostly made out and never studied together.
In “Teaching the Fa in the City of Los Angeles” in 2006, Master said:
“What do the old forces and the old cosmos see as the gravest thing? Lust, [in the form of] sexual activity outside of marriage. That's what they see as the most serious of things. In the past, once someone violated the precept on that, he would be thrown out of the temple, and his cultivation would be utterly finished. So how do gods look at this now? Do you know what they have said in the prophecies that they left behind? They prophesied that all of the Dafa disciples who would be left in the end would be those who had maintained their purity along these lines. In other words, these things are extremely serious to them. So the old forces and all of the gods in that cosmos will not defend anyone who violates the prohibition on this, anyone who doesn't do well in this regard; in fact they will push you downwards. They know [and think to themselves], ‘Li Hongzhi, you won't abandon your disciples, so we will make you abandon them.’ That's why they have the students who have made mistakes make more mistakes, over and over, and in the end do wicked things and go to the opposite side. ‘We will fill his head with crooked understandings and make him damage Dafa. Then we will see if you still keep him.’ And you know, that is what they have done. Do you think all those who have ‘enlightened’ along an evil path really wanted to go toward evilness? There are reasons behind all of that.”
I realised that was exactly what was happening to me! It was slow. It took months. But by the end I could clearly see that the path I was on would lead me to turn against Dafa. I was gradually beginning to turn against Master and my fellow practitioners, all because I made mistakes with lust. I feel like Master pulled me out of the abyss just in time.
I could feel the old forces desperately trying to pull me back down that road. As I went through the day, everywhere I went I encountered groups of practitioners talking about how bad another group of practitioners were. It was almost as if the old forces were screaming at me, “No! You’re right, look at how bad they are, turn your back on them and go!” But I was resolute. I would not have anger or resentment in my heart.
At first, I really didn’t want to share this. It’s too shameful and horrible to admit. But Master pulled me out of the darkness and I feel that He is encouraging me to share this, so that fellow practitioners can learn from my mistakes, to see the mindset of someone who considered himself to be a diligent, stable practitioner, but who was fostering demons in his mind and unknowingly practising evil cultivation, and who came so close to turning on everything that matters in the entire universe.
It’s also a warning for young practitioners to beware of the dangers of lust. I remember one practitioner told me, “For elderly practitioners, it’s the test of life and death. For young practitioners it’s the test of lust and sentimentality.” For everyday people, when you get to a certain age, you die. That’s absolute. People don’t live forever and it’s as absolute as that; that if you’re young, you have lust and sentimentality. Unless you can truly, completely break away from humanness, a young person will be just as likely to fall into lust and sentimentality, as the old will surely die.
This was a test of life and death, and with Master’s benevolent and compassionate protection, I have been able to pass it. Please point out anything not in line with the Fa.
Falun Dafa hao!
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