The Old Forces Are Gigantic Impediments to Our Cultivation: Reflection after Reading Master's Article “Be Clearheaded” (Part 1)
(Minghui.org) [Editor's Note: Master has told practitioners about the existence of the old forces repeatedly. However, as practitioners are cultivating in the maze, many still have a limited understanding about the old forces. They are unable to enlighten to the level of Master's expectation because of many historical and present day reasons. Moreover, some practitioners with warped understanding constantly spread misleading information to interfere with the cultivation environment. Those practitioners with extreme views were interfered with and generated thoughts that were contradictory to Dafa's standards. However, they were unaware of this. There are also practitioners who always use a simple black-white logic to judge things. All these phenomena have hindered practitioners from reaching a rational understanding of the old forces and breaking through that interference. Thus, some practitioners cannot meet Master's requirements.
For example, some practitioners had the thought that “the old forces arranged some people to be in key positions,” so they came up with the nonsense “no need to follow any notification from the Minghui website or the Falun Dafa Associations.” When we heard about this subject the first time, did we immediately know that it was not in line with Dafa requirements? Or were we befuddled and did not put a stop to it? When someone boasted about how high they enlightened to or that the old forces no longer existed, were we clear concerning Master's teaching and did we keep our hearts unmoved? When we were overwhelmed by interferences and tests, could we tell from where our thoughts originated – from our true selves, imposed by the old forces, or from our attachments and mindsets developed during prior lives? Then, how should we break through the situation? We need to use the guidance of Dafa. There were countless interferences, some real, some fake, or some complicated. They were all opportunities for practitioners to pass tests and improve themselves. Real gold is not afraid of fire, thus making it pure gold. We hope that practitioners help each other and are more diligent in the Fa.]
The Old Forces Are Gigantic Trials
Master published the article “Be Clearheaded” on May 8, 2004:
“If you, as a student [of Dafa], do not follow Master’s requirements, it is definitely no simple thing. The old forces have arranged for all Dafa disciples a set of their things, so if a Dafa disciple doesn’t follow Master’s requirements, he must be following the old forces’ arrangements. The old forces are in essence gigantic trials and tribulations that accompany you at all times, focused on whether in Fa-rectification Dafa disciples are able to step forward.”
“If after going through this ordeal some students are still not clearheaded, then they will miss [the opportunities presented in] all of this. Only when you follow Master’s requirements are you validating the Fa and cultivating yourself as a Dafa disciple, and only then are you a true Dafa disciple.” (“Be Clearheaded” from The Essentials of Diligent Progress, Vol III)
Master's article is less than 200 words, but it deserves deep thought. After reading it over and over again, I felt as if this was a wake-up call. The messages kept moving through my mind.
I realized that many practitioners do not understand the issue called the old forces and don't feel that these entities invaded their environment. In fact, they watch us continuously. Master said: “The old forces absolutely won’t let you off the hook if they see human attachments in you.” (“Fa Teaching on World Falun Dafa Day”) Their arrangements plus practitioners' attachments put practitioners under their control. They stop practitioners from following Master's arrangements. They do not hesitate to persecute true practitioners – this is an indisputable fact.
True practitioners have a deep understanding about the old forces' interference and persecution. The old forces have committed many evil deeds over the past years and Master discussed their intention and character during several of his lectures.
“The evil won’t turn good, and can only be eliminated. Before it is eliminated it will act out, and it will struggle especially hard before its death. You can count on it. It’s like with poison: is it possible for it to become non-poisonous? It’s poisonous by its very nature.” (“Fa Teaching Given at the New York Fa Conference Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Dafa’s Spreading”)
It is obvious that their interference and persecution of practitioners will not stop before the last moment of the Fa rectification, at which time they will be eliminated. However, the closer we are to the end, the more severe the interference and persecution will be. The old forces have turned into the largest obstacle for practitioners. Our overcoming this obstacle is of utter importance.
If we lack a clear understanding of the old forces, we will unknowingly follow their arrangements. Even though we are cultivating on the surface, we would actually be taking the path arranged by the old forces.
The Old Forces' Arrangements Versus Master's Arrangements
True practitioners will, without doubt, choose the correct path. Who would not want to follow Master's arrangements? However, putting it into practice is easier said than done. Master said, “the old forces have arranged for all Dafa disciples a set of their things.”(“Be Clearheaded” from The Essentials of Diligent Progress, Vol III)
If we cannot cultivate ourselves based on Master's requirements, but insist on holding onto our human notions and attachments, we will have accepted the old forces' arrangements. The old forces will seek to impede us, interfere with us, even deceive and coerce us. They are bent on making us give up our righteous minds and actions. It is important to keep in mind at all times that the old forces' arrangements are all deceptive.
What are the old forces' arrangements? They made arrangements at the societal level, such as who would play a positive or negative role when Dafa spreads in human society. They also made arrangements for everyday people.
They made systematic arrangements for each practitioner, such as how and when the practitioner steps into Dafa, his cultivation environment including that of his family members, when to take him to prison, and even his behavior in prison. They had practitioners sign a contract during historical times to assure the success of their arrangements. These arrangements were made with the promise to help practitioners' cultivation. The arrangements were deceptive, and thus not easy for practitioners to detect, since there was, in the old forces' mind, a “legitimate” reason for each arrangement.
“I also want to tell you that your nature in the past was actually based on egotism and selfishness. From now on, whatever you do, you should consider others first, so as to attain the righteous Enlightenment of selflessness and altruism. So from now on, whatever you do or whatever you say, you must consider others—or even future generations—along with Dafa’s eternal stability.” (“Non-Omission in Buddha-Nature” from Essentials for Further Advancement)
Old Forces Need Practitioners to Achieve their Goal
Let us not forget that the lives in the old cosmos and the old forces are two different concepts. The ones that interfere with Master's Fa rectification are the old forces.
Why did the old forces make arrangements for practitioners? It is because their goal could only be achieved with the help of practitioners. So all of the old forces' arrangements focused on practitioners.
The parts of us that have not been cultivated well (including our human bodies) connect closely to the old forces. They see all of our thoughts, know our mindset, our origins, all the karmic connections of our past lives and our relationship with them. These factors have caused practitioners to follow their arrangements unwittingly. In fact, we are in the maze, yet this is not an issue to the old forces as they manipulate behind the scene. In short, they can see us clearly, but we can't see them.
Walking on the Path Arranged by Master
“When the high-level old forces arranged this tribulation, the ultimate reason was to clean out in one shot those not-so-good beings of the cosmos while doing so-called "tempering" of Dafa disciples during this period, while at the same time cleaning out the universe. That's what the old forces arranged to be done. They've made what they want their first priority, instead of making my objective of the Fa-rectification the number one need.” (Fa-Lecture During the 2003 Lantern Festival at the U.S. West Fa Conference)
As Dafa practitioners, our mission is to help Master with the Fa rectification and save sentient beings. We must harmonize Master's requirements and hold on to these goals, so that we are not deceived by the old forces.
Some practitioners have a misunderstanding regarding the old forces. They think, “Why did Master not eliminate their interference? Why did Master not change them?”
Most of the time, when some practitioners faced tribulations, it was due to their lacking strong righteous thoughts. When the old forces latched onto their loopholes, their tribulation worsened. They wavered and even complained about Master. They fell into the old forces' traps. The old forces took their lives because their losing faith in Master gave them the grounds to persecute them.
“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. What would you have Master do? Master has been protecting you unconditionally, yet you are not diligent, even to the point of becoming like an ordinary person! You say, "I am a Dafa disciple," yet your thoughts and conduct are those of an ordinary person. It is Dafa disciples that I am bringing salvation to today, and I can't go and groundlessly protect an ordinary person. The "birth, aging, illness, and death" an ordinary person faces is a law mandated by the heavens, and it can't be meddled with without a reason. Do you know what Master is doing today? I am rectifying the Fa of the cosmos. How am I rectifying it? What am I using to rectify it? Can I rectify the Fa of the cosmos in an incorrect way?” (Teaching the Fa in San Francisco, 2005)
In fact, when you have righteous thoughts and commit only righteous actions, you are walking on the path arranged by Master. Because your mind is righteous, Master's fashen and other Gods will help and strengthen you, thus the old forces' arrangements will be suppressed and have no effect on you. When you don't have a righteous mind, you are walking on the path arranged by the old forces. They will manipulate and control you, making you walk on the path they arrange.
When you followed their arrangements, you made your choice. Master said:
“This universe has this principle that no one will stop you as long as this is what you want.” (Zhuan Falun)
When the consequences of your following the old forces manifested, you begin to question why Master did not take care of you. This showed that you did not study the Fa well and you did not have a clear understanding of its principles.
We are facing a choice between Master's arrangements and the old forces' arrangements. You can only choose one. There are no alternatives. Only when you firmly do what Master has arranged for us will the power of Dafa manifest, will Master's hands not be tied, and will he be able to help us.
(To be continued)