Chapter III Cultivation of Xinxing 

All cultivators of Falun Gong must make cultivation of xinxing their top priority and regard xinxing as the key to developing gong. This is the principle for cultivating at high levels. Strictly speaking, the gong potency that determines one’s level isn’t developed through performing exercises but through xinxing cultivation. Improving xinxing is easier said than done. Cultivators must be able to put forth great effort, improve their enlightenment quality, bear hardships upon hardships, endure almost unendurable things, and so on. Why haven’t some people’s gong grown even though they have practiced for years? The fundamental causes are: first, they disregard xinxing; second, they do not know a high-level righteous cultivation way. This point must be brought to light. Many masters who teach a practice system talk about xinxing—they are teaching genuine things. Those who only teach movements and techniques without ever discussing xinxing are actually teaching wicked cultivation. So practitioners have to exert great effort in improving their xinxing before they can start cultivation at higher levels.  

1. Xinxing’s Inner Meaning 

The "xinxing" referred to in Falun Gong cannot be fully encompassed by "virtue" alone. It encompasses much more than virtue. It encompasses many different facets of things, including those of virtue. Virtue is only one manifestation of one’s xinxing, so using only virtue to understand the meaning of xinxing is inadequate. Xinxing encompasses how to deal with the two matters of gain and loss. "Gain" is to gain conformity to the nature of the universe. The nature that comprises the universe is Zhen-Shan-Ren. A cultivator’s degree of conformity to the nature of the universe is reflected in the amount of his or her virtue. "Loss" is to abandon negative thoughts and behaviors, such as greed, the pursuit of personal gain, lust, desire, killing, fighting, theft, robbery, deception, jealousy, etc. If one is to cultivate to high levels, one also needs to break with the pursuit of desires, something inherent in humans. In other words, one should let go of all attachments and take lightly all matters of personal gain and reputation.

A complete person is composed of a flesh body and character. The same is true with the universe: In addition to the existence of substances, there also simultaneously exists the nature Zhen-Shan-Ren. Every particle of air contains this nature. This nature is made manifest in human society in the fact that good actions are met with rewards and bad ones with punishment. At a high level this nature also manifests as supernormal abilities. People who align themselves with this nature are good people; those who depart from it are bad. People who comply with it and assimilate to it are those who attain the Dao. In order to conform to this nature, practitioners need to have extremely high xinxing. Only this way can one cultivate to high levels.

It is easy to be a good person, but it is not easy to cultivate xinxing—cultivators must prepare mentally. Sincerity is a prerequisite if you are to rectify your heart. People live in this world in which society has become rather complicated. Though you want to do good deeds, there are some people who don’t want you to; you do not want to harm others, but others might harm you for various reasons. Some of these things happen for unnatural reasons. Will you understand the reasons? What should you do? The struggles in this world test your xinxing at every moment. When confronted with indescribable humiliation, when your vested interests are infringed upon, when faced with money and lust, when in a power struggle, when rage and jealousy emerge in conflicts, when various types of discord in society and in the family take place, and when all kinds of suffering occur, can you always handle yourself in accordance with the strict xinxing criteria? Of course, if you can handle everything you are already an enlightened being. Most practitioners start as everyday people after all, and cultivation of xinxing is gradual; it moves upward little by little. Determined cultivators will eventually gain Righteous Attainment if they are prepared to endure great hardships and to face difficulties with a firm mind. I hope that each of you cultivators maintains your xinxing well and improves your gong potency rapidly! 

2. Loss and Gain 

Both qigong and religious circles talk about loss and gain. Some people take "loss" to mean being charitable, doing some good deeds, or giving a hand to people in need, and "gain" to mean gaining gong. Even monks in temples also say that one should be charitable. This understanding narrows the meaning of loss. The loss we talk about is much broader—it’s something of a larger scale. The things we require you to lose are the attachments of everyday people and the mindset that doesn’t let go of those attachments. If you can break with the things you consider important and part with the things you think you can’t part with, that is loss in the truest sense. Offering help and displays of charity are only a part of loss.

An everyday person wants to enjoy renown, personal gain, a better standard of living, more comfort, and more money. These are everyday people’s goals. As practitioners, we are different, for what we acquire is gong, not those things. We need to care less about personal gain and take it lightly, but we are not really asked to lose any material things; we cultivate in human society and need to live as everyday people do. The key is for you to break your attachments—you aren’t really required to lose anything. Whatever belongs to you won’t be lost, while the things that don’t belong to you cannot be acquired. If they are acquired they will have to be returned to others. To gain, you must lose. Of course, it’s impossible to immediately handle everything very well, just as it’s impossible to become an enlightened being overnight. Yet by cultivating little by little and improving step by step, it is attainable. You will gain however much you lose. You should always take matters of personal gain lightly and prefer to gain less in order to have peace of mind. When it comes to material things you might suffer some losses, but you will gain in terms of virtue and gong. Herein lies the truth. You are not to intentionally gain virtue and gong by exchanging your renown, money, and personal gain. This should be understood further using your enlightenment quality.

Someone who cultivated in a high-level Daoist practice once said: "I don’t want the things others want, and I don’t possess the things others possess; but I have things others don’t, and I want things others don’t." An everyday person hardly has a moment when he or she feels satisfied. This kind of person wants everything except the rocks lying on the ground that no one wants to pick up. Yet this Daoist cultivator said, "Then I’ll pick up those rocks." A proverb goes like this: "Rarity makes something precious, scarcity makes something unique." Rocks are worthless here but could be most valuable in other dimensions. This is a principle that an everyday person can’t understand. Many enlightened, high-level masters with great virtue have no material possessions. For them, there is nothing that cannot be given up.

The path of cultivation is the most correct one, and practitioners are actually the most intelligent people. The things that everyday people struggle for and the minute benefits they gain only last a short while. Even if you obtain through struggling, find something for free, or profit a little, so what? There is a saying among everyday people: "You can’t bring anything with you when you are born, and you can’t take anything away with you when you die." You enter the world having nothing, and you take away nothing when you leave it—even your bones will be burned to ashes. It doesn’t matter if you have tons of money or are a dignitary—nothing can be taken with you when you leave. Yet since gong grows on the body of your Main Consciousness, it can be taken forth. I am telling you that gong is hard to earn. It is so precious and so hard to acquire that it can’t be exchanged for any amount of money. Once your gong has reached an advanced level, should you one day decide not to cultivate anymore, as long as you don’t do anything bad, your gong will be converted into any material thing you want—you will be able to have them all. But you will no longer have the things that cultivators possess. You will instead have only the things that one can acquire in this world.

Self-interest leads some people to use improper means to take things that belong to others. These people think that they get a good deal. The truth is that they gain that profit by exchanging their virtue with others—only they don’t know it. For a practitioner, this would have to be deducted from his or her gong. For a nonpractitioner, it would have to be deducted from his or her life expectancy or from something else. In short, the books will be balanced. This is the principle of the universe. There are also some people who always mistreat others, harm others with abusive words, and so on. With these actions they throw a corresponding portion of their virtue to the other party, exchanging their virtue for the act of insulting others.

Some people think it’s disadvantageous to be a good person. From an everyday person’s viewpoint, a good person is at a disadvantage. But what they acquire is something that everyday people cannot: virtue, a white substance that is extremely precious. Without virtue one cannot have gong—this is an absolute truth. Why is it that many people cultivate but their gong fails to develop? It is precisely because they don’t cultivate virtue. Many people emphasize virtue and require cultivation of virtue, yet they fail to disclose the real principles of how virtue is evolved into gong. It is left for the individual to comprehend. The close to ten thousand volumes of the Tripitaka and the principles that Sakyamuni taught for over forty-some years all talked about one thing: virtue. The ancient Chinese books of Daoist cultivation all discuss virtue. The five-thousand-word book by Lao Zi,[1] Dao De Jing, also contemplates virtue (de). Some people still fail to understand this.

We talk about "loss." When you gain, you must lose. You will encounter some tribulations when you genuinely want to cultivate. When they manifest in your life, you might experience a little bodily suffering or feel uncomfortable here or there—but it’s not sickness. The hardships can also manifest in society, in the family, or in the workplace—anything is possible. Discord will suddenly arise over personal gain or emotional tensions. The goal is to enable you to improve your xinxing. These things usually happen suddenly and seem extremely intense. If you encounter something that is very tricky, embarrassing for you, that makes you lose face, or puts you in an awkward position, how are you going to handle it at that point? If you stay calm and unruffled—if you’re able to do that—your xinxing will be improved through the tribulation and your gong will develop proportionately. If you can achieve a little, you will gain a little. However much you expend is however much you gain. Typically, when we are in the middle of a tribulation we might not be able to realize this, yet we have to try. We shouldn’t regard ourselves as everyday people. We should hold ourselves to higher standards when discord arises. Our xinxing will be tempered among everyday people since we cultivate amidst them. We are bound to make some mistakes and to learn something from these. It’s impossible for your gong to develop while you are comfortable and not encountering any problems. 

3. Simultaneous Cultivation of Zhen, Shan, and Ren 

Our cultivation way cultivates Zhen, Shan, and Ren simultaneously. "Zhen" is about telling the truth, doing truthful things, returning to one’s origin and true self, and ultimately becoming a true person. "Shan" is about developing great compassion, doing good things, and saving people. We particularly emphasize the ability of Ren. Only with Ren can one cultivate to become a person with great virtue. Ren is a very powerful thing and transcends Zhen and Shan. Throughout the entire cultivation process you are asked to forbear, to watch your xinxing, and to exercise self-control.

It’s not easy to forbear when confronted with problems. Some say, "If you don’t hit back when beaten, don’t talk back when slandered, or if you forbear even when you lose face in front of your family, relatives, and good friends, haven’t you turned into Ah Q?![2]" I say that if you act normal in all regards, if your intelligence is no less than that of others, and if it’s only that you have taken lightly the matter of personal gain, no one is going to say you are foolish. Being able to forbear is not weakness, and neither is it being like Ah Q. It is a display of strong will and self-restraint. There was a person in Chinese history named Han Xin[3] who once suffered the humiliation of crawling between someone’s legs. That was great forbearance. There is an ancient saying: "When an everyday person is humiliated, he will draw his sword to fight." It means that when a common person is humiliated, he will draw his sword to retaliate, will swear at others, or will throw punches at them. It’s not an easy thing for a person to come and live a lifetime. Some people live for their ego—it’s not worth it whatsoever, and it is also extremely tiring. There is a saying in China: "With one step back, you will discover a boundless sea and sky." Take a step back when you are confronted with troubles, and you will find a whole different scenario.

A practitioner should not only show forbearance towards the people with whom he has conflicts and those who embarrass him directly, but should also adopt a generous attitude and even thank them. How could you improve your xinxing if it weren’t for your difficulties with them? How could the black substance be transformed into the white substance during suffering? How could you develop your gong? It is very difficult when you are in the midst of a tribulation, yet you must exercise self-restraint at that point. The tribulations will get continually stronger as your gong potency increases. Everything depends on whether you can improve your xinxing. That tribulation might be upsetting to you at the beginning and make you unbearably angry—so angry that your veins bulge. Yet you don’t erupt and you are able to contain your anger—that’s good. You have started to forbear, to intentionally forbear. You will then gradually and continuously improve your xinxing, truly taking these things lightly; that is an even greater improvement. Everyday people take insignificant friction and minor problems really seriously. They live for their ego and tolerate nothing. They will dare to do anything when they are angered to an unbearable point. Yet as a practitioner you will find the things that people take seriously to be very, very trivial—even too trivial—because your goal is extremely long-term and far-reaching. You will live as long as this universe. Then think about those things again: It doesn’t matter if you have them or not. You can put them all behind you when you think from a broader perspective.  

4. Eliminating Jealousy 

Jealousy is a huge obstacle in cultivation and one that has a large impact on practitioners. It directly impacts a practitioner’s gong potency, harms fellow cultivators, and seriously interferes with our ascension in cultivation. As a practitioner, you have to eliminate it one hundred percent. Some people have yet to forgo jealousy even though they have cultivated to a certain level. Moreover, the harder it is to abandon, the easier it is for jealousy to grow stronger. The negative effects of this attachment make the improved parts of one’s xinxing vulnerable. Why is jealousy being singled out for discussion? It’s because jealousy is the strongest, most prominent thing that manifests among Chinese people; it weighs most heavily in people’s thinking. Many people are nonetheless unaware of it. Called Oriental jealousy, or Asian jealousy, it is characteristic of the East. The Chinese people are quite introverted, reserved, and don’t express themselves openly. All of this easily leads to jealousy. Everything has two sides. Accordingly, an introverted personality has its pros and cons. Westerners are relatively extroverted. For example, a child who scored a one hundred in school might happily call out on his way home, "I got a hundred!" Neighbors would open their doors and windows to congratulate him, "Congratulations, Tom!" All of them would be happy for him. If this happened in China—think about it—people would feel disgusted once they heard it: "He scored a hundred. So what? What’s there to show off about?" The reaction is completely different when one has a jealous mentality.

Jealous types look down upon others and don’t allow others to surpass them. When they see someone more capable than they, their minds lose all perspective, they find it unbearable, and they deny the fact. They want to get pay raises when others do, get equal bonuses, and share the same burden when something goes wrong. They get green-eyed and jealous when they see others making more money. At any rate, they find it unacceptable if others do better than they. Some people are afraid of accepting a bonus when they have made certain achievements in their scientific research; they are afraid of others becoming jealous. Some people who have been awarded certain honors don’t dare reveal them for fear of jealousy and sarcasm. Some qigong masters can’t stand to see other qigong masters teach, so they go make trouble for them. This is a xinxing problem. Suppose that in a group that does qigong exercises together, some people who started later are nonetheless the first persons to develop supernormal abilities. There are people who would then say: "What’s he got to brag about? I’ve practiced for so many years and have a huge pile of certificates. How could he develop supernormal abilities before me?" His jealousy would then emerge. Cultivation focuses inward, and a cultivator should cultivate him or herself and look within to find the source of problems. You should work hard on yourself and try to improve in the areas you haven’t done enough with. If you look hard at others to find the source of friction, others will succeed in cultivation and ascend, while you will be the only one left here. Won’t you have wasted all of your time? Cultivation is for cultivating oneself!

Jealousy also harms fellow cultivators, such as when one’s badmouthing makes it hard for others to enter tranquility. When this type of person has supernormal abilities, he or she might use them out of jealousy to harm fellow cultivators. For example, a person sits there meditating, and he has been cultivating fairly well. He sits there like a mountain since he has gong. Then two beings float by, one of who used to be a monk but who, due to jealousy, didn’t achieve Enlightenment; even though he possesses a certain gong potency, he has not reached Consummation. When they arrive at where the person is meditating, one says, "So-and-so is meditating here. Let’s go around him." Yet the other says, "In the past, I chopped off a corner of Mount Tai." He then tries to strike the practitioner. But when he raises his hand he can’t bring it down. That being is unable to strike the practitioner because he is cultivating in a righteous practice and has a protective shield. He wants to harm someone who cultivates a righteous way, so it becomes a serious matter and he will be punished. People who are jealous harm themselves as well as others. 

5. Eliminating Attachments 

"Having attachments" refers to the relentless, zealous pursuit of a particular object or goal by those practitioners who are unable to liberate themselves or too stubborn to heed any advice. Some people pursue supernormal abilities in this world, and this will certainly impact their cultivating to high levels. The stronger the feelings, the more difficult they are to abandon. Their minds will become ever more unbalanced and unstable. Later on these people will feel that they have gained nothing, and they will even start to doubt the things that they have been learning. Attachments stem from human desires. The characteristics of attachments are that their targets or goals are obviously limited, fairly clear and particular, and frequently the person might be unaware of the attachments. An everyday person has many attachments. He might use any means necessary in order to pursue something and obtain it. A cultivator’s attachments manifest differently, such as in his pursuing a particular supernormal ability, his indulging in a certain vision, his obsessing over a certain phenomenon, and so on. No matter what you, a practitioner, pursue, it is incorrect—pursuit has to be abandoned. The Dao School teaches nothingness. The Buddha School teaches emptiness and how to enter the gate of emptiness. We ultimately want to achieve the state of nothingness and emptiness, letting go of every attachment. Anything that you cannot let go of has to be discarded. The pursuit of supernormal abilities is an example: If you pursue them it means you want to use them. In reality, that is going against the nature of our universe. It is actually still an issue of xinxing. You want to have them; you just want to flaunt them and show them off in front of others. Those abilities aren’t something to showcase for others’ viewing. Even if the purposes of your using them were innocent and you just wanted to use them to do some good deeds, the good deeds that you did could turn out to be not so good. It’s not necessarily a good idea to handle matters of everyday people using supernormal means. After some people hear me remark that seventy percent of the class has had the Third Eye opened, they start to wonder, "Why can’t I sense anything?" Their attention focuses on the Third Eye when they return home and do the exercises—even to the point of getting a headache. They still can’t see anything in the end. This is an attachment. Individuals differ in physical state of being and inborn quality. It isn’t possible that all of them come to see through the Third Eye at the same time, and neither can each person’s Third Eye be at the same level. Some people might be able to see and some might not. It is all normal.

Attachments can bring the development of a cultivator’s gong potency to a grinding halt. In more serious cases they might even result in practitioners taking a wicked path. In particular, certain supernormal abilities might be used by people with inferior xinxing to do bad things. There have been cases in which a person’s unreliable xinxing has resulted in supernormal abilities being used to commit bad deeds. Somewhere there was a male college student who developed the supernormal ability of mind control. With this he could use his own thoughts to manipulate the thoughts and conduct of others, and he used his ability to do bad things. Some people might witness visions appearing when they do the exercises. They always want to have a clear look and full understanding. This is also a form of attachment. A certain hobby might become an addiction for some, and they are unable to shake it. That, too, is a form of attachment. Because of differences in inborn quality and intentions, some people cultivate in order to reach the highest level while some cultivate just to gain certain things. The latter mentality surely limits the goal of one’s cultivation. If a person doesn’t eliminate this kind of attachment, his or her gong won’t develop even through practicing. So practitioners should take all material gains lightly, pursue nothing, and let everything unfold naturally, thus avoiding the emergence of new attachments. Whether this can be done depends upon a practitioner’s xinxing. One cannot succeed in cultivation if one’s xinxing isn’t fundamentally changed or if any attachments remain. 

6. Karma 

(1) The Origin of Karma

Karma is a type of black substance that is the opposite of virtue. In Buddhism it is called sinful karma, while here we call it karma. So doing bad things is called producing karma. Karma is produced by a person’s doing wrong in this life or in past lives. For instance, killing, taking advantage of others, infringing upon others' interests, gossiping about someone behind his or her back, being unfriendly to someone, and so on can all create karma. In addition, some karma is passed on from ancestors, family and relatives, or close friends. When one throws punches at someone else, one also throws one’s white substance over to the other person, and the vacated area in one’s body is then filled with the black substance. Killing is the worst evildoing—it is a wrongdoing and will generate heavy karma. Karma is the primary factor causing sickness in people. Of course, it doesn’t always manifest itself in the form of sickness—it can also manifest as encountering some difficulties and the like. All of these things are karma at work. So practitioners must not do anything bad. Any misconduct will produce negative influences that will seriously impact your cultivation.

Some people encourage collecting the qi of plants. When they teach their exercises they also teach how to collect qi from plants; they discuss with intense interest which trees have better qi and the colors of different trees’ qi. There were some people in a park in our northeastern region who practiced a kind of so-called qigong in which they would roll all over the ground. After getting up, they would circle around the pine trees to collect their qi. Within half a year the grove of pine trees had withered and turned yellow. This was a karma-generating act! It too was killing! Collecting qi from plants is not right, whether it’s viewed in light of our country’s greening, the maintenance of ecological balance, or from a high-level perspective. The universe is vast and boundless, with qi available everywhere for you to collect. Knock yourself out and go collect it—why abuse these plants? If you are a practitioner, where is your heart of mercy and compassion?

Everything has intelligence. Modern science already recognizes that plants have not only life, but also intelligence, thoughts, feelings, and even super-sensory functions. When your Third Eye reaches the level of Law Eyesight, you will discover that the world is a totally different place. When you go outside, rocks, walls, and even trees will talk to you. All objects have life. No sooner does an object form than a life enters it. It is people living on Earth who categorize substances as organic and inorganic. People living in temples get upset when they break a bowl, for the moment it is destroyed, its living entity is released. It hasn’t finished its life journey, so it will have nowhere to go. It will therefore have extreme hatred towards the person who ended its life. The angrier it gets, the more karma the person will accrue. Some "qigong masters" even go hunting. Where did their benevolence and compassion go? The Buddha and Dao Schools don’t do things that violate heaven’s principles. When one does these things, it is an act of killing.

Some people say that in the past they produced a lot of karma, for example, by killing fish or chickens, by fishing, etc. Does this mean that they can no longer cultivate? No, it does not. Back then, you did it without knowing the consequences, so it wouldn’t have created extra karma. Just don’t do it anymore in the future, and that should be fine. If you do it again you will be knowingly violating the principles, and that is not permitted. Some of our practitioners have this kind of karma. Your attendance at our seminar means that you have a predestined relationship, and that you can cultivate upward. Shall we swat flies or mosquitoes when they come inside? As to your handling of this at your present level, it isn’t considered wrong if you swat and kill them. If you cannot drive them out, then killing them is no big deal. When the time has come for something to die, naturally it will die. Once, when Sakyamuni was still alive, he wanted to take a bath and asked his disciple to clean the bathtub. The disciple discovered many bugs in the bathtub, so he returned and asked what he should do. Sakyamuni said it again, "It is the bathtub that I want you to clean." The disciple understood, and he went back and cleaned the bathtub. You shouldn’t take certain things too seriously. We don’t intend to make you an overly cautious person. In a complicated environment it is not right, I think, if you are nervous at every moment and afraid of doing something wrong. It would be a form of attachment—fear itself is an attachment.

We should have a compassionate and merciful heart. When we handle things with a compassionate and merciful heart we are less likely to cause problems. Take self-interest lightly and be kindhearted, and your compassionate heart will keep you from doing wrong. Believe it or not, you will discover that if you always hold a spiteful attitude and always want to fight and contend, you will even turn good things into bad ones. I often see some people who, when right, won’t let others be; when this type of person is right he has finally found some grounds for mistreating others. Similarly, we shouldn’t stir up conflict if we disagree with certain things. The things you dislike might at times not necessarily be wrong. When you continuously raise your level as a practitioner, every sentence you say will carry energy. You shouldn’t speak as you please, since you will be able to restrain everyday people. It is particularly easy for you to commit wrongdoing and create karma when you aren’t able to see the truth of problems and their karmic causes.

(2) Eliminating Karma

The principles in this world are the same as those in heaven: Eventually you have to pay what you owe others. Even everyday people have to pay what they owe others. All the hardships and problems you encounter throughout your life result from karma. You have to pay. The path of life for us genuine cultivators will be altered. A new path that suits your cultivation will be arranged. Your master will reduce some of your karma, and what remains will be used to improve your xinxing. You exchange and pay for your karma through performing the exercises and through cultivating your xinxing. From now on, the problems you confront won’t happen by chance. So please be mentally prepared. By enduring some tribulations, you will come to let go of all the things an everyday person can’t release. You will run into many troubles. Problems will arise within the family, socially, and from other sources, or you might suddenly encounter disaster; it could even be that you will get blamed for what is actually someone else’s fault, and so on and so forth. Practitioners aren’t supposed to get sick, yet you might suddenly come down with a serious sickness. The sickness could come on with intense force, causing you to suffer to the point where you are no longer able to bear it. Even hospital exams might yield no diagnosis. Yet for an unknown reason the sickness might later disappear without any treatment. In fact, your debts are paid in this manner. Perhaps one day your spouse will lose his or her temper and start a fight with you for no reason at all; even insignificant incidents might trigger big arguments. Afterwards, your spouse too will feel confused over his or her loss of temper. As you are a practitioner, you should be clear as to why this kind of incident takes place: It’s because that "thing" came, and it was asking you to pay for your karma. To resolve these sorts of incidents, you have to keep yourself under control during those moments and watch your xinxing. Be appreciative and thankful that your spouse has helped you pay for your karma.

The legs will start to ache after one sits in meditation for a long while, and sometimes the pain is excruciating. People with a high-level Third Eye can see the following: When one is in great pain, there is a large chunk of the black substance—both inside and outside of the body—coming down and being eliminated. The pain one experiences while sitting in meditation is intermittent and excruciating. Some understand it and are determined not to unfold their legs. The black substance will then be eliminated and transformed into the white substance, and it will in turn be evolved into gong. Practitioners can’t possibly pay for all of their karma through sitting in meditation and performing the exercises. They also need to improve their xinxing and enlightenment quality, and to undergo some tribulations. What is important is that we be compassionate. One’s compassion emerges quickly in our Falun Gong. Many people find that tears start to fall for no reason while they sit in meditation. Whatever they think of, they feel grief. Whoever they look at, they see suffering. This is actually the heart of great compassion that emerges. Your nature, your genuine self, will start to connect with the nature of the universe: Zhen-Shan-Ren. When your compassionate nature emerges, you will do things with much kindness. From your inner heart to your outer appearance, everyone will be able to see that you are really kind. At that point no one will mistreat you anymore. If someone were to treat you unfairly then, your heart of great compassion would be at play and you wouldn’t do the same to him in return. This is a type of power, a power that makes you different from everyday people.

When you encounter a tribulation, that great compassion will help you overcome it. At the same time, my Law Bodies will look after you and protect your life, but you will have to undergo the tribulation. For example, when I was lecturing in Taiyuan there was an older couple that came to attend my class. They were hurrying when they crossed the street, and upon reaching the middle of the road a car came speeding along. It instantly knocked the elderly woman down and dragged her along for more than ten meters before she finally fell in the middle of the street. The car couldn’t stop for another twenty meters. The driver got out of the car and said some rude words, and the passengers sitting inside the car also uttered some negative things. At that moment the elderly woman remembered what I had said and didn’t say anything. After she got up, she said, "Everything is all right, nothing is broken." She then went into the lecture hall with her husband. Had she said at that very moment, "Oh, it hurts here and it hurts there, too. You need to take me to the hospital," things would have turned out really badly. But she didn’t say that. The elderly woman said to me: "Master, I know what that was all about. It was helping me pay for my karma!" A great tribulation was eliminated and a big chunk of karma was removed. As you can imagine, she had really high xinxing and good enlightenment quality. She was that elderly, the car was travelling that fast, and she was dragged that far before finally hitting the ground hard—yet she got up having a right mind.

Sometimes a tribulation seems tremendous when it comes—so overwhelming that there looks to be no way out. Perhaps it stays around for quite a few days. Then a path suddenly appears and things start to take a huge turn. In fact, it’s because we have improved our xinxing and the problem has disappeared naturally.

In order to improve your realm of mind, you have to be tested by various tribulations in this world. If your xinxing has really improved and stabilized, karma will be eliminated during the process, the tribulation will pass, and your gong will develop. Don’t be discouraged if during xinxing tests you fail to watch your xinxing and you conduct yourself improperly. Take the initiative to find what you learned from this lesson, to discover where you fell short, and to put effort into cultivating Zhen-Shan-Ren. The next problem that will test your xinxing might come shortly thereafter. As your gong potency develops, the next tribulation’s test might come on even stronger and more suddenly. Your gong potency will grow a little bit higher with every problem you overcome. The development of your gong will come to a standstill if you are unable to overcome a problem. Small tests lead to small improvements; big tests lead to big improvements. I hope that every practitioner is prepared to endure great suffering and will have the determination and willpower to embrace hardships. You won’t acquire real gong without expending effort. There is no principle in existence that will let you gain gong comfortably without any suffering or effort. You will never cultivate to become an enlightened being if your xinxing doesn’t become fundamentally better and you still harbor personal attachments!

7. Demonic Interference

"Demonic interference" refers to the manifestations or visions that appear during the cultivation process and that interfere with a person’s practice. Their goal is to prevent practitioners from cultivating to high levels. In other words, demons come to collect debts.

The problem of demonic interference will surely arise when a person is cultivating to high levels. It’s impossible that one has not committed wrongdoing in one’s lifetime, just as one’s ancestors must have in their lives; this is called karma. Whether a person’s inborn quality is good or not reflects how much karma this person carries with him or her. Even if he or she is a rather good person it is still impossible to be free of karma. You can’t sense it because you don’t practice cultivation. Demons won’t care if your practice is only for healing and improving health. But they will bother you once you begin cultivating to high levels. They can disturb you using many different methods, the goal of which is to prevent you from cultivating to high levels and to make you fail in your practice. Demons manifest themselves in a variety of ways. Some manifest themselves as daily life happenings, while others take the form of phenomena from other dimensions. They command things to interfere with you every time you sit down to meditate, making it impossible for you to enter tranquility and, therefore, to cultivate to high levels. Sometimes the moment you sit down to meditate you will begin to doze off or will have all kinds of thoughts going through your mind, and you become unable to enter into a cultivation state. At other times, the moment you start to perform the exercises, your once-quiet surroundings will suddenly be filled with the noise of footsteps, doors slamming, cars honking, telephones ringing, and a variety of other forms of interference, making it impossible for you to become tranquil.

Another kind of demon is sexual lust. A beautiful woman or handsome man might appear in front of a practitioner during his or her meditation or dreams. That person will entice you and seduce you by making stimulating gestures that evoke your attachment to sexual lust. If you can’t overcome this the first time, it will gradually escalate and continue to seduce you until you abandon the idea of cultivating to a high level. This is a difficult test to pass, and quite a few practitioners have failed because of this. I hope you are mentally prepared for it. If someone doesn’t guard his or her xinxing well enough and fails the first time, he or she should truly learn a lesson from it. It will come again and interfere many times until you truly maintain your xinxing and completely break that attachment. This is a big hurdle that you must overcome, or you will be unable to attain the Dao and succeed in cultivation.

There is another kind of demon that also presents itself during one’s performance of the exercises or in one’s dreams. Some people suddenly see some horrifying faces that are ugly and real, or figures that are holding knives and threatening to kill. But they can only scare people. If they were to really stab, they wouldn’t be able to touch the practitioner since Master has installed a protective shield around the practitioner’s body to keep him or her unharmed. They try to scare the person off so that he or she will stop cultivating. These only appear at a certain level or during a certain period of time and will pass quickly—in a few days, a week, or a few weeks. It all depends on how high your xinxing is and how you treat this matter.

8. Inborn Quality and Enlightenment Quality

"Inborn quality" refers to the white substance one brings with oneself at birth. In fact, it is virtue—a tangible substance. The more of this substance you bring with you, the better your inborn quality. People with good inborn quality more easily return to their true self and become enlightened, as their thinking is unimpeded. Once they hear about learning qigong or about things concerning cultivation, they immediately become interested and are willing to learn. They can connect with the universe. It is exactly as Lao Zi said: "When a wise man hears the Dao, he will practice it diligently. When an average man hears it, he will practice it on and off. When a foolish man hears it, he will laugh at it loudly. If he doesn’t laugh loudly, it is not the Dao." Those people who can easily return to their true self and become enlightened are wise people. In contrast, a person with a lot of the black substance and an inferior inborn quality has a barrier formed outside of his body that makes it impossible for him to accept good things. The black substance will make him disbelieve good things when he encounters them. In fact, this is one of the roles karma plays.

A discussion of inborn quality has to include the matter of enlightenment quality. When we talk about enlightenment, some people think that being enlightened is the equivalent of being clever. The "clever" or "cunning" person that everyday people refer to is actually far away from the cultivation practice we are discussing. These types of "clever" people usually can’t achieve Enlightenment easily. They are only concerned with the practical, material world so that they can avoid being taken advantage of and avoid giving up any benefit. Most notably, a few individuals out there who regard themselves as knowledgeable, educated, and smart, think that practicing cultivation is the stuff of fairy tales. Practicing cultivation and improving xinxing are inconceivable to them. They consider practitioners foolish and superstitious. The enlightenment we speak of doesn’t refer to being smart but to the return of human nature to its true nature, to being a good person, and to conforming to the nature of the universe. One’s inborn quality determines one’s enlightenment quality. If one’s inborn quality is good, one’s enlightenment quality tends to be good as well. Inborn quality determines enlightenment quality; however, enlightenment quality isn’t entirely dictated by inborn quality. No matter how good your inborn quality is, your understanding or comprehension cannot be lacking. The inborn quality of some individuals isn’t so good, yet they possess superb enlightenment quality and so can cultivate to a high level. Since we offer salvation to all sentient beings, we look at enlightenment quality, not inborn quality. Even though you have many negative things, as long as you are determined to ascend in cultivation, this thought of yours is a righteous one. With this thought you only need to forgo a little more than others and you will eventually achieve Enlightenment.

The bodies of practitioners are purified. They won’t contract illness after gong develops, because the presence of this high-energy substance in the body no longer permits the presence of the black substance. Yet some people just refuse to believe this and always think that they are sick. They complain, "Why am I so uncomfortable?" We say that what you have gained is gong. How can you not have discomfort when you’ve gained such a good thing? In cultivation one has to give things up in an exchange. In fact, all of the discomfort is on the surface and has no impact whatsoever on your body. It appears to be sickness but it’s certainly not—it all depends on whether you can awaken to this. Practitioners not only need to be able to bear the worst suffering, but they also need to have good enlightenment quality. Some people don’t even try to comprehend things when they are confronted with troubles. They still treat themselves as everyday people despite my teaching them at a high level and showing them how to measure themselves with higher criteria. They can’t even bring themselves to practice cultivation as genuine practitioners. Neither can they believe that they will be at a high level.

The enlightenment discussed at high levels refers to becoming enlightened, and it is categorized into Sudden Enlightenment and Gradual Enlightenment. Sudden Enlightenment refers to having the entire process of cultivation take place in a locked mode. At the last moment after you have completed the entire cultivation process and your xinxing has reached a high level, all of your supernormal abilities will be unlocked at once, your Third Eye will instantly open to its highest level, and your mind will be able to communicate with high-level beings in other dimensions. You will instantly be able to see the reality of the entire cosmos and its different dimensions and unitary paradises, and you will then be able to communicate with them. You will also be able to use your great divine powers. The path of sudden Enlightenment is the most difficult one to take. Throughout history, only people with superb inborn quality have been selected to become disciples; it has been passed on privately and individually. Average people would find it unbearable! The path I took was that of Sudden Enlightenment.

The things I am imparting to you belong to the path of Gradual Enlightenment. Supernormal abilities will develop in due time during your cultivation process. But the supernormal abilities that emerge will not necessarily be available for you to use, as it is easy for you to commit wrongdoing when you have not raised your xinxing to a certain level and are still unable to handle yourself properly. You won’t be able to use these supernormal abilities for the time being, though they will eventually be made available to you. Through practicing cultivation you will gradually improve your level and come to understand the truth of this universe. Just as with Sudden Enlightenment, you will eventually reach Consummation. The path of Gradual Enlightenment is a little easier and takes no risks. What’s difficult about it is that you can see the entire cultivation process. So the demands you place upon yourself should be even stricter.

9. A Clear and Pure Mind

Some people can’t achieve tranquility when they do qigong exercises, and so they search for a method. Some have asked me: "Master, why can’t I become tranquil when I perform qigong exercises? Can you teach me a method or technique so that I can become tranquil when I sit in meditation?" I ask, how can you become tranquil?! You still couldn’t become tranquil even if a deity were to come teach you a method. Why? The reason is that your own mind isn’t clear and pure. Because you live amid this society, things such as various emotions and desires, self-interest, personal matters, and even the affairs of your friends and family come to occupy your mind too much and assume a high priority. How could you become tranquil when seated in meditation? Even if you intentionally suppress them, they will still surface by themselves.

Buddhism’s cultivation teaches "precept, samadhi, and wisdom." Precepts are for letting go of the things that you are attached to. Some Buddhists adopt the approach of chanting a Buddha’s name, which requires concentrated chanting in order to achieve the state of "one thought replacing thousands of others." Yet it’s not simply an approach, but a type of ability. You can try chanting if you don’t believe it. I can promise you that other things will arise in your mind when you use your mouth to chant a Buddha’s name. It was Tibetan Tantrism that first taught people how to chant a Buddha’s name; one had to chant a Buddha’s name hundreds of thousands of times each day for a week. They would chant until they got dizzy and then there would finally be nothing left in their minds. That one thought had replaced all others. That is a type of skill that you might not be able to perform. There are also some other methods that teach you how to focus your mind on your dantian, how to count, how to fixate your eyes on objects, and so on. In actuality, none of these methods can make you enter into complete tranquility. Practitioners have to attain a clear and pure mind, discard their preoccupation with self-interest, and let go of the greed in their hearts.

Whether you can enter stillness and tranquility is in fact a reflection of your ability and level. Being able to enter tranquility the moment you sit down indicates a high level. It’s all right if for the time being you can’t become tranquil—you can slowly accomplish this through cultivation. Your xinxing improves gradually, as does your gong. Your gong will never develop unless you attach little importance to self-interest and your own desires.

Practitioners should hold themselves to higher standards at all times. Practitioners are continuously interfered with by all kinds of complicated social phenomena, many vulgar and unhealthy things, and various emotions and desires. The things that are encouraged on television, in the movies, and in literature teach you to become a stronger and more practical person among everyday people. If you can’t go beyond these things you will be even further away from a cultivator’s xinxing and state of mind, and you will acquire less gong. Practitioners should have little to no dealings with those vulgar and unhealthy things. They should turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to them, being unmoved by people and things. I often say that the minds of everyday people cannot move me. I won’t become happy when someone praises me, nor will I get upset when someone insults me. I remain unaffected no matter how serious the disruptions to xinxing among everyday people may be. Practitioners should take all personal gain lightly and not even care about it. Only then can your intention to become enlightened be considered mature. If you can be without strong pursuit of renown and personal gain, and even regard them as something inconsequential, you won’t become frustrated or upset and your heart will always remain calm. Once you are able to let go of everything, you will naturally become clear and pure-minded.

I have taught you Dafa and all five sets of exercises. I have adjusted your bodies and installed Falun and energy mechanisms in them. My Law Bodies will protect you. All of what should be given to you has been given. During the class it’s all up to me. From this point on, it’s all up to you. "The master leads you through the door of cultivation, but it’s up to you to continue cultivating." As long as you learn Dafa thoroughly, attentively experience and comprehend it, watch your xinxing at every moment, cultivate diligently, endure the worst sufferings of all, and forbear the hardships of all hardships, I believe you will surely succeed in your cultivation.

The path for cultivating gong lies in one’s heart
The boat to sail the boundless Dafa rides on hardships

[1] Lao Zi (laow dzz)—author of the Dao De Jing and popularly regarded as the founder of Daoism, Lao Zi is thought to have lived sometime around the 4th century BC. Note: Dao De Jing is sometimes romanized as Tao Te Ching.

[2] Ah Q (ah cue)—a foolish character in a well-known Chinese novel.

[3] Han Xin (hahn shin)—a leading general for Liu Bang, the first emperor of the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. - 23 A.D.).