(Minghui.org) Milarepa was known as the founder of the White Sect of Tibetan Buddhism and he had an impressive cultivation experience. Before his master, Marpa, began to teach him, he had Milarepa build and demolish several houses consecutively.

The houses were built on steep mountains and made of stones. Milarepa was not allowed to use any livestock to carry the stones up the mountains, and he had to carry every piece himself. After Milarepa spent much painstaking effort building a house, Marpa would tell him each time to demolish it and build a new one.

Although he didn’t fully understand the purpose behind these requests from Marpa, Milarepa treated all difficulties as tests and had no complaints towards Marpa. As long as Marpa agreed to take him as his disciple, Milarepa was willing to endure any suffering. What he worried about was not whether he could get anything from his master, but why he had so much sinful karma that had prevented him from becoming a disciple of Marpa.

What Milarepa didn’t know was that Marpa was using the process of building and demolishing stone houses for him to eliminate his karma. In other words, he was already practicing cultivation following Marpa’s arrangement. But Marpa couldn’t explain it to him, or it wouldn’t count. In fact, later when Milarepa completed his cultivation he told people who attempted to harm him that, they wouldn’t succeed because his karma had been transformed by his master already.

From the perspective of spiritual cultivation, building the houses was only a formality. Milarepa didn’t go to Marpa to learn how to build houses, nor was Marpa teaching him that. Marpa was merely using the formality of building houses for Milarepa to cultivate himself and improve his mind. It didn’t matter whether it’s building houses or doing other things. The key is how to improve oneself in the process.

Compared to Milarepa’s building the houses, I see some similarities in us Falun Dafa practitioners’ working on various projects or initiatives to help and tech those who are interested in Falun Dafa and raise awareness of the persecution in China. It’s not about doing things, since such environments and processes are meant to provide many opportunities for us to cultivate.

Milarepa might have become an expert in building houses after doing it numerous times. But that didn’t mean anything, nor could his skill level serve as an indicator of his spiritual achievement. It’s also the same for us. Doing some projects for over a decade, we may have become an expert in the media, or become a popular YouTuber with millions of subscribers; that doesn’t mean anything either. We didn’t come to Falun Dafa cultivation for that. Master merely arranged such a formality for us to cultivate ourselves. The process of doing things is merely part of our cultivation path.

As long as we are keenly aware that we are cultivating ourselves, we will make the most out of the process of various projects, because only spiritual achievement is our final goal in cultivation, not how successful we become on the human level. Things on the human level only provide some opportunities for us. They were only the tools and temporary roles we were playing in the formality like Milarepa did. But if we become attached to the formality itself and become complacent about our achievement, it might bring disastrous consequences to our cultivation.

Editor’s note: This article only represents the author’s understanding in their current cultivation state meant for sharing among practitioners so that we can “Compare in studying, compare in cultivating.” (“Solid Cultivation,” Hong Yin)