Understanding the Relationship Between Cultivation and Work in a More Comprehensive Manner and Clearly Seeing Through and Breaking Through the Old Forces' Arrangements
We've read many stories about how the practitioners in China set very strict requirements for themselves using the standards of a Falun Dafa cultivator. They were very proficient at their work and won the trust of their employers and co-workers. Later, when the evil tried to persecute those practitioners, their bosses and colleagues stepped forward and protected them. This is because those practitioners had harmonized their environment with their pure actions, positively influencing those around them. Because the practitioners validated the Fa with their words and actions in their daily lives, the people around them truly felt those practitioners to be compassionate, excellent, and kind people with high moral standards. Because of this, they were able to step forward and demand justice for the practitioners even though they would risk personal danger to do so. The actions of the practitioners saved those people from the Fa's future rectification of the human world. Moreover, since those people protected the Falun Gong practitioners from danger, haven't they positioned themselves very well for the future? If in their daily work the practitioners had behaved just like everyday people or worse than everyday people, the results would have been different.
Many practitioners are very proficient at their work. However, under the extremely difficult circumstances in China, their normal cultivation environment has been damaged by the evil. Many practitioners have lost their jobs because of the evil persecution, and have been forced to go from place to place to avoid further persecution. And they have had to clarify the true situation to the precious Chinese people under extremely difficult situations. Compared to them, the practitioners living abroad find themselves in relatively peaceful environments. We are not facing the dangers of detention or persecution. Thus, during our cultivation, we should to the greatest extent possible behave in accordance with everyday people's ways of studying, working, and living. From my experiences with my fellow practitioners, however, I have found differing opinions towards the issue of how to deal with the relationship between cultivation and work. Some of them think the time is so precious that they need to commit all of it to saving sentient beings. They think that holding down a job is a waste of time. Some practitioners think that they should use all of their savings to sustain themselves until the day when the Fa rectifies the human world, so they don't think it's necessary to work. Some practitioners are looking for a job, but they don't care what the job is. They think it will be good enough as long as they can find a job to pay the bills. They hold their solid educational qualifications and their strong work experiences in disregard. It is difficult to find a job in some areas. After they tried several times and failed to land a job, some practitioners have developed an attachment of fear. They are afraid of looking for a job. Whenever they start to look for a job, they then decide that they should instead use the time to clarify the truth. They have actually used "clarifying the truth" as an excuse for not looking for a job. If we think about this carefully, we would realize that there are various kinds of attachments hidden behind these thoughts.
Of course, there are some cases where a practitioner's financial situation is so good that he or she doesn't need a job. However, that is not a typical case. It has just now occurred to me that many practitioners have recently lost their jobs. It is my understanding that such a situation is related to our holding extreme views on some Fa principles that Teacher has explained to us. We didn't comprehensively understand the relationship between cultivation and work. Because of this, the old forces have taken advantage of us. This has made the tribulations even tougher and our environment extremely difficult. To some degree, it has also undermined the Fa. If all the Falun Gong practitioners either had no jobs or had very poor jobs, what would the everyday people's impressions of Falun Gong practitioners be?
Teacher said in Teaching the Fa at the 2002 Fa Conference in Boston, "If we don't pay attention to our own behavior in our daily lives, everyday people will see our actions and, since they can't get to know you at a deep level such as by studying the Fa, they will just look at how you act. And it's possible that one sentence or one action of yours will make them unsavable or create a bad impression of Dafa. We need to think about these things."
The old forces tried to persecute the practitioners living abroad mainly through economic means. They tried to make us clarify the truth when we had no money even for ourselves. They made such an arrangement for us to establish mighty virtue. So it is very easy for us to be deceived by their arrangements and to fall into the path that they arranged for us if we don't analyze the problems from the standpoint of Fa-rectification. As Fa-rectification disciples, we should completely deny the old evil forces' arrangements. We are doing the most magnificent and the most sacred thing in the cosmos. Teacher has also told us that he has arranged the best cultivation path for each of us.
In the article Dafa Is All-Encompassing, Teacher said, "Doing your job well in the ordinary human society is not only for the sake of cultivation or to display Dafa disciples' goodness among everyday people, but also to safeguard the Fa-principles that Dafa has created for ordinary human society." Teacher also told us, "A stable job also prevents a cultivator from being held up, due to problems of food and shelter or survival, in his cultivation, in his spreading the Fa without worries, or in his clarifying the truth and saving the world's people. In every one of society's professions a person can cultivate, and in each there are also people with predestined relationships waiting to obtain the Fa."
The evils that are now left conceal themselves very cleverly. They are hiding behind our attachments. When we are unable to look inside to dig out those attachments, the persecution that we suffer will persist and our environment will get tougher and tougher. When we finally realize that we need to directly face the problem, we might find that we have been stuck at that level for too long, even though Teacher has actually given us hints many times. Using various kinds of excuses, we pushed away those hints and missed many cultivation opportunities. So much precious time has been wasted. I have personally experienced all the above thoughts on the relationship between cultivation and work. Just because of those thoughts, I was stuck at one level for a long time, and I didn't even have enough money to pay the next month's rent. Eventually, I was forced to wash dishes in a restaurant for a month. During that month I started to think carefully about the problems that I encountered. When I finally enlightened to the higher-level principles, the old forces lost their hold on me. Soon I got a job with a well-regarded company. The working environment and the compensation are even better than my previous job. During my work here, I have come to deeply understand that we can clarify the truth at work just as in any other place. There are no conflicts between cultivation and work. Actually, there are always things for me to cultivate at work.
I'm a salesperson. My company is located in a city with a very large Chinese population. Every day, many Chinese immigrants come in and shop where I work. I always provide each customer with very professional service and maintain a very sincere attitude. When the customer is Chinese, I not only need to let him or her sense my goodness, but also to raise the issue of Falun Dafa in an appropriate way during the very short of period of time I have the opportunity to talk with them. Raising the topic of Falun Gong right away would make people uneasy. At the same time they might feel that the only reason I provide good service is to talk about Falun Gong. It is really hard to clarify the truth under these circumstances. Actually, many Chinese people have a bad impression of Falun Gong for two reasons: first, because the evil's propaganda has stamped in their minds a bad feeling towards the Fa and, second, because they have never met a Falun Dafa practitioner. When they learn that the person who just provided them with excellent service is a Falun Dafa practitioner, many of them are shocked. They can't connect me with the ugly images that the Chinese official media have imposed on the Falun Gong practitioners.
Once when I helped a customer and told him that I was a Falun Dafa practitioner, I could see from his attitude that he still had some misunderstandings of Falun Dafa. Before he left, he asked me to contact him if our company ordered new heaters. Then he left me his phone number. A few months later, when our company did order new heaters, I called him. I could sense his surprise and gladness. He invited me to have tea at his home. I knew he had changed his opinion towards Falun Dafa because I showed him a Falun Dafa practitioner's sincerity. Another customer kept changing her mind when doing business with our company. Accordingly I had to change our quote several times. My understanding is that Teacher arranged this so that I could have enough time to show her a Falun Dafa practitioner's tolerance and consideration. When she finally learned that I was a Falun Gong practitioner she was shocked. She told me that she was a Christian and had harbored some bad feelings towards Falun Gong. So I explained to her how a real Falun Gong practitioner behaves. I also let her know that it wasn't until Teacher told me that I came to realize that Jesus is a respected god. A few minutes later, we successfully closed a big deal and she no longer had bad feelings towards Falun Gong. Before she left, she asked for my phone number and sincerely invited me to her home for dinner.
I cherish the opportunities when the customer is Chinese, especially when he or she comes from Mainland China. I have come to realize that my good job, my well-mannered words and actions, and my patient, kind, and professional service are all validating the truth of the Fa to the precious Chinese people.
I know that it is not enough to just have a sincere attitude. I need to improve my job skills. So I try my best to learn more from my colleagues during working hours. I don't think it a waste of time even if I have to gain new knowledge for my job during my spare time. I came to see it as part of my cultivation because of the close relationship between my job skills and the effects of my clarifying the truth to the Chinese people. At work, Teacher has used all kinds of ways to help me uncover my attachments. I learned my co-workers' strong points and my own shortcomings. I know it is not a coincidence that we became colleagues. It has something to do with my cultivation. My colleagues are all westerners. At appropriate times, I have used different ways to let all of them know that I am a Faun Dafa practitioner. I have also clarified the truth to them. We get along very well because I'm always sincere and humble at work.
Because the old forces took advantage of my attachments, my financial situation stayed poor for a long time. Eventually, I broke through the destructive arrangement when I rooted out my attachment. Teacher said,
"Back when I was teaching Dafa, why were the old forces dead set on limiting the number of people who would obtain the Fa during the first round to 100 million? Even these 100 million people are the result of my insistence. At the time, the number they limited it to was 70 million, while I wanted 200 million people. They knew that if 200 million people were to obtain the Fa during the first round they wouldn't be able to make this evil so-called "test" happen, so they were dead set on limiting it to 100 million." (From Touring North America to Teach the Fa)
I always wondered what standards the old forces used to decide which person would become one of the lucky 100 million practitioners. And I didn't know how I could become one of them. During the time when I washed dishes in a restaurant, I suddenly came to realize that it was the old forces a long time ago that arranged our obtaining the Fa and many practitioners' tight financial situations. Think about this example: Say two people are very similar to each other in their predestined relationships with the Fa, the level of their inborn quality, and other elements. However, one of them has many blessings while the other one does not. Based on the old forces' degenerated principle of mutual-generation and mutual-inhibition, which of the two people would they choose to become a Fa-rectification disciple? The old forces would think the person with many blessings would suffer less during the persecution. They would think that is not enough to establish the mighty virtue of Falun Dafa and the Dafa practitioners. This is the reason why so few of our practitioners are very rich or influential in society. My understanding is that the other 100 million people were blocked from obtaining the Fa because they are rich or influential. Of course, there might be other reasons for this arrangement. If those 100 million people had also become Falun Dafa practitioners, they would exert a huge influence during the current Fa-rectification period. However, the old forces thought it would be too easy for these practitioners to clarify the truth. Now when I study the Fa that Teacher has taught us, I continue to further my understandings of the meanings of those Fa principles.
"Actually, there are still many people who have predestined relationships [with the Fa] not having obtained the Fa yet!" "Currently, there are really many people who have predestined relationships, even a great predestined relationships [with the Fa] not having obtained the Fa yet." (From Falun Buddha Fa - Lecture at the Canada Fa Conference)
"But since you've encountered this amidst today's Fa-rectification--not because you have such a great predestined relationship, nor because it's accidental--you truly can return through cultivation!" (From Guiding the Voyage, Teaching the Fa at the Western U.S. Fa Conference)
After coming to some understanding of these Fa principles, I knew that I should profoundly cherish the current opportunity of Fa-rectification cultivation. We should use the standards of the Fa to judge our actions during our cultivation process. Only through this can we clearly see through the old forces' arrangements and not be taken advantage of by the old forces, and denying the old forces' arrangements will not become just a slogan. Only when all of us improve our xinxing (mind or heart nature, moral character) as a whole can the environment truly change.
The above is my personal understanding. Please correct me if I said anything inappropriate.