On Pre-Destination -- Cultivation Stories of A Practitioner with Non-Practitioner Husband
(Clearwisdom.net) A few months ago my husband and son were away on vacation, and I was left alone in the house. The day they left I stayed up very late studying the Fa. The next morning I did not have to tiptoe around the house to do the practices. I left the dishes undone. In the evening I went out to have dinner with a fellow Dafa practitioner. I normally try to stay home as much as I can with my family. But because they were not at home, I went out and had some fun with my friends. I had such a pleasant time chitchatting with my friend that I didn't return home until almost 10 p.m. When I looked at the time on my watch, I suddenly realized something.
I had been having wondering why some unmarried practitioners have less time for Dafa work than married Dafa practitioners. After the events of the last couple of days, the answer suddenly became clear to me. Dafa practitioners who are single and live alone do not have any family creating tribulations in their cultivation 24 hours a day, while I, as a married practitioner, am under constant surveillance by my husband, who tries hard to find fault and criticize me for my attachments. If I stubbornly hold fast to my attachments, I face immediate consequences at home from him. It is only after I have eliminated my attachment that my husband and I live in harmony again. What a wonderful cultivation environment! I must constantly remind myself to seek inwardly as a genuine Dafa cultivator. I truly appreciate my husband for the opportunities he has provided over the past few years for me to advance further in my cultivation. He is not only my soul mate, but also a fellow Dafa practitioner.
I met my husband in a restaurant one afternoon in January 1987. As soon as he stepped into the restaurant, he noticed me and said to himself, I am going to marry this girl. There will be no one else like her. At the time I was 23 years old and he was 29. Despite his western background, he was deeply attracted to eastern culture. I grew up in Asia but had been attracted to the western lifestyle since junior high school. Seven months later, I finally gave in to his persistent pursuit and agreed to marry him. In hindsight, we got married with haste. At the time I was not really ready for marriage, but I felt we were pulled into marriage by an invisible force. After I obtained the Fa, I understood that this invisible force was "predestination." In the following decades after marriage, we attained many of the milestones in a typical marriage, including finishing graduate school, starting a career, buying a house and having children. Twice our marriage fell into crisis, but we managed to make amends in the end. Our marriage was in almost perfect harmony until June 1998, when a friend gave me a copy of Zhuan Falun, which triggered a drastic change in my life and marriage.
When I first obtained the Fa, I developed the attachment of zealotry, and made judgmental comments to my husband out of a superiority complex. These inconsiderate and thoughtless comments really hurt his feelings, and that was when he began to have a negative impression of Dafa. In addition, I failed to balance studying the Fa and caring for the needs of my family. I stopped watching television and movies. I also dropped my interest in listening to music. Instead, I devoted myself completely to studying the Fa, which was fine, but I should have explained to my husband the reason for the sudden change in my thoughts and behavior. Our relationship became worse after I returned from the Los Angeles Fa conference in 1999 and started to actively spread the Fa in my area. I began to neglect my husband as a result of my active involvement in Dafa work. Neglecting my family had a snowball effect on my marriage. As soon I got off the flight from the NY Fa Conference in March 1999, my husband gave me an ultimatum. I had to choose between him and Dafa, because he was ready to divorce me if I persisted in cultivating in Falun Dafa.
It must have been the most excruciating dilemma in my life. How could I choose between the meaning of my life and the soul mate of my life? I quickly determined that I should embrace both at all costs. I decided to persist in cultivating Dafa, but at the same time immediately begin to remedy the negative impressions that my family and friends had towards Dafa, for I had been the one who promoted such misunderstandings. I would embrace my marriage because it must have been predestined. "I will never marry another man for the rest of my life, and will forever be your wife. It is entirely up to you if you decide to divorce me, move out, or divide our property. My son and I will always be here waiting for your return," I declared. The sheer resolve in my answer struck him speechless. He knew me as the proudest person on earth, and he always had to check with me about everything. Therefore, he was struck with disbelief that I should suddenly become a meek lamb under the threat of divorce. He immediately dropped the topic of divorce.
In the following year bickering became a norm in our lives. The excruciating pain that I managed to endure in that year tempered my mind and helped me advance further in understanding "altruism." Teacher said, "[T]he entire cultivation process for a practitioner is one of constantly giving up human attachments." (From "Genuinely Guiding People Toward High Levels" in Lecture One of Zhuan Falun) Teacher also said, "From now on, whatever you do, you should consider others first, so as to attain the righteous Enlightenment of selflessness and altruism." (From "Non-Omission in Buddha-Nature" in Essentials for Further Advancement) All human attachments originate from selfishness. Therefore, one must purge all selfish thoughts in order to return to one's true self. Teacher said, "Actually, you don't yet know that this selfishness penetrates to very high levels." (From Lecture at the Conference In Switzerland) The old forces' attachments to selfishness will eventually lead to self-destruction at the conclusion of Fa-rectification. This is because they have deviated so much from the law of the universe that they have become completely absorbed in selfishness. Teacher said, "When they're helping me, at the same time they hide their selfish intention of protecting themselves. They all want to change others but not themselves--no one wants to change himself--and they even try to preserve as much as possible the things they're attached to and won't let go of." (From Touring North America to Teach the Fa).
How does one apply altruism in one's marriage? Love and marriage are both built on selfishness. One loves the other and expects the other's love in return. A marriage will not last long if one does not return the love from the other. Prior to cultivating in Dafa, I was a workaholic and sacrificed a lot of family time. In addition, I was very bossy and often dismissed my husband's opinions. Yet he put up with me, for he knew I was completely devoted to our family, and worked hard to make a better life for the both of us. After I obtained the Fa, Dafa became the main focus of my life. I neglected my family, especially him. It might appear that I had become softer and more compromising, but I was really just trying to pacify him perfunctorily so that I could concentrate on Dafa work. Naturally my husband felt the pretense in my attitude. In hindsight, I was completely absorbed in my selfishness. I paid attention to only my need to cultivate in Dafa and to study the Fa, and neglected the needs of my husband. I made little effort to understand the feeling of being left out as a family member of a Dafa practitioner. I failed to conduct myself according to the Fa--thinking of others first before thinking of myself.
After coming to this understanding, I decided to improve the situation in my family. I was determined to become the best wife and mother in the world. I dismissed the babysitter so as to spend more time with my child. I did all the housework and tended to my child without my husband's help. Still he was not happy with me. It was probably because my motivation was not entirely altruistic. I was struck with disbelief that my husband seemed to have transformed into a different person. He had been an even-tempered man, but now he would often scold me, or speak sarcastically even in public. When I was in a better cultivation state, nothing he said irritated me at all. I would listen to his criticism with both ears, and examine myself accordingly as I saw fit. However, the level of my tolerance would drop to zero when my xinxing was low. I would ask myself why I had to make so many concessions to accommodate his expectations. I often cried at times like that. Once, I decided that I couldn't take it any more, and would announce my intention to divorce that night. I thought to myself, there is no reason why I should cowardly take his abuse just because I am a cultivator! However, it was just like Teacher warned us, "If he still fails to enlighten to it, he'll get a big bump on his head." (From Lecture at the Conference in New Zealand) That evening before I had a chance to talk to my husband, I was accidentally hit on the head and had a big swollen lump on my head.
Besides my husband, my two-and-half-year-old son often provided lots of tribulations for me. There was a period of time when he refused to ride in my husband's car because there was no Dafa music there. My husband was often in bad humor because of this as he felt like an outsider. To make matters worse, my husband often scolded my son and me when he found us listening to Fa lectures. Even so I knew in my heart that my husband had been arranged to help me elevate my xinxing and eliminate my karma and attachments. There was nothing wrong with studying the Fa or cultivating in Dafa. The only way out of these tribulations was to continue following the Fa, to seek inward for areas of improvement, and to conduct myself as a genuine practitioner. Little by little the dynamics between my husband and I improved over the following year.
During that year, I truly envied those practitioners who were single and those practitioner families. I wished my husband would obtain the Fa right away so I would have fewer tribulations at home. I finally persuaded him to watch the nine Fa lectures, and made him finish watching them all. Although his health was improved, he still disliked Dafa because he "obtained" the Fa out of marital pressure. I forced him to obtain the Fa because of my selfish wish to eliminate tribulations. It was also because I loved my husband dearly and I did not want to leave him behind in the human realm. I would never force anyone on the street to finish watching the nine-day lectures, then why did I force this on my husband? Besides, it is already predestined whether or not and when a person will obtain the Fa. I should not interfere with another person's life, and should concentrate on advancing myself in cultivation instead.
As soon as I detected my attachments to selfishness and love, I constantly reminded myself that I mustn't make my husband accept Dafa only to satisfy my attachment of converting my family into Dafa practitioners. Instead of bombarding my husband constantly, I began to tell my husband about only the severe violations of human rights and freedom of religion that were and are occurring in China because he a is a strong supporter of people's rights and freedoms. I thought to myself, if he resists Dafa because of my unceasing preaching, my attachment to converting all my family members into Dafa practitioners has cost him his chance of salvation, as well as the chance of salvation of the sentient beings in his cosmos if my husband were from a high level of universe.
I gradually eliminated not only the attachment to love but also the attachment to our son. Soon after I obtained the Fa, my husband suddenly asked to take turns in keeping our baby boy company until he fell asleep. It had been the enjoyable time of my day to put our son to bed, and now I had to share it with my husband! Moreover, he became so attached to our son that he put our son to sleep every single night and occupied all of our son's time. When he put our son to bed, he would not even let me into our son's room, leaving me outside the door all by myself. I felt very lonely and depressed at the time. I thought to myself, my precious little baby is going to love his daddy more than his mommy now that they sleep together every night.
After I regained my composure, I realized that Teacher had arranged this opportunity for me to eliminate my attachment to my son; the selfish love of a mother. After I came to this understanding, I immediately developed an optimistic attitude towards the situation. By eliminating my attachment to my son, I not only advanced further in my cultivation practice, but also promoted the bond between my husband and son. I should not worry about losing the affection of my son for I will always be his mother. Contrary to my passive expectation, I did not lose anyone's affection. Instead, I gained the affections of both my husband and son by giving them more time together. Our son is still very close to his mommy. Because my husband and my son spend so much time together, I now have more time for Dafa work and Fa study.
Next I was challenged about my notions of being provided for. In November 2001 my husband lost his job as result of his company reducing its work force. At first, he was under much psychological pressure. In fact, he had a good reason to be nervous because I was really hard on him when he lost his job in 1995. Back then I almost divorced him for losing his job because I took it as a given that a man must provide for his wife. A man who does not provide for his family had no place in my heart. But this time I tried to comfort him and gave him my heartfelt support, and instead of telling him what he should do next, I asked if he had any plans for the future.
At the time our friends, families, and even fellow practitioners often asked me about the progress and effort of my husband's job search. They also told me directly that a man should provide for his family instead of sitting idly at home. But now I am a Dafa practitioner and I remember Teacher's words. "Buddhism believes in the principle of karmic retribution. One's life is arranged according to one's karma. No matter how capable you are, if you do not have de (virtue), perhaps you will have nothing in this life." (From "Jealousy" in Lecture Seven of Zhuan Falun) I firmly believed that my husband's life was pre-arranged; therefore, I never pushed my husband to immediately search for a job, or asked him to share the housework because he did not have a day job. Whatever will be will be. I continued to fulfill my responsibilities as a loving wife and mother. I even told him that I didn't mind if he decided to take a year or two off as long as we could afford it. All my friends were deeply moved when I shared my thoughts with them. "See how a Falun Gong practitioner indeed surpasses an ordinary wife," my friends told their spouses. Because of the economic recession, many of my friends and customers soon faced the same situation of having to rely on only one income in the family. They all came to me, and asked me to be their family counselor. At the end of family counseling, one of them would often say to the other, "Will you look at her! You can learn a few things by taking Falun Gong lessons from her!"
Dafa harmonizes everything. There are no coincidences in our cultivation practice. While my husband provided many opportunities for me to enhance myself in my cultivation, he began to accept Dafa little by little. For instance, he had more free time, so he interacted more with Dafa practitioners. He began to have a more positive impression of Dafa. In fact, he volunteered to do Dafa work. I can still recall the acute conflicts we had in May 1999 when I went to the Toronto Fa conference. At that time he resisted Dafa and said hurtful things as he drove me to the airport. I was in tears until I boarded the plane to Toronto. This year, however, my husband and my son each brought me a bouquet of flowers when they picked me up at the airport from this year's Toronto Fa conference.
In June 2002 when I was prevented in Paris from boarding the plane for Iceland, I immediately called my husband. After I returned to the US, I learned that he called the Icelandic Embassy in the US and other government institutions to lift the ban. No words could describe my joy for the correct choice he had made in the Fa-rectification period, the most special period in history.
Teacher said, "[H]uman society is like a play--dynasty after dynasty," (from Touring North America to Teach the Fa) Similarly, a life is comparable to a play. Each of us is predestined to play various roles on the stage of life based on karmic relationships from previous lives. It is theatrical when your friends and families treat you kindly or unkindly on the stage of life. We mustn't become absorbed in any scene in the play, or hold grudges against any actor for his role in the play. As an ordinary person, one must endure tribulations in order to consume the karma from his previous lives, or to complete unresolved relationships from his previous lives. As a Dafa practitioner, one must regard each scene in the play as a precious opportunity to further improve in cultivation practice and to save all of the sentient beings one interacts with on the stage of life. In order to live up to the honorable title of "Fa-Rectification Period Dafa Disciple," we must constantly seek inward for areas of improvement in order to take our steps and play our assigned roles well on the stage of Fa-rectification.
Finally I would like to conclude my story with a verse from Teacher's poem. "Predestined relationships spanning endless lifetimes; each connected by the thread of Dafa." (From "The Difficult Path to Godhood.")
Thanks in advance for any feedback on my thoughts and understandings.