Finding the Balance Between School and Cultivation Practice
(Clearwisdom.net) After studying Teacher's new articles, I realized that during the Fa-rectification period nothing should be considered to be trivial. Our personal cultivation is not just a personal challenge. Cultivating ourselves guarantees us to stay on the correct path of cultivation, and builds a foundation for our efforts of offering salvation to sentient beings. The history of our personal cultivation will also serve as a righteous example for the future generations to follow.
Shortly after I started to practice Falun Dafa, I stopped attending graduate school for some personal reasons. One of the reasons was that I wanted to start working instead, or at least change my field of study. Then the persecution against Falun Dafa began. During that time, I was involved in the volunteer work of translating Dafa books. With an increased realization of the importance of the translation work, and the luck of having reliable financial resources, I became a full-time volunteer translating Falun Dafa books into German.
Back then, I had not studied the Fa in-depth, so I could not really see the importance of cultivating while conforming to the ordinary people's society to the maximal extent. Instead, a sense of urgency took over my attention, as there were so many Dafa books that needed translation. With so many German practitioners deprived of the German version of Dafa books, I decided not to finish my education, and, instead, I would give all of my available time to the Dafa book translation work. Fortunately, translating Dafa books is another way of studying the Fa. Gradually, I came to understand that cultivation was such a serious matter that I was not entitled to arrange my cultivation in a way I determined to be good. Of course I sometimes found myself struggling to accept wholeheartedly the Fa written in the Dafa books. For example, I knew that attending school would consume a lot of my time. How could it not delay my translation work? As I gradually let go of my personal concepts, I decided that I should discard my own notions. If the Fa requires me to cultivate while conforming to society to the maximal extent, then I must either finish my school education or get a paying job. Whiling attending graduate school and trying to be a good student, I discovered that my school education would not compromise my Dafa volunteer work, and vice versa.
During one semester, I took on the coordination work of translating articles for a Falun Dafa website in the German language, and that increased my workload because coordinating translation work required a lot of attention to detail. However, I did not consider reducing my curriculum because I remembered that Teacher discussing that cultivation and school education would not collide with each other. My curriculum was already larger than that of average students to begin with. With an additional responsibly, now I became even busier. Since a round trip between home and school would take three hours, I utilized the valuable three hours to study the Fa teachings although I occasionally dozed off on the bus. However, I never neglected my Fa study.
During that semester, the most challenging course I studied was Italian as I had to learn the language from the beginning. The professor taught the course at a very rapid pace. Despite the difficult struggle, I had never once thought of dropping the course. I did the best I could to study Italian with all of my free time.
With the examination looming, I underwent the most difficult time coordinating the translation work for the German Dafa website. Because many volunteer translators were students and had their examinations over the same period of time, we were suddenly short of translators. As a translation coordinator, I tried to take on as much translation work myself as possible. On the day of my Italian examination, I had not slept much for several days in a row. On the way to the examination, I was feeling very sleepy on the train, but I tried to review coursework. Actually it was the first time I had ever reviewed most of the coursework since I had first done it. Nevertheless, I remained calm and continued reviewing, not thinking about the unpromising reality. Since I had already done my best studying for the course, I decided to continue to do my best even at the last minute. I casually read the exercises but managed to finish reading only thirty percent of them before the exam.
When I saw the exam, I wasn't sure how to describe my feelings. Most of the questions that I had reviewed on the train were in the exam, and almost none of the rest came up at all. Moreover, I remembered clearly the answers to those questions although I had studied them while feeling drowsy on the train. It turned out that only one-third of the class passed the exam, and I was one of them.
When I first saw the exam, I was feeling extremely lucky, followed by a sense of guilt. In hindsight, there was actually nothing to feel lucky about. After all, I did try my best to prepare for the examination. On the other hand, I did feel that I had not cultivated my tolerance very well, so I had wasted a lot of time resolving conflicts in my cultivation. Otherwise, I would have had more time to sufficiently review the exam questions. But I must say that I had never failed to treat my school education seriously since I decided to return to school and conform to everyday people's society. Even under the most difficult circumstances, I had never thought of using my volunteer Dafa work as an excuse to neglect my study. Though I still have much to cultivate and I have not done what the Fa requires of me as a Dafa practitioner, Teacher has never stopped helping me generously with my cultivation.
I managed to get an average score in Italian in that semester, but I did splendidly in the other subjects with my heavy curriculum. Since then, I became well known among the students from China. When Chinese students spoke about me they all said, "She is so intelligent and diligent." My high academic achievements provided me with a great advantage to clarify the truth about Falun Dafa and the persecution against Falun Dafa at school. One thing worth mentioning is that, in that semester, I never felt that I had reduce the amount volunteer Dafa work to keep up my study at school.
After that semester, I realized that I used to feel that school education would take away the time needed for my volunteer Dafa work because I did not have enough wisdom when I used my ordinary person's mentality to do things. I used to believe in my knowledge and my ability more than I believed in the power of the Fa. The truth is that the power of Teacher and the Fa are boundless. When our hearts are righteous, Teacher will do and harmonize everything for us. The outcome of everything is contingent upon our hearts. When I decided that I would not reduce my curriculum, I truly believed that Dafa would harmonize everything. Cultivation and school education will not collide with each other. If it should appear that they did collide with each other, it must be that I had not truly conducted myself according to the Fa. In other words, it is not because of the Fa, but because of myself.
During the last semester, I had some inspiration when I was writing a major project. I had to read a rather difficult book by Goethe and write a fifteen-page report. As usual, I had lots of volunteer Dafa work to do, and little to no time at all for my report. But when I began reading this novel by Goethe, I was surprised to find it easy to understand. (Before I started to cultivate in Falun Dafa, I found Goethe's works too obtuse for my taste.) Thus I could suddenly understand Goethe's work within a minimal amount of time, which I hadn't be able to do before even with double the amount of time.
When there were just two weeks left before the deadline, I had not even decided the title of the report. I became a little anxious about it several times, but each time, I remembered Teacher's words, and remembered that everything had repeatedly turned out well when I followed the Fa. Teacher said,
"You should do the things you should do in a normal way. [...] But I'll harmonize everything for you. Don't think about anything! Just do whatever you're supposed to do." ("Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Vancouver, Canada, in 2003")
As a result, I followed my original plan and spent some time daily writing my report as well as reading the reference books. For the rest of each day prior to the deadline, I studied the Fa as usual, and also did what a Dafa practitioner ought to do daily. When I became impervious to the time constraint, I began to have a good train of thoughts on how to write. I felt that these ideas were not my own, and that the solution had already existed. As I did things righteously, Teacher then let me see the solution. It was until the morning of the deadline that I had finished revising my paper and printed it out. Although it may appear to be a close shave, my heart remained calm and composed the whole time. The professor gave me a very good mark for it.
I felt very differently about this good grade from the good grades that I used to receive before I started to cultivate in Falun Dafa. I had always wanted to have good grades and pursued good grades. In contrast, I received a good grade this time because I let go of my attachment to pursuit. I let go of my ego and my notion as an ordinary person. I feel I received more than a good grade, but a precious opportunity to cultivate myself and to witness the power of Dafa as well. My rewards of this process were made possible only by a benevolent and harmonious kind of power.
I have now obtained a much deeper understanding of cultivating myself while conforming to the ordinary people's society to the maximal extent, which Teacher repeatedly emphasized in the Fa lectures. It is necessary to do so to stay on the correct path of cultivation. Moreover, Dafa practitioners in the Fa-rectification period must set up good examples for future generations to follow. In the future, humans will have to work and study while cultivating themselves. It follows that balancing between work/study and cultivation will be part of the challenge in cultivation for the future human beings. If we fail to harmonize work/study and cultivation now, we will leave bad examples to the future generations. When we try our best cultivating while conforming to everyday people's society to the maximal extent, we are, in a sense, manifesting our benevolence to sentient beings. It is a historic mission for Dafa practitioners in the Fa-rectification period.