A few days ago, when some fellow practitioners and I shared experiences, a female fellow practitioner mentioned that during the summer, she had to drive her kids back and forth to study camp every day. This took up a lot of her time. Some practitioners had suggested to her that she spend more time on Dafa work and the practitioner also wished she could have more time for Fa-rectification projects. She felt that running her household and taking care of the children demanded a lot of her time. Some practitioners are unable to balance their jobs, family and Fa-rectification work well. Some experience conflicts within their families. Others cannot work on Dafa projects wholeheartedly because their families do not support them. Here I would like to share my personal understanding of these issues.

Teacher told us that Falun Dafa practitioners need to cultivate in ordinary society. Therefore, we cannot avoid everyday people's life. We have jobs, families, and social activities. We need to go shopping, clean the house, and cook.

"So, when you're faced with this ordinary society, it's really hard to balance being a cultivator and being an everyday person, and it's hard to break out of all kinds of attachments. But no matter what, you're Dafa disciples, so just keep righteous thoughts in your minds and try your best to do well what you should do. You're cultivating while conforming to ordinary people to the maximum extent. You don't need to become monks or act like those people who've left the secular world behind. In fact, this is already the most convenient in terms of form."

(Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Vancouver, Canada, in 2003)

Every practitioner has roles to play in society, such as wife, mother, daughter, and employee.

"Five thousand years of human civilization, has China Proper as the stage."

"Awakening, people look at one another, and realize the stage was being set for the Fa." (The Big Stage)

As cultivators, we need to play those roles well since our actions represent the image of Falun Dafa. People will think Falun Dafa is good if we do well. Otherwise, their attitude towards the Fa might turn to negative. We should definitely not treat our responsibilities in society as burdens. Instead, we should treat them as stage props for actors. Teacher said in Explaining the Fa During the 2003 Lantern Festival at the U.S. West Fa Conference,

"You should make sure that your life's in order, and do your job well. Let me tell you, you're a member of society, and you should try your best to do well everything you're supposed to do at whatever job you have in society, you should be a good person wherever you are, and thus lead people in society to all say you're a good person. (Applause) Don't go to extremes when you do things. Every aspect of the path we take has to be upright."

Some practitioners think that we need to spend more efforts on Fa-rectification work. Actually, this thought itself has some problems. What is Fa-rectification work? Whether we can righteously walk the path of Fa-rectification depends on our hearts. That is, no matter what we do, we need to pay attention to where we direct our innermost feelings and where we base our hearts. We should not render judgment based on superficial forms whether or not we should do something. Practitioners are cultivating in ordinary society. We need to maximally conform to ordinary people while cultivating. Once I didn't truly understand the meaning of

"...cultivating while conforming to ordinary people to the maximum extent." (Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Vancouver, Canada, in 2003)

Only after reading Teacher's article "Dafa is All-Encompassing" many times, did I come to realize that we are not cultivating in some remote area. Instead, we are cultivating in everyday society. We should not make people feel that practitioners are weird or strange.

"The Fa requires you to conform as much as possible to this ordinary society's way of life, so for the sake of your being able to live here, you can't have people regarding you as some kind of strange or odd person."

(Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Vancouver, Canada, in 2003)

Yet, they should also know that we are different because of our high moral standards, sincerity, kindness, and tolerance. We have great tolerance. As cultivators, we might act similarly to everyday people but our hearts are not trapped in everyday people's affairs. The ultimate goal of all the things that we do is to validate the Fa, to clarify the truth, and to save sentient beings.

For example, some fellow practitioners took shopping to be an opportunity to get in touch with people.

"Every person you come into contact with in society is someone to clarify the truth to..." (To All Students at the Nordic Fa Conference)

They would go to three grocery stores to finish their shopping. Other practitioners regarded shopping as a chore. Their actions might look similar, however, they are essentially quite different.

"So a lot of the things you do look like what ordinary people do, but their very nature is different. The fundamental difference is that our ultimate goal and our starting point are different from theirs. We're only utilizing some ordinary means in the ordinary society. The ordinary society, too, is a level that the Fa has created for humankind, so at this level we validate the Fa by making use of the culture that the Fa created for ordinary people and the various forms in which it can exist. I don't think there's anything wrong with these things."

(Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Vancouver, Canada, in 2003)

Some practitioners mistakenly apply principles from other dimensions to everyday society, which make people unable to understand them. For example, a fellow practitioner once attended a party. When they enjoyed a delicious dinner, the practitioner suddenly said, "Killing generates karma. I don't eat meat." The other dinner guests wouldn't understand him and would think of him as an odd person. We can just imagine the results when he tried to clarify the truth to the people at the party.

We can do Fa-rectification work everywhere in our daily lives. The female practitioner I mentioned earlier took driving her kids to school as a burden. However, wouldn't she be validating the Fa if she instead turned the burden into an opportunity by sharing Fa-rectification experiences with her kids on their way to school and by clarifying the truth to her children's teacher, classmates, and other parents? Our goal is to validate the Fa with all our actions. To this end, we need to take advantage of any environment and any situation. This is what we should do as Falun Dafa practitioners.

"So things like your validating the Fa and saving sentient beings encompass how you improve yourselves, how you eliminate your omissions, things you're still attached to, and all types of shortcomings. This way, no matter what forms from the ordinary society you use in validating the Fa, you're cultivating, no matter what you do you're improving, and no matter what you do you should do it with a cultivator's state and not from the base point of an ordinary person."

(Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Vancouver, Canada, in 2003)

Viewed from another perspective, why weren't we anxious about this issue before the persecution? Some practitioners might think it a sign of our striving forward diligently now. However, we will only truly make progress, if we play our roles in ordinary society while carrying on Fa-rectification work. Meanwhile, we need to be strict with ourselves about improving our xinxing (mind nature) level. This may result in less time to sleep. However, as Fa-rectification disciples, we need to be strict with ourselves to make progress. When we impose higher standards, we will reach higher realms and act according to the different levels of Fa-rectification requirements.

"You have to work and you have to study, you have your family life and social activities, and at the same time you have to take care of your family, do a good job at work, and you have to study the Fa well and do the exercises well, and what's more, you have to clarify the truth. It is hard! It's pretty hard both time-wise and financially. It's hard, so your mighty virtue is displayed; it's hard, and so it's a good opportunity to establish your mighty virtue. Remarkable! Since you are cultivators, even though it's hard you should do even better."

(Teaching the Fa at the 2001 Canada Fa Conference)

Meanwhile, we need to look inside to see whether we have an attachment to time. This attachment is manifested differently in different practitioners. Some of us wished the persecution would end earlier. Some others tended to go to extremes of doing things.

Currently, some fellow practitioners are engrossed in their family lives and unable to step forward. I know one such female practitioner whose family recognized that Falun Dafa is good. However, they were worried when she went out to distribute truth-clarification materials. They were afraid that she might get caught and be tortured. Therefore, her family burdened her with all kinds of housework. In the beginning, she was not able to balance the relationship between Fa-rectification work and her family life well. She was under the control of her family.

After studying the Fa and sharing experiences, we came to realize that Teacher mentioned the issue of responsibility during the Fa-rectification period. We need to be responsible for the Fa, for our fellow practitioners, for sentient beings, and for laying a good foundation for the future of all sentient beings. We know that the old forces have been making various kinds of arrangements. The old forces arranged all the tribulations and the tests that we encountered during the Fa-rectification progress, although the situation for practitioners who obtained the Fa after the persecution started may be more complex.

During Fa-rectification, the old forces tried to direct the play and to play the leading roles. They tried to arrange our thoughts and actions. As Falun Dafa practitioners, we need to completely deny the old forces' arrangements. We need to fundamentally understand that it is the old forces instead of everyday people trying to undermine the Fa by initiating the persecution of Falun Dafa.

"...humans don't have the ability to do that. An everyday person is feeble before a cultivator. Today's humans have in fact had tribulations arranged for them by this system of old forces at different levels, and humans have been controlled by the old forces at different levels. This is why they've become so forceful, why they dare to do things to cultivators, and why they dare to be disrespectful to Dafa." (Teaching the Fa at the Washington, D.C. International Fa Conference)

When being faced with conflicts among family members, we need to clearly understand that it is not our family, but the old forces behind them, trying to hurt us. We need to be responsible for our families and their future. We should not differentiate between our families and other people since all the lives around us are sentient beings and deserve to be saved. If we walk the path arranged by the old forces and do not righteously walk the path of Fa-rectification because of our attachment to sentimentality, we will encounter interference from our families. Then we will not only ruin ourselves but also our relatives. What is true compassion? We need to think about this question seriously. Making our family members happy and at ease is not true compassion. Instead, helping a life to have righteous thoughts towards the Fa and not to generate karma is true compassion.

Some practitioners will not clarify the truth when their families are present. Aren't they creating barriers for themselves? We all know that we need to completely deny the old forces' arrangements. How can this be done? I think that when we make breakthroughs, improve our xinxing level, get rid of the attachment to sentimentality and replace it with benevolence, we will be able to save sentient beings with a compassion that can melt steel. When we treat our families with compassion, they won't feel practitioners are cold.

"Of course, each one of our Dafa disciples says that we don't recognize the old forces' arrangements, but that's not something you just say--you have to follow the requirements of Dafa and the Fa-rectification. 'I absolutely will not acknowledge any of those things you arranged in the past, old forces. I don't even acknowledge you.' When your righteous thoughts are very strong you can purge it and you can reject their arrangements. (Applause) And that's because we absolutely cannot acknowledge them."

(Teaching the Fa at the 2002 Fa Conference in Philadelphia, U.S.A.)

Therefore, we need to look inside first instead of complaining of our families' obstinacy. We are not trying to change others. We can only change ourselves. When we truly improve our xinxing level, bring out more compassion, and continuously expand our capacity for benevolence, the sentient beings around us will follow us and automatically change. Didn't Teacher talk about

"Buddha's light shines everywhere, propriety and righteousness harmonize everything."

Of course, during this process, we need to pay more attention to sending forth righteous thoughts to eliminate the evils that try to undermine the Fa. Some fellow practitioners are not strict with themselves in improving their xinxing level. They solely tried to ban the interference by sending forth righteous thoughts. Actually, the persecution is a result of their own thoughts.

"As I've said, everything that happens today in the ordinary society is the result of Dafa disciples' thoughts. Even though the old forces do exist, if you don't have those thoughts they can't do anything. When your righteous thoughts are strong enough the old forces can't do a thing."

(Teaching the Fa at the 2002 Fa Conference in Philadelphia, U.S.A.)

It's impossible to try to resort to the supernormal power of the Fa to eliminate the persecution without improving our xinxing level. The supernormal power of the Fa is a natural manifestation of the cultivators' level. It cannot be obtained via pursuit.

(To be continued)