Growing up in Dafa
(Clearwisdom.net) Foreword: It is difficult for me to write this article, because I am blocked by layers of attachments and I don't know where to start; but I know writing a cultivation experience article is different from an ordinary person's article. Dafa practitioners writing experience sharing articles serves as a process of cultivation of the mind, elimination of attachments and their personal purification.
Revered Master, greetings! Fellow practitioners around the world, greetings!
I am Jing Si, a Dafa practitioner from Changchun City. I have been practicing Dafa for ten years, since 1995.
At the outset I was a young middle school practitioner who grew up in Dafa. Since then,
ten years have gone by. Back then I didn't know that Dafa is cultivation, and I didn't practice cultivation solidly before the persecution. The persecution suddenly started and we entered the phase of Fa-rectification cultivation. I mixed personal cultivation with Fa-rectification cultivation. It's been a difficult time, and I have persisted only with Master's compassionate protection.
1. Validating Dafa
Establishing Truth-clarification Materials Production Sites Everywhere
On March 5, 2002, several practitioners broadcast truth-clarification videos through the cable TV network, which caught the world's attention. Liu Chengjun and other practitioners moved heaven and earth with their magnificent feat. The perpetrators escalated the persecution after this incident. Police sirens pierced the air, and each day police officers staked out Dafa practitioners' homes. My mother and I, both Dafa practitioners, were compelled to leave home. For a while we didn't have access to truth-clarification materials and were anxious. We finally got in touch with fellow practitioners but we couldn't get Master's new articles and articles from the Minghui/Clearwisdom website. It was frustrating not being able to read and distribute truth clarification materials.
After March 5, practitioners agreed that we should establish more truth clarification materials production sites. Most sites had by now been destroyed. We also needed to get rid of our mentality of waiting for and relying on others, which had lasted for a very long time. When other practitioners suggested that the first site be built where we were staying, mother and I immediately agreed. After other practitioners left, mother and I became attached to money. We were not rich and we couldn't afford to buy a printer and copying machine. I cried a few times. Practitioners thought we had fear, but we didn't agree with them. Now that I look back, I see that we did have fear, because we had this fixed notion in our heads, thinking that the evil was paying the most attention to the materials production sites. We thought that they were the places where the persecution was most severe and we would be sentenced to heavy prison terms if we were arrested. Now I realize that this mentality was acknowledging the old forces' arrangements. We were cultivating amid tribulations arranged by the old forces, yet we didn't see it at the time.
Master saw that we wanted to take a step forward. One practitioner gave us a spare notebook computer, which enabled us to build a small home-based materials production site. Getting on the Internet was no longer mysterious or frightening. We could not only access the Minghui website, we also printed the Minghui Weekly and other truth clarification materials and gave them to the local practitioners. Because we were able to keep up with the Minghui website and read Master's new articles, as well as experience sharing articles by practitioners around the world and the latest news on the persecution, we improved our xinxing and eliminated fear.
We later bought a CD burner to make truth clarification VCDs. In the few months before the Chinese New Year, practitioners needed more VCDs to clarify the truth, and mother and I spent a lot of time making VCDs. In the process, I became attached to the work itself. One day the computer broke down. I was really upset and thought, "Other practitioners need VCDs!" I called fellow practitioners and they reminded me, "Don't be attached to the work! Study the Fa well!" I studied the Fa for a whole day, but when I turned on the computer again it still didn't work. In fact, I had thoughts of pursuit and wanted Dafa to make the computer work. My mind was not pure when I was studying the Fa. After I realized this, I calmed my mind and studied. The next day I checked with fellow practitioners and found out that I had not chosen the computer's "CD burner" option. We continued to make VCDs, and I guarded myself against the attachment to the work and became more efficient. Over 1,000 VCDs were handed out as gifts before the Chinese New Year.
In 2004, mother and I realized that we should openly return home. In order to more efficiently save people and do well with the three things Master requires of us, we bought a new computer and printer and gave the notebook computer to other practitioners. The process of building more truth clarification materials production sites was one of the processes of transcending human notions.
Compiling Information about the Persecution
Earlier this year, other practitioners realized we should compile information about the persecution in our province during the past five years and organize this in a systemic manner in order to better expose the evildoers and save people. Practitioners trusted me with this sacred work. I didn't realize the volume of work involved until I took the assignment, and it took me over a month to finish it. After I finished it, though, I realized I had broken through many attachments and had truly grown in the Fa.
A few days after I started, the evildoers began interfering with us. I received a phone call around midnight asking, "Is this the procuratorate?" This phone harassment lasted two nights. I thought, "The evildoers are really stupid, even resorting to such childish methods to disrupt me." Police cars appeared in front of our building, which had never happened before. I felt slightly uneasy but I corrected myself according to the Fa and ignored the police cars, and they went away. As the collection of persecution information increased, my workload also went up. At first I could study the Fa, send forth righteous thoughts or follow a regular schedule on a daily basis; but later I almost didn't have time to study the Fa or send forth righteous thoughts. I sat in front of the computer for about 18 hours a day. I got up at 9:00 a.m. at the latest, and I went to sleep at about 5:00 a.m. in the morning. Now that I look at it, I was still attached to the work.
After a while I didn't correct myself based on the Fa and grew impatient. My back hurt and I felt sorry for myself. I complained that other practitioners gave me too much work and I had no help. I whined to a fellow practitioner who told me, "Master chose you to do this." I understood that Master knows what I can endure and he allowed me to take on this sacred responsibility.
When I look back, although my back hurt from sitting too long, I was never tired and my complexion was rosy. When I went out, people said to me, "Wow, you are prettier now even though you stay home all day!" Master was helping me! Master wants me to discard my attachments. I came to this understanding and continued with the work. Later, several practitioners close to my age joined the team. I was really happy to work with them. Before, there were few practitioners my age. Some of the younger people who used to practice Dafa had either quit or indulged in ordinary people's attachments. Although we were not experts, we cooperated with each other and worked as a whole body. It was a precious memory for each one of us.
The day we finished the project we were so happy, thinking we finally completed our work and we relaxed. We started joking with each other. One of the practitioners who came up with the idea to compile the information kindly reminded us that we shouldn't be self-satisfied or complacent. I didn't agree with her and thought that I hadn't done anything wrong. This practitioner later had a discussion with us, and we went over the problems we had and the areas that needed improvement. Our discussion was somber; each person talked about himself, and I said I had the show-off mentality and became complacent after the work was done. I was also selfish and couldn't take it when the work was hard. What I went through is nothing compared to the suffering of practitioners who were tortured to death. Master said, "no human attachment can be taken to heaven." ("Teaching the Fa at the Western U.S. Fa Conference" from Guiding the Voyage) During the compilation of the persecution stories, sorting through the information and working with fellow practitioners, I truly experienced what it means to act as a whole body and how to melt into a whole body. I progressed from individual cultivation to whole-body Fa-rectification cultivation. In fact, everything that Master arranges for us to do is to help us discard our attachments and improve ourselves.
Making Truth Clarification Materials
Later, I took on some Fa-validating work in the local area. I found I still had attachments to the work, which surfaced quite frequently. In fact, I didn't completely remove it. Master said,
"Even though the things you do in this world look a lot like the day-to-day things that ordinary people do, the fact is that the Dafa disciples' basis and the purpose of what you do are completely different." ("Teaching the Fa at the 2004 International Fa Conference in New York")
If we treat Dafa work with the mentality of doing "things" then our foundation is off. Instead of having the goal of rescuing people, exposing the evil and validating Dafa, we would be validating ourselves, placing Dafa on the second shelf and placing ourselves above Dafa. If practitioners who operate the production site are not pure, the source of the materials is not pure, and that would have a negative impact on rescuing sentient beings, and the result would not be good. If we have fear in the process of making materials, will ordinary people have the courage to accept them? As I am writing this article, I keep telling myself that my mind must be on the Fa and must be pure in the Fa-validating process.
2. Harmonizing Relationships Among Practitioners
Cultivating Myself in Conflicts
I never imagined having conflicts with fellow practitioners. I thought we are all practitioners and we always look inward; therefore no conflicts would arise. For one year, however, I was mired in conflicts with other practitioners, because of the attachments I mentioned earlier. I did not handle myself as a cultivator during conflicts. Master said,
"But since these attachments will often show up in your cultivation and your life, they show up in your words and actions in different settings, and can even show up in every single thought of yours during your daily life. When you're affected by a human attachment, then at that moment, or for that short while, or on that matter, your behavior is the same as an ordinary person's. If you often fail to follow the requirements for a Dafa disciple, a cultivator, then aren't you an ordinary person?" ("Teaching the Fa at the 2004 Chicago Conference")
Master's words pounded my heart. What attachment(s) was blocking me from Dafa and from fellow practitioners? I must find out.
Looking at the conflicts during the past year, my fellow practitioners and I had omissions that were taken advantage of by the rotten demons; therefore there was a distance between us. In fact, it was the result of accumulated attachments that we had not discarded.
First, I didn't do the three things on a solid basis. The Fa didn't enter my heart, and I didn't do the exercises. When I clarified the truth and did truth clarification work, I was taking it to be ordinary people's work. I didn't guarantee the minimum four times of sending forth righteous thoughts each day, not to mention at other times, and I tried to avoid it. I knew this was not me and yet I was trapped in a vicious cycle and for the past year could not pull myself out of it. When conflicts arose I didn't look to Dafa and Teacher and look inward; instead I looked for fellow practitioners' faults and picked on them. I had attachments mixed with fixed ordinary people's notions.
I also did not give up my attachment to recognition and self-interest. I did not have a clear understanding on the marriage issue, and therefore I was off base. When a fellow practitioner did not live up to my expectations, I took it to extreme measures because of my attachment to my reputation, self-interest and the show-off mentality. When I found someone who was good-looking, affluent, and who had a nice disposition and shared similar interests as mine, I would not be cautious but instead would become attached to love between a man and a woman. Master arranged things according to my xinxing level. When my attachment was touched upon, I told Master that I couldn't pass the test, which is not how a Fa-rectification period Dafa disciple should be.
I indulged in qing and didn't realize it, which caused the tribulations to pile up until I couldn't pass them. Master said,
"Why can human beings be human? It's exactly because humans have emotion. People just live for emotion. The affection among family members, the love between a man and woman, love for parents, feelings, friendships, doing things for friendship's sake--no matter where you go you can't get out of emotion. You want to do something, you don't want to do something, you're happy, you're unhappy, you love something, you hate something--everything in society comes completely from emotion." ("Improving Character" from The Fourth Talk, Zhuan Falun, 2003 translation)
Although I wasn't indulging in feelings of love, I had feelings of hatred and feeling annoyed, which is still a manifestation of qing. In order to practice cultivation I must transcend these superficial emotions. Master said,
"If a person wants to be saved, he must transcend the fact that he is in and experiencing firsthand a tough environment where there is adversity, self interest, emotions and desires. Everything will involve a cultivator's self-interest, and anything can affect you as a person, your thoughts and emotions, your xinxing, and the things that you are attached to inside. If you manage to take a certain path and make certain choices, then you are extraordinary. Otherwise, you are an ordinary person. If you are able to step out of the reasoning and attachments of ordinary people, then you are a god." ("Teaching the Fa at the 2004 International Fa Conference in New York")
Master also said,
"When your righteous thoughts are firm and when you can repel those things, I remove them for you bit by bit; however much you can do, that's how much I remove for you and diminish for you." ("Teaching the Fa at the 2004 Chicago Conference")
Now I truly see the real me, and I know how to walk the cultivation path ahead. When I really want to cultivate myself and negate qing, and Master will remove it for me. Thank you, Master, for compassionately reminding me. Thank you, fellow practitioners, for your help in the past year. Without you, I would never have analyzed layers of attachments like this. I truly have to thank my fellow practitioners!
Learning to Harmonize
I often hear other practitioners say that we should cooperate with each other, but I was not clear on this concept, and now I finally know what I should do. During the project of compiling the persecution information, I learned that many practitioners who worked at large truth-clarification materials production sites had been tortured to death, and some were still incarcerated. I became really worried when I thought about practitioners who had the mentality of waiting and relying on others, not moving forward on their own, including myself, because we are partially responsible for the persecution of those practitioners. We hadn't taken the responsibility we should have shouldered and those practitioners had no choice but to do everything. As a result, they didn't have time to do the three things well, which led to the severity of the persecution against them. How can we say we are not responsible? If they were free, how many people could they save? When I see practitioners with attachments and who refuse to step forward, I get really anxious and sometimes I get angry with them.
I also saw some practitioners ignoring details when making truth clarification materials, doing such things as wasting paper. I couldn't take it. No matter what I say, I still have attachments. Why is it that I see their shortcomings? Shouldn't I look inward even when I see two people fighting? I know that I have lots of attachments that need to be addressed, because fellow practitioners' way of doing things nudged some of my deep-set notions. I realized that on many occasions my fixed notions alienated me from other practitioners. After a while I formed fixed ideas about other practitioners, and the only way to break through the alienation is to show empathy, because what concerns them also concerns me, and vice versa. When other practitioners have problems, I should first look inward to see if I'm doing something wrong, judged from the standpoint of the Fa. If the problem lies with the practitioner, I would kindly point it out and try my best to resolve it compassionately. This is one of the basic responsibilities of a Fa-rectification period Dafa disciple.
Regarding the Fa as Teacher
Because most practitioners around me are much older, I relied on their experience and didn't rectify myself with the Fa. I would accept whatever they said if what they suggested fit my notions. Because of this, I didn't come to correct understandings of situations after comparing them with the Fa, so my cultivation was not rock solid. Later, I even started to imitate other practitioners' mannerisms and tone of voice, and I treated people instead of the Fa as teachers. When we had Fa conferences I often said, "One practitioner said this, and another practitioner said that," instead of "Master said this and that." I blindly copied other practitioners' demeanor and ways of doing things without thinking them through. I was taking people to be the teachers and was placing myself above the Fa.
I also had a show-off mentality. The result was terrible. I didn't study the Fa well. I had always been a class leader since a young age, and I even took up the "officials' swagger," a product of CCP [Chinese Communist Party] brainwashing, and placed myself above others. I tried to show off the things I did in front of others. In fact, I should first judge whether something is right or wrong based on the Fa and treat myself as an ordinary practitioner. Only by regarding the Fa as the teacher can I walk a righteous path.
3. Cultivating myself while saving others
"So I say that the most important goal for you in clarifying the truth is to save even more beings in the process. This is what's foremost, and this is the real purpose of clarifying the truth." ("Teaching the Fa at the 2003 Atlanta Fa Conference")
During my six years of Fa-rectification cultivation, I realized that only by constantly improving myself can I better save sentient beings. Whether or not people can be saved is directly proportional to the state of our personal cultivation.
I remember when the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party first came out, my out-of-town cousin visited us during the school holidays. I talked to her about the commentaries and about quitting the CCP. She was a preparatory Party member, and was studying for a graduate examination. She was memorizing politics and reading the book Capital by Karl Marx in detail. She not only refused to listen to me, she opposed Dafa. Because of my attachment of human affection for her, I was not pure when clarifying the truth. We parted ways without reaching an agreement. After she left, I calmed down and thought it over, and I realized that I didn't treat her as one of the sentient beings but as my cousin instead. Because of my selfish emotions, the result was not good.
"I think for the most part it's actually because you still see them as people in your family and treat them differently from people in the outside world. You should remember that they, too, are sentient beings in the human world, instead of thinking of them first as your family." ("Teaching the Fa at the 2004 International Fa Conference in New York")
An opportunity came for me to enlighten to this Fa principle. I had to go to the city where my cousin lived to ask some relatives to quit the CCP. On the afternoon before I left home, I met my cousin and naturally mentioned quitting the CCP. At first she tried to avoid the topic, but I had one firm thought: "I will rescue you today." I told her, "Don't avoid it; I'm here to talk to you about quitting the CCP." She asked, "What will happen to me if I don't quit it?" "You'll lose your life!" I then explained why she should quit. In the end she said, "Then help me quit the CCP." I published an announcement online to quit the CCP for my cousin right after I went home. Later, I learned that a few days after I had the conversation with my cousin, several of my cousin's schoolmates became official Party members. Something came up, and my cousin could not attend the ceremony, while the others vowed in front of the blood-red flag. She missed it by a hair.
From this experience I realized that I must have pure righteous thoughts when clarifying the truth, because sentient being are relying on us to be saved. We have great responsibilities! It also shows that rescuing sentient beings is closely tied to our own cultivation. Only by cultivating well ourselves can we better save sentient beings and not let them down.
4. Fa-rectification Cultivation and Study
I used to be an outstanding student all the way, until the end of high school. As a result I was really attached to recognition and personal gain. My performance at university took a nosedive. I fell behind in my professional classes and couldn't get good grades, no matter how hard I tried. I thought, "Didn't Master say students should do well in school?" I didn't think I was doing anything wrong, and I took a big fall.
I met a fellow practitioner then who was my age. When we talked he said, "I stood out in junior high school, and as a result I developed strong attachment to recognition and self-interest. My grades fell precipitously in high school. Later I realized Master was reminding me to get rid of my attachment to recognition and personal gain."
I awakened to my problem, because I was acting like he was back in junior high school. I didn't let go of my attachment to recognition and practical gain. I didn't study to gain knowledge but to pursue recognition. I didn't acknowledge Master's compassionate hint and was muddling around like an ordinary person. I started to suppress my attachment and keep it from interfering with me. However, I developed another attachment, which was the pursuit of comfort, as the cultivation environment became better. I was no longer diligent and slowed down my pace. I was indolent in my studies as well. I even used Dafa work to cover up my laziness. Through several years of tempering, I now know that the troubles originate from my inability to properly position Fa-rectification cultivation and study.
In fact, studies are also a part of validating Dafa. Eliminating human notions and validating Dafa is the responsibility and obligation of Dafa practitioners who are students. By positioning studying and doing the three things well, we will be cultivating ourselves. We Dafa practitioners who are students have to pay attention to academics because they are the area in which we practice cultivation. I remember I went to a third-tier school due to my attachment to time, and my family couldn't understand me and developed negative opinions toward Dafa. They thought Dafa practitioners don't study hard and are slackers. I later realized that I should openly enter a university and prove that Dafa practitioners are not as they are slanderously depicted by the CCP. I quit that school, passed the tests and was accepted by a first-tier university, although I had been forced into homelessness by then. My family changed their attitude toward Dafa. No matter what we do, everything is intertwined with our personal cultivation, which will determine whether or not sentient beings can be saved. Cultivation is serious!
5. "The Closer to the End, the More Diligent You Should Be"
Practitioners around me previously were my seniors. They tried to steer around my ego and diplomatically reminded me of my attachments when they surfaced. Now that I think about it, would Master lower the standard for me just because I'm younger than other practitioners? Never! The standard is the same for all practitioners and every practitioner has to take solid steps on the path of cultivation. Writing this experience-sharing article enabled me to understand the importance of truly cultivating oneself. Before, when I read Master's poem "Solid Cultivation" in Hong Yin:
"Study the Fa and gain the Fa,
Focus on how you study and cultivate,
Let each and every thing
be measured against the Fa.
Only then, with that,
is it actually cultivation."
I didn't have any special feelings when I read it, but now I realize the weight of "Only then, with that, is it actually cultivation."
Only by meeting the standards of Dafa is it cultivation; just thinking and saying it doesn't count. We have to solidly meet the criteria before we can say we truly practice cultivation. At this point I have a feeling that this has been a cleansing process, and I feel incredibly light. Cultivation experience sharing is the summary of a period of Dafa practice, and it also marks the beginning of ever more diligent cultivation. I want to end my article with Master's words in, "The Closer to the End, the More Diligent You Should Be,"
"I know that after you become clear on this you will quickly catch up, but you should take fewer detours on this most magnificent, divine path; not leave reason for regret in your futures; and not fall so far behind in terms of levels. That is my hope, your hope, and the hope of the beings who are counting on you."
Fellow practitioners, please compassionately point out anything inappropriate.
Heshi to Esteemed Master! Heshi to fellow practitioners around the world!