Dissolving into the Fa and Cultivating with Diligence
Greetings, Revered Teacher. Greetings, fellow practitioners.
In the past year, my cultivation has involved memorizing the Fa and running a small truth-clarifying materials production site.
Part I: My Experiences Memorizing the Fa
I had a dream the other day, in which I was riding a bicycle with three other practitioners, practitioners A, B, and C. We dashed forward on a road, passing some bumps and ditches, until we arrived at the bottom of a hill. Practitioner A and C then got off the bicycle and ran up the hill. Practitioner B stayed halfway up the hill and started to play. I was climbing a vertical cliff step by step. The cliff was made of soft earth instead of rock. I was not afraid, however, and I kept climbing slowly but steadily. When I was about to reach the top of the hill, practitioner B went past me rapidly and reached the top. When all 4 of us arrived at the top of the hill, we sat down and said together, "There should be five of us -- the other practitioner fell off on the road." At this time, practitioner D appeared and said, "I was the one who fell off on the road."
I remembered the dream vividly after I woke up. I realized that the dream was a metaphor of five us memorizing Zhuan Falun.
We started to memorize Zhuan Falun last September after receiving a hint from Teacher. We stopped for a while when we were at Lecture 2 and picked it up again this March. Practitioner D gave up the effort at Lecture 2. By the end of August, practitioner A and C finished the whole book. Practitioner B stopped for a while at Page 260, but when I was about to finish and had only about 10 pages to go, practitioner B used only 3 or 4 days to finish memorizing the whole book.
On our team memorizing the Fa, I am the oldest. I have many chores to do at home -- I have to take care of my parents and my children. My job is hectic and I often have to work overtime at night. I have also been making truth-clarifying materials and distributing them. Compared to practitioners A, B, and C, I have a poor memory. I also have much thought karma. I tried several times before to memorize the Fa but only succeed in memorizing Lecture 1. I could hardly imagine finishing the task. Now when I look back, I feel the power of Dafa and Teacher's compassion -- I could only succeed with Teacher's careful help.
Below are some of my experiences from memorizing the Fa.
1. Overcoming Thought Karma
Before, when reading the Fa I would get sleepy or my mind would stray. Although I tried to overcome it, I always failed.
When I started to memorize the book, I proceeded very slowly and with great difficulty. Yet I made up my mind that no matter how hard it was, I will not give up this time. Teacher said,
"The master leads you through the door, but cultivation is up to you. It all depends on how you cultivate yourself. And whether you can cultivate, that all depends on whether you can endure, whether you can make sacrifices, and whether you can take the hardship. If you're able to steel your will, no difficulty can block you, and I'd say it'll be no problem." (Zhuan Falun)
I proceeded under this solid thought, paragraph-by-paragraph, page after page. I never stopped my effort, and I did not dare slack off. The first paragraph I tried to memorize was the most difficult and it took me two or three hours to finish. There seemed to be a layer of matter in my head preventing me from taking the characters in. The characters seemed elusive and in motion. I kept my eyes wide open and stared at each character, reading them one by one, as if I were trying to imprint them in my mind. Sometimes I sent forth righteous thoughts to eliminate the matter separating me from the Fa. When I was memorizing the first several lectures, I added the thought of eliminating these elements when sending forth righteous thoughts at regular hours.
Sometimes various thoughts appeared in my mind shortly after I entered a good state in memorizing, such as, I need to do this and that, I should call someone, or some "important" things need my attention. In the beginning, I could not discern these interferences. As I proceed in memorizing the Fa, my mind became increasingly clear and I could tell these thoughts were all interference. I would finish the page I was on before taking care of the important things -- no matter how important they were. Nothing could interfere with me. As I memorized more of the book, the phenomenon occurred less and less. When I reached Lecture 9, the interferences did not appear at all -- all of these were delusions.
As my thought karma diminished, my main consciousness became clearer and I could memorize faster. From one paragraph a day to one page a day, and then to several pages a day. I rarely spent a day without memorizing. When I reached Lecture 9, I felt that memorizing the book was not difficult at all. Now I just love memorizing the Fa. Even with minimal time, I can memorize a paragraph.
2. Strengthening My Main Consciousness, I Overcame the Demon of Sleepiness
Another form of serious interference I encountered was getting sleepy when studying the Fa. For some time, I was able to stay awake when I read the first lecture. When reading the next one, I could hardly keep my eyes open. I could not overcome this problem. In 1998, I tried to memorize the Fa. Yet I was able to memorize only about thirty pages. At the time, I became very sleepy after memorizing a paragraph. As I tried hard to fix my eyes on the book, I uttered words out of my mouth, "I want to sleep so badly." This time, I got very sleepy when memorizing the first few lectures. When I did, I stood up or stayed on my knees -- sometimes I fell asleep on my knees, yet as soon as I woke up, I continued. Later, I sent forth righteous thoughts, trying to eliminate the matter and the karmic field that caused my sleepiness. When I was memorizing Lectures 5 and 6, I practiced the exercises whenever I felt sleepy. For example, I practiced the second set of exercises when I felt sleepy after 9:30 p.m. After that, I memorized some more but got sleepy again at around 11:00 p.m. I would then practice the sitting meditation followed by sending forth righteous thoughts. By the time I reached Lecture 9, I rarely got sleepy. Having overcome that, I had more time to memorize the Fa. I could also memorize faster as the quality of my Fa study improved.
3. Digging Out My Attachments and Relinquishing the Pursuit for Fame
I could not memorize the Fa if I was not clear about the meaning on the surface or did not hold myself to the standard of the Fa. I thought I understood many parts of the Fa before, but as I was memorizing it, I found that I had not understood it before. I often realized, "Oh, this part means this. How did I study the Fa before? Why didn't I realize this? I even thought I was studying the Fa a lot and well." I felt ashamed and not deserving of Teacher's compassion.
My biggest improvement through memorizing the Fa was that I found and eliminated many attachments. In my cultivation, my attachment to fame and protecting myself had never been relinquished. When I shared experiences with other practitioners, my mentality of showing off, the attachment to myself, and my sense of complacency made me always want to talk before others. I even thought I was being objective by talking about facts, telling how I did this and that. In fact, my show-off mentality and attachments to fame blended in. Sometimes I made other practitioners very uncomfortable by covering up my attachments with the Fa or Dafa projects. Whenever this occurred, I realized after searching inward that my attachment to fame and to self was behind my bad actions. I frequently suffered from the feeling of not being able to relinquish these attachments. I even knelt down in front of Teacher's picture and asked, "Teacher, please help me. I really don't want to bear the attachment to fame and self. How can I get rid of them?"
I memorized the following sentences in Zhuan Falun,
"Showing off itself is a very strong attachment and a very bad attachment that a practitioner must relinquish."
"That is not out of compassion, as one's attachments to fame and self-interest have not been given up at all. This person is unable to develop this compassion one bit. He is afraid of losing his reputation. He would rather have this illness himself in order to keep his reputation. What a strong attachment to fame!"
"If someone said something bad about her, she would be upset. This person's attachments to fame and self-interest were all developed. She considered herself better than others and extraordinary."
"The more one is attached to fame and self-interest, the lower the level one will drop to among everyday people."
The above words, as well as the parts in the book that talk about "The Mentality of Showing Off," "Jealousy," and "Attachment of Zealotry," moved me deeply. The attachment to fame is so harmful to a practitioner. I became clearer about the attachment. I realized that knowingly or unknowingly, I felt that I was better than others. I liked to criticize or comment on other people's actions. I wanted to do excellent work and win praise from other people, and when other people criticized me, although I stayed quiet at the time, I bore the mentality of arguing and competing for fame. I have too much of an attachment to showing off, as well as zealotry and jealousy.
After I realized this, I examined every thought of mine and tried to relinquish the attachments. For example, when I was in a good state while memorizing the book, a thought surfaced, "You are really good at memorizing the book!" I then stopped and examined the thought; I have only improved a bit before this bad thought came out, making me zealous and wanting to show off. The thought is really bad. I then said to it, "Now that I have recognized you clearly, I will annihilate you -- you cannot interfere with me any more." I saw three faces with my celestial eye in the upper-right direction. They laughed and left. In later incidents, I saw two and then one face leaving. As I proceeded in memorizing the book, the phenomenon gradually disappeared.
Two days before I finish memorizing the entire book, some words appeared in my mind as I was sending forth righteous thoughts, "Those who are attached to their reputations are bound to say good but mean evil." The hint shocked me. In Essentials for Further Advancement, Teacher said,
"Those who are attached to their reputations practice an evil way, full of intention. Once they gain renown in this world, they are bound to say good but mean evil, thereby misleading the public and undermining the Fa." ("Cultivators' Avoidances")
When I was studying this part before, I always thought I had nothing to do with the issue. Now that I have truly woken up, I realize that my attachment to self, the mentality of showing off, competing, fighting, and jealousy are all attachments to my reputation. They were like a mountain blocking my path of cultivation. Through my efforts in memorizing the book and Teacher's hints, the fog of delusion dissipated, and the mountain was moved away.
4. Taking Good Care of My Son and Directing Him to Memorize the Fa
Directing my 15-year-old son to memorize the Fa was the hardest task I had. He had always been passive in studying the Fa, and thus I felt it would be very difficult to make him memorize the Fa (of course, this had to do with my own notions). During his summer vacation, I tried to convince him to memorize the Fa. For example, I allowed him to play with his computer for awhile or bought him a treat if he could memorize a page. Then he started. As a child, he was simple and pure, so he could memorize the Fa quickly. After a while, he could memorize five pages a day. For the first several days, however, we had much conflict -- it took a lot of time and patience for me to check his results. Sometimes he made many mistakes so I asked him to recite the part again. He refused and got angry with me. I thought he was wasting my time, so I scolded him and forced him to follow my orders. For several days, he did not want to memorize the Fa. My heart was moved and I felt very disturbed, which seriously interfered with my memorizing the Fa, I could not even finish a paragraph after spending the entire morning memorizing. I wept and said to Teacher, "Teacher, I don't want to manage him any more -- let him be of he does not want to memorize the Fa." I then heard a voice telling me, "You had an agreement before coming to this world from a higher level -- you take care and manage him."
I suddenly woke up to my responsibilities, we had an agreement and I cannot give him up. Children of practitioners all have predestined relationships with the Fa, and we should be responsible for them. No matter how difficult it is, I should help him study the Fa. As long as he studies the Fa, he will change. Teacher said,
"As a student, if his mind is filled with nothing but Dafa, this person is definitely a genuine cultivator. So you must have a clear understanding on the matter of studying the Fa. Reading the books more and studying the books more is the key to truly elevating yourself. To put it more simply, as long as you read Dafa, you are changing; as long as you read Dafa, you are elevating. The boundless content of Dafa plus the supplementary means--the exercises--will enable you to reach Consummation." (Essentials for Further Advancement)
I dug deeper while searching inward and found that I was still attached to self. I still had elements of the Communist Party's culture as well as affection for family. As a result of these attachments, I was impatient and lacked tolerance. Teacher has talked about tolerance many times, yet my attachment to fame and self prevented me from being tolerant -- I always considered myself correct and good and could not consider things from other people's perspective. How could I be tolerant when I always used my own standards to judge others?
After I realized that, I changed my attitude. My son stopped arguing with me, and he slowly improved in memorizing the Fa, he made fewer mistakes and proceeded much faster. After school began, he could still finish a page every night. On his days off, he could memorize two extra pages. Now he has reached Lecture 5.
5. Letting Go of the Attachment to Pursuit
I felt that I should not memorize the Fa with the attachment to pursuit. I should simply do my best according to my conditions. Otherwise the results would be just the opposite. A few times, I wanted to try harder and compete with practitioners A and B. I thought it would be great if I could be better and faster than them! (This indicated my mentality of showing off, my attachment to reputation and validating myself.) Every time I had this thought, I proceeded slower than normal. When I searched inside and found the attachment, and relinquish it, I could naturally go on and felt Teacher helping me.
Sometimes I felt pain all over my body while I was sleeping. The pain would wake me up, and I thought, "Maybe I should get up and memorize the book." Sometimes I woke up before 5:00 a.m. and started memorizing, and the pain completely disappeared once I began memorizing the Fa.
Driven by my attachment to a comfortable lifestyle, sometimes I felt that sleeping for four or five hours every night was not enough, so I stayed in bed longer. Yet I felt sleepier after getting more sleep, and it took two or three days to readjust.
6. Helping Each Other and Improving Together
Our team memorizing the Fa truly exemplified what Teacher said,
"Study the Fa and gain the Fa,
Focus on how you study and cultivate"
("Solid Cultivation" from Hong Yin)
I live very close to practitioners A and B, so we often got together, encouraged each other and shared our experiences about memorizing the Fa. We also talked to each other over the phone, reminding and encouraging each other. I felt that memorizing the book in a team of two or three people had good results.
Part II: My Experiences Running a Small Truth-clarifying Materials Production Site
1. Establishing a Small Truth-clarifying Materials Production Site, Following the Path Arranged by Teacher
Last year, while memorizing the Fa, I overcame some financial difficulties (caused by the old forces) and my own mentality of waiting for and depending on others for truth-clarifying materials. In September 2004, I started a home-based truth-clarifying materials production site.
After I saw the editorial on the Minghui website (Chinese version of Clearwisdom), publishing Teacher's suggestion that practitioners in China establish small materials production sites, I thought that I should do whatever Teacher asks, no matter how difficult it seems. However, we still owed about 70,000 yuan to the mortgage company for the apartment we bought. For people who live on salaries, it would take several years to pay that amount. I was a little worried. Teacher said, "Cultivation is up to you, gong is up to the master." (Zhuan Falun) Because I had the wish, Teacher miraculously arranged things. Last August, my older brother's family suddenly decided to move back to our area. At the same time, we were given an apartment as the result of a city renovation project. We sold the extra apartment to my older brother's family for a very low price, 60,000 yuan, and suddenly our debt was gone. With fellow practitioners' help, I established a small truth-clarification materials production site. The site runs very well, and our financial situation has improved.
When I look back at the miraculous changes, I am still amazed at Dafa's power and Teacher's compassionate help.
2. Grasp Every Opportunity to Save Sentient Beings
It is great to be able to make our own truth-clarifying materials. All our family members are practitioners, and we make what we need. When I go to work, I always have some truth-clarifying materials in my bag, and I distribute them to people with predestined relationships. Sometimes my son prints the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party or makes a truth-clarification CD when guests are visiting us and then gives them the materials before they leave. Once I noticed many bikes in a courtyard, so I put a flier in almost every basket on the bikes. I could see the fliers being picked up shortly afterward.
3. Encouraging and Helping Fellow Practitioners Establish Small Truth-clarifying Material Production Sites
I truly experienced the great changes in my mind and body through running a small Dafa materials production site. In the process, I also enlightened to the fundamental difference between personal cultivation and Fa-rectification cultivation. The small materials production site is so effective in saving sentient beings. Realizing all of this, I gradually tried to encourage other practitioners to establish truth-clarification materials production sites as well.
I tried various methods. One practitioner had some financial difficulties, so I lent her money to buy a multi-function printer that cost less than 1,000 yuan, so that she could start up. Shortly afterwards, she realized the above-mentioned benefits and the changes in her mind and body. Now she has helped other practitioners establishing more sites. Currently, there are many small sites like mine. These small production sites do not need practitioners with technical skills. They truly exemplify the principle of "A great way has no form," and small production sites exist everywhere.
Two practitioners I know started to practice Falun Gong before July 1999. They gave up their cultivation after the persecution started because they believed the lies on TV. Last year, they started to cultivate again, although they were not that stable. I took them to distribute fliers. They were afraid and nervous the first time, but got much better after a few times. I wanted to let them feel that it is actually not that difficult to distribute fliers. I then gave them materials and asked them to distribute the materials on their own. Gradually, I encouraged them to establish their own truth-clarification materials production sites. In this way, they went step by step into the melting pot of Fa-rectification, and changed into Fa-rectification Dafa disciples. The great changes of many practitioners around me after they started to run their own small materials production sites made me understand the form (of establishing small sites everywhere) in a deeper sense.
4. Balancing the Relationship between Personal Life and Fa-rectification Cultivation - Properly Arranging Time to Study the Fa and Clarify the Truth
When I first started my truth-clarification materials production site, I bought a cheap and very slow printer, even though I tend to spend a few hundred extra yuan to buy products of above-average quality when it comes to appliances such TVs or refrigerators. I then realized I was attached to self-interest. When doing such a sacred thing as Fa-rectification, I wanted to save money. I did not think about how precious time is to practitioners -- the low-end printers are slow and need frequent maintenance, which costs much time and energy. Later, I bought two expensive printers that are much faster and easier to use. Even with the two good printers, it takes much time every day to meet the demand for materials.
Through intensively memorizing the Fa during this year's summer vacation, studying the Fa and making truth-clarifying materials, I realized that I spent more time making truth-clarifying materials than studying the Fa. I felt the proportion should be reversed, that I should spend more time studying the Fa and use a smaller fraction of my time to make materials. So I bought another printer, which is smaller. The new printer could be easily hid, and it is stable in printing. With the other equipment, I could make ten copies of the "Nine Commentaries." It is easier to make pamphlets, and with the new printer I can make twenty copies in five minutes. This saves much of my time and I study the Fa more. By arranging my time properly between my daily life and cultivation, I have plenty of time to do the three things.
5. Running a Small Materials Production Site Made Me More Strict with Myself
Through running a small Dafa materials production site, I realized the hard work behind every copy of truth-clarifying material. I never fully understood this before, when I simply got the materials from big production sites. Righteous thoughts and righteous actions are required at every step; otherwise problems occur, including printing mistakes, paper jams, or printer malfunctions. When these problems occur, there are two possibilities: I either have a xinxing problem or I lack righteous thoughts. Both possibilities are closely related to how I treat every thought of mine. In order to run the site smoothly, I have to hold myself to the standard of a Fa-rectification Dafa practitioner in every aspect of my life. Interference or conflicts in my family life or work environment reflect themselves through problems in making truth-clarifying materials, delaying the process of saving sentient beings. Sometimes I felt overwhelmed by these problems. Gradually I realized that the reason was my xinxing problem; I did not do the three things well and follow Teacher's arrangements, and thus the old forces took advantage of my loopholes.
As I became stricter with myself, my environment greatly improved. All the equipment problems disappeared. I frequently felt the power and wonderfulness of Dafa.
As I look back at my past year's cultivation, I also feel that it was a great experience to write this experience sharing article. In the process of writing my experiences, I further improved through analyzing my problems and viewing myself more clearly. My biggest gains in the process are truly feeling the greatness and compassion of Teacher, and every bit of my improvement in Fa-rectification cultivation would not be possible without Teacher's compassionate help.
Thank you, Teacher.
Thank you, Falun Dafa.
Thank you, fellow practitioners.