Some Experiences of "Cultivating Ourselves"
"The things of Dafa disciples surpass personal cultivation, such as our currently validating the Fa, clarifying the truth, and saving sentient beings, but all of these are actually based on a foundation of personal Consummation, so if you can't reach personal Consummation then everything else is out of the question. Validating the Fa isn't something ordinary people do; only Dafa disciples are worthy of doing it." (Explaining the Fa During the 2003 Lantern Festival at the U.S. West Fa Conference)
"You're a Dafa disciple, so don't think that the goal of saving people is just for you yourself to cultivate to Consummation. It's not. A Dafa disciple's responsibility is to validate the Fa. Will you not even validate the Fa? When Dafa is being damaged, are you indifferent?..."
(Teaching the Fa at the Meeting with Asia-Pacific Students)
"Our work is not yet completely done, though, and in terms of personal cultivation, each step might be critical in determining whether each Dafa disciple can reach Consummation."
(Teaching the Fa at the Western U.S. International Fa Conference)
At the mention of "cultivating ourselves" as practitioners, some of us only pay attention to validating Dafa and saving sentient beings, but we neglect cultivating ourselves through every conflict and problem that we encounter. Therefore, we may sometimes forget to look within. Sometimes we don't realize that it is we ourselves who have loopholes; or when we realize that we have loopholes, we don't know where they are. Because of this, we still avoid taking responsibility, and we look outward when we come across a conflict or a problem. With strong attachments, we have difficulty distancing ourselves from those conflicts. Sometimes the attachments are so strong that we cannot remember that we should look within ourselves as genuine practitioners, and we stumble badly because of this. When conflicts arise, if each of us can look within, and if at every turn and measure, our every single thought, word, and action can be according to the requirements of Dafa, we can eliminate all of the impure factors, and we can improve our xinxing as one body.
Since the cultivation experiences and status of every practitioner are different, as for our understandings in Dafa, some of us have a deep understanding of one aspect, and some of us have a deep understanding of some other aspect; some of us have experience with one problem while others do not. I have recently gained the following deep understanding: during our self-cultivation or through cultivation within the Fa-Rectification, no matter what affair, conflict, or problem we encounter, if it makes us feel angry and disturbs our mind, then there must be some incorrect factors of ours arising. In this case, we need to look within for sure. No matter how you regard yourself as being correct on the surface, if your mind is disturbed and you feel angry, your are definitely in the wrong (at least on this point).
At the very beginning of my obtaining Dafa, due to my shallow level of Fa-study, my understanding of Dafa's principles was very superficial. I held one single thought through every conflict and problem I encountered: "An Arhat always smiles at everyone no matter what losses or hardships he suffers; Dafa disciples begin cultivating at a very high level, so what can make me not pass this test in my heart?" However, during the process of my cultivation there were a few conflicts in my heart which caused me not to pass this test.
Recently, I have often heard, seen, encountered or felt some conflicts and problems that a practitioner might meet with. For example, sometimes, since I didn't genuinely measure my own xinxing according to the requirements of the Fa, I felt that the problems were very complex. I would feel very bitter, even helpless, in my heart. Thus, I understood the problems one way or another way, but not the correct way. As a matter of fact, although the manifestations of the conflicts were various, throughout all of them I should have been looking within myself. I have some shallow experiences and understandings towards the issue of "cultivating ourselves" and I would like to share them with my fellow practitioners.
1. At the very beginning of the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party being published, I shared my understandings on this issue with my fellow practitioners, and I found that we had different understandings on this issue: one practitioner positively realized that we should help more ordinary people know about the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party, while I had the concern that we were "participating in politics." When that practitioner reminded me again, I started to look within to see where I misunderstood. By doing so, the first thought that came into my mind was to study the Fa. After I carefully studied Master's Fa lectures relating to the evil CCP, I totally changed my point of view on the function of the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party as it relates to non-practitioners. Afterwards when I shared with another practitioner on the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party, his understanding was just the same as my previous one, and he worried that non-practitioners who were unclear about the truths of Falun Gong might think that we were "participating in politics". As a result of sticking to our own views, I didn't abandon my strong attachment to always pressuring others to change themselves until I noticed that this practitioner had difficulty calming down his own mind. When this practitioner obtained Master's new article, "Turning the Wheel Towards the Human World", he didn't have such thoughts any longer.
I further realized that before doing anything about any conflicts, we should definitely look within and direct all of our thoughts and conduct according to the Fa. Therefore, to help fellow practitioners improve themselves, we also should help them according to the principles of the Fa instead of helping them with specific matters or simply emphasizing our own understandings.
2. I had a "Withdrawal Statement from CCP's Youth League" published for my wife without her knowing about it. When I studied Teacher's Fa lectures on the subject of "quitting from the CCP", I thought, "I should clarify the truth to her and help her understand for herself why she should be quitting the CCP's Youth League." However, whenever I wanted to clarify the truth to her, I had no chance to talk with her. She would become very restless and agitated, and she would always fight with me. When the conflict arose for the first time, superficially she brought up a different matter and began to fight with me. Thus, when I said, "What you are afraid to lose is only self-interest!" this made her feel very unhappy. Afterwards, I realized that it was my attachment that had been involved in the conflict, and at the same time, I emphasized my own understandings too much. Half a day later, due to the issue of "quitting the CCP", she threw a fit right in my face again, and her words became more sharp. At that time, I knew clearly that it was the evil spirit of the CCP that was committing wrongdoings through her. I couldn't let it exploit her like this. I immediately sent forth righteous thoughts to eliminate it. At the same time, I felt very compassionate from the bottom of my heart without any anger. I behaved kindly, the way a practitioner should behave. A couple of days later, my wife became peaceful. When I told her about "quitting the CCP's Youth League," she didn't oppose me and finally she agreed to publicize her withdrawal statement.
3. A relative of mine was injured in a car accident and was thus hospitalized. When he negotiated for compensation with the other party that had injured him, the other party complained that his needs were too much to meet, and thus they could not reach an agreement. So one day, his family members, relatives, and friends colluded together to perjure themselves in order to get more money in compensation. I was on the scene and immediately expressed my concerns and opposing views regarding their proposal. During the process of heated argument with them, they not only did not accept my suggestion, but they also all attacked me. I didn't realize until similar situations occurred three more times that, although my opinions were right, I failed to persuade them with compassion. Instead, I just emphasized how correct my opinions were, showing that I had a strong attachment of forcing others to change themselves. I then realized that I should let go of this attachment. After everyone on the scene finished speaking their opinions regarding how to lie in order to gain benefits, one of them suddenly made a summary and said everything that I wanted to say, and all of them became speechless when they heard his words.
4. One day, my wife asked me to do some household maintenance. I went to a hardware store and spent 5 yuan to buy some materials, and then I went home and finished the maintenance. Upon learning of this, my wife was furious. She said to me, "There are construction materials everywhere in your workplace. Yet you went to shop to buy some with our own money. Do you have too much money?" It is quite clear that a practitioner should not steal from others. What did I do wrong? Yet, I didn't feel wronged because of this. Instead, I understood her calmly, without any notions of my own. After all, the basic point of non-practitioners' lives is selfishness, while cultivators in Dafa are compassionate and selfless.
5. Once I was studying Fa several years ago, and I was reading the following sentence, "Desires, lust, and things of these sorts are all human attachments, and all of them should be given up." (Zhuan Falun) I found that this principle of the Fa was shining and dazzling. I realized that a genuine practitioner should eventually let go of his attachments of desires and lust to reach Consummation. The moment I understood this principle, I suddenly took my marital conflicts very lightly from the bottom of my heart. Although sometimes there were still attachments and desires in the bottom of my heart, yet at least the knowing side of me has taken "desires" very lightly.
6. At an experience sharing Fa conference not long ago, when the subject of "desires and lust" was brought forward, a fellow practitioner disagreed with my understandings; furthermore, he felt very uncomfortable because of this. At that moment, I suddenly remembered that before this argument, I had shared experiences with another fellow practitioner and we mentioned the topic of "understanding the Fa from the perspective of the Fa." Actually, this practitioner understood the Fa from the perspective of everyday people. That is, he would agree with the principles of the Fa that fit his own notions and mentality; on the other had, he wouldn't agree with what didn't fit. In other words, he actually limited his own understanding of the Fa at his own level. This is how I look at, "understanding the Fa from the perspective of the Fa." Of course, "to understand the Fa from the perspective of the Fa" cannot be totally understood from such a narrow point of view, and I hope that others who read this will correct me if they have further understandings.
May 23, 2005