My Cultivation Experience in a Military Camp in Taiwan
(Clearwisdom.net) In Taiwan, it is compulsory for men to serve in the military, as per Taiwan's laws. Recently, I joined the military and have gained a new understanding of the objective of life. The purpose of being human is to cultivate to return to one's original, true self and to assist Master in the Fa-rectification. So what is my objective for being here? I have thought about this for a long time and have concluded that it is surely for cultivation. The only difference is that the path and environment for cultivation is different, and the form is different from that of a nonmilitary environment. However, in terms of improving xinxing, there is no difference in the necessity for strictness to improve.
Then, with what kind of mindset and in what ways should I treat this so-called "soldiers' environment?" My understanding again is to do the three things well. (Of course, I also need to harmonize the matter by conforming to everyday people's perception of being a soldier) The three things include studying the Fa, clarifying the truth and sending forth righteous thoughts. During the lunch break I study the Fa, and before going to bed at night I also study the Fa and practice the exercises. In the military assembly and doing things that do not involve much thinking, I recite the Fa and send forth righteous thoughts. Every day I regularly recite Master's articles Lunyu, "The Closer to the End, the More Diligent You Should Be," and "Hong Yin" II." As for truth clarification, I have not done very well and need to improve. At the moment, the only way I can clarify the truth is to talk about the truth of Falun Gong while chatting with friends. However, in this area I'm still doing too little and I urgently need to improve on this.
While in the military, several of my shortcomings have been exposed. Many of my shortcomings had already been exhibited before I joined the military, but it has taken too long to let go of them. For example, before I joined the military, I mainly focused on maintaining computer software and hardware to assist in truth clarification. Most of my time was spent on that, and I did not clarify the truth face to face. Now, however, in the military environment, it is the opposite. In order to clarify the truth, one has to talk to people face to face. This directly touches upon my notions of "feeling shy" and my fears that others "may look at me differently," "may regard me as a very strange person," " may label me," "may hold an opposite opinion," "do not want to listen," "may be hostile to me," and others. I understand that these are attachments to fear that I need to let go of, and I'm determined to make a breakthrough.
Another shortcoming is that, before I joined the military, I quite often slacked off and did things slowly. I was not good at tidying up my room or desk. In the military, it is a requirement that everything be done very quickly and time is very tight. Often I was the last one to arrive at assembly. In this way, I have seen my gaps and have been seeking within and trying to improve.
Besides this, I have also noticed many of my other shortcomings and attachments. For example, my fellow soldiers often use bad language and smoke cigarettes. There were extremely few people that did these things where I stayed before joining the military. I was very uneasy about this and even felt troubled by their behavior. Later I came to understand that I should not be affected by their dirty words or the smell of cigarettes, and that this is also an issue of cultivation levels.
"Present but the mind is not--
No dispute with the world."
("In Dao" from Hong Yin, translation version B )
This is the standard that I should reach. Besides not being affected, I should treat those who smoke or scream at others equally. I should get in touch and make friends with them, and clarify the truth to them. This is what I think I should do but have not yet accomplished.
I also have the attachment of sleeping. Now I make use of the sleep time at night to study the Fa and practice the sitting meditation. At the beginning I did pretty well. But later, when I finished Fa study, I slept instead of doing the exercises. Similarly, after practicing the exercises, I slept instead of studying the Fa. I understand that such behavior came about due to my mind not being determined enough. This situation was also there before I joined the military, but it was clearly exposed only after I joined the military. If I am determined to study the Fa and practice the exercises well, these shortcomings will be eliminated very quickly, including being undetermined, my attachment to sleeping, my fear of getting tired, etc. If we don't study the Fa and practice the sitting meditation now, then the time left for studying the Fa or practicing the exercises each day will be very limited.
When I study the Fa at night here, I can only use a flashlight and must be in an uncomfortable, bent over position that makes my shoulder very sore. At night, I can only practice the sitting meditation on the bed, and during the day it is hard to find a period of free time to practice the standing exercises. Furthermore, to practice the exercises in the military, I cannot listen to the exercise music or Master's instructions. All these made me realize more deeply the preciousness of the environment for studying the Fa and practicing the exercises before I joined the military. The pain of not being able to study the Fa or practice the exercises is so unbearable.
Physical pain or doing something meaningless is not as painful as not being able to obtain the Fa! I wanted to share this experience with fellow practitioners so that all of us cherish the time to study the Fa and practice the exercises.
There are also many occasions when everyone is relaxed and watching TV or movies. This is a test, the time to see if I can control myself and not watch a movie, but instead do what I should do. For example, while I am writing this article, the others are all watching TV. It is also a direct test for me to resist the attraction to watching so-called "entertainment."
I wrote this article in the military camp and sent it to a fellow practitioner by mail, asking him to type it for me and to forward it to other practitioners. I hope it will help others to make progress. Let us cherish the time for Fa study, practicing exercises, experience sharing, and group reading, as well as the time for accessing the Clearwisdom website. These opportunities are all very precious and invaluable.
October 30, 2006