A Senior Citizen Practitioner's Cultivation Stories
Greetings to every fellow practitioner!
This is the first time I have written and shared my understandings and experiences as a Falun Dafa practitioner. I thought that experience sharing was only for practitioners who cultivate diligently, because from their sharing others were encouraged to improve. I felt that I had fallen behind and had a weak understanding of the Fa. I felt very nervous when I spoke to others. I became introverted after living under the pressure of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) rule. I appeared to be "slow" among everyday people. Now I don't think that I am "slow" at all, because I am Teacher's student. I am a Falun Dafa practitioner. However, when I am in front of a crowd, I often feel out of place.
I would like to share my path of cultivation and current understandings with you. The following is my experience of cultivating the Great Law. Please kindly point out anything that is not in line with this Great Law.
I started my cultivation in 1997. Zhuan Falun caught my attention. I was very excited and things became very clear. The air felt fresh and each breath I took was full. Because I felt I had become aware of Dafa so late, I said to Teacher, "I will follow you for my entire life and that commitment will never change." I learned something every time I studied the Fa.
"Don't let your mind be disturbed when you see an enlightened person from another school of practice. Stay with only one school of practice. Whether it is a Buddha, a Tao, an immortal, or a demon, they should not move your heart. In conducting oneself this way, success is bound to be in sight." (Lecture Six in Zhuan Falun)".
I said to Teacher in my heart, "Please rest assured, nothing can sway my determination to cultivate."
During this time I studied the Fa repeatedly and watched Teacher's lectures on video as well. I learned a great deal from fellow practitioners' experience sharing articles.
For 30 years of my life I had blood in my urine. Although I took all kinds of Chinese medicine, I showed no improvement, but instead I often felt faint. When I retired five years ago, I read and studied the Fa repeatedly and in turn I forgot about my illness. I continued to improve and after 20 days, all my illnesses vanished. I firmly believe in Dafa. I said to Teacher, "I will cultivate Dafa, and I will practice the exercises, too." I looked forward to group study each week and became more comfortable around fellow practitioners. I went to the practice site every day. If someone did not come to the practice site, I was concerned about them. When it was time to say goodbye for the day, we were reluctant to leave one another.
Fellow practitioners discussed different situations involving eliminating sickness karma. Some practitioners looked inward very seriously when their sickness karma was being eliminated. However, I did not feel anything. I wondered whether Teacher was taking care of me. I was aware that Teacher had given me a Falun, as I could feel it. Fellow practitioners said, "Maybe you will enlighten to something." I did not see how as I could not even remember the subtitles of Zhuan Falun. I only recalled that Master talked about "genuine cultivation" many times.
I learned from Zhuan Falun,
"... the entire cultivation process for a practitioner is one of constantly giving up human attachments." (Lecture One, Zhuan Falun)
I thought that maybe I was not really cultivating because I could not identify my attachments. I asked a coordinator who had already retired about how I could become aware of my attachments.
I read in Zhuan Falun (Lecture Nine),
"As a practitioner, the first thing you should be able to do is not fight back when you are beaten or sworn at--you must be tolerant."
I was so glad that I was tolerant. Before I became a practitioner I was intolerant. I never fought back when someone spoke harshly to me because I did not know what to say, but I was angry in my heart. The Fa helped me see that I did not need to fight back or feel angry. During this time I was at home alone. I had good relationships with my neighbors and did not have conflicts. This concerned me, as how could I improve my xinxing without conflicts?
After I came to America, I discovered that there was no bus transportation in the city I was in; everyone owned their own car. People did not walk on the street, only fast cars traveled there. My Chinese neighbors were families and they all worked. Other neighbors were American and I do not understand English. I was unable to communicate with others. Of course, because of this I could not have conflict, and there was no opportunity for improvement. I was concerned that my xinxing was not adequate to be Teacher's student.
As I repeatedly read Zhuan Falun, I remembered a principle,
"You must cultivate your inner self and not pursue things externally. So many people are seeking things externally."
"To truly practice cultivation, you must cultivate your mind. This is called xinxing cultivation." (Lecture One, Zhuan Falun)
"With any social status, one can still be a good person. There are different conflicts for people of different social classes. The upper-class society has conflicts of the upper-class society, all of which can be properly dealt with. In any social class, one can be a good person and care less for different desires or attachments. One can be a good person at different strata, and one can practice cultivation at one's own social level." (Lecture Four, Zhuan Falun)
I realized that my family environment was a good environment to practice cultivation. There were many chores to be done and I did not choose which I would do or not do; I tried to do everything. There was a large lawn which I weeded and fertilized. I organized the household and did the cooking, washing, and cleaning. I washed all of the clothes and cleaned the house before a Dafa function, especially before I attended a Fa conference. Based on Teacher's Fa, I considered others first without any complaint. I kept my mind calm and I was happy that I had learned how to cultivate my heart.
An older couple that lived nearby worked all day. Many times their garbage can blew around in the wind. I would pick it up for them and place it by their garage upside down so it would not fill with water from the rain. Other neighbors were also gone during the day, so I helped them as well. If they did not have a broom to sweep, I would lend them ours. Even though there was a language barrier, we knew each other and developed good relationships.
I have two grandsons. The older one is in elementary school and the younger one is in kindergarten. When they come home from school they want me to play with them. Many times they came to my room and looked at Dafa books and they told me they thought they were good books. They put Teacher's picture in their room and liked to sit in front of Teacher's picture while I read the Fa to them. My younger grandson liked to watch television, but I did not want him to watch too much television. One time he came downstairs and turned the television on. I unplugged the television and told him it was broken. The older grandson quickly pointed out, "That is not 'Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance.'" I was very surprised. I have been studying the Fa for a long time, but a child was able to point out my shortcoming. I had not changed my nature and assimilated to the Fa and so the bad things revealed themselves spontanneously. This child had actually given me a warning.
My son-in-law was very helpful in many ways. He located a group practice site about an hour's drive from my home. He bought a timer for sending righteous thoughts and a "Bumble Bee" (MP3) player. When I attended a Fa conference or other Dafa activities, he purchased the airline tickets, took care of the travel arrangements, and helped me with the itinerary. He would drive me to Dafa activities that were sometimes more than ten hours away.
On July 20, 1999, when the persecution of Falun Dafa began, I wanted to go to Chicago and Washington, D.C. My son-in-law did not seem to understand why I wanted to go. I told him that I had become a very positive person, my health had improved, and that my Teacher had helped me in every way. My Teacher was now being defamed and misunderstood, and I felt I needed to go. Actually, I did not know much about the nature of the persecution. My son-in-law did not question me after I explained this to him. First I went to Chicago's Chinese Embassy. Then I went to Washington several times. Every step of the way was prepared for me. I met up with many practitioners and felt very stable when I arrived in Washington. I said to Teacher, "Your students have come here now. Even though I don't speak English and I don't know much, I must follow you." Later I came to understand that if I had a pure heart, Teacher would help me in everything. Now, my daughter also cultivates.
In 2001, I went to live with my son to help care take my granddaughter. She is now five years old. I lived with them for five years. After I moved there, I joined in on Dafa activities with the help of fellow practitioners. Every Friday there was a study group and I diligently sent righteous thoughts on Sundays at 5 p.m., 6 p.m., and 7 p.m. sharp. I was the only person who went to the airport to clarify the truth to Chinese people. My son was very supportive. My daughter-in-law wrote our address and phone number on a slip of paper and put it in my pocket just in case I got lost. They also gave me some money. I was always considerate of them and did as much housework as I could. I always finished my chores before I did Dafa work.
Teacher said in Lecture Six, Zhuan Falun,
"Of course, in practicing cultivation in ordinary human society, we should respect parents and educate our children. Under all circumstances, we must be good and kind to others, not to mention to our family members. We should treat everyone in the same way. We must be good to our parents and children and be considerate of others in all respects. Such a heart is thus unselfish, and it is a heart of kindness and benevolence."
I have firmly memorized Teacher's Fa. I treat other people very well. If I could not attend a Dafa function due to family responsibilities, I would not force my family to let me go, but I would explain to them that I would not go if it caused them any problems. I would show the compassion of a practitioner. As practitioners we do not behave in extreme ways but instead very rationally.
The Great Law tells me that my family members are my relatives in this lifetime. They were also Teacher's relatives in history. They are sentient beings and I have a responsibility to let them know Dafa's brightness. After we moved to our new home, there were only two keys to the house. My son and daughter-in-law wanted to make another key for me, but they were too busy to have it made. One time, I arrived home around noon from the practice site and the house was very quiet. I thought my daughter-in-law might be napping, as she would need to go to work soon. I did not want to bother her, so I sat outside and read Dafa books. She looked outside and saw me and felt guilty. She asked why I had not called her. I told her that I did not want to disturb her so she could have more time to rest. I also told her that I had read Dafa books outside and so I had not wasted any time. I was very calm and happy. I am very glad that the Fa has taught me to consider others first and forgive others.
I played Teacher's Lecture videos so my family could listen and experience the power of the Fa. One day my daughter-in-law came back from her work and said, "A colleague wanted to engage in some conflict with me today. I did not treat her in the same manner as she treated me. I remembered that Teacher told us to not do bad deeds." Sometimes they would discuss things that they experienced during their work week. They encouraged each other to treat others well. When they did not behave well, they would say to each other, "That is not the behavior of a practitioner." We were all very happy. My son and his wife told their child to do as I did and study the Fa. With great earnest, my grandchild studied the Fa. She would wash her hands before she picked up a Dafa book and would sit in the lotus position to study, which she did every day. When she would hear us speaking loudly to one another, she would think there was something wrong. She would take a Dafa book and turn to a page in the book and point to the lines and read. Although she did not know what she was reading, she would recite Lunyu. Then she would tell us, "Listen to Teacher's Fa. Never fight with one another, never swear at one another and assimilate to 'Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance.'" We all smiled.
I distributed truth clarifying materials with other older practitioners. I printed and passed out English materials. There were also many Chinese people to give materials to. We should spread widely the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party to save our precious Chinese people. If there were not enough materials, I would buy some, but there was still not enough. Toronto practitioners gave us many materials, but they were so heavy and we could not carry that much weight. We asked a fellow practitioner to take the materials to his house. Then he could bring them to our Sunday group practice site. But that did not solve the situation, because if there were too many materials, we could not carry them and if there were too few there were not enough to pass out. We distributed truth clarifying materials every Saturday. This practitioner was very busy, and we did not want to bother him all the time. I told my son and daughter-in-law about our predicament. My daughter-in-law offered to drive the materials to our home and store them there. This was very convenient as I could organize the materials ahead of time. I would put a CD inside folded material and then classify them and wrap them up. At first we went to about four or five Chinese stores. As more and more practitioners participated, we went to different places and, of course, the amount of materials that were needed increased. I could not carry the amount of materials that were needed. My son offered to drive me every time I needed help. I was so happy they were able to help. My daughter-in-law has read Zhuan Falun several times and listened to Teacher's Fa.
While living with my with children, I never talked about how good Dafa is. I just did good things. My children recognized that Dafa practitioners are good and different from other people. They started to practice the Fa in a very natural way.
My experience has been that if we keep a peaceful mind we will carry a pure, compassionate, and serene field. This will allow sentient beings the opportunity to feel the magnificence of the Buddha light illuminating everywhere.
I know in my heart that only by studying the Fa well can we walk our path correctly. When I realized this I started to memorize the Fa.
Master taught us in "Non-Omission in Buddha-Nature," Essentials for Further Advancement:
"I also want to tell you that your nature in the past was actually based on egotism and selfishness. From now on, whatever you do, you should consider others first, so as to attain the righteous Enlightenment of selflessness and altruism. So from now on, whatever you do or whatever you say, you must consider others--or even future generations--along with Dafa's eternal stability"
As Teacher's student, I take my duty very seriously. For the sake of sentient beings, for the Fa of the universe, for Dafa's eternal stability, I will do well at everything in daily life. I will continuously strive to improve and walk well the path arranged by Teacher.
Thank you, Teacher!