On the Path of Cultivation
(Clearwisdom.net) I heard that the path of cultivation gets narrower the closer we get to the end and the higher the requirements. Other practitioners say that a little despondency will cause you to stray from the Fa. Many everyday people's conceptions will surface. This statement reflects their diligent and strict self-discipline, but some practitioners feel that it's too hard. I would like to share my understandings gained through cultivation. Fellow practitioners, please correct any of my points that stray.
I was struggling hard in the realms of fame and wealth before I learned Falun Gong in 1996. I thought to live a better life, one has to have power and money due to influence from my family. Money and power do not come free. So, I worked hard and tried to maintain a good relationship with cadres and colleagues. I looked happy during the day, but there were job pressures and conflicts within the family. They made me sad, deep in my heart, alone at night. Right at that point, I found Falun Dafa.
At first, I did not take the Fa seriously and read one lecture of Zhuan Falun every day. However, after reading just three lectures, I found answers to many of my puzzles. Actually, my longing for cultivation began during my junior high school years. I tried many different practices. As Teacher said, many of these ways are not righteous. I recall wishing to obtain further advancement after finishing fundamental cultivation in a Taoist Kungfu. The person handed me the manual script. He said,"There will be a teacher who will teach you the last part." Is this what I had been expecting, all of my life?
It was past midnight when I finished reading the remaining six lectures. I advanced quickly during the first two years. Fellow practitioners in my group compared Fa study and cultivation with each other. I felt both physical and mental changes constantly. I became happy and no longer disappointed with my life. I treated career changes and temptations according to the Fa. I passed tests and tribulations well.
Since July 20, 1999, I went to the government to tell the truth of Falun Dafa. My employer treated me as a key target to be monitored. Two year later, when I could not get Teacher's new articles because I had less contact with practitioners. I wrote a guarantee statement under pressure, while I was lost and wavering.
I worked hard for my employer and became a worker with advanced skills. The cadres used me to defame Dafa. They would say that I achieved these results by concentrated study after giving up cultivation. I asked them, "Why did they write such a report? I did not make such statements." They replied hypocritically, "It is for your protection and future." Maybe they were deceived and really thought it was for me, but they did not know the greatness of the Buddha Fa. My fear prevented me from objecting at the time, but I felt very ashamed and regretful. It was a dark mark on my cultivation. Later, I wrote a solemn statement regarding my return to cultivation.
I felt stifled back then. I wondered why nobody was allowed to do cultivation of such a good Buddha Fa. It was benefiting human society in numerous ways without doing any harm. Besides, I had some doubt regarding the Fa-validating actions of some fellow practitioners. I wondered if they were involved in politics. As I recall it now, my understanding was too low at that time.
I was again able to get Teacher's new articles in 2001. Teacher talked about exposing the truth about the persecution to everyone. I could not quite understand it at the time, but thought Teacher must have a reason for this requirement. So I joined others in distributing flyers and truth-clarifying materials. However, I was not diligent enough and one year passed in a wishy-washy manner. I seldom studied the Fa and sent righteous thoughts only passively during that period of time. I talked about the truth of Falun Dafa only to close friends and colleagues. I was not sober minded, due to a lack of Fa study and many human attachments. I even agreed with many bad phenomena going on in society. Actually I was dramatically falling down and it was very dangerous.
Right then, Teacher gave me a hint. I obtained a Minghui Weekly from fellow practitioners. I was also, able to get Teacher's new articles on a timely basis. My cultivation proceeded to a brand new stage.
Teacher's newly released articles awakened me. The experience sharing in the Minghui Weekly helped me to realize my gaps. I began to do the three things well, clarify the truth and gradually rectify the environment around me. At home I clarified the truth to relatives; at work I talked about the truth of Falun Dafa to the head of human resources, party secretaries, managers, colleagues and workers in the workshops. I actively persuaded many of them to realize the truth. Some of them renounced their 3 oaths to the Party, choosing a bright future for themselves.
The direct benefit of clarifying the truth to a wide range of people is an improved environment. My wife became more supportive and my child became a little practitioner. My child does daily Fa study and meditation. My job environment is easier. Nowadays, if my job is not busy, I can study the Teacher's lectures for one to two hours each day. I try my best to regularly send righteous thoughts, while in the past I felt it was okay to skip it. I am busy every day, but the stifled feeling has vanished without my noticing it.
Teacher said, "That is why doing the three things well is cultivation, while doing only one of the three isn't--that's how it is, and you won't be able to improve that way. So Dafa disciples must do them well." ("Teaching the Fa in San Francisco, 2005" )
Those who do the three things well are true Dafa practitioners. They will experience the fast elevation of realms. I have a deep understanding of it. Once I started to do the three things well, constantly I discovered principles that I could not see before and was tempered by the Fa.
My father-in-law, according to even everyday people's standards, is not nice to us. He emphasizes fame and fortune. He is quite stingy with us. I used to be tolerant of others, as Teacher taught us. I bought a refrigerator and washer for him. They had savings and a monthly pension of over one thousand yuan. However, he asked me for the money and I gave it to him. I thought I behaved well. He told others that I am nice. Others think I am a good guy and I felt complacent.
The other day, I suddenly thought of my father-in-law and discovered that I dislike him from the bottom of my heart. I thought it a manifestation of my cultivating well, since I did not get close to him just because he is a relative. I get close to all kind-hearted people and alienate all cunning ones. However, that day I felt that he is very miserable, fighting for fame and money all his life. He did not get fame, how about money? As soon as he gained some money, he was in a hit-and-run car accident and needed hospital treatment. He suffered a lot with chronic insomnia and mental problems. All of his old friends look down upon him. This makes him pessimistic and irritable. I feel deep sympathy for him. I think he is a sentient being with a predestined relationship with me. It is really too bad that he spent an entire life producing karma in ignorance and repaying it in pain. He is very miserable and I should save him.
I began to get close to him and tried to understand his emotional ups and downs. I tried to console his heart instead of just providing money. I took him on outings and bought him snacks. I brought him to my home for short stays. Not even his urinating in bed or his endless chatter bothered me. Once I started to do this, I found that it was not as hard as I thought. When I treat him with true compassion, he can feel it. His moods are getting more stable. Later, he told me that he did not treat me well in the past. I replied, "Never mind! I have my own faults and didn't think of what was good for you. We should have communicated openly a long time a go." Later on, I introduced him to Zhuan Falun. He felt very comfortable after reading it and changed a lot. I dared not encourage him to cultivate, because he has a history of mental illness. I will continue to be compassionate towards him. Meanwhile, I appreciate him very much and have enlightened to treating people with compassion. I have accomplished it.
My Mom is a Dafa practitioner. She obtained the Fa around the same time I did. We have strong emotional ties. Mom is a very kind-hearted person. She suffered from a young age and can sacrifice everything for her children. I have always been demanding of her. I talked to her about things like what she did wrong, decades old conceptions not removed by cultivation, too strong an attachment of love for her kids and other such things. I thought I was helping her, but she was reluctant to talk with me, at times.
The other day, I suddenly wondered why I treat her this way. Was it just because she is a practitioner? No. How come I treat other practitioners with tolerance, but not her? I dug for the root. The true reason is that she is my Mom. I have deep emotions for her and I felt that she suffered a lot. It would be a pity if she failed to improve in cultivation because of too many attachments! I forgot that Teacher arranges each practitioner's cultivation path well. How can one practitioner change the arrangements for a fellow practitioner? Fellow practitioners should remind each other once a problem is identified. They should not be demanding or treat others with a scolding, disdainful manner. Our primary relationship is one of being fellow practitioners, and secondly that of Mom and son.
A knot was untangled. I should treat my Mom like a fellow practitioner. Then, I located another of my problems. What grounds do I have for always scolding her? She studies the Fa, does the exercises daily, clarifies the truth whenever possible and harmonizes our home by helping me take care of my child. She does not have much time to sleep, but is quite diligent. She memorized the Fa and sends righteous thoughts four times every day. In these aspects, I am behind her. I located my hidden attachment of being opinionated. I thought that the level of my understanding was high, and had thoughts of elevating myself, without realizing it. Maybe, I heard too many compliments at work and in life. I was modest in appearance, but not in my heart. I looked inward further. I did a lot of things only to get praise from others. I thought that I had a higher understanding and didn't mind hard work and criticism. Actually, it took time away from Fa-study and truth-clarification. It also affected the job performance of my peers. It was showing off, as if it could not be done without me. What a dirty fame seeking heart that was!
Once I realized this phenomenon, I started correcting it. First, I apologized to Mom and shared my understanding of the Fa principles. Secondly, I became more supportive of my co-workers and quietly helped them do their jobs well when needed. This enabled everyone to accomplish tasks harmoniously and with ease. The job is still done well, but I have more spare time.
Teacher said: "Your path is, and I think you've all seen this now, actually very narrow. If you deviate just a little bit you won't measure up to the standard of a Dafa disciple. There's only one very righteous path we can walk on, and we can't deviate even just a little bit, because this is required by history, and required by the lives of sentient beings in the future cosmos" ("Teaching and Explaining the Fa at the Metropolitan New York Fa Conference").
This caused many fellow practitioners to be nervous. They felt they were walking on thin ice. My understanding is that the narrow path mentioned by the Teacher, is to remind us of the extremely high requirements of this righteous way of cultivation. It cannot be taken lightly. If we assimilate to Dafa, let go of ego and do the three things well as instructed by Teacher, the Teacher will give us hints about Fa principles when it is time for us to understand. To put it another way, we should walk the great path of righteous Fa cultivation according to Teacher. We should cultivate in an upright and open manner. Nowadays, I feel that I am walking the cultivation path carefree and at ease. The path becomes wider and wider as I assimilate to Dafa, as if a mechanism has been formed.
I have gradually come to understand the meaning of what Teacher said, "There is different Fa at different levels." My understandings and thoughts have been changing on many issues. I often remind myself that, what I have enlightened to is only a small principle within my cultivation realm. Upwards, there is boundless Dafa, among the boundless Dafa. I have nothing to be proud of. I will grasp this opportunity that comes once in a million years and live up to my historic great wishes.
February 4, 2007