Cultivation is Looking Inward and Cultivating Oneself
(Clearwisdom.net) When I recall my experiences after so many years of cultivation practice, I recognize many areas that need improvement. It wasnt an easy cultivation path, and I would like to share my experiences and the lessons I have learned with fellow practitioners.
I began Fa study in August 1998. Prior to this I had many illnesses. I started eliminating karma (with frequent visits to the restroom) after practicing for several days. Four months later all my illnesses had disappeared. I became very healthy. Most importantly, Dafa changed me and my human notions. My family became happy. Dafa changed my husband (not a practitioner) as well. We lived in harmony.
But a year later, on July 20, 1999, Jiangs regime started persecuting Falun Gong. The persecutors arrested so many practitioners. It felt like the sky was falling. It was very scary. The police and neighborhood community supervisor constantly came to my house to harass me. Wherever there were practitioners going to Beijing to appeal for Dafa, the police in that area, some company managers and their families would be punished and fined or dismissed from their jobs. It seemed like the second "Great Cultural Revolution."
Every time the agent from the police precinct came to my house I always clarified the truth to him. He asked me if I still practiced. I said, "Such a good practice! Why would I want to give it up?" He replied that he had to follow orders, and that all Falun Gong books and tapes needed to be handed in. I told him I no longer had them, that my husband had destroyed them. (My husband had told me to handle it like this). He then asked, "Why are you still practicing?" My reply, "I dont have to have tapes to practice." He asked, "Without books, how do you study?" I said I had memorized them. Its in my heart." (Actually, I had then not yet memorized the Fa). The police officer admired my courage and said, "If everyone were like Falun Gong practitioners we wouldnt be this busy. Look, there is another murder! Workers in factories are trying to make trouble. Falun Gong improves peoples health. The practitioners are all good people. Why persecute them? Complaints are heard everywhere about this."
In 2000, during one mass arrest, 610 Office agents, Public Security Bureau personnel, and employees from the National Security Bureau came to search and arrest practitioners. They also asked me if I still practiced, and I replied in the affirmative! They said, "The regime banned this! Why are you still practicing?" I told them, "I am an unemployed worker. Falun Gong has cured all my illnesses. If I stop practicing, will the government be responsible for my treatment?" I told them how I benefited from practicing Dafa, changing from a very sick patient to being a very healthy, selfless person, and that many people had witnessed my changes. The head of the 610 Office surnamed Huang kept nodding his head, "You are a special case. You can practice at home. But dont go to Beijing. You have to hand in all your books and tapes." Just then, the other policeman said, "Her husband has destroyed her books! She memorized the content of the books." Their looks of admiration showed on their faces. They left without searching my home.
Several days later I went to visit my mother, and surprisingly, my husband did burn all my Dafa books while I was away. His excuse was not to get that policeman and our children in trouble. My husband, who was very supportive of me practicing Falun Gong, committed an unforgivable crime and a sin against Dafa, and he received retribution. He suffered unexplainable shoulder pain that lasted for a week. Nothing could cure it. He was convinced it was retribution and knelt on the floor to admit his guilt and ask Master for forgiveness. Then he was gradually able to recover. I realized that we must put our every single thought on Dafa. Master gave me hints to memorize the Fa and cultivate steadily and firmly. It was Master who was protecting me. I looked tearfully at the sky and called to Master in my heart. Falun Dafa is the righteous Fa. There is nothing wrong with practicing Dafa. I firmly believe in Master, and firmly believe in Dafa! I will practice until the end, assisting Master in Fa-rectification, and follow Master to go home.
With my firm wish I started copying Zhuan Falun. I copied the text twice, and went through the book and memorized it once. I also copied The Great Consummation Way of Falun Dafa, Masters "Lecture at the Great Lakes Conference in North America," "Fa-Lecture at the Conference in Florida, U.S.A," "Touring North America to Teach the Fa," "Teaching the Fa at the Washington, D.C. International Fa Conference" and all of Masters lectures prior to end of 2002. I contacted several other practitioners and jolted several senior citizen practitioners into awareness. We met and shared experiences and thoughts. We encouraged one another. I copied lectures for them (it was difficult at that time to get a copy of a lecture). In late 2002 I connected with a practitioner who had flyers, but I got only one copy. I used carbon paper to repeatedly copy and write and I made stickers and banners myself. I led fellow practitioners to work together, and we formed a Fa-rectification and cultivation environment.
I had then not quite understood what true cultivation was. I also didnt quite know how to cultivate. I did many things during the past several years and helped many people. For example, whoever was in need of Dafa books, electronic books, tapes, Dafa music tapes, etc., I always tried my best to help. When fellow practitioners didnt do things from the Fa or didnt cultivate diligently, I always pointed it out for them. But I never looked inward. I always "helped" others to cultivate.
Ever since we established the Dafa materials production site, I had contributed two hundred yuan every month for several years from my own savings for making Dafa materials. I knew there were three people who didnt need to get materials from our site. There was one extra copy of "Minghui Weekly" left. I said to one of the fellow practitioners, "Ill keep this copy. Its easier to use the edited articles to clarify the truth and write letters. We dont have to rush to pass this to others. Ive contributed money. But Ive never had enough materials!" Several practitioners were critical of what I said. The practitioners who made the materials also didnt appreciate what I had said. The extra copy of Minghui Weekly was later not given to me. They no longer wanted me to receive materials either. I felt it was unfair.
Today I finally understand what was wrong with my thinking. I had not followed the requirements Master set for us. We should always consider others first and think of others first. We are one body. One Dafa materials production site was at the time responsible for supplying materials for the whole city. The burden was heavy! The practitioners were too busy to study the Fa and practice. Minghui suggested establishing truth clarification materials sites everywhere. Financially I was capable to establish a material site on my own, so why didnt I do it? Actually, I felt it was too hard (I didnt know how to use a computer), and I felt it was safer this way. I was doing Dafa work with such a selfish mind! How could this be considered cultivation?
This experience made me realize that no matter what you do, even if its related to Dafa, when others criticize you, even if you didnt think you had the problems they pointed out, you should still unconditionally look inward, as Master asks us. When you finally calm down to look at yourself, you will be able to find your areas that need improvement. Or, it could be that the problem is not the one others had pointed out. But it can remind you to look inward. In addition, does it not manifest the mentality for showing off when you are telling practitioners of the good deeds you did? These things were not happening incidentally. These were all directly pointing to my thinking processes. Furthermore, practitioners are supposed to "cultivate speech."
A year ago when my daughter-in-law was three-month pregnant she was not very healthy. My husband and I went to help her out. Our cultivation environment changed, but the prehistoric wishes of clarifying the truth and saving the sentient beings cant be altered.
Studying the Fa diligently cant be changed. Reading Masters poem, "A Will That Ebbs Not" moved me. As Masters disciple, how am I doing? Am I qualified? Is this considered cultivation when Im not looking inward or not looking inward enough? I was only helping others to improve and ignoring my own xinxing improvement. Isnt it a fact that Im falling behind without even realizing it? Non-Dafa-based cultivation is incorrect, even if I did many things for Dafa. Master says,
"Going through hardship and suffering is an outstanding opportunity to remove karma, be cleansed of sin, purify the body, elevate your plane of thought, and rise in level-it's an extraordinarily good thing. This is a correct and upright Fa-truth. But as cultivation is lived out, when the suffering bears down on you and conflicts come up that hit upon the deepest part of you-and especially when it rattles the rigid notions you have-the test is really hard to pass. It can even be to the point that you know full well it's a test but still can't let go of your attachments." ("The Closer to the End, the More Diligent You Should Be")
Isnt this talking about me? I saw my problem. I had been attached to helping other practitioners, because when I helped them, they were grateful to me. I enjoyed that feeling! That is the attachment to complacency.
I like to hear compliments from others, "You cultivate so well! You are very diligent!" I felt I was able to do things others couldnt do. I had attachments to recognition and the mentality of showing off and validating myself. I actually found so many attachments after examining myself and I felt deeply ashamed. I have done Dafa work with so many human notions and attachments. Its impacting the effect of my work, and it is not sacred.
Master awakened me. When I was burning incense in front of Masters picture I was crying. I was very thankful for Masters compassionate salvation. I will cultivate diligently, validate Dafa well and clarify the truth, so more predestined people can be offered salvation and can thus repay our revered Master in some small measure.
After clearly understanding the Fa principles it became smoother to do the three things. I have made word corrections in more than ten Dafa books. I also updated the words in the new Zhuan Falun books I gave to new practitioners. I feel that correcting the words is cultivation, too. Its all about the belief.
There was a cultivation story in the Zhengjian Weekly, about Milarepa. His Master asked him to build a house on a mountain. When he had almost finished, his Master asked him to tear it down and rebuild it. Carrying huge rocks from the bottom of the mountain was physically demanding. But he had no complaints. He just followed what his Master asked him to do. When the house was built, his Master said the fengshui of the house was not good and asked him to build a house half way up the mountain. He then did what his Master asked him to do. At last, his Master told him that he had reached consummation. This story is very enlightening.
Correcting the words and then correcting them back - would one have any complaints about that? Does one actively make the corrections or wait until later when one has to make the changes? Or does one never want to make the corrections? These can all show a persons xinxing and how much one believes in Master and Dafa.
I was able to be strict with myself in studying the Fa, practicing the exercises and sending forth righteous thoughts, for a few years now. Clarifying the truth and exhorting people to quit the CCP became two very important things in my life. The friends and relatives whom I was unable to persuade to withdraw from the CCP all came to visit me for different reasons, giving me additional opportunities to urge them again. And this time it was not difficult at all to ask them to quit and publish their "three withdrawal" statements. Most of my friends, relatives and neighbors have withdrawn from the CCP. My husband did too, last May after he understood the truth. I no longer had to exhort his friend to quit the CCP behind his back. Occasionally he even helps me to persuade his friends.
What makes me the happiest is that my third younger brother and my son also withdrew from the CCP.
My third younger brother was my favorite among all my siblings. He always followed what I said. I was the one who told him to join the CCP when he was in the Army, because it was good for his career. Last July I returned to live here, which was for him a dream come true. But three months passed, and he never visited me and was trying to hide from me because he was deceived by the evil Party.
I thought he was the kind who was not savable and wanted to give up on him. Then Masters lecture "For the Good of the World" was published. I was moved again by Masters benevolence. Master asked us, "With righteous thoughts, save the world's people." ("For the Good of the World")
Did I have righteous thoughts regarding him and my son? Was I treating them as I treated other sentient beings? Was I rescuing them because they were my family? Wasnt this being selfish? The evil will take advantage of this! After I found my problems I started adding one more thought when sending daily righteous thoughts, to eliminate all the evil interference in their dimensions. I then wrote to them, to clarify the truth. My letters were sincere and covered many areas. I handed the letter to my brother in person. I said, "I wrote this letter in very hot weather because its very important. I used my heart to write it. You listened to me to join the CCP. Now Im telling you that this Party is evil and did many bad things. Its shameful to be one of their members. The East European Communist countries dissolved seventeen years ago. The elimination of the CCP is inevitable. Heaven will soon eliminate the CCP. Resigning from the CCP can guarantee your safety. You can read my letter for the details. What Im telling you now is truly for your own good." The next day I called him. He smiled and said, "Go ahead, help me quit!"
My son is a very good person who respects me. Prior to July 20, 1999, he had supported my practicing, as did my husband and daughter. But after July 20, 1999, my son saw that many practitioners were arrested, sentenced, tortured or otherwise implicated. He was afraid of his mother being arrested and persecuted. So he tried very hard to stop me from practicing. Rather than work, he would watch me at home and not allow me to practice or read Dafa books. He even took away my books and destroyed them. When I practiced the exercises he came to undo my legs. He even hit himself or put a knife to his throat, trying to threaten me [with cutting himself] that if I continued to practice he was going to commit suicide. I went to Beijing. He followed me to take me back. I had planned to go to Beijing several times and was unsuccessful. That was my regret. How could practitioners not practice? I had to get up after midnight to practice.
My son had become my biggest cultivation roadblock. Later he brought me more problems. For example, I helped fellow practitioners order electronic books. When I went to get the books he followed me to the train station. In public he pulled my collar attempting to take me to the police precinct, and he also threatened me. I calmly sent forth righteous thoughts, and it didnt turn into something big. For several years I kept clarifying the truth to him. He slowly began to change and started supporting my practice. Sometimes he even picked up my books to read. But exhorting him to quit the CCP was challenging again. I also wrote a letter to him. After he read it he smiled and used his real name to withdraw from the CCP! Fellow practitioners who knew him were amazed about his withdrawal from the CCP. It wasnt easy. It was Master who saved him!
There are many predestined people who are waiting to be rescued. What I have done is far from enough compared to what other practitioners have done and what Master has asked us to do. I still have strong attachments. But the good thing is that Im clear-minded now. I know what cultivation truly is, and how to cultivate. Master says,
"Cultivation is about cultivating one's self. No matter what kind of state emerges, you need to take a hard look at yourself. I can tell you, if an ordinary person is able to look at himself whenever he encounters problems, he will become what ordinary people call a sage. When a Dafa disciple has a hard time with something and needs to think things over, he should look for things starting with himself and do things in line with the environment needed by Dafa disciples and the Fa-rectification. When a problem occurs, it is because that person is stubbornly going against the Fa principles. Go and find where the problem lies, let go of that stubbornness, and sort things out. When you encounter something, the best approach is not to charge forward and contend with others, push your way to the front, and rush forward to chase down the solution. Let go of your attachment, take a step back, and then resolve it. (Applause) If whenever something happens you instantly jump into who's right, whose problem it is, and how you have done, then while on the surface it looks like you are resolving the conflict or tension, in reality that's not the case at all. On the surface it looks plenty rational, but in reality that's not rational at all. You haven't taken a step back and fully cast off your attachment, and then thought the issue over. Only after a person calmly and peacefully withdraws from a conflict and then looks at it can he truly resolve it." ("Teaching the Fa at the Fa Conference at the U.S. Capital")
Looking back on my cultivation path during the past eight years when facing conflicts - if I had just occasionally looked at the specific situation when I couldnt find my own mistakes, I would see that I viewed it as being all about others. I missed the opportunities to improve my xinxing, which was not at a proper level for a long time. The conflicts became more severe, and the state of eliminating karma lasted a very long time. Then I became so puzzled: Whats going on with me? I did the three things well. Im fully devoted to Dafa work. Why am I still in the state of eliminating karma? Why does the evil still interfere? I didnt understand. After I studied the Fa more I realized that although I tried my best to do everything, I did it for myself instead of for Dafa, hence my xinxing couldnt improve. If I continued to cultivate like this, the most I could get would be to accumulate some good fortune. Master says: " the entire cultivation process for a practitioner is one of constantly giving up human attachments." (Zhuan Falun, 2000 translation version)
Master says, "But true improvements come from letting go, not from gaining." ("Teaching the Fa at the 2002 Fa Conference in Philadelphia, U.S. A.")
I understand the true meaning when Master emphasizes that one should look inward and cultivate oneself when facing conflicts. Fa-rectification is approaching the end. I will grasp the cultivation opportunities that will soon disappear and do well the three things Master asks us to do. I will look inward and cultivate myself when facing conflicts and follow Master home.