Everything Is For Cultivation and Everything Is For Dafa
I started to practice Falun Dafa in August 1995. The man who was to become my husband started to practice half a year earlier than me. We met each other during group Fa-study and group exercises. We married at the end of 1996.
Some people started to practice Falun Gong to cure illnesses or for other purposes. But my husband and I did not have illnesses. The reason we started to practice was because we wanted to cultivate, and we wanted to return to our origins. Before we were married, we kept on studying the Fa and doing the exercises every day. After the marriage, we became more diligent in cultivation, hand transcribing and reciting Dafa books, while encouraging each other. As we have deeper and deeper understandings of Dafa, our xinxing keeps improving. We are also trying to discipline ourselves as practitioners under any circumstances.
My husband used to be an executive chef in a big hotel. His boss trusted him and sometimes asked him to purchase materials worth more than 20,000 yuan. For an everyday person, this is a very good opportunity to get a rebate, etc. But as a practitioner, how can he take advantage of this? Therefore, he refused such opportunities again and again. He once went to purchase materials worth between 20,000 and 30,000 yuan, most of which were expensive items such as soft-shelled turtle, lobster, eel, mandarin fish, etc. The vendor wanted to give him some cash in private to thank him, but he refused. My husband knows such things happened to test whether he was attached to money and whether he could elevate above the level of an everyday person. Later, his boss heard about this and was very happy: "You Falun Gong practitioners are really good. Because of staying with you, my temper has also improved. Falun Gong is indeed good!"
In May 1996, a practice site was launched near my home and both of us became assistants at the practice site. We disciplined ourselves even further and were very dedicated to Dafa work.
With the quick spreading of Dafa, more and more people came to practice. The previous place for Fa-study was not big enough, so we started a new Fa-study group in our home. At that time we had only been married for about one month, and the two rooms added up together were about 22 square meters (237 square feet). Many practitioners came to study the Fa together, sometimes as many as 70 and at least 40. Because the place was small, practitioners were everywhere, sitting on the bed, on the floor, or on the couch.
In these two years of having the Fa-study at our home, we have truly cultivated. Every day we get up a little after 4:00 A.M. and go to the practice site with a tape recorder to do the exercises with fellow practitioners. We go to work after 7:00 A.M. We normally come back home after 5:00 P.M. After briefly organizing the home, fellow practitioners start arriving so we begin the group Fa-study till 8:00 P.M. There are also some practitioners we have to discuss things with. After everyone leaves, we then prepare and have dinner, do some reading and do the meditation. We normally will not go to bed until after 11:00 P.M. On Saturday and Sunday mornings, practice site assistants gather together for Fa-study and to have discussions, as well as introduce the Fa to more people at noon time. Days fly by like this, and two years have passed. Time is very precious to us, so we try to spend all the time on cultivation. Our family life has become very simple, and we also have instant noodles for meals. At the beginning, we felt things were a little out of order, as if things had gone beyond our capacity. However, as we continued to practice, our xinxing improved and we were no longer attached to things in everyday society. We did not feel that things are out of control any more. That is, we are still busy but our hearts are calm.
Since both of us are assistants at the practice site, we feel our obligations. In the past over two years, we bought two tape recorders. We also bought posters and banners, and hang them up at the practice site so that more people can start to practice. In our mind, as assistants at the practice site, we are doing things for the Fa. Therefore, it is our obligation to sacrifice some despite the hardship. "There is no fame, self-interest, or official titles in Dafa, but only cultivation practice." (Essentials for Further Advancement) Although we do not have any asset and are financially tight, we feel very happy because of cultivating in Dafa and doing things for Dafa. What we are cultivating is the most valuable.
Working as assistants at the practice site, we have sacrificed a lot. But there are still some attachments that we need get rid of. Therefore, we had some tests. I remember that one year prior to the October 1 National Day holiday, because more and more people came to the practice site, we moved the newly-bought leather couch--which took up a large space--to an empty room of my mother's. However, not long after that, my mother planned to rent out the empty room. So I discussed with her about covering the couch with a cover and leaving it there. My mother said, "Why not just [let the renters] use it?" At that time I felt bad: I hardly had anything valuable for the wedding, probably just the couch. But now it is also gone. Seeing me unhappy, my mother was also upset, "You do not even think about family, why do you care about a couch? If you want it, you can just take it back." Now, I understand that Teacher was using this way to enlighten me. However, at that time I felt bad, just knowing this was a test for me. When studying Essentials for Further Advancement, I read "When your mind cannot get over something, isn't it caused by your attachment?" "There is sacrifice in forbearance, and a complete sacrifice is a higher principle of non-omission." I continued looking within and finally came to understand: although I have been sacrificing for Dafa and fellow practitioners, I have just been sacrificing at my level. In fact, during cultivation one has to continue to let go of notions at various levels. I told myself: doesn't this attachment need to be gotten rid of? As a practitioner, I need to cultivate and let go of this attachment so as to improve. "......for things beyond ordinary people, only by giving it up, can you attain it." (Lecture in Sydney) Letting go of attachment is the fundamental part of cultivation. After realizing that, my heart calmed down. When going back to read Zhuan Falun, I felt the Fa was very profound. Dafa is indeed upgrading a person fundamentally. After passing this tribulation, I felt one more layer of an everyday person's shell had been removed.
There are also tests at the practice site when helping others to do the exercises. There are many people coming to learn the exercises, so we have to help them one by one. Therefore, sometimes for several consecutive days we did not have time to do exercises and we felt bad. There were also occasions that we corrected the exercise movements for one practitioner, but he turned away and left, even saying things to complain. At that time, I felt disturbed. Then, considering myself as a practice site assistant, I remembered Teacher's words, "Actually, to be an assistant is to do one's duty--it's not like if you're given the assistant job it means that you'll succeed in cultivation! That's not how it is. An assistant merely gives more for others, undergoes more tribulations, and shoulders more work." (Explaining the Content of Falun Dafa) Isn't this to cultivate oneself? Being afraid of delaying my doing the exercises, wasn't this selfish? Then, my heart calmed down, and I found time to catch up the missing exercises.
Bringing the tape recorder to the practice site is not a trivial thing. One has to be on time, with no exceptions. Since the first day the practice site was launched, my husband and I have been taking care of this, with no exception. No matter how strong the wind or rain, no matter if it is burning summer or freezing winter, no matter if it's a holiday or we have physical tribulations, we have been doing it all the time. Even on the day of our wedding, we just asked a fellow practitioner to pick it up for us after the exercises, and got it back on the following day.
Sometimes we were also thinking, "what if we can't help having a good and long sleep?" There were also occasions that we were lazy and not so determined. However, thinking of Dafa and thinking of the following words of Teacher, I felt my thoughts were filthy and I felt guilty: "Did you know that in order to save you the Buddha once begged for food among everyday people? Today, I once again make the door wide open, and teach this Dafa to save you. I have never felt bitter for the numerous hardships I have suffered. Then what do you have that still can't be abandoned?" (Essentials for Further Advancement) Thinking that Teacher has sacrificed tremendously for saving people, for introducing the Fa to more people, and the Fa-rectification, why are we calculating how much have we suffered? Isn't it just personal interest? Were there no Dafa or cultivation, we would not know how much suffering we have to experience. Therefore, we feel that personal loss and tribulations are nothing but opportunities for us to improve. As long as we are clear that everything is for cultivation and everything is for Dafa, we can overcome any difficulty. Teacher said, "Without this enormous Buddha Fa there would be nothing......" (Essentials for Further Advancement)