Upgrading in Cultivation While Joining Community Activities
Greetings fellow practitioners!
I have been cultivating Dafa for four years. I would like to share some of my understandings and cultivation experiences with everyone.
1. Looking for the Truth and Obtaining the Fa
I am a typical Chinese person who grew up in the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) cultural environment. I was brainwashed by the CCP's theories based on class struggle and never thought about the real purpose of life. I came to America and got a Ph.D degree. I have two adorable children and live a comfortable life. It seemed like everything in my life was just about perfect, but I often asked myself, "Is this what life is all about? Just one generation living a bit better than the one before? What is the real purpose of life?" I felt that something was missing in my life and felt confused. However, I didn't know where to find the answers.
My American friends had taken me to a church. I sincerely went to church for a year, hoping to get answers from Christianity. I was not convinced. In that year, my husband obtained the Fa. I didn't pay too much attention to what he was doing, and sometimes I fought with him. Later, I sensed that his temper became better, and he treated me with kindness when I yelled at him. After a while, I realized that his change was because he was practicing Falun Gong. I did not enlighten to it and kept doing things my way, so I inadvertently helped him pass some tests.
I thought to myself that Falun Dafa must be special since it changed my husband. In the summer of 2003, I picked up Zhuan Falun, which my husband gave to me as a Christmas gift. After reading it, I realized that I had fallen into this maze of humanity, and only cultivation could eliminate all my karma and help me go back to where I was from. After searching for so many years, I am so fortunate to finally obtain the Fa: the ultimate universal truth. I said to myself, "I want to cultivate as well."
2. Dafa Healed Me and My Child
I had a severe pollen/grass allergy for ten years. I had to suffer it every spring and summer. I took a lot of medicine to reduce my red eyes, extreme itchiness, and nasal congestion. I used so many medicines that my body developed a resistance to them. Nothing could relieve my pain. I spent a huge amount of money seeking cures, but it was in vain. I started cultivating Dafa in 2003, and in the spring/summer of 2004, my pollen allergy didn't bother me, and I did not take one pill. I couldn't even believe it was true. It was the first time I felt Master's benevolence.
My son had a serious skin disease since he was born. He often felt his limbs were itchy and scratched his skin all the time. Before he reached one year of age, his skin around his buttocks never healed, and it was always infected. By the time he was two years old, the skin had healed, but it always had bumps and was extremely itchy. All the old sheets at my house have blood stains from him scratching his skin raw. Due to the disease, his skin is very rough. The kindergarten did not let him in because they were afraid that the disease would be passed to the other kids. I took him to a lot of doctors and spent a lot of money on medicine, but despite the high cost of the medicine, $70 a tube, it still did not work. After I started practicing, I taught him to recite Hong Yin and do the exercises. Six months later, his disease started getting better. One year later, it was completely healed. His skin became very smooth after five years of suffering. He attended the performance at the Global Chinese New Year Gala in 2005.
3. Giving up Selfishness and Improving Xinxing While Spreading the Fa in the Community
I was a shy person since childhood, and I never liked speaking in public. But cultivating for four years has made me able to spread the Fa in the local community. I sensed the big changes in myself brought about by cultivation.
After practicing for a year, I started attending some Fa-spreading activities in the community, but I was not very active. All I had to do was to be there on time and follow other practitioners to demonstrate the exercises or perform on the waist drum. I didn't care very much about how to reach out to the community, organize practitioners or give a speech at the activities. I never thought about how my actions related to my xinxing standard. I simply did what I was asked to do as a helper.
In the summer of 2006, the Montgomery Village Foundation in Maryland sent me an invitation to demonstrate the Falun Gong exercises and perform traditional Chinese arts. I suddenly realized that I was an organizer of the activity this time instead of a helper. I asked fellow practitioners for advice. I made a lot of phone calls to inform practitioners about the performance. I was told that I needed a host who spoke English fluently. I was not good at public speaking, and talking to Americans was even more difficult. I called a practitioner, asking him to help. He declined and asked me, "Isn't your English very good?" He also reminded me not to rely on others, and to do what I should do.
I could not believe that I was instantly rejected. I felt sad and regretted that I had accepted the invitation in the first place. I also complained that the veteran practitioners who would not take over for me had xinxing problems. Later, I calmed down and started looking inward. Wasn't I afraid of losing face? Wasn't it an attachment? As a real cultivator, I should not rely on others and ask others to handle my difficulties. I realized that my thoughts had not been like a cultivator's because I tend to push difficult jobs to fellow practitioners and only do the easy stuff.
The date of the performance was approaching. I completely put down my fear of losing face and decided to take the task of being a host no matter what. I don't know how I did it. I felt that my performance was just alright, but fellow practitioners praised me. If that practitioner hadn't refused to do it, I would have lost a chance to improve myself by stepping out of my safe zone. Master had arranged a test for me to improve, and I felt ashamed that I almost gave up the chance to pass the test.
Since then, I have been a host many times. I helped in celebrating the sixth anniversary of the Epoch Times Chinese New Year celebrations, and with performances at seniors centers and elementary schools. These Fa-spreading activities made me, a shy person, become a mature host. I became very busy. I made phone calls to the communities, set appointments with people, made activity agendas, and so on.
The xinxing tests also became more intense. I hoped that all the fellow practitioners would focus on my projects, but there were always some practitioners who could not attend the activities that I organized. I complained, "Spreading the Fa is not my personal business. I, as a new practitioner, devote myself to it. Why cannot you, veteran practitioners, cooperate with me? Your xinxing is lower than mine." Sometimes I was angry and told myself: "Don't worry about the activities. Why don't I stay home and read the Fa or do the exercises instead of beg for helpers?"
Later, I realized that I had xinxing problems. Through studying the Fa, I enlightened that I was too self-centered and selfish. I asked practitioners to cooperate with me, but I didn't consider it from their viewpoint. They were also working on Dafa projects. There must be reasons that they could not come to the activities organized by me. They were also saving sentient beings. I also enlightened that I should do well what I should do, no matter how other practitioners do. I should validate the Fa unconditionally with the Fa as my guide. I should not have asked everybody to support me and taken it as a condition to validate the Fa, for that was not cultivation. It was simply doing things.
After I upgraded based on the Fa, I reviewed the way I organized activities. I often made the agenda first before checking with other practitioners. Most practitioners in D.C. have many projects, so sometimes the schedules I made for them conflicted with their own. I changed my thinking and the way I organized activities. Actually, as long as I put down my selfishness and sincerely asked for help, I often got support from fellow practitioners. Through organizing activities, I sensed the power of Dafa. Dafa has changed me completely. I also realized that just doing things is not cultivation, and it cannot replace cultivation. One can improve oneself, if, and only if, he cultivates himself solidly.
4. Benefiting from Being a Community Reporter without Pursuit
I never thought that I would be a newspaper reporter for a community column. My major is biology and neuroscience, and my job in everyday society is all about that. However, one year ago, the trend of Fa-rectification required me to be a community column reporter for our media. I must spend time interviewing people at all kinds of activities and socializing. I often have to stay up until 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning to meet a deadline. I would be very sleepy in the early morning, yet I would still have to get up for work the next day. Sometimes I wanted to give up. I said to myself, "There are many Fa-rectification projects. Why am I exhausting myself? Why don't I do something else?"
After sharing with fellow practitioners and looking inward, I found that I had an attachment to comfort. Cultivation is not comfortable. Being a reporter, which I had never done, was actually a chance for me to improve myself. When I corrected my xinxing problems, writing articles was not that difficult anymore. Before, I had to spend 3 or 4 days on one report. But now, I can finish two in one day. Even I, myself, was surprised by this change. I realized that this change was due to my xinxing improving. Gong is proportional to one's xinxing. The wisdom given by Dafa is actually boundless.
Being a reporter of the community column has given me a lot of chances to clarify the truth. For example, some Chinese people who didn't read the Epoch Times started reading it because I reported the community activities that their children attended, such as piano competitions or art competitions. I interview many community leaders, and I took those chances to clarify the truth to them and give them a chance to place an ad in the paper.
The capabilities that I gain from Dafa work has also helped me with my regular job. After being a reporter for one year, I feel comfortable talking to the public. Recently, I represented my workplace to give some biology lectures, and I performed well. Notably, in a competition, facing famous people from John Hopkins University and University of Michigan, I was not nervous and gave the lecture with a cultivator's calm. In the end, I won first place. It was just like getting it naturally without pursuit.
5. Improving Myself in Balancing Dafa Work, Educating My Children, and Family Life
I was a good student while studying for my Ph.D. I cared about my children's grades and achievements at school at the same time, hoping to get them into good high schools and universities.
Master said in "Fa Teaching at the 2007 New York Fa Conference:"
"...everything was created for this Fa-rectification, everything came here for this Fa-rectification, and everything within this process was established for this Fa-rectification."
As my understanding of the Fa got better, I realized that what the children learn at school is not the most important thing. While it is good to study well in classes at school, as a young practitioner, it is more important for them to follow the principle of "Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance" in their daily lives. With this understanding, I no longer force my children to do hard math problems and read advanced materials. Instead, I ask them to spend more time reading the Fa and doing the exercises. As they read Zhuan Falun more, their behavior gets better and better. I can clearly see their improvement.
Master also said in "Fa Teaching at the 2007 New York Fa Conference:"
"Right now, one important thing that needs to be attended to is the matter of how to save more sentient beings, and it is something Dafa disciples are to accomplish during their current process of achieving Consummation. This is Dafa disciples' mission, a duty that cannot be shirked, something that they must do and must complete."
Before I started practicing, I always worried that too many extra-curricular activities were a waste of time for my children. But now I encourage my children to attend more community performances and activities organized by the Minghui School. The pure hearts shining through the innocent faces of children have a powerful effect to display Dafa to people. Their lotus dance performances and exercise demonstrations at the community activities have touched many people and gained a lot of positive feedback from all age groups. Actually, if children study the Fa well, they can do other things better. They also have very good grades at school.
All of my family members cultivate Dafa, but I still have many xinxing tests at home. I have attended more and more Dafa projects since I have been cultivating longer and longer. I have to stay up late and get up early. Sometimes I don't have time to cook for my children and husband. Sometimes I need my husband's help, but he is not available because he also has many Dafa projects to do. I have to do the housework and Dafa work after my regular job, so sometimes I complain to my husband: "It seems like you are cultivating diligently, but it is based on my sacrifices. Is it really cultivating diligently?" Of course, we are all cultivators, so we must look inward when conflicts occur. I realized that I have a strong attachment to comfort and a poor understanding of the efforts that practitioners need to make during Fa-rectification. I tell myself, "Since I am cultivating and helping Master rectify the Fa, I should put down my attachments and endure the suffering. I should do more housework like that young monk Master mentioned in Zhuan Falun. I can endure more hardships to ascend quicker, and so my husband can spend more time on Dafa projects without worrying about housework."
We form a whole cultivating body in our region and in my family. When I put down my attachments, the conflicts disappear, and my husband helps me with the housework more now.
My whole family benefits both mentally and physically from cultivating Dafa. We will do better and better and not disappoint Master's benevolent salvation.
These are some of my understandings and experiences in cultivation; please compassionately correct me if any of my understandings are wrong.
Thank you, Master! Thank you, fellow practitioners!