Cultivation Experiences from Family Life
Greetings respected Teacher! Greetings fellow practitioners!
Today I would like to share some cultivation experiences related to my family life.
In April 1999, my husband suggested that I quit my job so that I could take good care of my young child and have more time to introduce the wonders of Falun Dafa to others. I felt that it was a good idea and I agreed. However, with the onset of the evil suppression of Falun Gong on July 20, 1999, our cultivation path has become more than practicing the exercises in the park and holding seminars in libraries. It has become clarifying the facts about Falun Dafa and exposing the evil persecution to people in all walks of life. I was so busy that I gradually developed a strong mindset of doing things, and regarded taking care of children and doing house work as a burden. Every day, the thing that I was most willing to do was to sit in front of the computer to clarify the truth.
I often made a simple pot of boiled rice and served it from breakfast to dinner. When pan frying, I would either forget to add salt or add too much, or cook the food until it was burned. My kids all knew what I would do even when they were young, so they developed a habit of eating some boiled rice when they were hungry, without asking me for more food. When my older daughter turned 5, it was time for her to go to school, but I only learned that a five year old in the U.S was expected to go to school a week before school started. I learned this by chance from a friend, so I hurried to register her for school before she missed the registration deadline. My life went on like this day after day. Facing the crying of the kids and my husband's complaints, I felt a bit bitter. I also developed acute conflicts with some local fellow practitioners.
I gradually realized that my cultivation state was not right. Amidst the tribulations and failures, I finally enlightened to the deeper meaning of cultivation. Teacher said in Zhuan Falun,
"This characteristic, Zhen-Shan-Ren, is the criterion for measuring good and bad in the universe."
"No matter how the human moral standard changes, this characteristic of the universe remains unchanged, and it is the sole criterion that distinguishes good people from bad people. As a practitioner, one must then conduct oneself by following this characteristic of the universe rather than the standards of everyday people."
Teacher said in "Buddha Nature and Demon Nature", Essentials for Further Advancement:
"Cultivating Buddhahood is to eliminate your demon-nature and strengthen and increase your Buddha-nature."
"One's Buddha-nature is Shan, and it manifests itself as compassion, thinking of others before acting, and the ability to endure suffering."
I understand that in terms of cultivation, steady and constant efforts have to be made to change the heart. To start with, I have to follow the Zhen-Shan-Ren criteria to establish myself as a good person. Taking care of children's daily lives is a parent's responsibility. The children who can live with us in this important historical period of time are not only our kids, but also our fellow practitioners. As a parent, I have the responsibility to guide them and help them. Therefore, I tried my best to make a plan every day, so that I could make an orderly arrangement for their daily lives and studies and let them feel parental love. I also conducted Fa study and practiced the exercises with them, and tried my best to take them with me to participate in activities for clarifying the truth and saving sentient beings. I also tried my best to look after my husband, so that he could have a comfortable environment when he came home from work.
Children are like transparent containers. They will show what you fill them with. Gradually, my children have developed a righteous point of view in judging what is right and wrong. They are able to apply the principles of Dafa to their daily lives. This is also a major push for me to do the three things well in my cultivation. Since May of this year, we have turned our individual Fa study into our daily group Fa study. Every night, our family persists in studying 10 pages of Zhuan Falun as a group.
Once a week, my children and I go to a nearby city to deliver the Epoch Times newspaper after their school is over. It is a wonderful opportunity for me to exchange with my kids during the trip. We have done this for a few years, raining or not. In the winter, the day is short, so after we finished delivering the newspaper, it was dark. In the car, we would send forth righteous thoughts and recite Hong Yin together, "A great Arhat walks the earth, Gods and demons fear with awe." The children's loud and clear voices further strengthen my righteous thoughts. We are happy for people who understand the truth from our newspaper. We feel sorrow for those unknowing Chinese folks who refuse to accept the truth, and we send forth righteous thoughts to eliminate the evil factors behind these people.
Now the kids are 11, 9 and 7 years old. At school, they are all good students, and they also take every possible opportunity to clarify the truth. When a classmate has a birthday celebration or there is a holiday activity, they present small lotus flowers they make themselves as gifts. Every time we shop at a store, they remind mommy to not forget to give a bookmark to the cashier and to clarify the truth to them.
After school, my kids often share with me things that happened at school. One day, my eldest daughter Qianqian sighed after she came home from school: nowadays people are too warped! This was because her classmates were talking, with great interest, about how to make money out of helping their parents do housework. She told her classmates: "Since our parents have painstakingly raised us, it is our responsibility to do some household work. How could we ask for money for that?" In our family, the kids have helped me do some household work that they are able to do. Qianqian helps me with accounting of the family expenses, and she also works as my secretary.
There is another thing that shocked me very much. On July 20 this year, I took Qianqian and Yuchun with me to the Washington DC Falun Dafa conference and activities, and we visited the offices of some congressmen from our state. My daughters prepared some paper lotus flowers for these offices. Because this was a rare opportunity, I had prepared a lot of truth-clarification materials to pass on to the people we were going to meet, and asked my daughters to help send forth righteous thoughts beside me. After we visited one office, Qianqian told me thoughtfully: "Mommy, you did not say it very well this time. You said too much, and they might have lost focus on what you would like them to do. As a result, they might not be able to do anything. You should tell them the real evil nature of the CCP in a simple and more easily understood way, so that they can get a 'stick warning' and take prompt action. They are still asleep now on this issue, because China is too far away from them. You should tell them the CCP is a humongous monster. Inside China, they are brutally suppressing Chinese civilians. Outside China, they wear a different face to deceive you. However, when the opportunity matures, they will use the same means to attack you. Have you ever thought that the CCP would ruin you and your offspring? This way, they would no longer be able to fall asleep and they would have to take a quick action. But your conversation did not seem to wake them up. Well, if I were grown up a bit more, I would have been able to talk to them myself." After I heard the remarks of my daughter, I fell deep in thought for quite some time. It seems that I really need to change my notions and some ways of doing things.
It has been nearly 10 years since I started cultivation. Although I understand the principles of the Fa taught by Teacher, often I am not able to implement them. However, the children see my attachments and point them out without reservation, which has pushed me to be more diligent. One day, my 2-year-old son Yumin scratched the face of Tianqing for an unknown reason, and her face was bleeding. Seeing that Tianqing was in tears, I felt pain in my heart. I told her, "You may hit your brother, because his behavior was really annoying." One minute after, Tianqing returned to me, saying, "Mommy, on second thought, what you just said would lead me astray. So, I decided not to hit my brother." What my daughter said shocked me tremendously.
Since we decided to start family group study in May, we met big interference immediately. As we started studying the Fa, my baby hit us with a stick and made loud noises. We recognized it was interference and sent righteous thoughts. However, the effect was not obvious. Several days later, in the morning, I was very angry about my son's behavior. I was regretful after I lost my temper but it was too late. When I drove my kids to school, Qianqian asked me: "Mom, you lost your temper again in the morning, didn't you?" I sighed: "Yes. It couldn't be helped!" She said: "Then, was your gong for today wasted?" I said: "Yes. I have a bad temper. I feel it is hard to change." Qianqian said: "You must change. Don't worry, we will help you." And then, Yuchun said: "You should send good thoughts. You told us, if we send good thoughts towards a glass of water, the water would become beautiful after it crystallized. Isn't it so? You should send good thoughts to our younger brother, he will turn better." Qianqing added: "Mom, if you do not cultivate well, our younger brother will hit us with a stick again." I knew all of what my daughters said was right. Although I recalled Master said in Zhuan Falun: "You should educate children with reason so that you can really teach them well. If you cannot even get over a trifle and lose your temper easily, how can you expect to increase your gong?" However, I always searched for excuses for myself in my mind. I left my demon nature alone again and again and missed chances for upgrading my xinxing. This time, I decided to overcome my demon nature. Several days later, we finally had a quiet Fa-study environment.
Whenever there were community parades or other events, my daughters actively participated and cooperated. The children's earnest exercise demonstration always inspired admiration from the audience: "Falun Dafa is so great. These kids are so cute!" Pictures of them practicing the exercises were published in the local newspaper many times. This May was the 100th anniversary of the founding of the city where we live. The city's celebration needed volunteers. I and my two older kids entered the event. We proposed to the person in charge of the program that we could perform Falun Gong exercises, which originate from Chinese traditional culture. The person in charge accepted our proposal and said we could have 45 minutes to perform at the opening ceremony of the city's celebration event. I discussed this issue with my husband. We wondered, the exercise demonstration would not use all 45 minutes; it would be a shame if we wasted the rest of the time; how could we fully utilize the time to give all beings more chances to know the truth of Falun Gong? I recalled Master saves all beings by use of the Chinese New Year Gala; my daughters loved to see the programs of NTDTV's Chinese New Year Gala and they had studied dance for a period of time. So I added one performance: Chinese national dance - ribbon dance. The person in charge was very glad to agree.
It was Thursday when we decided to perform Chinese dance. The opening ceremony was scheduled for 10 AM on Saturday. I found appropriate music at the Celestial Melody website and prepared ribbons. In the afternoon, as soon as my daughters got home from school, I told them our idea and asked them if they could make the effort to arrange a dance for validating Dafa and saving all beings. My three daughters agreed immediately. Then we started practicing in our backyard. The kids practiced until dark and did not take time to have dinner. Seeing their faces covered in sweat, I asked them if they felt tired. They mopped their faces and said: "We are not tired for saving all beings!" On the next day, they continued practicing after school. On the morning of that Saturday, my daughters dressed in traditional Chinese costume and danced beautifully, accompanied by Falun Dafa practitioners' song. Ribbons spread wonderful wishes. The entire field was merged in peace and harmony. The audience replied with warm applause. At the closing ceremony of the event, my daughters performed the ribbon dance - Falun Dafa is Good-- again. After that, they performed that dance at the Asian culture festival of a company where a fellow practitioner works, at the wedding ceremony of another practitioner and at the celebration event of a neighboring city during Labor Day weekend. The small lotuses they made, as well as their dance, left wonderful memories for the audience. My husband said: "We should name our little dancing team. How about 'Little Lotus Dancing Team'?" We agreed with him.
This year, a local culture and education organization contracted for a one month advertisement with the Epoch Times newspaper. When the newspaper with the last ad came out, I took the newspaper and visited the person in charge of the organization. I expressed our appreciation to them and said: "This is the fourth issue with your advertisement, but I hope it is not the last one. Your organization commits yourself to culture and education, which is the same as the tenet of the Epoch Times newspaper." I told them I would like to support them if they held any event about culture in the future; I could lend my Chinese items to them for exhibition and my three daughters could perform Chinese traditional exercises - Falun Dafa and Chinese traditional ribbon dance. The person in charge was very excited and asked: "How much?" I said: "Free." She told me they would hold a culture celebration event every Chinese New Year Eve. She immediately invited my daughters to perform this year. I agreed. Then she said she would continue contracting advertisements with Epoch Times when next year's budget is granted.
Master said: "the entire cultivation process for a practitioner is one of constantly giving up human attachments" (Zhuan Falun). However, it is hard to realize our own attachments during tribulations. Before, I had big conflicts with a local fellow practitioner, which made it hard for me to calm down. I was not willing to discuss this issue with my husband to avoid his criticism. One day, I could not hold my complaint and chattered to Qianqian about how I was right. After listening for a while, Qianqian said to me: "Mom, how can you cultivate up if you behave like this? You fight each other like children. Master would feel sad when he saw this." Suddenly, I was clearheaded and saw my strong attachments to fighting and envy.
Now, I can face and handle conflicts pretty calmly. And I have calmly settled the conflict with another practitioner. And I helped to eliminate a misunderstanding between two other practitioners when sharing. Looking back at what I experienced, I deeply understand Master's words: "Broadly shines a Buddha's light, Justly setting all things right. Advance together, ever diligent, To a glorious future." ("One with the Fa" in Hong Yin)