My Understanding of "Seven Years of Millet and Eight Years of Coarse Rice"
(Clearwisdom.net) Teacher mentioned in Fa Teaching Given to the Australian Practitioners, "...seven years of millet and eight years of coarse rice".* I smiled when I heard this and thought about how the sentence should be translated for western practitioners. I did not understand the true meaning of this sentence in my cultivation and did not pay much attention to it. Teacher often tells us to look inside, because it must be our fault when conflicts arise between practitioners and ordinary people. I thought that I had a good understanding of what Teacher said as long as I was doing what Teacher told us to do. However, a recent event made me rethink my understanding.
It was about my relationship with my husband. The same problem occurred repeatedly, and every time it happened I tried to "tolerate" him. So why did the problem happen again and again?
Every day when I got home, my husband would become angry for no reason. He insulted me and argued with me no matter what I said or did. Every time we argued, he would bring up divorce and separation. He also asked me to give him my salary card, which I needed to take care of shopping for our household. What was the problem? I decided to study Teacher's articles.
"If you consider all the hardships, ordeals, and such that you go through to be bad things, then you are an ordinary person". ("Fa Teaching at the 2008 New York Fa Conference")
When I read those words, I came to realize that the conflicts with my husband were caused by my own heart. This suddenly reminded me of the phrase "seven years of millet and eight years of coarse rice" that Teacher used. I was awakened. I recalled how I had been disappointed about the differences in lifestyles and education between my husband and myself. I looked down on him, and I felt life was unfair. After I started practicing Falun Gong, I tried to tolerate him because I thought that this is what a practitioner should do. Otherwise, all the Fa studying and practicing exercises would be in vain. However, it was done with a pursuit and from selfishness. It was not genuine forbearance. As true practitioners, we need to achieve Truth-Compassion-Forbearance from the bottom of our hearts, and conflicts arise when our hearts are not righteous. How you treat others is how you will be treated. Because I was irritable to start with, he was irritable, too.
The foremost reason for my arguing and not being compassionate was that I had a show-off mentality. Ever since I was young, I was indulged in shopping and unconstrained in spending money. When fellow practitioners pointed this out, I thought that they should mind their own business. I also got upset with my husband when he ate out with others and spent money. If he can spend money, why can't I? My resentment grew. Another reason was my dissatisfaction with my marriage. Before I practiced Falun Gong, I said to myself that I would have three paths after my son grew up: one was to divorce my husband, the second was to die of poor health, and the third was to go to a temple and become a nun. My son was the only motivation for my staying married. Therefore, when my husband mentioned divorce, I did not feel very sad. My only thought was that practitioners should not get divorced, but since he brought it up, it wouldn't be my fault if we got divorced. Such thinking was very irresponsible, and my behavior did not conform to the standard of a practitioner.
I was shocked to realize this. Was I really cultivating in Truth-Compassion-Forbearance? Where was my compassion? The problems in my marriage were my fault. After realizing this, I said to my husband immediately, "If you are fortunate, you will live with me. If you are not fortunate, we can get divorced. I will give you the salary card." I felt unburdened in my heart after saying this. Strangely, his attitude also changed. We did not fight anymore, and our relationship became harmonious again. I enlightened to the deeper meaning of "seven years of millet and eight years of coarse rice." When we look inside, we need to look for our attachments from the root and thoroughly eliminate them. We need to treat others with compassion and tolerate with kindness and selflessness. Let's rectify ourselves with the standard of Dafa and do the three things well with compassion.
* This is an expression typically used to describe a period of continual hardship and challenges in daily life.