Looking into Oneself Is the Key to Cultivation
(Clearwisdom.net) Greetings to Master and fellow practitioners!
I took up Falun Dafa cultivation in March 2004. Before that, I had been introduced to different religions and Buddhist practices, but I was not interested. However, when a friend introduced Falun Dafa to me and told me of its miraculous curing effects, I asked her to teach me the exercises. At that point, I wanted to learn purely for health reasons.
Before taking up the practice, I often had conflicts with my husband. The frequent arguments left me exhausted. The book Zhuan Falun had an amazing effect on me. Every time when I opened the book and saw Master's smile, I felt as if I had met him before. After reading the whole book, my questions about life were answered. Human suffering is just another form of repaying debts and removing karma, all of which were debts that we owed. I also found the purpose of life. Since then, I have kept a promise to myself - regardless of what happens, I will persevere with my cultivation and follow Master home. Although my mind has been made up, genuine cultivation is indeed very difficult.
Eliminate the craving for comfort and walk steadfastly along the road of cultivation
My job was in Jiadi, and after retiring I moved to Yidi, where there weren't many friends and I did not know any fellow cultivators. Basically, I practiced on my own. The cultivation environment was quite easy. As I was a new practitioner, my name was not on the local authorities' watch list. My husband had a good attitude towards Dafa, and so did my daughter, who is studying overseas and supportive of my practice. I knew that it was arranged by Master, so I feel that I must not slack off and that I need to keep up with the other practitioners.
However, as it is written in Zhuan Falun,
"When one begins to practice cultivation in a righteous way, one must eliminate one's karma. Eliminating karma means having karma wiped out and transformed. Of course, karma will resist and so one will have tribulation and obstacles."
The first obstacle I encountered was drowsiness. This happened during Fa Study, while doing the exercises, or even while sending forth righteous thoughts. Because of that, I was rather worried.
"Whenever there is interference of one kind or another in qigong practice, you should look for reasons within yourself and determine what you still have not let go." (Zhuan Falun)
From past habits, I needed ten or more hours of sleep everyday. This was in reality an attachment to comfort. Having realized that, the first thing I did was to re-organize the time for Fa-study and doing the exercises. At 4.30 a m everyday, I got up to do the exercises, and now I get up at 3.45 a m to join the group practice. For the rest of the morning, I either go out clarifying the truth and distributing Dafa materials or stay back to help with printing Dafa literature. In the afternoon, we study the Fa. At night, I memorize the Fa and do more reading. The new routine was demanding, but systematic. There was no room for seeking comfort. Despite getting only 4-5 hours of sleep every day, I was not feeling tired at all.
Memorizing the Zhuan Falun text was the next thing I did. Since early 2005, I have managed to recite Zhuan Falun three times, by breaking up each piece into small paragraphs, committing them to memory, and then repeating the process lecture by lecture. Memorization is not an easy task because one has to devote full attention to it. At present, I have managed to memorize the first four lectures. The next step was to strengthen my righteous thoughts to eliminate interference, at the same time asking Master to help me. By doing these things, I fundamentally eliminated drowsiness, which had been a great interference to me. After overcoming that challenge, my Fa study, doing the exercises and sending forth righteous thoughts were done more smoothly.
Eliminate the thought of "seeking return" and creating our material production center
During the second half of 2005, many of our major printing centers were raided by the police and shut down. Some practitioners at Jiadi set up a small printing office, where I got all my Dafa materials from. By the end of the year, seeing how fellow practitioners were so busy, I felt that I could not let them shoulder the tasks alone, so I had a strong desire to establish another printing center at Yidi. However, I knew nothing about computers.
In April 2006, a fellow practitioner helped me to set up a computer. At that time, my daughter was at home. So, this practitioner taught her the necessary technical skills so that she could teach me. Because we were unable to install a piece of security software, we were unable to get onto the Internet. As I knew almost nothing about computers, I was nervous and my righteousness disappeared. I felt that the police were watching me all the time. Hence, my first attempt to set up a printing center failed.
In May, I went to Jiadi to collect Dafa materials again. This time, I had an opportunity to share my experiences with two other practitioners. All of us looked at ourselves, but where was my problem?
"Therefore from now on, when you come across a conflict, you should not consider it a coincidence. This is because when a conflict occurs, it will take place unexpectedly. But that is not a coincidence - it is for improving your xinxing." (Zhuan Falun)
Since my problem arose from establishing a printing center, my xinxing issue must have something to do with that. Why did I want to set up a branch printing office and why was I so insistent on it? Was my intention really for reducing our fellow practitioners' burden and to save sentient beings? If those were the intentions, why didn't it go well?
Looking into myself again, I discovered a big attachment.
When I first took up Falun Dafa cultivation, I thought to myself, "These are such good principles and Master has been teaching for many years. Why hadn't I heard about it before? Why did it take me such a long time to enlighten to it? Many veteran practitioners have already gone through the stage of personal cultivation, yet I have only started." Therefore, I had the latent desire to hurry and catch up with the others. I wanted to establish my mighty virtue, or else I thought that I would not reach consummation. Driven by such a thought, I had a strong desire to set up a printing office. In other words, it was more to establish my own mighty virtue and hasten my Consummation, rather than to validate Dafa or for saving sentient beings. Master said,
"Putting the mind on practicing, not putting the mind on getting gong. So you cultivate in a state of nonaction and just focus on cultivating your character, then you'll be making breakthroughs in your level, and you'll definitely have whatever you should." (Zhuan Falun)
Having understood this principle, I was much relieved and my fellow practitioners were also happy for me. After this, I bought a multi-function printer and started printing the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party. In March of this year, I bought a laptop, as well. Presently, I can get onto the Internet, download materials, and print them.
Get rid of everyday people's sentimentality, step back and show our compassion
Before I started cultivation, my husband had been unfaithful. We had almost come to the verge of separation. After taking up Dafa practice, I understood that our relationship could be due to something I had done badly in previous times, resulting in such a tribulation. Hence, I slowly let go of my attachment.
However, Master also said,
"But, usually when a conflict comes along, if it doesn't provoke you, it doesn't count, it doesn't work, and you won't be able to improve from it." (Zhuan Falun)
There have been occasions that indeed provoked me, such as when my husband came home late or didn't come home at all. On several occasions, he did not come home for a few days in a row. Once, it happened when I was at Jiadi and he thought that I wasn't home. Whenever I came across such an incident, I was reminded of Master's words telling us to take everything lightly. I learned to treat my husband as a sentient being waiting for salvation.
My heart calmed down when I came to think of it that way. I could then carry on with my own work. After a few such incidents, I thought that I had finally put down my attachment on this issue. However, during the May festival this year, my husband did not come home for dinner or to sleep. I did not say anything, but I was very displeased. When the long holidays came, my husband said that he was going somewhere on business and that took him away from home for a few days. Again, three days later, he said he had to leave home again and did not come home for two nights. This time, I really could not contain myself. I thought to myself, "If you want to acquire karma, there's nothing I can do. If you want to give me virtue, there is nothing I can do about that, either. But, if you do something bad or filthy, I can't stay with you."
So, the next time when he came home, I slept in another room. During those few nights, a few things happened that showed me that I was not acting correctly. I realized that I had problems with my xinxing again. I kept looking into myself, even as I was drifting off to sleep. When the alarm sounded the next day, a thought struck me: I hadn't actually let go of husband's misbehavior completely. I had not put down the affection that belonged to an everyday person. I was still clinging to human emotions.
Master said in Zhuan Falun,
"Cultivation is something you do right in the thick of tribulations. They'll test whether you can sever your emotions and desires, and they'll see if you can take them lightly."
"If you don't sever emotion, you won't be able to cultivate. But if you do break out of emotion, nobody can affect you, and ordinary attachments won't be able to sway you. What replaces it is compassion, which is more noble."
Having understood those principles, I felt ashamed of myself. Why was my xinxing so poor? Let's not talk about why my husband hadn't come home or what unpleasant things he might have done. Even if he did do something unpleasant, I should not bear grudges. To bring him onto a path of salvation, I can only be merciful and compassionate.
Master has said that all of the people on Earth today have come for the Fa. Most likely my husband has also come for the Fa, and it was just that he is lost in this deluded world. Besides, although he was not as supportive due to fear, he has the right attitude towards Dafa. He does not object to my cultivation practice. On several occasions, he even reminded me to send forth righteous thoughts. If I treated him this way, I would be acting like an average person. If Master hadn't pointed out my attachment on this issue, I would again be deviating from the correct path.
The above are a few examples of xinxing issues that have arisen in my cultivation. To summarize, under Master's watchful guidance, I have managed to clear every hurdle by studying the Fa and looking into myself. Looking into oneself is the key to cultivation. It is because only through finding our own shortcomings, will we be able to take things lightly. So when conflicts arise, we will be able to tackle the problems. To genuinely look into oneself, one has to study the Fa well and evaluate everything with Dafa. That is because Dafa is the foundation for looking into oneself and the only assurance for improving our xinxing. I understand now why Master constantly emphasizes Fa study and looking into oneself. In particular, during Master's Fa teaching given to the Australian practitioners, Master repeatedly stressed this issue. When one studies the Fa well, knows how to look into oneself, one will be able to handle any obstacle with ease. When he can't do that, even the smallest hurdle will look big.
Some of my fellow practitioners said that Master has been particularly kind to me by constantly pointing out my shortcomings. In fact, Master is kind to everyone. It was only that I had more problems. Breakthroughs on every stage of my cultivation should be attributed to Master's help. Without Master's protection, I would be left struggling in this deluded world.
There are no words that I can use to express my gratitude for Master's immense mercy. We can only repay Master through continuous dedication, using our compassion to save more people, and bringing into full play the power of a Dafa particle.
Thank you Master. Thank you fellow practitioners.