(Clearwisdom.net) I met a practitioner today who told me that she was not at her best lately; she could not concentrate in studying the Fa, did not go out to tell more people about the truth of Falun Dafa, and nor distribute Dafa flyers. For the past six months her husband only made 3,000 yuan which made it very hard for them to get by. Because of this, she could not let go of her worries. When she told me this, I reflected on my own current struggles with my attachments. Perhaps our struggles appeared different on the surface, yet on a deeper level, it was actually that we both were trapped in confusion caused by the attachment to money and lack of understanding of the true meaning of cultivation.
Our children need to go to school and our elders need care, and the cost of living is ever-increasing. How to manage to maintain a living standard is the basic task that many practitioners normally face. If one's wage is not particularly high, what can one do? Some practitioners try to think of many ways to earn more money to maintain, or even improve their life situation. It is quite logical for ordinary people to think this way. However, we are Dafa practitioners; we are working towards letting go of all earthly attachments and saving sentient beings. Hence, should we think and act the same way as the ordinary people?
I would like to share my experience and enlightenment on a similar issue. Hopefully this experience will be helpful for fellow practitioners who are also struggling.
I have had a low-income job for three years now. My monthly income is only 500 yuan. My wife has some part-time jobs to supplement my income, making our total monthly income a little over a thousand yuan. Previously I had also thought about finding some other jobs that pay better but as soon as I tried to eliminate this notion in mind, some ordinary people and especially some practitioners pointed out to me that my income was indeed too low. Once, a practitioner, who had just started to come out and clarify the truth of Dafa to people, said to me," You make too little money. How are you going to handle the responsibilities of taking care of your parents, wife, and children?" I replied, "Everyone has his own misfortunes." That being said, I somehow felt he was right. I could not see the situation clearly from the Fa, and felt quite disturbed by his words. At home, I brought up the issue of finances with my wife who is also a practitioner. She replied, " Although you are not making much, you do the three important requirements from Teacher very well. We are not really short of anything. Why should you be so concerned? The main thing is to focus on doing these three things."
What my wife said truly awakened me. My wife, who is usually not so good at speaking, was using words that were not her usual style. It was obviously a reminder from Teacher who spoke through my wife's mouth. What is the most important thing for a Dafa practitioner right now? It is, of course, to do well the three important things required by Teacher. On reflecting on my life over the past few years, I could see that it was exactly due to my relatively light-duty job that I could find time to study the Fa during my work hours. Thanks to that extra time of Fa-study, I sensed a rapid improvement in my understanding of the Fa. Also, at the same time, I was able to concentrate on projects to clarify the truth about Falun Dafa to more people. While talking to people, I advised quite a few people to quit the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), including the owner and co-workers of our factory. Those who weren't ready to quit right away, or those who had joined the CCP also gained better knowledge about Dafa. In retrospect, I did perform the three things quite well. Wasn't that the very arrangement made by Teacher?
"...when humans go through hardship and suffer it is so that they may pay off karma and thereby have happiness in the future. A cultivator thus needs to cultivate by correct and upright truths. Going through hardship and suffering is an outstanding opportunity to remove karma, be cleansed of sin, purify the body, elevate your plane of thought, and rise in level--it's an extraordinarily good thing. This is a correct and upright Fa-truth." ("The Closer to the End, the More Diligent You should Be")
With lower income, of course, one lives a less comfortable life. But isn't that a good thing from the perspective of the Fa? During this time, I found many attachments such as fear of losing face, tendency to compare, jealousy, a sense of inferiority, and sentimentality towards family. Upon recalling what Teacher said above, all of my human notions were dissolved by Master's words, like the snow melting under the warm sun, making my heart feel lighter.
"You should know, and I have been saying all along, that when you, as Dafa disciples, look at something, you have to make sure to view it in reverse since the Three Realms are inverted, and you have to conduct yourselves in a positive, correct manner. What ordinary people regard as not good is good for cultivators--beings who wish to leave this place. If your thinking is the same as ordinary people's, then you will forever be an ordinary person and never be able to leave here. So, when you meet with ordeals, it is the perfect opportunity for you to improve. If you are able to look inside, that trying situation will become instead an opportunity, something to overcome and a chance to enter a new state. Why haven't you looked at things that way? As soon as you meet with an ordeal, you push it away. " (Fa Teaching at the 2008 New York Conference)
Ordinary people usually try to make more money to live a better life. Thus, should we, as Dafa disciples, think the same way? Instead, we should rather think on how to upgrade our levels and save more sentient beings. When encountering tribulations or ordeals in life, whether they are in the area of our personal cultivation or during clarifying the truth of Dafa to people, we should face them calmly as a practitioner, treating it as a good opportunity and understanding that it is actually arranged by Teacher for the purpose of raising our levels. Through all sorts of sophisticated external phenomena, among the complicated thoughts of "Who's right" and "Who's wrong," we learn to recognize our attachments and let them go, instead of being too concerned about the outcome of the event. We put everything in Teacher's hands, by following the course of nature. We should not think, "This is interfering with my duty of truth-clarification so I am not going to deal with it." By using our truth-clarification duty as an excuse to avoid passing the test, one's moral character will not be upgraded. Isn't this a waste of an opportunity? Do you expect to cultivate in comfort, without any pain, ordeals, or struggles against all kinds of attachments? Trying hard to avoid pain and discomfort and seeing difficulties as something troublesome are common notions among ordinary people. We need to fundamentally change our attitude by cultivating ourselves through the upright Fa-truths that Teacher has imparted us. In the Fa, we will naturally rectify our thoughts and deeds, letting go of the attachments from our selfish minds. This way, the old forces won't be able to interfere with us. Of course, we should not go to extremes either. When facing serious interference while doing the three required tasks, we should send forth righteous thoughts to eliminate it.
To view the situation further from the perspective of Dafa disciples, no matter what we are doing or wherever we are, we must put doing the three things as the first priority. We should not, as soon as we encounter tribulations, withdraw or slow down our Fa-rectification steps or shift our focus to ordinary people's activities. Think about it, we are able to cultivate, realize the Fa, and save sentient beings during this precious time and in this place! What a valuable and precious mission it is! Teacher once asked,
"Let me ask you, if it would take another ten years to save all sentient beings, would you still do it? (The students replied together, 'Yes!') " ("Touring North America to Teach the Fa")
Now I truly feel the sincerity and willingness to continue working to save sentient beings until all beings are saved.
When we put our focus on clarifying the truth of Dafa to save people, our personal gain or loss, comfort, or benefit become irrelevant. At that point, personal ordeals become trivial. All our attachments will easily disappear.
What I shared is based on my current level of understanding. Please kindly point out any areas where I may improve. Thank you.