Lay Down Human Notions and Walk the Divine Path
(Clearwisdom.net) Greetings Master! Greetings fellow practitioners!
I am an influential person in my field of work, which is filled with highly educated people. When the Minghui/Clearwisdom website started to solicit contributions to the Sixth Internet Experience Sharing Conference for Practitioners in China, I dared not pick up my pen because I felt I was doing poorly in all respects. Later I shared with fellow practitioners and I realized that even though I had many attachments and shortcomings, the process of writing an experience sharing article is that of looking within myself, summarizing myself and rectifying myself, as well as that of cultivating my heart, improving myself and validating the Fa. Finally I decided to summarize my past and identify my problems and shortcomings. I would like to share my cultivation experience over the past several years.
I. There Is Only One Thought that Marks the Difference Between Humanness and Godhood
I started practicing Falun Dafa in 1997. Before that, I had experienced big ups and downs in my life. Not long after I started working, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) persecuted me when the CCP adopted the "Leftist approach." I was criticized by the Communist Youth League and was classified as an "internally controlled member." I even thought of committing suicide when I was helpless with despair. After the Cultural Revolution, I won numerous awards for excellent performance at work. Despite the flowers and applause, I felt the bitterness and pain in life. My heart was seriously hurt while fighting for fame and other interests. Moreover, I was overloaded at work and various illnesses almost took over my life. I suffered congenital aplastic anemia, which later led to my organs shutting down. I questioned the meaning of life. I was puzzled and lost. I tried various qigong practices, but in vain. I placed my hope on Buddhism, but found that monks were pursuing money. Three practitioners happened to introduce Falun Gong to me at that time and I was fortunate to start practicing Falun Dafa in February 1997. I finished reading Zhuan Falun without interruption. I felt strongly that I had found what I had been looking for. I was determined to cultivate in Dafa until I succeeded.
At the beginning, due to so much karma, I could not even sit still without crossing my legs in the lotus position. My feet were extremely stiff and my knee joints were deformed. My legs looked like they formed the shape of an X when I walked. Gradually I was able to do the single-leg crossing, but I still felt extreme pain. Sometimes I was in so much pain that even my heart felt as if it were trembling. However, as soon as I finished the meditation and left the practice site, I felt a refreshing breeze gently touch my face and my heart felt great delight. Two months later, all of my illnesses were gone and my entire body felt light. I enjoyed feeling free of illness for the first time ever.
Several months later, I was able to practice sitting cross-legged, but I felt a swelling pain all over and could only sit like that for a few minutes. One day at the practice site, when I was about to cross my legs, I heard three bangs that sounded like gunshots. My enlightenment quality was very poor at the time. I didn't realize that Teacher was adjusting my feet and legs and removing my karma. My human notions surfaced and I thought something that was wrong with my feet. It was clearly visible that my feet were troubled. It is true: The difference between humanness and godhood is just the difference of one thought. My thought at that moment led to different consequences. As a result, I suffered much pain in the following days. Immediately my left foot could not touch the ground, when it did I felt extreme pain and my knee joints would pop loudly. The fellow practitioners had to take me back to my home.
During the day I listened to Teacher's Fa lectures nonstop. Because I maintained my xinxing well, Teacher soon rectified my body. I felt like I was sleeping on a huge Falun, rotating constantly. Three days later I discharged many dirty things from my body. During that time, the swelling in my legs and feet was greatly alleviated. My relatives also tested my xinxing during that period when they expressed worry about me and tried to persuade me to see the doctor. My younger sister told me that when she lived in the countryside she had seen a person who had the same symptoms that I had. As a result of that person not seeking medical treatment, he became disabled. I was very determined and told my sister, "I am a Dafa disciple. I am a practitioner. This is not an illness. I am eliminating karma." I firmly believed that I could break through the pass as long as I believe in Teacher and Dafa.
I lay in bed and could not move my feet. My left leg was very swollen and even the slightest movement was extremely painful. I knew it was because of my karma accumulated throughout different lifetimes. I should treat it with righteous thoughts and endure what I should endure. I decided not to go to hospital or to use any ordinary methods. I firmly believed in Teacher and the Fa. I kept reciting Teacher's poem:
Tis not that the journey of cultivation is painful,
Karma from generation upon generation is blocking you.
I Steel your will,
And become a Buddha who keeps forever the human body.
("Cause and Effect" from Hong Yin)
Thanks to Teacher's compassionate protection, about 20 days later, I could walk again. Teacher arranged for me to study in a very diligent Fa study group. During the period of my eliminating the karma, practitioners frequently came to see me, shared their cultivation experiences with me and encouraged me to break through the tribulation. As soon as I could walk, even with a limp, I went back to the Fa study group. The following evening, I read Lecture One of Zhuan Falun together with fellow practitioners. We shared cultivation experiences and exchanged our understandings about the Fa. We were bathed in the Buddha light and felt an atmosphere of serenity and compassion. My body was soon rectified. After that, I could sit in meditation for one hour. Now I walk fast and light and my legs do not form a shape of X any more. My friends and relatives witnessed my change. In the meantime, they witnessed the wonder and supernormal power of Dafa. I feel I am at the happiest and most wonderful moment in my life.
II. Lay Down Human Notions and Validate the Fa
On July 20, 1999, the CCP initiated a brutal persecution against Falun Gong. The CCP spread rumors and slander all over the country through media propaganda every hour of the day. We boldly went to the provincial government to appeal for justice for Falun Gong. We firmly believe that our Teacher is innocent and great. We firmly believe there is nothing wrong in following the principle of Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance. Despite armed police officers and the sirens of police cars, and evil propaganda broadcasting everywhere, we were not afraid at all. At approximately 4:00 p.m. that day, police officers forcefully pushed practitioners into the police cars. We shouted loudly, "There is nothing wrong with being a good person!" They took us to a stadium in a suburban area. Everyone was ordered to register. At approximately 7:00 p.m. we started practicing exercises together as usual. Under Teacher's compassionate protection, I returned home safely at midnight.
When I arrived home, my daughter told me that my friends and colleagues had called me again and again. They were worried about me and afraid that I would be hurt. They did their best to persuade me to stay at home. I couldn't hold back my tears in front of Teacher's picture. I was determined in my heart that no matter what happens, I will firmly cultivate Falun Dafa.
To validate the Fa, many practitioners from different parts of the country went to Beijing to appeal for Falun Dafa, sit in mediation and spread banners on Tiananmen Square. Some practitioners in our Fa study group also went to Beijing or the newspaper agency to speak the truth about Falun Dafa, but later they were all detained or sentenced to forced labor. I admired them very much and felt that I should also speak up for Dafa. However, at that moment, many human notions surfaced: I am an influential person in society; My husband and son were timid, so I was afraid that they wouldn't be able to shoulder the burden. I gave up the idea of going to Beijing. Under huge internal and external pressure, I was in pain and couldn't sit still, though I still insisted on studying the Fa and practicing the exercises every day. Teacher's Fa echoed in my mind one sentence after another. Teacher scooped me up from hell and cleansed me. Teacher led me, a human being full of karma, to the divine path of cultivation. As a true cultivator, how could I sit here and keep silent while Teacher is being slandered and defamed, and Dafa is being persecuted? Why do I not dare speak up for Dafa? I blamed myself and felt guilty. I knew that I must disintegrate these internal and external barriers that prevented me from stepping out to validate the Fa.
In June 2000, after sharing with several fellow practitioners, we decided to go to Beijing to validate the Fa. One day in late June, we went to Beijing by train. As soon as we walked out onto the platform, a police officer stopped me. He asked me, "Are you a Falun Gong practitioner?" I said without hesitation, "Yes, I am. (I didn't know how to rationally deal with that kind of situation at that time.) Falun Gong purified my soul and body. Isn't it good?" Immediately another practitioner and I were taken to our local government's liaison office in Beijing. Later we were taken back to the local detention center. We kept on studying the Fa and practicing the exercises every day while we were detained. We also made the best use of our time to clarify the truth to the inmates and police officers. One month later, we were released.
After I returned home, I realized that my family suffered a lot after I went to Beijing to appeal for Dafa. My husband fell from the bed while sleeping in the middle of the night. My daughter had a nose bleed that was difficult to stop. My son got a fever and lasted for a long time. During that time, almost all of the practitioners who went to Beijing to appeal were persecuted. Most of them were fired from their jobs or had deductions taken from their paychecks so they were placed under financial difficulty. I prepared myself in my mind for this. At that time I didn't know that we should completely deny such persecution. I was afraid that my husband wouldn't be able to bear it, so I told him what I expected . My timid husband said resolutely, "Since you have already stepped out, from now on we will face the difficulties together." His words gave me so much comfort. One day I explained the facts about Falun Gong to a police officer who was responsible for our community. He asked my husband who was standing beside me, "What do you think?" My husband said without hesitation, "I support her and understand her belief." Over the past ten years, my husband has been standing beside me while I validated the Fa. This changed my thoughts about our marriage. I used to believe that I was better than him and we were not well matched. Now I believe he is the best fit for me. The gods arranged for him to help me assisting Teacher in validating the Fa. We are grateful for our predestined relationship. It's his great fortune to have become the husband of a Dafa practitioner.
Not long after I was released from the detention center, word spread about my arrest and it caused a stir at my workplace. Though my supervisors knew me well by my performance and quality of work, they still felt pressure from the higher-ups. I made the best use of my time to talk to them about Falun Gong and gained their sympathy and understanding. Finally, under Teacher's protection, they didn't cause me any trouble. In the meantime, I explained the truth about Falun Gong with great patience and a peaceful mind to a police officer who monitored me. I told him that Falun Dafa is a great, high-level cultivation way of the Buddha school. I told him about the changes I went through after I started practicing Falun Dafa, as well as the happiness that Falun Dafa brought to my family. I told him some stories of fellow practitioners who improved their spiritual level after practicing Falun Dafa. I told him that Falun Gong is a pure field. I told him that our Teacher taught us to look within when in conflict, and our Teacher doesn't want anything from us and he just wants our hearts to be good. I emphasized that what is broadcast on TV and in the newspaper was all slander and rumors. The more I told him about Falun Dafa, the excited I became. He was amazed and moved. From then on, he never caused me any trouble, and he even protected me secretly.
III. Disintegrate the Barriers and Save People with Compassion
Working with so many intellectuals, I always felt it extremely difficult to persuade people to quit the CCP. One time I made an appointment with a friend who was knowledgeable and cared little for fame and self-interest. I was well prepared before meeting him. I didn't expect him to be so seriously poisoned by the CCP's lies and propaganda. He was resentful when I brought up the topic. He tried to change the topic. At the moment I was very sad and disappointed. From then on, though I kept on doing the three things, I always felt restricted and couldn't clarify the truth freely. It seemed that an intangible rope was binding me and preventing me from forging ahead.
What was that rope? I figured it out while struggling in pain and looking within. It was my acquired notion. It was the selfishness that tried to protect me from being hurt. Due to my life experience of rocky times, I developed a strong sense of self-protection, which has been deeply rooted in my mind. My attachments of fear and hesitancy were exposed completely while I was persuading people to quit the CCP and its affiliated organizations.
"The more you put you first or mix in [factors of] self, the less mighty-virtue you have, and that's why it is less likely that you succeed at things or do them well. Dafa's things should be the most sacred, and that's why the less you have of your own notions and involve your own factors, the better you can handle them and the more likely you are to succeed."
(Teaching the Fa at the Meeting with Asia-Pacific Students)
I realized that I would not be effective in persuading people to quit the CCP while I held human notions and the attachment of hesitancy. From then on, I let go of all my notions but held on to the thought of saving people and giving goodness to people while clarifying the truth to them. In the meantime, I also felt free of pressure and barriers. Actually it is unnecessary to be prepared beforehand. As long as I have righteous thoughts, I can speak easily. Moreover, I am careful to clarify any questions that arise. In most cases people agree to quit the CCP and its affiliated organizations.
Once I clarified the truth to a friend who worked in scientific research. My heart was sincere in trying to save her and we talked from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Neither of us wanted to end the conversation. She talked about her painful life experiences and I talked about my painful pursuits in life. I talked about the cultivation of Falun Dafa, which made me understand the truth about life. I talked about the great physical and spiritual changes I experienced after practicing Falun Dafa. I talked about the cruel persecution of Falun Gong, as well as the prophecies and warnings that heaven is eliminating the CCP. As I persuaded her to quit the CCP, she listened to me attentively. Amazing, she had reactions during our conversation. Teacher's fashen was adjusting her body. She immediately agreed to quit the CCP and soon started practicing Falun Dafa. Not long after she started practicing Falun Dafa, two hospitals concluded that her Stargardt's Disease disappeared. She experienced the supernormal power and wonder of Dafa on a deep level. She continues to persist in studying the Fa and practicing the exercises.
We are living in a material world where human morality is declining rapidly. In such a world, people's craving for material things never seems to be satisfied. Many people are troubled and have questioning hearts. They even feel empty inside. I can figure out their attachments and trouble while having conversations with them. I helped them break through the illusion with the principle of Dafa. I also talked about my own perception of life through my cultivation practice. They felt that I could touch their hearts. Sometimes they felt their hearts shaken. For instance, when my niece was back home on vacation, I clarified the truth twice to her and persuaded her to quit the CCP and its affiliated organizations. She has a doctoral degree and worked in another city. Later she told her mother (my younger sister), "It feels good to talk with my aunt. Sometimes I felt that my soul was shaken." Actually I know that all of this was done by Teacher, not me. It's Teacher's mighty power that touched the bottom of their hearts and showed them the truth. If I left Dafa, I would become vulnerable and insignificant. What would I do then? This is Dafa's mighty power and Teacher's mighty power.
One time I clarified the truth to a cousin who misunderstood Dafa and had practiced in another qigong school. At the beginning she was resentful of my words but I was not dissuaded. I went to visit her several times despite the hot weather, trying to persuade her to quit the CCP and its affiliated organizations. Finally she was moved and immediately agreed to quit the CCP. One day she called me and told me a bit of good news about her father (my uncle) who is more than 80 years old. His thigh bone and shin bone were fractured and stunted, so he walked with great difficulty. The following day after I clarified the truth in her home, her father could climb the stairs by holding onto the rail. She said, "I think it's because of you."
The above example is not the only miraculous story. Here is another example: One time I clarified the truth to a classmate, who was in her sixties. She readily agreed to quit the CCP and its affiliated organizations. One day a minivan hit her and knocked her several meters away. She was bounced back underneath the van by an unseen power. After a while, she crawled out from beneath the van. Her family thought she could not have survived the accident and took her to the hospital. Amazingly, the examination showed that her brain and internal organs were not seriously injured. She recovered after she was in hospital for less than one month. As soon as I saw her, she said excitedly, "It's you who saved me!" I said, "No, it's not me. It's Teacher and Dafa who saved you!"
I lay down human notions, disintegrated the internal and external barriers, and clarified the truth to friends, relatives and colleagues with compassion. So far, I have successfully persuaded more than one hundred people to quit the CCP and its affiliated organizations. However, I am not doing well in persuading strangers to quit the CCP. But I believe that along with the process of Fa-rectification, I can break through and save more sentient beings as I study the Fa and improve my heart.
IV. Looking Within While in Conflict
As Fa-rectification continually pushes ahead, the environment seems more relaxed than ever. My human attachments gradually surfaced while in conflict with fellow practitioners.
My niece's step-mother is a practitioner. She had experienced a failed marriage and later she was badly hurt while in conflict with my niece. For a period of time she couldn't let go of her past. One time she talked about her past experience and the conflict with my niece. At that time I was in a hurry, so we didn't talk further about it from the aspect of cultivation. Moreover, I had just gone through the interference of a sickness demon and was afraid of being interfered with by her attachments. I was very worried. I pointed out her problem in a commanding tone and said she shouldn't be attached to the past and be resentful of ordinary society. I also told her, "You should look within." Another time, she mentioned to me again about her conflict with my niece, in quite a bit of detail. I was intolerant and blamed her, "Let it go. It is all over. Why are you still troubled by these trivial things in your past? Are you doing true cultivation or sham cultivation?" My words irritated her very much. She couldn't get through it, so she called me and asked, "You told me to look within. Why don't you look within?" Her words awakened me. Yes, I should also look within. What on earth is happening to me? What human attachments am I still holding on to? Later I studied the Fa attentively and all of a sudden I understood: This was to expose my mentality of showing off and not being compassionate. I was too opinionated. I was not patient and calm enough to listen to others. I did not put myself in her shoes to understand her difficulties and pain. How could I open her heart when I am not compassionate and tolerant? I always judge others by my own rules and standards. I only want to change others rather than changing myself. Having been poisoned by the CCP culture for a long time, I developed a strong mentality of showing off and attachment to a competitive mentality. I like to be in a high position instead of keeping a low profile. Therefore, the nature of selfishness and ego were exposed completely while I was in conflict with fellow practitioners.
After looking within myself this time, I came to deeply realize that life could be elevated through selflessness. That is, wherever we are, we should treat everyone with our compassion and consider others in every single thought. We should be more compassionate and tolerant of our fellow practitioners and harmonize each other well.
As Fa-rectification continually pushes ahead, a large amount of evil has been eliminated and our cultivation environment is getting better. Gradually I developed an attachment to ease and comfort. I felt very painful and tired in the past period of cultivation, so I had a thought of letting up. One time during an experience sharing in the Fa study group, I talked about my recent cultivation state and some thoughts about it. Unexpectedly, a practitioner interrupted me and said, "How could your pain compare with what Teacher suffered for us? You have too much karma. Teacher has eliminated it for you and developed such a relaxed cultivation environment for you. Is this for you to enjoy the ordinary life? It's for you to make good use your time to study the Fa and save more sentient beings." Hearing these words, I wanted to defend myself, but I held it back. Upon returning home, I felt uneasy and heartbroken while giving up my attachments. I thought of Teacher's Fa:
"For a cultivator, looking within is a magical tool."
(Fa Teaching at the 2009 Washington DC International Fa Conference )
Which of my attachments did my fellow practitioner's words target? I thought for a while. In recent days, I had not been as strict and I was letting up in my practice. I felt sleepy while studying the Fa. The effect was not good while I was clarifying the truth to people. Teacher hinted to me several times, but I was still not awakened. Today compassionate Teacher used my fellow practitioner's mouth to give me a "stick warning" and wake me up:
"The will to be diligent never bowed "
("Steadfast" from Hong Yin II)
Since the beginning of Fa-rectification, Teacher has suffered so much for us. However, the evil persecution is still going on and so many sentient beings are still waiting to be saved. We haven't yet completed our historic mission and responsibility. What reason do we have to let up? Teacher warned us,
"The closer it gets to the end, the more you cannot let up; the closer it gets to the end, the better you must study the Fa; the closer it gets to the end, the stronger your righteous thoughts must be. "
("To the Canada Fa Conference")
After looking within, I figured out my fundamental attachments. I felt at ease the following day. During the lunch break, I saw many pink petals unfolding and then revealed four Chinese characters: "Bo Da Jing Shen" ("the most profound"). It is true. Buddha Fa is the most profound. Human principles and godly principles are opposite. The human way of thinking is to look outward and seek outward, while Buddha Fa requires us to look within and cultivate ourselves. Recently I studied Teacher's "Fa Teaching Given in Manhattan." I am clearer at this point: None of the conflicts we have are coincidence. They are all good opportunities for us to improve. From the bottom of my heart, I appreciate that fellow practitioner reminding me. I am grateful for Teacher's compassionate hint.
Even the most beautiful language couldn't express the wonder and magnificence of Dafa. No earthly means could give adequate reverence to Teacher's saving grace. Buddha's grace is infinite. In this very end of the end moment of the Fa-rectification period, we should be diligent and even more diligent, and do the three things well with our pure hearts. Only in this way can we live up to Teacher's compassionate salvation and live up to the honor of being Fa-rectification period Dafa disciples.
If you find anything inappropriate, please correct me with your compassion. Heshi.