Truly Cultivating Myself
(Clearwisdom.net) Dear Master! Fellow practitioners:
My Show-off and Self-Validating Mentality
Since childhood, I was overly concerned with my self-image and always tried to show off. This habit continued once I began to practice Falun Gong. I tried to relinquish this stubborn problem many times but always fell short. I was fond of offering my opinion in front of several dozen practitioners at the group Fa-study. I was quite proud of my understanding and cultivation status.
One day last year when several practitioners shared cultivation experiences, a practitioner said to me, "So many things happened in your home because you have the habit of validating yourself." Although his words hurt me deeply, they helped me realize my problems. Why did I feel so hurt? This must be Master's message to me, delivered through my fellow practitioner's mouth. From then on I began to control my speech and suppress my urge to make statements. I wanted to listen more. But many times I still could not control myself, especially when others' opinions did not agree with mine.
I realized eventually that Master has arranged each and every practitioner's individual, unique cultivation path. That means, according to Master's teachings, that practitioners have different foundations and enlightenment qualities; some are more diligent than others; their levels and comprehensions vary, and all the different factors lead to different cultivation experiences. If I let go of my ego and disregard others' tone and attitude I could pay attention to what they tried to convey, and I could learn something. Now, most of time, I am able to listen to other's opinions. My bad habit still comes out occasionally, but I recognize it quickly.
Cultivating Myself by Looking Within
For the last few years I have been part of a Fa study group, but for a long time our group members could not truly cultivate ourselves, although we had accomplished many projects. We often blamed each other when conflicts arose. The situation persisted for a long time until the evil began to cause damage. The arrest of a few practitioners caused huge damage in our effort to offer people salvation. Since the arrests, we began to seriously look within; everyone tried to find his or her own attachments and deviated notions. We also sent righteous thoughts to help our fellow practitioners and strongly deny the persecution. Under Master's care, the arrested practitioners were soon released.
During this process I began to realize the importance of changing my thinking. Once a practitioner was suffering from tribulations, I made a few comments that ticked him off. For that I felt very uncomfortable and guilty. How could I ask others to agree with my understanding? I should be more tolerant and treat the practitioner with compassion. Following this I could look within myself for root causes when conflicts happened.
One day during Fa study a practitioner made an angry comment about me. I was surprised and wondered why he did it. But I immediately recalled Master's teaching and felt calm, thinking he was probably troubled by some interference. I began to send righteous thoughts to eliminate the evil factors behind the interference. When we studied the Fa again the energy field became clear and harmonious. I shared this with another practitioner who told me I had become a different person. Now, no matter what conflicts and tribulations I encounter, no matter who was at fault, I always look at my own problems. I no longer focus on other's shortcomings; instead, I always try to find others' merits, sensing each practitioner's preciousness. Once I changed my thinking, other practitioners also improved, minimizing our friction, and we enjoyed mutual trust.
Changing Myself; Bringing Harmony to All
Master has fully protected and guided me during my cultivation. Other practitioners also helped me raise my xinxing. But I was reluctant to take on more responsibilities, and unwilling to cooperate with teamwork.
After the persecution became exceedingly severe in 2008, cooperation in our local area was far from satisfactory; even the coordinators hesitated to take action. A few practitioners realized the need for cooperation to rescue more people and invited me to take the lead. I felt tremendous pressure and became scared. In addition, I had no clue where to start and told myself I should stay put and participate in any discussions. I really preferred to remain with the status quo and not worry too much. But a cultivation path is not a vacation. If I cannot improve, do not pass the tests and continue to hope for comfort and try to avoid responsibilities then my conscience knows it is wrong. Facing conflicts and agony I asked myself repeatedly: if you do not want to validate the Fa, are you still a Dafa disciple? Master has arranged our cultivation path; how can I change it? I contemplated for a long time, in pain.
Master said in "Fa Teaching at the 2008 New York Conference,"
"In this world, the ordeals that Master faces, as with the accompanying pressure, come in numbers greater than tens of thousands each day, yet no one has managed to make me waver, and that cannot be done."
"So in your cultivation, no matter what ordeal comes along or what kind of difficulty you face, you cannot let those things change [your course]."
Master would not waver, even after ten thousand ordeals. But I wanted to avoid a small trouble and hide! How shameful! Repeated Fa study strengthened my righteous mind. I knew I had to face and pass the test. I began to look within and found my fear of persecution. The fear was reflected in many areas. When speaking with people about Falun Gong and the persecution, fear prevented me from telling the whole story; when making printing materials I feared to encounter trouble with the printer; when others talked about me, I feared they might damage my reputation. I later realized that these fears were not part of me but were postnatally formed attachments and notions. My fears almost vanished completely once I read the Fa and sent righteous thoughts. The remaining portion is small.
I realize that Master creates opportunities for me to improve and relinquish my attachments, many of which I have been able to let go of. When other practitioners were in trouble in the past I steered clear for my own safety. When two practitioners were arrested in September 2009 while distributing Falun Gong information, I investigated and encouraged other practitioners and the victims' families to rescue them. They were finally released under Master's protection and with practitioners' righteous thoughts.
I still have many attachments, wrong thoughts and notions, but I will continue to eliminate them during my efforts to do the three things. I will be consistent with my cultivation efforts.
Thank you Master, for giving me wisdom and energy. Thank you, fellow practitioners for your support and help.
November 10, 2009