Improving Through Study Group
Greetings Esteemed Teacher!
Greetings Fellow Practitioners!
I am a 62-year-old practitioner who attained the Fa in 1996. I became healthy once I began to practice Falun Gong. I clearly understand that Teacher reversed our sliding down into hell, cleansed us and gave us everything we need to cultivate. Teacher imparted to us Falun Dafa and is guiding our cultivation. We lack the words to truly express Teacher's enormous compassion. Teacher only hopes that we advance steadily on our cultivation path and are committed to doing the three thingswell.
As a student and later on teacher, I never left school. I was immersed in the "communist culture" throughout my life. I had good grades as a student, was a good lecturer and received excellent student evaluations. My achievements were always in the superior range. In time, my head swelled and I believed that I was always in the right. I also was jealous, competitive, had a show-off mentality, was selfish and shallow and wanted to be better than others. There were so many attachments. One has to eliminate those attachments during cultivation. Teacher said: "The entire cultivation process for a practitioner will be one of constantly giving up the human attachments."(Zhuan Falun) I was always concerned about getting rid of these attachments.
1. Group Study Facilitates Progress
I live in a family housing complex for factory employees. Most of my fellow practitioners are elderly. Some had never attended school and some attended school only for a few days. At the beginning of my cultivation, I only did the exercises, without studying the Fa, although I first attended a study group once or twice and then stopped going. I felt it was a complete waste of time to study the Fa with these people. I was sure that I didn't have to study all the time, just read the Fa once to understand the general meaning. Now, I know that I knew nothing and saw Dafa as an ordinary people's theory. I was under the impression that I was doing great.
In 1997, I joined a Fa study group. We studied the Fa for about 30 to 60 minutes and then did the sitting excises. The coordinator asked me to read more often than other people, which made me very happy. My complacency and show-off mentality was exposed. Teacher hinted many times in my dreams. With my third eye opened I saw a celestial book that had no boundary. I then understood the importance of studying the Fa more diligently. Therefore, three practitioners and I organized a Fa study group. We studied the Fa for two hours daily during lunch and then shared experiences. After studying the Fa diligently, my wisdom opened and I understood that by looking within one could constantly improve one's xinxing and eliminate attachments. We shared our understanding of the Fa, studied the Fa, memorized and recited the Fa and hand-copied the Fa. Dafa became deeply rooted in my heart.
The coordinator and I complied with the teachings of Dafa and cooperated well. I was responsible for teaching new practitioners the exercises. Then, we began to have conflicts and I was certain that it was her fault. She picked on me and told me that I was in the wrong. My strong attachments, including jealousy, wanting to fight, show-off, fame and the knowledge that I was in the right made my heart heavy and I was rather angry. I was trying to contain my anger and not argue. But in my heart I was convinced I was maligned and I always wanted to complain behind her back. I slowly distanced myself from her. At that time, looking inward was superficial and I did not take it earnestly. As I studied the Fa more diligently, I slowly improved my understanding of the Fa and learned to cooperate with the coordinator.
2. Group Study Encourages One to Think of Others
In October 1999, I went to Beijing to appeal for justice for Falun Gong and Teacher. I was fired from my job. My cultivation environment changed and earning a living was difficult. I no longer got compliments, instead I received blame, was treated with sarcasm and teased. I faced pressures from society, family, employer and many others. I felt odd in the beginning, and a little humiliated and insulted. But, I did not give up on my cultivation. I believed in Teacher and I'm a firm Dafa cultivator. I can endure the toughest hardship and tolerate things that are difficult to tolerate. I will continue on my cultivation path nobly.
Since I didn't have to go to work any longer, I had time to study the Fa. I shared experiences with fellow practitioners and resumed group study, because this is the cultivation structure Teacher gave us. We established a four-people study group at my home. Three are 10 to 17 years older than me, and two don't speak Mandarin and I couldn't understand them. At the beginning I tried to be patient, but it took more than two hours to finish a lecture and what was worse, we missed words, and added wrong words. One of the practitioners was learning and reading one word at a time. I was on edge, but controlled my temper as I didn't want to lose face. Sometimes I looked impatient when I could not control myself. However, realizing that they were truly serious and eager to learn the Fa, my temper cooled down. I became tolerant. In the past, I would have criticized them with a high-pitched voice, but Dafa had changed me.
At that time, I often had outside interference and my heart was moved by anything small. I thought it wise to often change the location and time for group study. In reality I held fear in my heart and lacked righteous thoughts. But, we understood the importance of group study, where we could share and exchange experiences. We improved fast.
Fellow practitioners said that we organized a study group for experience sharing because it is the cultivation form that Teacher had planned for us. Teacher never stopped group study, so we shouldn't stop either, despite some practitioners being interfered with by their families and experiencing much harassment.
"With these problems, the person's mind could be tested in such an environment." (Zhuan Falun) Sometimes I had tears in my eyes, cried in my heart and felt that I was wronged. My pride was hurt. I calmed down and looked within. Did I lecture others as if they were students? Did I do something wrong and hurt others? I wanted to seek fame and my attachments to self had bad consequences. The troubles I encountered gave me the opportunity to elevate my xinxing and eliminate my attachments. I continued to organize group study. "When it is difficult to endure it, you can endure it. When it is impossible to do it, it is possible to do it." (Zhuan Falun)
Under Teacher's care, we organized more than ten Fa study groups, with between three to ten practitioners per group. The frequency, time and location depended on the environment. Weekly, one person from each study group comes to a separate Fa study for two hours and experience sharing. Everyone speaks freely about cooperation, including sending righteous thought at close proximity to the evil, rescuing fellow practitioners, and so on. Then fellow practitioners from each group joins in. By diligently studying the Fa, the study groups are relatively stable and we know what to do during holidays and sensitive dates. The Fa study has improved our ability to read and there are very few errors when reading the Fa now. We know how to look within and are doing the three things well.
3. Group Study Environment Encourages Practitioners to Cooperate and Elevate as a Whole
There are more elderly practitioners who often come down with illness karma. What can we do to help them? Practitioner A studies the Fa diligently, has many human attachments, is persecuted by the evil, has breathing problems and suffers from sleep disorders. Practitioners from her group of five and I discussed the situation. We discussed as to how we could eliminate the persecution by the old forces and how she could use her righteous thoughts most effectively. In my heart, I believed that practitioner A didn't study the Fa diligently, and that the group of five lacked righteous thoughts and didn't look within. Therefore practitioner A went to the hospital and experienced temporary relief, but only for a few days. She lives on her own. Her son lives outside the area and her husband died. I know her very well, as we were co-workers. I held inside the thought of her not having righteous thoughts and not trying hard enough. She and I are great friends and speak a common language. I feel sorry seeing her suffer. She cries when she sees me and I almost hugged and cried with her. Teacher hinted and I suddenly woke up and became alert. If I behave like this, I am accepting the old forces' arrangements and providing a loophole for the evil and she will be persecuted more severely. The pain in my heart immediately disappeared. I calmed down and we talked freely. I found my attachment. I didn't want anyone to point out my shortcomings and was afraid to offend others when pointing out others' shortcomings. I wanted to protect myself. I felt very guilty. I lacked concern for my fellow practitioners and only cared to do the three things by myself. I did not treat fellow practitioners' problems as my own. We all elevated our xinxing with Teacher's help, cooperated well together, sent righteous thoughts, and so she recovered quickly and could do the three things well.
4. Group Study Environment Encourages Practitioners to Save Sentient Beings
Teacher instructed us in his lectures that we need to clarify the truth and save sentient beings. Practitioners have great responsibility and duties. As long as we can save sentient beings, we may utilize ordinary people's methods. One's job title and age are not important. Our study group exchanged our experiences in clarifying the facts about Falun Gong and saving sentient beings. This helped us to do well in talking to people about Falun Gong and handing out informational materials.
We clarified the facts in small groups. We studied the Fa in the morning. Then, two or three practitioners went out to distribute Dafa materials in the after noon. Some practitioners clarified the truth face to face, gave out flyers, DVDs, copies of the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party, and other materials. One group consists of myself and an elderly lady who is eleven years older than me. We do not have a fixed location where we expose the persecution. We send righteous thoughts before leaving. But we still held some fear, were afraid of losing face and did not clarify the facts about Falun Gong well. Therefore, we were faced with problems. We felt embarrassed when talking to strangers, and worried about bad manners. We looked only for people we knew to clarify the truth to.
Teacher helped us meet an old acquaintances whom we had not seen for many years. She listened to us, which improved our confidence. I also prejudge people before talking to them. I select people who I think are good and look nice before I approach them. We realized that we can't judge a person based on looks. Someone might look like a kind-hearted person, but might be deeply poisoned by the evil. One might look like an unimportant old man, but he is a communist party member willing to hear the truth about Falun Gong, willing to withdraw from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and say that Dafa is good.
I know now that practitioners need to change their human attitudes. We can only save people, but not be selective and chose whom to save. We realized that we will tell a person everything there is to know if they are willing to listen, but unwilling to break through the brick wall built around people who do not wish to listen. We watch ourselves so we do not select whom we want to save. Even though a person does not accept the truth right away, we have still planted a seed in their heart and this person might listen to another practitioner in the future. Compassion comes during the process of diligent and serious cultivation, and it helps practitioners save more sentient beings without being selective about it.
When clarifying the truth and saving sentient beings, one may encounter people of different status, background and all kinds of attitudes. A practitioner should not be moved by ordinary people's heart. One should be responsible for sentient beings and not leave room for regret. Yes, practitioners can definitely do it! Practitioners have Teacher's protection and guidance through studying the Fa diligently. Practitioners definitely can eliminate attachments, cultivate compassion and save more sentient beings.
Only through Teacher's protection can each person in the study group do the three things well and be steady.
I encourage fellow practitioners to memorize the Fa, hand-copy the Fa, and study the Fa diligently, so we can all cooperate as one body and rescue fellow practitioners who are imprisoned or those who left the cultivation path, send righteous thoughts, and do all that is required of us well.
Elderly practitioners bought computers to read the Minghui/Clearwisdom websites. They firmly follow the path Teacher planned for us. I can feel Teacher's hardships in offering salvation to mankind and the enormous force of the Fa-rectification. I treasure it!
Fellow practitioners, we must act with righteous thoughts and be responsible for sentient beings and ourselves.
I have much more stored in my mind, but will stop here. Please kindly point out any shortcomings you perceive in my sharing.
October 31, 2009