Firmly Cultivating and Truly Saving Sentient Beings
(Clearwisdom.net) Looking back on my past eleven years of cultivation, Teacher and other practitioners have given me so much, yet I still have a long way to go, in order to reach Teacher's requirements. I realized that I've wasted a lot of time; I have only recently understood cultivation and the practitioners' responsibilities during the Fa-rectification period. I have also understood that cultivation means firmly cultivating myself and saving sentient beings; therefore, this is the subject of my cultivation experience sharing.
1. Keeping Pace with the Progress of Fa-rectification
My mother and I started practicing Falun Gong at the end of 1998. Soon after the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) began persecuting Falun Gong on July 20, 2009, we lost the opportunities of group Fa study and exercises. During that time, all media outlets including television spread lies about Falun Gong. Some practitioners around me were arrested or underwent brainwashing. My whole family opposed our practicing Falun Gong. However, mom and I firmly believed that Falun Dafa was good, and that this was a test for us to endure. We didn't know how to accomplish this, and felt bitter because no one told us what we should do, and sometimes we strayed. Luckily, I had access to Clearwisdom.net (Minghui.org) inside my workplace, so I read and printed some good sharing articles, then took them home to share with mom. Subsequently, two new practitioners, mom and I, followed other practitioners from Minghui.org under Teacher's instruction and practitioners' help. Even though we were unsteady, we moved forward on the journey to return home.
2. Beginning to Do the Three Things by Watching Other Practitioners, and Considering Myself a Particle of Dafa
Because of the weak foundation of my personal cultivation, I could not understand how to validate the Fa, thus I was very passive in the beginning. I was doing the three things with a selfish heart and attachments to consummation and fear, just like what Teacher said in "Teaching the Fa at the Washington, D.C Fa Conference". We saw other practitioners going to Tiananmen Square to validate the Fa. Mom and I went there, and walked around while my father was away. We were there to send forth righteous thoughts, but we had fear and selfish attachments. We did not achieve much, and received interference. When we saw that no other practitioners were holding banners, we left as well.
Regarding the Fa-rectification progress, Teacher said,
"After this year I find that you've completely changed. You no longer think as you used to. No matter what you do for Dafa and no matter what it is you're doing, you are placing yourselves in Dafa instead of thinking about "I want to do something for Dafa" or "I want to improve myself in this way or that way" as you did before. No matter what you do, you aren't thinking that you're doing something for Dafa, about how you should do things for Dafa, or "how can I do things well for this Fa." Instead, you are placing yourselves in Dafa. Like a particle of Dafa, [you feel that] no matter what it is, you should just do it." ("Fa Teaching at the Great Lakes Fa Conference in North America")
I found where I failed to live up to the standard of a genuine cultivator. I tried to treat myself as a particle of Dafa and did the three things, actively validating the Fa. I clarified the truth about Falun Gong to people around me, and delivered truth-clarification materials. During this period, I cultivated and eliminated the attachments of fear, doing things and irritability. I felt the protection and strength from Teacher whenever I maintained righteous thoughts. When delivering truth-clarification materials, nothing dangerous happened to me while under Teacher's protection. Whenever I was in a hurry to solve technical problems while compiling truth-clarification materials, I was unable to find the solution. Instead, when I gave up that attachment of doing things in a hurry and calmed down, I was strengthened by Teacher, and the problems were completely solved.
3. Learning How to Look Inward and Walking Firmly on the Path of Fa-Rectification
Because I started practicing Falun Gong at a late stage, I did not cultivate myself well during the personal cultivation period. During the Fa validation stage, I thought that doing things are what cultivation is and even thought that making achievements meant I was improving in cultivation. Thus I did not cultivate my xinxing well when I was validating the Fa. I am the youngest child at home, and spoiled by my family, thus I developed many human notions without realizing it.
During Fa study and reading practitioners' sharing articles from Clearwisdom.net, I gradually realized that cultivation means improving xinxing, looking inward when faced with conflicts and finding one's own attachments. First, I no longer indulged myself in life's pursuits. I also started to pay attention and restrained myself in front of my family, and maintained calmness in my speech as much as possible. I no longer wanted to compete with others. When clarifying the truth about Falun Gong, I stopped arguing when confronted with people who did not understand, or were rude and nasty to me.
As my cultivation continued, I still felt that my xinxing level was improving too slowly. I realized that I still had strong human notions whenever I faced tribulations, though I easily analyzed the conflict and looked inward on the surface, I did not pay enough attention to truly cultivating my heart. However, I was inspired by other practitioners' sharing articles. I was deeply inspired by one article, titled "Picking up shells from the sea", a cultivation diary from PureInsight.org (Zhengjian.org). The elderly practitioner from the article took every opportunity to improve herself in her daily life, and focused on inhibiting every bad thought or notion. I realized that I had a big gap, and that there was no shortcut for cultivation. I must study the Fa well and improve my xinxing, just like Teacher said,
"Cultivating gong has a path
Mind is the way
On the boundless sea of Dafa
Hardship is your ferry" ("Falun Dafa" from Hong Yin)
I realized that this was the foundation of validating the Fa and saving sentient beings.
4. Tempering and Upgrading Myself Through Actual Practice in Different Environments
"Anyway, since as cultivators you know that everything you do in society right now, including in your own personal life, falls within the realm of cultivation, then even more so should you take seriously everything that unfolds around you, and take more seriously this formless form of cultivation that you do" ("Fa Teaching Given in Manhattan, 2006")
We can practice cultivation in all environments. Teacher also said that we cultivate in the ordinary world, and should keep to the ways of ordinary people as much as possible. However, how we can meet this requirement in different environments as a cultivator? In actual practice, I realized that there isn't a single answer for this requirement. Other practitioners' paths only provide a reference. All practitioners must walk their own path, in the right direction.
Within my cultivation environment, my father was my biggest challenge. Since July 20, 1999, he opposed my mom and me practicing Falun Gong. Because he was brainwashed by the CCP, we clarified the truth about Falun Gong to him many times, but he refused to accept it. Later, we realized that we had strong attachments of hatred toward the CCP, and would fight with my father when clarifying the truth to him. We had negative matter in our bodies in another dimension, and thus couldn't move and save him when we clarified the truth with impure substances.
As I got older, just like other practitioners discussed on the internet, I faced the question of whether or not to have a family. My family pressured me heavily about this. They also did not understand cultivation practice. If I didn't have a boyfriend, they complained about Dafa. I decided to just let it go naturally. I took every opportunity to clarify the truth when I met different people. My family introduced dozens of different men to me. Each time, I earnestly clarified the truth to them. After a period of time together with one boyfriend who knew that I practiced Falun Gong, we broke up. I was sad, and wondered why I couldn't find a good boyfriend. I must walk my path of cultivation well.
Later, I met my current husband. After getting married, my environment changed and became more complex. I lived with my husband's parents and sister, and felt very pressured. I decided in my heart, that this was my new cultivation environment, and I must do well to validate the Fa. I should save them. The environment has changed; many of my attachments are also exposed in my daily life's conflicts. I realized that human notions are the most difficult to eliminate. Teacher said,
"Be considerate of others when you do things" ("Fa Teaching at the 2009 Washington DC International Fa Conference")
Although we know that this is Teacher's requirement, I still look at others during conflicts, rather than inward. Once I identified this attachment, I tried my best to eliminate it. I thought, "This attachment is not my nature; it is a human notion, I must eliminate it."
At my workplace, I always remember that I am a practitioner when facing fame, gains and anger. I tried to eliminate my bad thoughts and attachments. I took any opportunity to clarify the truth when meeting different colleagues. However, sometimes we got into arguments when I clarified the truth; then I became distressed because I did not know how to help them understand.
I remember that Teacher talked about the Fa of compassionate goodness. Teacher said,
"When this compassionate goodness emerges, its strength is without equal, and it will disintegrate any bad factors. The greater the compassion, the greater the power. Human society never had true principles to guide it before, so man has not resolved his problems via shan. Instead, man has always resolved things through fighting and conquest, and that has thus become man's norm. If man wants to become divine and transcend the human state, then he must forsake that frame of mind and use compassion to resolve things." ("Fa Teaching at the 2009 Washington DC International Fa Conference")
Recalling my cultivation experiences, I did not cultivate well and did not have compassion when clarifying the truth or dealing with conflicts. I treated problems with human notions and lowered myself to the level everyday people. At an ordinary person's level, how could I change and save other people? In fact, the situation of our cultivation environment is also a reflection of our status, like a mirror which reflects our true xinxing level. As a practitioner, we need to temper and upgrade in different environments. We should eliminate our attachments and raise our xinxing level so we can better assist Teacher with Fa-rectification.
5. Every Practitioner Is a Coordinator for Saving Sentient Beings
Practitioners relied on the coordinator before, but after the CCP's persecution of Falun Gong, this situation changed. I realized that every practitioner plays the role of a coordinator. I should use my advantage of internet access at work to help other practitioners who could not get online, and help us to advance together diligently. Teacher helped us with this. I often encounter some practitioners whom I only met before but did not know. Before Minghui Weekly was published, I downloaded and printed some good articles, then passed them to other practitioners. Later, with help from Clearwisdom.net, I started to produce the truth-clarification materials and CDs. As a coordinator, my mom delivered the truth clarification materials and CDs to some practitioners, and they would pass them to others. Later, we brought a printer home, and my mom overcame the age factor and learned how to use the computer to browse the internet. She learned how to visit Clearwisdom.net and print materials independently. She read sharing articles daily and shared experiences with other practitioners on the internet; it felt like we had an extra hand on the cultivation path.
The process of saving sentient beings is the process of practicing and purifying ourselves. In the beginning of my truth clarification activities, I had many human attachments to consummation, fear, fighting and others; so the results were not good. Sometimes when I met people who didn't understand me, I give up on them, thus lacking compassion. As I studied the Fa more, I was deeply moved by our great compassionate Teacher. I thought about the path I walked before. Teacher delivered me from hell, protects us on the cultivation path, and enlightens us every step of the way, so I have no reason not to do well. Later, I sent forth righteous thoughts before clarifying the truth, so that all sentient beings can be saved. If someone didn't understand the truth at that time, I tried to my best to help them to find the truth and build a good foundation for the future. When explaining the facts about Falun Gong, I try to help them understand clearly, not merely objectively; this way, people will truly be saved.
I also realized, that with the practitioner's responsibility of saving sentiment beings, we can't be satisfied from only delivering truth clarification materials and clarifying the truth face to face. We should ask ourselves all the time: Have I done my best to save sentient beings? What more can I do? Clearwisdom.net is a good place for reflection, helping us to see our shortcomings. The process of reading other practitioners' sharing articles is the process of looking inward. If we find similar attachments, we should eliminate them as soon as possible.
I am very ashamed that until now, I am still far from reaching Teacher's requirements since I started practicing Falun Gong. I have walked a tortuous path during my personal cultivation and assisting Teacher with the Fa-rectification. I am very embarrassed for not following Teacher's guidance well. Our great compassionate Teacher gives us this unique opportunity to cultivate; we really have no reason not do well with Teacher's requirements. I hope that we can all practice more diligently in this limited time, and not disappoint Teacher and sentient beings.
The above is my personal understanding. Please kindly point out anything inappropriate.