Young Practitioners, Hurry Up and Be Diligent
Hello, benevolent Teacher. Hello, fellow practitioners.
I have been practicing Falun Gong for 11 years. I started practicing when I was 14 years old, and now I am 26. During these years I have witnessed the development of the Fa-rectification. I have experienced Teacher's benevolent compassion and truly felt how lucky I am to be a practitioner that is alive during such a wonderful age. I would not like to imagine what it would be like if I didn't practice Dafa or if I were to stop cultivating--it would be so awful! I was fortunate enough to meet Teacher, and I'm fortunate enough to have obtained the Fa. My gratitude towards Teacher is beyond words. Teacher, thank you sincerely.
During this Fa conference, I'd like to share with young practitioners on the problems that we are usually faced with and how to overcome them. As I spent the best years of my youth under the saving grace of Dafa, I have first-hand experience on some of the problems that arise, and for this purpose I'd like to share my experiences with fellow practitioners, especially young practitioners.
Becoming a practitioner
First, I'd like to talk about how I began to practice Falun Gong. I share this experience because many practitioners have some misunderstandings on how to bring up young practitioners. For their reference, I'd like to talk about things that happened in my youth.
At 14 years of age, I was an excellent student in my class and always looked down on everything. I was quite wild and always thought that I was so bright that nobody could compare to me. My mom started to practice Falun Gong first, then she encouraged me to study it. My reputation preceded me, and I ignored her and considered her to be "superstitious." I did believe in the existence of higher beings, but strongly believed that those were things that happened long ago and wouldn't exist in this time and age. My mom did not argue with me, rather, she waited until I was quiet and then read a few paragraphs of Zhuan Falun to me. I didn't think it was anything special at first. But, because the Fa can rectify any abnormalities, one day I suddenly wanted to learn the exercises, and soon my Celestial Eye was opened. I became firmer in my belief, and that's why I began to practice Falun Gong.
At the time, I didn't treasure the Fa very much and only did the exercises. I seldom studied the Fa, as I was more interested in reading other books. I tried to keep up with others and felt that my health had improved a lot. I didn't know about reciting the Fa back then and now very much regret it. When we are young, our minds are sharper and we have fewer human notions and attachments. If someone has the advantage of being young and can learn to recite the Fa and memorize it very clearly, he or she will not easily forget it. I joked with another practitioner, saying, "If I have a child in the future, I'd force him to recite the Fa, even by beating him. If one doesn't start it in childhood, when he grows up it'll be very difficult." Actually this is not a joke, because a child's self-control is comparatively poor. If a child's parents do not discipline him, it won't do, and it's an act of not being responsible for the child.
When we mention disciplining children, many practitioners get a headache, as children nowadays are very hard to discipline. It doesn't work if you are strict with them and it doesn't work if you are too lenient with them either. If you don't manage them well you could end up forcing the child to go in the opposite direction. In terms of educating children, I don't have any children myself, nor do I have any experience, but I often read classical Chinese novels, and the "childhood education" issue brought up in those novels made me think a lot. For example, in Dream of Red Mansions, the main character, Jia Baoyu, didn't like studying. His father, Jia Zheng, not only forced him to study but also beat him. Every time Jia Zheng beat him very hard. However, Jia Baoyu never resented his father for beating him. How come we have a different phenomenon nowadays? It's more to do with how parents in the larger environment spoil their children. In ancient times many children showed respect, whereas nowadays the majority of children are very selfish. Spoiling and indulging children is not a good thing.
Young people can very easily lose patience, because they lack self-restraint and are easily agitated. Current society promotes individualism, so people indulge themselves in all kinds of bad things, which can manifest in how they behave. I believe this might be the main reason why young people easily become agitated. When I would show other practitioners how to use new types of technology, I got very impatient when they were not quick to learn it. Also, when I was sharing with other practitioners, I did not pay attention to their feelings and I spoke in a very direct way. If other practitioners pointed out my being unkind, I just thought of myself as being outspoken. I considered other practitioners to have strong notions and found it quite troublesome not to be able to speak directly. When I was trying to sort out technical problems, if I couldn't resolve them, instead of looking within, I became so upset that I almost wanted to break the machine into pieces.
I know many young practitioners have had similar experiences. There is a saying about young people: "Their hearts are always floating and they are agitated." Floating means that one does not cultivate solidly enough, while being agitated is a manifestation of one's demon nature. They both bring up a lot of attachments, such as a competitive mentality, selfishness, and not being able to take criticism. In order to overcome these things I considered the most important thing was to look inward, to see where I fell short. Nowadays the majority of young people have these kinds of human notions, and it has become second nature to them. They don't even notice it, let alone try to correct themselves.
I used to have a lack of compassion. When I spoke to fellow practitioners, it was easy for me to be sarcastic, which really upset them. However, I did not realize that I was doing this. A practitioner who had been hanging out with me for a while, gradually noticed the way I spoke and told me about it. This time it was I who was very upset, and I said to her, "Nobody can stand the way you talk!" To which she replied, "I learned it from you. Don't you know the way you speak makes others very upset?!" I was speechless. I couldn't believe it. Did I really talk like that? How come I never noticed it? I began to pay close attention to myself, to see who I truly was. From then on, I began to purposefully control my mood when I spoke, and I tried to talk to practitioners in a peaceful way and let go of all my human notions. It took me a while to change, and I wouldn't say that I have completely changed now, but my progress has been significant.
To realize my problem was the first step, then to study the Fa more helped me build a solid foundation. In order not to let myself be agitated anymore, the best way was to fill myself with Fa. When I ran into conflicts, I'd try to hold myself to the standards of the Fa. So I believe that I'll completely overcome this attachment one day.
To pursue comfort in life has become a primary focus in ordinary society. In mainland China, the older generation of practitioners are better able to endure hardship, because they still have the essence of traditional Chinese culture that was once taught. A veteran practitioner who was a veteran of the Korean War could endure a lot of hardship. Even when he was sweating so hard during the sitting meditation, he didn't put down his legs. He said, "It's nothing compared to the hardships we had back then; this is very easy." For the younger generation, especially those born in the 1980s or later, they haven't endured any hardships, so it is very difficult for them to suffer hardship, nor do they want to. They pursue comfort in life. For me, the pursuit of comfort was demonstrated in two ways: being lazy and wanting to have fun. These two attachments have led to wasting time, and they were quite hard to overcome.
My laziness was reflected in not being willing to do the exercises. I'd rather study the Fa than do the exercises. More Fa-study is of course a good thing, but doing the exercises is important, too. Many veteran practitioners have shared the same feelings about doing the exercises. When they finish the exercises they feel very comfortable, and feel uncomfortable when they don't do the exercises. For young practitioners, they don't have such strong feelings about the consequences of doing the exercises or not, so some of them don't pay attention to it. I understood the benefits of doing the exercises, but when I thought of spending two hours exercising, I became afraid, especially when I was very tired. I clearly knew in my heart that doing the exercises was the best way to relax, yet as soon as my main consciousness was in control, I went to bed. In my understanding, sleeping is not the best way to help get rest. The longer one sleeps, the more muddleheaded one becomes.
A young practitioner that I know, who began to practice in 2004, still cannot sit in the lotus position and does not do the exercises much. She has been studying the Fa very well and could remember everything after the first time she read Zhuan Falun. She only falls short in doing the exercises. Sure enough, this has something to do with her cultivation environment, but the most important factor lies in her laziness. One time when reading Zhuan Falun, she read, "People only pay attention to practice and ignore cultivation." But she got the two words "cultivation" and "practice" mixed up and thought it read, "People only pay attention to cultivation and ignore practice." When she realized she had made a mistake, she quickly read it again and tried to correct herself. But then made the same mistake again. After reading back and forth a few times, she suddenly enlightened to the fact that her misreading didn't happen without a reason, it was for her to enlighten. This tells us that doing the exercises is truly important.
In terms of doing the exercises, I, too, am still affected by my laziness. I know that this is not right and not good for me. My lack of diligence in doing the exercises has resulted in symptoms in my nose, and I always sneeze and have a runny nose. It has been like this for a few years, but I still can't get rid of it. In the future, I will do better to rectify myself. I also hope that practitioners with the same attachment correct themselves and not fall prey to the attachment of laziness.
As to the attachment of having fun, as I am female, by nature, I'm not very attached to playing games. In terms of the harm of playing games, the Minghui/Clearwisdom website has published an article about it, so I won't elaborate on it further. I only want to relate a lesson that I learned.
There was a web-based game which was very popular called "A Happy Farm." It's about cultivating a piece of land, and it requires you to buy the seeds, then plant them. When the seeds grow, you water the plants, then harvest them and sell them. Then start all over again. Because the pace of this game was fairly slow, I started to play. When I was killing the bugs on the plants, I thought about the Minghui article. It says, "When one killed a life by playing a web-based game, then that being in another dimension truly died as a result." I felt a bit uneasy with this, but it didn't stop me from playing. One day the management where I worked suddenly told every employee to go out and catch snails. Everyone was required to catch 1 kg of snails. There were dedicated people responsible for weighing the snails, and if you did not meet the weight, you would be heavily penalized. Facing such a ridiculous management decision, my mother asked me to look within and see what was wrong with me to cause this kind of thing to happen. I thought it over and over and finally remembered the game. I came to realize the negative consequences of playing games, so I quickly stopped playing it and deleted every single game that I had ever downloaded.
Getting rid of the habit of playing the game was not very difficult to do. As long as I had the determination to do it, I was able to do it. As I was deleting my games, I didn't feel very much like doing it, but when I thought about having to catch snails, I was more than determined to delete everything. There was a young practitioner who was followed by ghosts when he played computer games. Knowing the dreadful consequences of playing computer games, I completely eliminated this attachment quite easily.
Teacher has said:
"But when a student from mainland China hasn't done something well and others point it out to him, he will immediately say, 'You don't know what happened. The situation at that time was such and such'" ("Teaching the Fa in the City of Los Angeles").
This seems a common problem among practitioners in mainland China, especially young people with too much pride in themselves who don't want to admit their mistakes. As I have been a practitioner since childhood, I am not too attached to it. However, I'm very outspoken, and when I am confused about my cultivation, with some tests that I can't pass or where I fall short, I like to share with others. Some practitioners have criticized me, but if it were they, they would be too shy to talk about things. Actually, why does one have to be shy? Practitioners are not gods, so it's OK for them to make mistakes. When I am confused, I normally spend a great deal of time looking inward, but sometimes I still can't figure it out by myself, so I share with other practitioners. Sometimes, before I even finish my sentence, I find the answer and figure out how to proceed. The evil is most afraid of being exposed, so when we share our attachments it's the beginning of being brave enough to face the evil and the first step in eliminating it.
Initially I thought that lust was just lust, but later I found out that it is not that straightforward. Lust refers to "having lust," and my understanding is that it's a substance that has a form in this human world. An article posted on the Minghui website stated that someone who was attached to losing weight was a reflection of having "lust," and that truly makes sense.
I used to have strong thought karma and eventually came to realize that the root cause of it came from reading novels and watching movies and TV, so I quit doing those things. Young practitioners are inclined to be easily attached to novels, movies, and TV series in ordinary human society. They don't realize that morality in human society has dramatically declined, with evil factors everywhere polluting people's minds. Practitioners are extremely clean, so they must not fill their minds with those dirty things. If one's mind is filled with filth, how can one not develop lust, and how can one eliminate them easily? Buddhas and Daos who are close to the Three Realms have to be replaced every ten years because of contamination from the Three Realms. We are among ordinary people: how can we be receptive to those bad things?
When I was watching the NTDTV Global Chinese Violin Competition, I saw a male contestant with very pretty hands, and I couldn't help but praise him. The next morning when I was on the road, I ran into a few young, handsome men. I then became alert, as some practitioners had mentioned, if someone of the opposite sex likes you, it means that you aren't cultivating well and have too many attachments. So what was wrong with me? I kept looking within and suddenly remembered that I praised the male candidate's hands the day before. I suddenly understood. I never thought that praising others was also related to lust. The requirements in cultivation are truly high! A practitioner's every single thought and act has to be on the Fa, and it won't do if a practitioner is just a little bit off!
I'd also like to talk about marriage. From an early age, I had made up my mind not to get married. At that time, I was at school, so I didn't have to think about it. Now I work, and I am not young anymore, but I still haven't changed my mind and have not been under any pressure from my parents to get married.
Young practitioners that I know understand clearly the issue of marriage. It is many middle-aged or senior practitioners who cannot accept it. Especially practitioners from the countryside. As soon as I bring up this issue, they say, "We should still conform to ordinary human society." Practitioners who have the same understanding, if you can't understand your young practitioners, please think about one thing: Time in Fa-rectification is very precious; it's a matter of what we consider most important: protecting an ordinary human way of life or seizing the time to save people? I understand that in the countryside, if one's son or daughter doesn't get married in time, the parents would be under great pressure. However, we are Fa-rectification period Dafa disciples. What's the purpose of our coming to the human world? If we can look at things from the standpoint of the Fa, then we will be able to make the right choice. This is only my personal understanding. What the Fa requires is for us to cultivate our hearts, it does not require us to get married or not.
Attachment to fame and self-interest
Young male practitioners cannot easily let go of their attachments to fame and self-interest. Of course, one wants to make more money to support one's family better, and there is nothing wrong with that. The key is one's mindset, whether they are attached to fame or self-interest.
I only make money to make ends meet, as my parents' financial situation is fairly good. I have a lot of spare time every day, so I spend the time doing the three-things. I realized that Teacher arranged this for me. When I was studying a few years ago, I didn't spend much time in cultivation, and I lagged behind. Now Teacher has arranged this environment for me to catch up. I never had any expectations for my job, but one day, we learned that our posts would change. I was so happy, because it also meant that our salaries would be doubled. Then, in the end, nothing happened. I felt depressed, realizing that I still had attachments to fame and self-interest. If our posts were to change, then I would be more occupied with work and not have much time for cultivation. I didn't expect that I would have made such a choice between the Fa and my own interests. I felt ashamed. Even though this time I did wrong, I'm no longer attached to these self-interests.
In conclusion, for young practitioners, Teacher's saving grace and the honor of being Fa-rectification period Dafa disciples is only once since the beginning of time. We are fortunate to live in this wonderful age and fortunate to obtain the Fa. If one missed this opportunity and pursued illusions in the human world instead, that would be most pitiful! I have seen that many young practitioners cannot snap out of the temptations of the human world. Fellow practitioners! If you don't want to fall down and have regrets forever in the future, please hurry up to be diligent, save sentient beings, and walk the last leg of your journey well, so that we will be worthy of our benevolent Teacher's saving grace!
Thank you, Teacher.
Due to my limited understanding, please kindly point out anything inappropriate.