Improving Through Solid Cultivation
(Clearwisdom.net) I started practicing Falun Dafa a little before April 25, 1999. The persecution began on July 20, 1999, and by then I had not yet finished reading all the published Dafa books, and had read Zhuan Falun only a few times. I remembered however, that it's important to improve my xinxing and look inward. This was enough for me to make up my mind and persevere through the fanatical persecution. Nevertheless, I didn't study the Fa enough and I did not have a good understanding of the Fa principles. Group discussions were no longer taking place due to the persecution, and my resolute belief in Dafa was insufficient. Just as I was feeling frustrated a fellow practitioner brought me a copy of Master's article "Toward Consummation,"
"The only way to prevent the old, evil forces from taking advantage of the gaps in your mind is to make good use of your time to study the Fa." (Essentials for Further Advancement II)
I seized every spare minute to study the Fa, recite the Fa, and copy Hong Yin. I gradually gained a clear understanding of the Fa principles and became aware that everything I did had intricate connections with my cultivation. I was also aware of the serious nature of cultivation and the great responsibilities of Dafa disciples. I constantly looked inward whenever conflicts arose and examined whether I was acting in accordance with Master's requirements. But nevertheless, I often encountered conflicts within my family and among fellow practitioners.
I lived with my daughter, and many times had conflicts which were the result of my attachments. When I was upset with my daughter I developed negative thoughts about her. Although I did not speak about it, my daughter would almost immediately blurt it out. Most of the time I could guard my xinxing and avoid becoming defensive, or kindly reason with her. When my xinxing level was high, Master's words flashed across my mind,
"Everything will assume the form of everyday situations, such as someone may have irritated you today, someone has upset you, someone has mistreated you, or someone suddenly speaks to you with no respect. It is to see how you will react to these issues."
"As long as you upgrade your xinxing, you can overcome them. Unless you, yourself do not want to do so, you can make it, provided you want to overcome them." (Lecture Four, from Zhuan Falun, Translation Version 2000)
My daughter once threw a fit at me right before I left home to run errands. I examined my mind and realized that she would not have been angry with me had I not harbored negative thoughts toward her. I think the old forces had meticulously arranged our every thought, and I was walking the old forces' path. I put up a good appearance, as if I was very tolerant, but I was not tolerant at all! I thought that I would correct this mistake and not try to cover it up when I go home. When I had truly looked inward my daughter was calm when I got home. She admitted it was wrong to fly into a rage as she did. I felt Master's words were true,
"She is not fighting with you only superficially and still good to you in her heart--it is not so. It is real anger from the bottom of her heart, because whoever has acquired the karma feels uncomfortable. It is guaranteed to be this way." (Lecture Four, from Zhuan Falun)
My daughter found a good job in Beijing upon graduating from college, but I insisted she come live with me and find a job near home. My reasons were that she didn't have a good environment for studying the Fa. I thought it would be relatively easier for her to cultivate at home, and I wanted her to bring her computer so I could produce Falun Gong materials at home. She felt she was really behind in terms of cultivation, so she agreed to come back.
Contrary to my expectations she grew frustrated soon after starting work here. Due to her bad mood she didn't have the correct mindset to study the Fa or do the exercises. She complained hat I had made her come back, and now she was stuck with a low-paying job that didn't match her major in school. Her behavior was targeting my attachment. In addition, I have a very limited income, and I was afraid she would lose her present job. Her complaints were endless, but I calmly looked inward to see whether my motive of wanting her back was correct, and if it was fine in terms of providing her with a better cultivation environment. Why was she still complaining? When I dug deeper I realized the incident had touched upon my selfishness and emotions.
I used to obsess about going abroad to make lots of money and fell victim to a scheme that led me to be cheated out of 20,000 yuan. Because of my naiveté my daughter had to endure a lower standard of living. I thought that since she had a steady job now she would be able to help me financially. I wasn't thinking from her perspective. I was actually making excuses for my intention of not having to worry about her, and was trying to arrange someone else's life.
"You are unable to interfere with the lives of others, and neither can you control others' fates, including those of your wife, sons, daughters, parents, or brothers. Can you decide those things? Furthermore, how will you practice cultivation if you do not have any worries or troubles? How can you do the exercises comfortably and restfully? How can there be such a thing? That is what you think, from the perspective of everyday people." (Lecture Four, from Zhuan Falun)
I reminded myself that she is also a Dafa disciple, and Master is looking after her. I know that am too attached to myself, and yet Master is taking care of me, too! I had created troubles and tribulations for myself while trying to arrange someone else's life.
Another practitioner once came to my home to study the Fa with us, but my daughter could not focus. Halfway through the chapter she broke down in tears and told the practitioner how I made her come home, and how she didn't want her current job. The practitioner left feeling upset. I thought, "Now I really must change myself, I must stop thinking only of myself." I told my daughter in unmistakable terms, "I will no longer interfere with your choice of work. You can make any arrangements you want." Seeing that I had really let go she then declared that I had wasted her time, and it was my fault she had to deal with an unsatisfactory job. She emphatically repeated this to every visitor to our home, only this time my heart remained unmoved. "Just by having your heart unaffected you will be able to handle all situations." ("Eliminate Your Last Attachment(s)," from Essentials for Further Advancement II) She eventually dropped the subject.
After more than one year of tribulations I gained a deeper understanding about Master's words, "Do you want to change other people's fate? Everyone has his or her own fate!" (Lecture Five, from Zhuan Falun) I realized that I couldn't be obsessed with doing things my way, because it will have the opposite effect.
My daughter got married last year, and I wanted to let the young couple move out and live on their own. Yet my daughter refused and insisted they live with me. My daughter became even fussier after she got pregnant. She refused to do any chores and found fault with whatever I did for her. The couple did not act like cultivators at all, and I saw only their shortcomings, and repeatedly proposed living separately. My daughter threw fits and said, "You are worse than a non-practitioner's mother. I need someone to take care of me while I'm pregnant, and you are insisting on living on your own! I doubt whether you really are my birth mother!" When I calmed down and looked inward I realized that I was holding onto an ordinary person's notions, which was that a daughter should live away from her parents' home once she is married. I felt that since I had worked hard all my life, I deserved a break. I was not thinking of them.
My daughter worked hard while she was pregnant, as did my son-in-law. Both came home late from work every day. I cooked for them and cleaned up the home, yet I felt like I had done so much and I complained about it. I know that I should look inward during conflicts. Master said,
"So what's their state of mind? It's tolerance, an extremely immense tolerance, being able to accept other beings, and being able to truly think from other beings' perspectives." ("Teaching the Fa at the 2002 Fa Conference in Philadelphia, U.S.A.")
I was not tolerant enough! The basic reason is that I was attached to emotions [toward my daughter].
In a dream I once saw a man putting a bicycle on the ground and saying in a serious voice, "This is your bike!" When I woke up I realized I should let my daughter walk her own path since no one can play anyone else's role during cultivation! I can do chores for them but I cannot cultivate for them! I recalled Master's article,
"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" in 2006)
I suddenly awakened and realized that if I hadn't had such heavy emotions toward my daughter and son-in-law, which I think restricted their abilities, they would have lived well and cultivated diligently. I was soaked in emotion, which led me by the nose. I not only hurt them but also attracted tribulations for my own cultivation.
My daughter had always wanted to produce Dafa materials on her own, but I blocked her, thinking that she didn't study the Fa enough and had made mistakes. I was afraid she would trip and it would be better if she were steadier. These were selfish thoughts. I want to save sentient beings only when I am immune from any loss. Isn't this conditional? I did not put rescuing people and saving sentient beings as the number one priority, which Master has told us. My belief in Master and Dafa was impure. I know from Fa principles that I should be responsible for them, see them as fellow practitioners, and let them walk their own paths. So I changed my approach, and my daughter and her husband have established their own materials production site in my absence, and they are maturing as well.
I spoke with them, and they agreed to move out. Master used my daughter to give me another test the day before I started writing this article. This time I remained unmoved. I wanted to be truly understanding toward her and acknowledged all my faults, and she calmed down.
Dafa practitioners have identified many shortcomings through sharing, helping us discover our attachments. We should no longer harbor them and should remove them immediately after they are identified. The above are only a few incidents I experienced while attempting to handle conflicts within the family.
What I felt most deeply about and what hurt me the most during the past decade were the conflicts among practitioners. When I truly looked inward, Master helped me identify them and remove those bad substances.
I have limited contact with other practitioners, but a practitioner once told me kindly, "You should look at whether you speak honestly, because you do not." I was shocked when I heard this and said, "I never tell lies." Then I asked her, "Can you tell me exactly how I am not being truthful?" She said, "I have known you for a long time and I haven't found anything untruthful [about you]. But another practitioner said you tell lies, so maybe you do tell lies. Otherwise she would not have said it. You should take a good look at yourself because nothing happens by chance."
I could not find the attachment. I also felt that other practitioners were keeping their distance from me. It is indeed as Master said,
"But normally when a problem arises, if it does not irritate a person psychologically, it does not count or is useless and cannot make him or her improve." (Lecture Four, from Zhuan Falun)
I did not pass this test, so I had to retake it. About one year later the same practitioner said to me again, "You have to cultivate your speech." I thought she meant I should be cautious regarding safety, and I said without hesitating, "I'm very careful with that." She said, "You like to lie, and your words are not trustworthy. I feel you are diligent, and that I should act responsibly with fellow practitioners, and that is the reason I'm telling you this. You really have to take a good look inward. Otherwise, people will always say you lie, but you know that yourself only too well."
I did not defend myself this time and thought I must have some kind of problem, since others were making this kind of claim about me. I felt frustrated and upset for a long time because I could not find the problem.
Master saw that I really wanted to find my fault, so he helped me. One day my mind suddenly opened and I thought, "If I didn't lie recently, then I should go back and look for it." Then I saw it. When I was at the home of the practitioner once who alleged that I lied, she asked me to do the exercises at her home. I said it was too late, and I would do the exercises at home. I actually said that because I could not double-cross my legs for an hour and was afraid she would make fun of me, so I told a lie, which violated the principle of truthfulness. Sometimes I also boasted of things I could not do, which are acts of untruthfulness and bad habits formed through indoctrination from Party culture.
When I truly calmed down and dug deep, and I realized that making excuses is the same as lying, I suddenly felt a veil that covered me was falling off, and I felt much lighter, and my mind brightened. I know very well that great Master removed the bad substances for me and I sincerely thank Master for making these meticulous arrangements to help me improve. I also want to thank fellow practitioners who kindly pointed out my shortcomings and helped me remove such a destructive attachment that was hard to discern.