Assimilating to Dafa and Making Advancement in Cultivation Together
Greetings, fellow practitioners!
1. Always cultivate as if just starting
In the Fa conference held in New York City in 2009, Teacher said,
"...always cultivating as if you were just starting will surely result in achieving your ultimate rank".
When I read this part, I was moved profoundly. More than ten years has elapsed since I started to practice Falun Gong, but it felt just like yesterday. I started to practice Falun Gong in 1998, and I left Canada in 2005. During those years I cultivated in Dafa diligently. No matter whether it was scorching summer or freezing winter, I always got up on time to send forth righteous thoughts at 6 a.m. and went outside to do the Falun Gong exercises with my tape player and Dafa banners. Although I slept little, I felt energetic for the whole day. People came to my practice site to learn the Falun Gong exercises, and I could sense the encouragement and reminders from Teacher. I knew that I should not miss anyone with predestined relationships to Dafa because of my slacking off in cultivation. I kept my diligence in cultivation by doing the Falun Gong exercises almost every day. In winter, sometimes my hands and legs were freezing after the exercises, but I was joyous after having withstood the hardship. On weekends or holidays, practitioners would get together to study the Fa for a long time. We first did the Falun Gong exercises together, and then we studied the Fa from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., with only one hour of break for lunch and supper. We read the nine lectures of Zhuan Falun and Teacher's other Fa lectures for a whole day or for 2 to 3 days in a row. Every time we finished studying, I felt that my whole body had been completely cleansed and my human attachments had diminished. The group studied every Friday, and there was also a small Fa conference that I never missed. That diligence in my cultivation laid a solid foundation for me to devote myself to Fa-rectification later. I believe that it also laid a solid foundation for other Canadian practitioners to catch up with Fa-rectification and save sentient beings.
After I left Canada and became a local coordinator, I often went to bed late and skipped doing some of the exercises in the morning because I wanted to sleep more. Gradually I felt my physical condition deteriorating, and I felt tired more easily than before. It was at this moment that I read Teacher's Fa about cultivating as if just starting. Looking back on the pure state of mind I had when I first met with Dafa, I realized that I should not deviate from that cultivation state, even if I am handling much more Dafa work than before.
2. "Cultivate Dafa with all your heart, Nothing could be more important." (Hongyin, "Gaining the Fa")
Ever since I started to practice Falun Gong, I have been inspired to be diligent in my cultivation by observing fellow practitioners' diligence in their assimilation to Dafa. Wherever I met them, in subways, outside of Chinese Consulates or in the street, I always saw them reading Dafa literature or listening to Dafa lectures. When holding banners, no one chatted and they quietly listened to the Fa or sent forth righteous thoughts. We study the Fa not because it is an obligation that we must accomplish every day, but because of our own will to assimilate to the cosmic principle of Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance when we descended to human world. In 2004, when I heard some practitioners' sharing about memorizing and reciting the Fa, I also started to memorize the Fa, but I gave up after having memorized and recited half of the first lecture. Later, I had a talk with a practitioner who was rescued from China after he escaped from a prison with righteous thoughts. He told me that there were no Dafa books in prison and they did not have any access to Dafa books to read. Many practitioners were forced to give up practicing Falun Gong, but he broke out from that prison without writing any repentance statement saying that he renounced Falun Gong. He told me that he could do this because he could remain melted into the Fa by reciting Lunyu and other Dafa scriptures that he could remember. It strengthened his righteous thoughts, helped him to regain his freedom, and enabled him to encourage many practitioners who had been forced to write repentance statements to pick up their practice of Falun Gong again. He told me that the biggest regret he had during his imprisonment was that he could not recite Zhuan Falun. As a result of his regret, he spent much time studying and memorizing the Fa after he was released from prison. He said that, through this way, he could keep Dafa as a part of himself forever under any circumstances. I was deeply moved by his story and decided to start memorizing Dafa again.
I started to memorize Zhuan Falun, and it took a few months to finish reciting it the first time. I was not discouraged and tried to start again. Gradually memorizing and reciting Dafa became a happy habit. I seemed to notice for the first time some words that I had overlooked. Many familiar sentences showed me more layers of new Fa principles. Since schoolwork and Dafa work kept me busy, my schedule was very tight. Therefore, the time it took to ride my bike between home and school was a good opportunity for me to recite the Fa because there was no interference from my computer or phone when riding my bike, and every sentence could come clearly into my heart. When I moved to Sydney, I stopped memorizing and reciting the Fa for some time and had to adjust myself. Gradually I could recite the Fa again, and even when I don't have a whole lot of time, I can use all possible time slots to cleanse myself with Dafa. I would recite the Fa when taking the train, walking to work, or walking in the evening. Even if I only recited one or two sections, I felt that every cell in my body and many sentient beings were joyfully assimilating to Dafa, and one after another layers of human cells were replaced.
After memorizing and reciting the Fa for some time, I found that such a state could not meet the requirements for improvement. Therefore starting last year, I started to go to the park to practice in the morning and then study the Fa with practitioners before going to do other work. After finishing my work in the evening, I would recite Dafa or study new articles in order of oldest to newest. I have a deep feeling that studying the Fa well is the guarantee to doing Dafa work well. When I study the Fa calmly, I feel that my whole body is filled with energy, my mind becomes harmonious, and things are also done smoothly. When I was too busy to study the Fa enough, I felt like I owed a debt. If I cannot make up for it in the next 2-3 days, I would easily lose my temper and the difficulty of doing the work would also increase. When this happens, I have to take more time to study the Fa before I can continue doing more Dafa work. Once at our local coordinator group study, when asked how many practitioners can ensure that they study at least one lecture per day, only about half of us raised our hands, which really surprised me. I also realized why over these years, several active practitioners had interference at work, in the family or with cultivation, and became passive or stopped cultivating. One important element behind these problems may be that we could not study the Fa and cultivate ourselves solidly, or that we equated doing Dafa work with cultivation. I often reminded myself that no matter how much Dafa work I do, I should not forgot why I cultivate and the fundamental purpose of cultivation.
3. Letting go of selfishness and striving forward together diligently
From 2007 to today, I experienced the transition from an ordinary practitioner to becoming a coordinator. I appreciate the cultivation opportunity that compassionate Teacher has arranged for me to expose my limitations and attachments, and to help me remove them. Especially during the process to coordinate the Shen Yun show and venue booking, the conflicts can be very intense. Recently one practitioner criticized me at a group study, saying that I had big problems. I felt quite indignant, and that I was wrongfully treated. I wondered why other practitioners didn't speak up to defend me, to create a righteous field. One practitioner's sharing reminded me: isn't this incident using a fellow practitioner's behavior and words to expose your hidden attachments? When I see others' attachments, can I still look for my own attachment? Even when the police beat practitioners in China, don't the old forces use practitioners' attachments as excuses and try to help him or her improve? I calmed down and started to look for my own attachments. I did find many attachments: wanting to save face and being unhappy when criticized, a fighting mentality, validating myself, not being able to put 100% of my heart into Dafa work, and other problems.
"Light are the boats, quick the travel with attachments cast aside. But the ocean proves hard to cross if human thoughts weigh one down" ("Self-Evident is the Heart", Hongyin II)
With so many attachments, how can I walk my path better and have it be more sacred? No wonder Teacher uses such conflicts to give me hints.
Recently I felt quite enlightened when I read "Teaching the Fa in Canada, 2006". Teacher said,
"So when you encounter troublesome things as you cultivate, don't regard them all as problems, as interference to your rightful tasks, or as attacks against those tasks, or think, "This thing I'm doing is of utmost importance, that thing I'm doing is of utmost importance..." Many things might not truly be how you see them, in fact. Your true improvement will always be first and foremost, and the consummation of your cultivation is always first and foremost."
When I feel other practitioners' non-cooperation or complaints preventing me from doing Dafa work, do I realize that my own attachments will actually stop me from improving? If I want to go to heaven with a big bag of attachments, I would not only walk heavily and slowly, I would also slow down other practitioners' progress with my own attachments.
4. Compassion towards fellow practitioners
One big challenge for a coordinator is how to face practitioners with different opinions. Especially when there are many conflicts, can I still keep a compassionate heart and broad mind, which is a genuine test of my cultivation. In any conflict, when I feel like I cannot handle any more work, and want to take step back, I often remember this Fa teaching of Teacher,
"I won't be like them, unable to disentangle myself. I can disentangle myself, but the difficulty is extremely great, it's something none of you beings can imagine. I can give up to the greatest extent possible everything of mine, and that is why I can resolve all of it." ("Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Switzerland")
When I think of all of the suffering that Teacher has endured for us, and for all sentient beings, personal grievances and pressures immediately become too trivial to focus on.
During coordination, I see many of my attachments, like arrogance, feeling that I am diligent and sacrifice a lot, etc. Such attachments may also form a separation between me and other practitioners, making it hard for other practitioners to share with me openly and sincerely. Another attachment is jealousy. I used to think that jealousy is towards those who are more capable than me and I believed that I didn't have much jealousy. Later when I read a sharing from a practitioner in China, he talked about a conflict between him and a local coordinator that could not be resolved for a long time, and the truth-clarification materials production site he had organized was also harmed. Later, after he had found his hidden attachment of jealousy, and his notion that the other practitioner was not cultivating well, he removed it. After this, they cooperated and carried out the local Dafa work well. This sharing enlightened me a lot, and I also realized my hidden jealousy. I am not tolerant and compassionate enough, especially towards those practitioners who I think are in a poor cultivation state, or toward those whose abilities I didn't think highly of. In fact, the following thoughts are still due to jealousy and a feeling of unfairness: how come you are also Dafa disciples? I sacrifice so much, so why don't you become diligent and contribute more? In fact, these are still manifestations of the selfish characteristics of the old cosmos and of my using my own standard that others must measure up to.
Recently when I studied "Teaching the Fa at the Fa Conference in Australia," some of Teacher's words struck me deeply:
"So, regardless of the setting or circumstances in which you run into problems, you must maintain a compassionate and merciful heart in handling everything. If you cannot love your enemy, then you cannot reach Consummation. (Applause) Then why is it that when an ordinary person angers you, you cannot forgive him?! And instead you argue and fight with him like an everyday person? Doesn't this also hold true for the interactions among practitioners?"
Teacher raised this issue for the first time during a Fa conference in Sydney. Maybe he had foreseen the intensified conflicts between Australian practitioners and reminded us beforehand? Teacher told us to love our enemy, and asked us how could Dafa practitioners have any enemies, much less see our fellow practitioners and Teacher's disciples as such? Why can I not cultivate enough compassion to tolerate those practitioners who have different opinions?
In the past few months, I talked to some veteran practitioners one by one about our understandings of the Fa and our conflicts and problems. I felt that many things separating us were removed during this face-to-face sharing, and our hearts were more open to each other. It seems that many things separating us are due to misunderstandings and miscommunication. The separation and complaints among practitioners have also become a big hurdle in our cultivation and stop us from truly improving. One sharing left a deep impression on me. This practitioner used to be a successful businessman and experienced the tribulation of losing family, money and fame after 1999, but he still insists on studying the Fa and clarifying the truth every day. After listening to his sharing, I felt very sad standing next to such a practitioner who wants to cultivate well. Why couldn't I help create a better sharing environment where we can support and help each other to get through tribulations? Why could I not create more opportunities for practitioners to participate in Fa-rectification so that they can take their own path, deny the old forces' arrangement and establish greater mighty virtue?
Looking back on my cultivation experience, I don't feel like I am a good coordinator through trying to work hard. A hardworking coordinator is not necessarily a good one. No matter how hard I work, the time and energy of one person is limited. The result is that things are not done well enough and other practitioners are deprived of the opportunity to participate.
"A person who has a position of responsibility is actually a coordinator, and getting more capable people involved is what's key. How big of a role can any one individual play? Only when the group as a whole plays its role has the coordinator done well ." ("Teaching the Fa at the Western U.S. International Fa Conference")
As a coordinator, the higher requirement is how to coordinate all practitioners to do Dafa work well, create more opportunities for more practitioners, and support every practitioner to establish the mighty virtue of great enlightened beings. Starting from the New Year, when I burn incense, I kneel down before Teacher's picture and quietly make a wish: I hope that all Australian practitioners can remove everything that separates us, and truly form one body; I hope that I can strive forward diligently together with all practitioners and do the three things well so that we won't be unworthy of Teacher's compassionate salvation, nor disappoint sentient beings' expectations. Lastly I would like to read a poem to encourage each other:
Assimilation and Consummation
From the Cosmos so boundless and vast,
Radiated an arc of golden light.
Unto the world descended an Awakened One,
And Heaven and Earth did align.
Bright does the whole universe glow,
Melding into the light of Fa.
With Consummation, in flight you will ascend,
Together returning to Paradise. ("Assimilation and Consummation" Hong Yin)
Thank you Teacher!