Walking Solidly on the Path of Cultivation
(Clearwisdom.net) Recently after studying, "Fa Teaching Given in Manhattan," I have a new perspective on cultivation. In retrospect, looking over my past 14-year cultivation, many times I failed to do well when met with difficulties due to the fact that I did not study the Fa well. Failing to understand what Teacher means in a deeper way for cultivation in this secular environment, I had gone to some extremes.
After I went to Beijing to clarify the truth in 2001, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials instigated the administrators in my work unit and my husband to force me to choose between my job, family and Dafa. I chose Dafa. However, even though I lost my job and husband, I still did not understand the Fa clearly. This "taking care of one thing but losing another" was caused by the CCP's culture. By acknowledging their arrangement, I had indirectly accepted the old forces' persecution, and furthermore, I was not being responsible for sentient beings. As a result, my work unit fired me, and I became homeless and destitute for a year.
In 2002, the evil forces took advantage of my loopholes and arrested and detained me for three years. After studying the Fa to cultivate myself constantly, I found that I had not been doing things righteously. I must walk on the right path. I could not have broken through all of the tribulations had Teacher not strengthened me and had I not had the mighty power of the Fa and the support of fellow practitioners.
I would like to share what I have been doing to keep the balance between family and cultivation and working well at work and with fellow practitioners in the past few years. Please point out anything inappropriate.
1. Saving my broken family; disintegrating the old forces' arrangements
I was married in 1994. However, in 1995, my husband had an extramarital affair with another woman. I sought to rid myself of personal troubles and I was searching for the meaning of life. In the summer of 1995, my sister introduced me to Falun Dafa and I started practicing. However, my initial intention was not very pure since I still held a grudge against my husband. I felt mentally exhausted.
After I was released from a forced labor camp in 2004, my husband was still seeing that woman, but I pretended to not know anything. However, one day after hearing that it was that woman who caused me to be sent to the labor camp, I could no longer stand it. I yelled at them on the phone. Afterwards my husband struck me and said, "What has happened to your mind?" He hit my face so hard that it swelled badly, and I could not see clearly. He also locked me up at home so that nobody would see me. Two days later, my nephew came by. Because he could not come in to see me, he told my sister about what had happened to me. Thus my whole house was in turmoil; my family and my husband's family had a big fight. At that time I did not judge what was happening from the perspective of the Fa and cultivation, and thus I did not realize that I had fallen into the trap made by the old forces.
Afterwards, some fellow practitioners suggested that I divorce my husband so that I would not be interfered with and persecuted again. But some others said that I should not divorce since I was a practitioner. Of course they were all trying to help me out of their kindness, but I realized that I should conduct myself as a practitioner and not try to escape. After completely cleansing myself and letting go of attachments, I knew that I should stop going to extremes as I had before. Dafa harmonizes everything. As a cultivator in Dafa, I should consider others before myself. If I only focused on how I had suffered, I would not be able to understand how my husband would feel. During the three years that I was detained, he took care of our children by himself. Because I cultivate in Dafa I have a bright future, but how would he pay back the karma that he collected from bullying me? It was my responsibility to help him, and I believed that Dafa could change him. It was also true that as practitioners, we should do what Teacher has asked of us, "one should not fight back when being punched or insulted." (Zhuan Falun) I must be able to reach this level. It might be an opportunity for me to improve my xinxing and transform the karma. After all, wasn't I the practitioner? He was just an ordinary person who was being controlled by the old forces because he did not know the truth of Dafa.
After studying the Fa and searching inside myself, my xinxing was uplifted. Later, the woman came to our house one more time. She used profane language against me and demanded monetary payment for her "emotional damage." She said that she wouldn't leave our house until my husband gave her money. Helpless, my husband did not know what to do, but I did not blame him at all. Sending forth righteous thoughts to eliminate the evil forces that were manipulating them, I clarified the truth about Falun Gong to them. While I sent forth righteous thoughts, I could feel the disintegration of the evil spirit that was behind her. In return, she sincerely apologized to me and said that she should not have dated my husband and broken up our family. After that, she left quietly.
I did my best not to blame my husband and find fault in him. However, on a few occasions when I said something that triggered his negative factors, his temper was stirred up and he shouted and cursed at me. After finding out that I still felt resentful for what he had done before, through studying the Fa, I learned that tolerance could save people; therefore, I broadened my understanding. From then on, my husband stopped interfering with me when I studied the Fa, as much as he had before. In addition, he even took home some truth-clarifying materials that he found outside. He wanted to know more about Dafa, so I showed him DVDs of Shen Yun shows. Before January 1, 2009, he told me that we should buy a car so that he could take us to distribute Dafa materials because he knew the directions very well and he was also very alert, and could watch out for me. Right before that, we had just gotten the Shen Yun DVDs for 2009 and we had been discussing how to distribute them, and we also had wished that we had a van to put the DVDs in. It would be safer too. After I told fellow practitioners that my husband wanted to do something good, they were excited and said that it was very precious for him to have a heart like this. He was probably fulfilling a vow that he had made in a prehistoric time. The first place that my husband drove us to was my hometown. The villagers were busy getting ready for the Chinese New Year, so we split into four groups selling couplet poems (Chinese like to put couplet poems on either side of their main entrance during the Chinese New Year season for good luck) and talked to people about quitting the CCP. Most of my relatives knew that my husband used to be opposed to my practicing Falun Gong. Seeing that he was very supportive of me now, they were all touched and said that Falun Dafa is really good. Because he had changed, my brothers and sisters also changed their attitudes towards him. The old forces had intended to manipulate my family's tribulations to destroy sentient beings, but now they had failed completely.
2. Denying the old forces' persecution of my financial situation and transforming myself from being selfish to thinking about others first
On November 30, 2008, after being laid off and being diagnosed with high blood pressure and diabetes, my husband was in a furious mood. After I came home from work one day, he and my mother-in-law were discussing that if we faked a divorce, he could get unemployment financial aid. However, because my ID card was confiscated by the local police station after the persecution began in 1999, we could not divorce. My mother-in-law supported the idea. I realized that the old forces were behind this again and after sharing, fellow practitioner A told me to have strong righteous thoughts. She said, "You must get your ID card back, but you can't divorce. This is an old force arrangement, and it's not real." She said that she would go to the local police station to get my ID card back while I stayed outside sending forth righteous thoughts. With her help and Teacher's power, I was able to get my residential certificate issued. When I was being photographed for the ID card, a policeman came and asked me for my fingerprints. I firmly asked, "What crimes have I committed? What right do you have to demand my fingerprints?" Hearing this, he left.
After I got my ID card back, my husband changed his notion that Falun Gong practitioners had lost everything. He did not mention divorce anymore; instead he had righteous thoughts for Dafa. He invited a fellow practitioner to my house and discussed how we should get my former work unit to pay me what it owed me for laying me off. He asked if we should bribe someone in order to get the money back. I said that we should walk on the path righteously and hence should not bribe anyone at all. After studying the Fa, the fellow practitioner and I understood that we should deny the old forces' persecution of our financial situation, but this was not our priority. We should first clarify the truth about Falun Gong to sentient beings. I drafted an application that described how I had been persecuted. With fellow practitioner A, we went to talk to the head of my work unit, the Economics Bureau, the Labor Bureau, the Appeals Office and some other places. One of us did the talking while the other sent forth righteous thoughts. Mine is a poor family with kids in grade school and elderly sick parents, thus most of the people we talked to sympathized with us and most of them said that the money should be returned to me. Some of them, though, said that they were too busy to talk to us. Then we kept their names and afterwards mailed them truth-clarifying materials.
More than six months later, the Appeals Office finally sent my case to the head of the district government, who agreed to help me. He also asked to check with my former work unit to see if there was anybody else whose case was similar to mine, so that he could approve both of our cases together. I remembered that another practitioner had also been fired, and she was still imprisoned. I realized that Teacher did not want to see us in tribulations anymore. He did not want to leave any practitioner behind. Teacher said,
"When disciples have ample righteous thoughts
Master has the power to turn back the tide"
("The Master-Disciple Bond," Hong Yin Vol. II)
After going through many tribulations, I found out that I had many flaws: I was introverted and was not very good with my words, and thus I tended to go to extremes. Because of this Teacher arranged fellow practitioner A to work with me. She was extroverted and was good at speaking. The two of us made a perfect team, and so formed a small union so that we could collaborate well.
I had been working as a sales assistant for a few years. My salary was low, but I had sufficient time to do the three things well. However, my family members were not very happy with me, and I had not truly put myself in my husband's shoes, and carried on some household chores for him. I thought that because I was not attached to money, I would be fine. But at home the tribulations never ended. After studying the Fa and searching inside, I realized that the situation was not how it looked from the outside. My troubles at home resulted from my egotistic, self-centered standpoint. To be able to let go of myself and think about others would be an enhancement in cultivation for me. I should think about others first. What kind of job should I find to make it easier for me to clarify the truth to people, and earn enough money to support my family at the same time? Many fellow practitioners in my area were housepainters. I wanted to try that job too. They taught me how to paint, and some of them even shared their income with me. When I was being trained, I made sure that I strictly watched my xinxing. Within a short period of time, I was able to learn all the basic skills needed. I often went to work with fellow practitioner B. Although both of us had just learned how to paint, we were able to finish our tasks well. It was a hard job, but we were able to clarify the truth to more people to save them.
My family members no longer accused me of being selfish. It was just as Teacher said,
"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)