Improving Oneself Through Solid Cultivation
(Clearwisdom.net) My cultivation was poor for a long time after July 20, 1999, since I mostly understood Dafa through my feelings. I am a shy person who is not very good at communicating, in addition to fears and worries, and often did not know what to do. I was aware of my shortcomings and felt anxious about it.
Studying the Fa well; understanding Fa principles, and strengthening righteous thoughts
I persevered in Fa study for extended periods, setting time aside to study the Fa at my workplace and at home. I organized group Fa study so that we could share our understandings and look inward. I hand-copied Zhuan Falun twice and read lots of articles by fellow practitioners on the Minghui/Clearwisdom website.
Constant Fa study made me realize the deeper meaning of being a "Fa rectification period Dafa disciple." I realized that Fa study is very important for Dafa practitioners, meaning that we have to study the Fa, no matter how tight our schedule is, and shouldn't just go through the motions. In my opinion, if our minds wander, we could study the Fa standing up or even on our knees.
Once I understood the Fa principles, I had powerful righteous thoughts, and everything became clear. I knew how to judge things from the Fa's standpoint and how to act with righteous thoughts. Good Fa study will start a good cycle.
I read Master's lecture to Australian practitioners many times, and Master's words struck me deeply. I felt ashamed because I hadn't done well. I shared my thoughts with other practitioners and we improved while being guided by Fa principles.
Looking inward is the key to improvement
Master repeatedly told us to look inward when encountering conflicts. Once a customer at my place of work barraged me with a slew of insults. It happened in front of everyone in the front hall because of a small error my subordinate had made. Just as I was about to lose my composure, I suddenly realized this was not a random incident, so I did not say anything and instead I looked inward.
"Perhaps in the future you may be slapped in the face twice, and you will lose face in front of someone whom you least want to see it. It is to see how you will deal with this issue and whether you can endure it. If you can tolerate it and yet it preys on your mind, it is still not good enough." (Lecture Nine, Zhuan Falun, March 2000 translation version)
I did not forbear with a calm mind and I knew that I needed to keep working on it. This incident was targeting my strong sense of vanity and attachment to saving face.
I understand the importance of looking inward and often remind other practitioners to do the same. One practitioner often argued back and forth--whether something was right or wrong on the surface. Initially I could not understand why it was worth arguing, but later I realized Master that said one should look inward when two people are having an argument. I was able to identify my anxiety and selfish mentality of only looking after myself and ignoring matters that didn't affect me. I also reminded the other practitioners to remove the attachment behind the argument, especially attachment to one's own ideas.
Speaking from another perspective, I think it is completely normal for practitioners to have different ideas. Master said, "different levels have different Fa." (Zhuan Falun) Dafa practitioners have different cultivation and xinxing levels, so it's natural to have different opinions on the same matter. After discussing this with others, we agreed to share whatever ideas we have so that we can talk about them based on the Fa principles.
"There is this saying: 'The great Fa is boundless.' Cultivating it depends entirely on your heart. As to how high your cultivation level can reach, it all depends on your endurance and your ability to bear hardships." (Lecture Two, Zhuan Falun)
Because we sometimes do not take it upon ourselves to look inward, Master uses conflicts among practitioners to "force" us to do it. If we still refuse to examine ourselves, the conflict will become worse. Master said,
"As long as you have them, all of those attachments must be removed in different environments. You will be made to stumble, whereby you will become enlightened to the Tao. This is how one goes through cultivation practice." (Lecture Four, Zhuan Falun)
"So, when you meet with ordeals, it is the perfect opportunity for you to improve. If you are able to look inside, that trying situation will become instead an opportunity, something to overcome and a chance to enter a new state." ("Fa Teaching at the 2008 New York Conference")
Everything that occurs during our cultivation is, in fact, the result of Master's meticulous arrangement, as he mentioned, and we must fully utilize the powerful tool of looking inward.
Eliminating fears and overcoming sickness karma while producing Dafa materials
We established a material production site in 2006. We were busy; it was difficult because we had to work, take care of our families, and also print flyers. At first I had lots of fears. When I opened the door while it was dark, I would become fearful. I knew I had to study the Fa more and strengthen my righteous thoughts to negate the odd thoughts. Over time, layers of layers of fear were removed. I not only made materials but also delivered them and bought raw materials. I recited,
"A Great Enlightened One fears no hardship
Having forged an adamantine will
Free of attachment to living or dying
He walks the path of Fa-rectification
confident and poised"
("Righteous Thoughts and Righteous Actions," Hong Yin II)
Producing Dafa materials enabled me to endure hardships that I otherwise couldn't endure doing ordinary work. We did not have an air conditioner in our room and could not open the door or windows in order not to let the police find out. We often stayed in the room for a whole day during the summer when the temperature reached 40 oC [104 oF]. In order to reduce the number of times we entered and left the room to use the public restroom, we ate only dry food for lunch. I was able to remove my attachment to delicious food with the help of fellow practitioners. I simply filled my stomach, regardless of the type of food.
Because of my omissions and karma, I suffered great pain during my monthly periods, and even worse pain after it was over. Sometimes it would last up to two weeks and seriously interfered with my life and work. I usually bore it with fortitude and never told anyone. I would just go about doing what I was supposed to do. It lasted a long time without any improvement, and I was quite confused. Perhaps Master saw that my enlightenment quality was poor and that I had reached the limit of tolerance, so once he bore the karma for me completely, and I did not feel any pain at that time. Not long before that, I was in terrible pain just when we had to move the production site. The pain got worse. I gritted my teeth and said, "Master, I can pass this test." I was determined the move would be a smooth one. My clothes were soaked with sweat. When I returned home, I felt the whole process pass by like a blur. After this experience, this particular sickness karma disappeared forever.
I feel the powerful energy of compassion coming from Master as I write this, and I am assimilating into this powerful energy little by little.
Harmonizing the Fa and balancing every aspect of our life
I once went to an extreme during my personal cultivation and I felt nothing in this world was worth doing, so I avoided doing ordinary people's things, which caused misunderstandings among family and friends.
We know that each environment we encounter is a cultivation environment for us; we need to harmonize all of them according to the Fa, and we need to balance all relationships and play our roles well, such as that of a parent, a child, a spouse, a boss, or a subordinate. On the other hand, we must fulfill our prehistoric vows and play our proper role of a Fa-rectification period Dafa disciple. There are lots of opportunities and elements for cultivation, which also reflects our cultivation state. Master has tailor-made our cultivation path for us, and only we can do it ourselves.
I live in a large family, including my parents and parents-in-law, as well as lots of siblings. I know that they have a predestined relationship with me, and I should do well so that they can experience the wonder of Dafa through my actions. My mother-in-law wanted to protect me during the persecution and said, "If the officials ask you, just push [Dafa related things] on us. We are old and we don't care." I know they gave up Dafa practice out of fear, and yet they were willing to take a bullet for me. This thought is truly precious.
I completed the highest-level exam in my professional field. Dafa gave me wisdom so that I could solve the difficult problems that I encountered at work. I was promoted at the peak of the persecution; my superiors knew of my performance. Since I constantly conducted myself according to the Fa and balanced the relationships well, I left a good impression with everyone. They deemed me to be a person of high ability and great virtue, which laid a solid foundation for my talking to them about Falun Gong.
I deeply understand why Master told us to conform to the state of ordinary society and never go the extremes.
"In that case, then, for a Dafa disciple personal cultivation just serves as an essential foundation, whereas assisting Master, saving sentient beings, and validating the Fa constitute the true purpose of being a Dafa disciple, and only through these can you fulfill the vows you made before the dawn of history." ("Fa Teaching Given in Manhattan." March 26, 2006)
Our duty is to validate Dafa and rescue sentient beings, which can only be accomplished in different ordinary situations. Everything we do will serve as a guide for posterity.
I chose to start my own company so that I could have more time at my disposal. The global economic crisis broke out just as my company was expanding. I thought, "This is not a coincidence." So I settled down and calmly studied the Fa and did what I was supposed to do on a daily basis. I thought, "Only Master's will matters. Dafa disciples only walk the path arranged by Master, and we negate everything else." I produced Dafa materials when there was no work so that I could rescue more people. Gradually, more work came in. The money was enough for salary and daily expenses. I also had more time and opportunities to speak with people about Dafa. My family is also understanding and supportive.
I would become an ordinary person were I not careful, since I live right among ordinary people. Only by constantly studying the Fa and strengthening righteous thoughts can we harmonize the Fa well in all kinds of environments and walk our path in ordinary society.
Staying within the Fa is the safest
Recently, Party officials arrested a few practitioners and some materials production sites were disrupted. We looked inward and talked about it and discovered selfishness. When we brought up someone's omission and they didn't accept our suggestion, we would simply give up without trying again. We saw the production site was getting bigger and bigger, which went against Master's requirement of numerous small production sites. Seeing practitioners busy with Dafa work and little time to study the Fa, we did not offer to share the workload or remind them to study the Fa more.
This was a hard lesson. We felt the importance of walking the right path. It is safest to stay within the Fa and not deviate from the right path.
I simply want to remind practitioners to study recent lectures and avoid unconsciously insisting on one's own ideas and validating oneself. Only walking the right path within the Fa is the safest.