A Middle School Science Teacher: Looking Inside at Every Single Thought and Letting Go of Human Notions
(Clearwisdom.net) I am a science teacher at a middle school. I began practicing Falun Gong in 1997. My understanding about Dafa before July 20, 1999, was shallow and perceptual. I first picked up Falun Gong because of its adherence to science, my resentment of politics, and my eagerness to heal my sickness, thus failing to understand the Fa from the context of the Fa. I thought the cultivation of divinity was too remote from me and it would be perfectly sufficient for me to just be a good, healthy person. So I paid more attention to the Fa lectures regarding karma elimination and the xinxing issue and read them more often with more care.
– From the author
Teacher taught us,
“It can be said that among the websites that Dafa disciples run, this is a crucial one. From the day it was set up it was firmly established as a vehicle for Dafa disciples’ cultivation and their sharing of experiences, and meant to report on the persecution of Dafa disciples in a timely manner. So the role that the Minghui website has assumed has been particularly decisive, becoming a thorn in the evil’s side. ” (“Fa Teaching Given at the Fa Conference Marking the Tenth Anniversary of the Minghui Website’s Founding”)
As a Dafa practitioner I should contribute to making Minghui (Chinese version of Clearwisdom) a better website. When I saw the notification calling for contributions to the Eighth Internet Experience Sharing Conference for Practitioners in China, I asked myself whether I should contribute my cultivation experience to the conference. After hesitating for a long time, I finally decided to do so, thinking that I should report my cultivation status to Teacher and hoping that I will get advice from fellow practitioners on how to improve my cultivation further.
1. Improving My Understanding on the Fa from the Perceptual to the Rational Realm
After July 20, 1999, when the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)'s persecution of Falun Gong was rampant in China, I responded to the persecution with my human emotions such as worry, anxiety, and anger and failed to treat it from the point of view of the Fa as a Dafa practitioner. I later settled down to study the Fa carefully. In particular, I participated in a Fa study group in my local area. In the past seven years I've repeatedly and systematically studied all the Fa taught by Teacher. In addition I recited and transcribed Zhuan Falun. Through Fa study I gradually got a better understanding of the Fa. Each reading of the Fa would bring me new understandings. I learned to look inside, knowing that it is exactly how cultivation works. As for the persecution, I came to understand what Teacher said,
“This is not simply persecution against a group of people in ordinary human society, nor is it simply persecution against a group of cultivators. This is a showdown between good and evil in the universe, and it is a showdown between beings who have been impacted during the Fa-rectification process and who are selfish, who do things for the sake of themselves, and who have become deviant, and the Fa-rectification itself.” (“Teaching the Fa at the Fa Conference at the U.S. Capital”)
As for cultivation I came to understand that it is the cosmic principles, Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, that guide us in our cultivation. I am a Dafa practitioner of the Fa-rectification era, and I signed a pledge with Teacher before the dawn of history. I descended to this mundane world to obtain the Fa and must let go of all my human notions, assist Teacher in Fa rectification, and return to my genuine home with Him, just like Teacher said:
“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”)
Now I am devoting myself to Fa validation by doing my best.
2. Letting Go of Human Notions by Scrutinizing Every Single Thought
Through Fa study I gradually came to understand that improvement in my cultivation would come only from my undisturbed Fa study and my down-to-earth cultivation practice. I was brought up in the culture of the CCP and have been immersed in it for several decades. I had in my mind a lot of heretical notions that deviate from a normal way of thinking. To be successful in my cultivation, I had to cleanse myself by letting go of all those heretical notions. The following are several examples of how I have cultivated myself by looking inside.
-Letting Go of the Attachment of Being Afraid When Visiting the Minghui Website
I used the FreeGate software to log onto the Minghui website. When I did it for the first time, I was quite wary out of fear that I might be traced by the CCP's Internet police. I just downloaded the Minghui Daily and logged off immediately. Because of my fear, I suspected that I was being shadowed by the Internet police each time I ran into problems with my connection. I was so nervous that I perspired, but my anxiety simply made the connection even more difficult. With more Fa study my fear gradually diminished. As a result, my connection became much more stable than before.
I tried to look inside on this particular issue and found my deeply hidden notion that surfing the Internet using blockade-breaking software was a violation of the law. When I was young, I was instilled with the notion that it was a violation of the law to listen to overseas broadcasts and I would be regarded as counter-revolutionary if I did. Deterred by this, I promised myself never to break that rule, despite its ridiculousness. Surfing the Internet without being censored is a civil right and is a part of freedom of speech. From the point of view of the Fa, our practice of Dafa is open and transparent. Minghui is the only source for us to access Teacher's teachings. Reading Minghui is a necessity for our cultivation, our validation of the Fa, and our saving sentient beings. Hence, I would connect to Minghui without fear. Surfing Minghui has now become a must-do of mine every day in my validation of the Fa. I've sometimes downloaded large files, such as the Shen Yun DVD, for more than ten hours, but I did it without any fear. Of course, I remained aware of security measures while doing it. I truly perceived that my righteous thoughts and righteous actions were the guarantee that everything could be done well.
-Tracing Human Notions When I Sprained My Ankle While Distributing Truth-Clarification Materials
In the past few years I've devoted myself to truth clarification and saving sentient beings. One of my projects was distributing materials with fellow practitioners in a timely manner, even on the so called sensitive days, when the CCP would intensify its monitoring of Falun Gong practitioners. We have done this for more than seven years. When distributing the materials, one person sends forth righteous thoughts and another delivers the materials. We put the truth-clarification video CDs and printed leaflets on residential doorknobs. While doing so I was quite convinced that the process of saving sentient beings was also a process of my personal cultivation. When we first began the project, two of us were making the deliveries. One day, the other practitioner stayed outside the residential building sending righteous thoughts while I went inside and left truth clarification materials at each residence from the top floor down to the bottom. When I went to put materials on one doorknob, I heard a dog barking and someone opening the door. I stopped right away and rushed downstairs, my heart beating very fast. Due to my fast pace, I missed two steps, and I landed on my right foot with all my weight as my left foot hit a door. When I left the building I saw that my right ankle was swollen, but we continued on to another building.
When I went home I thought: Teacher told us to look inside ourselves whenever we run into problems, so there must be something for me to let go of when I sprained my ankle. I then analyzed my mindset regarding distributing materials. When I finished, I felt that I had just removed a heavy burden. Was such a feeling the manifestation of my attachment of being afraid? It could be further traced back to my fear that I could be arrested for distributing Falun Gong truth clarification materials, which I admitted in my subconsciousness to be a violation of the law. In addition, I did the whole thing as an obligatory task that I had to fulfill. Thinking further, I found an even more deeply hidden thought. As a schoolteacher and intellectual, I felt it quite dishonorable to distribute materials and feared that I would lose face in front of my students if I was arrested. I was shocked by what I found, because I had never realized their existence before. We distribute materials to save sentient beings and it is a sacred thing to be done with a pure mind, but I did it with so many human notions. They were definitely the loopholes in my xinxing that the old forces would never hesitate to take advantage of. From then on we always sent forth righteous thought to clear the human notions and bad thoughts in ourselves before we set out. With changed concepts, I acquired a stable mindset and became able to handle all unexpected situations. For example, when I saw someone come outside as I entered a building, I would say hello to them straightforwardly, giving them the feeling that I was a resident in the building. If I came across an older person, I would help them upstairs before I began my work. When things were really hard to tackle, we would evade it and intensify our sending forth of righteous thoughts. In the past few years we have covered many residential areas in Beijing. Now we can do it with a light heart and are able to tackle all kinds of situations.
-Letting Go of Egotism in Fa Validation
Before I practiced Falun Gong I had a bad temper and was prone to going into a rage when I was at odd with others. In my work I was recognized as a woman of exceptional talent and abilities and was good at both speaking and doing. I was quite used to being the one who made decisions in big or small things, and the expression on my face was always one of arrogance, like I was on top of the world. After I practiced Falun Gong, through Fa study, I tried to replace my bad temper with a good one and my arrogance diminished a lot. I still remember when I participated in the group Fa study for the first time, my hard expression almost scared a fellow practitioner away. It left me with quite a deep impression, and from then on I kept warning myself to cultivate myself and never be too quick to express my own opinion. My heart had to be broadened, but it was not a goal that could easily be attained, because my human notions were so deeply rooted that they could not be removed by merely warning myself.
As the time we spent on group Fa study increased, the acquaintance between us grew. Seeing the changes in me, fellow practitioners accepted me as one of them, but my sentiment toward them also grew, and my previous human notions came back. One day in a group Fa study, one practitioner made some arrangement about doing something, but I had my own idea that was different from hers and brought it up promptly. She argued with me, but I simply insisted on my own opinion, creating a stalemate. Another practitioner said to me, “You always insist on your own opinion and the tone of your voice is rather unbearable.” Her words were echoed by complaints from other practitioners: “We all have the same impression of you.” Hearing this, I felt I had been wronged and shut up. We then went on with our Fa study.
After I got home, I kept thinking about what had happened and could neither eat nor sleep. No one had ever spoken to me that way before. It was such a harsh confrontation that I even considered not going to study the Fa anymore, but I soon realized it was wrong to think that way. I then did the meditation exercise, but I simply could not settle down. In tears, I murmured in my mind, “Teacher, I did that with a good intention...” Not knowing how much time had passed, I heard Teacher's voice seemingly looming: “Look inside! Look inside no matter what has happened.” I then calmed down and turned to study the Fa. Teacher says,
“But in reality, what human society takes to be truths are, from the perspective of the cosmos, inversions of truth; when humans go through hardship and suffer it is so that they may pay off karma and thereby have happiness in the future. A cultivator thus needs to cultivate by correct and upright truths. Going through hardship and suffering is an outstanding opportunity to remove karma, be cleansed of sin, purify the body, elevate your plane of thought, and rise in level--it's an extraordinarily good thing. This is a correct and upright Fa-truth. But as cultivation is lived out, when the suffering bears down on you and conflicts come up that hit upon the deepest part of you--and especially when it rattles the rigid notions you have--the test is really hard to pass. It can even be to the point that you know full well it's a test but still can't let go of your attachments. ” (“The Closer to the End, the More Diligent You Should Be”)
Teacher also says,
“My disciples! Master is very worried, but this cannot help! Why can’t you abandon ordinary human attachments? Why are you so reluctant to take a step forward? Our students, including our staff, are jealous of each other even in their work for Dafa. Can you become a Buddha this way? I want to have a loose administration simply because you cannot let go of ordinary human things and so will feel uneasy in your work. Dafa belongs to the entire universe, and not to any one, insignificant individual. Whoever does the work is spreading Dafa. It is not important whether it should be done by you or by others. Are you going to bring to a paradise this attachment that you cannot let go of, and contend with Buddhas? Nobody should treat Dafa as his own exclusive thing. Get rid of that thought that you’ve been treated unfairly! When your mind cannot get over something, isn’t it caused by your attachment? Our students shouldn’t think that this has nothing to do with them! ” (“Further Elimination of Attachments”)
Every single word of Teacher's Fa seemed to pound my heart. Back when I began validating the Fa along with fellow practitioners I was quite used to insisting on my own opinion. On the surface I always said I would be considerate of others, but I always measured them against my own notions. Concealed by the notion of “being considerate to others” was my stubbornness and human notions. Such notions, centered around my stubborn egotism, had formed and grown stronger in past years. It would be fine were I a normal people who wanted to do more work, but I am a Dafa practitioner who should follow the principles of the Fa.
All of Teacher's disciples are of different social backgrounds and levels and are faced with different kinds of things. We hold different responsibilities for our cosmic bodies and walk different paths in our cultivation. There is no such things as whose method is better or who must do this or that, given that every one of us is validating the Fa and saving sentient beings under the guidance of the Fa by cooperating with each other. I had dealt with the things in our validating the Fa with my human notions that had formed in the past many years. It would hinder our Fa validation or, at least, hurt fellow practitioners. Thinking further, I found in my heart that I wanted to validate myself, had a tendency to fight, a desire to show off and save face, and a reluctance to listen to others' advice. How could I validate the Fa with so many human attachments? It is true that I am a capable person among worldly people, but I also have many stubborn human notions that are not in line with the requirements of the Fa. Just as Teacher says:
“The thoughts and ideas, or the various notions that form in your brain, were all formed over time in the course of your interactions and encounters out in the world. And the older one is, the more one has amassed. ” (“Fa Teaching Given at the 2010 New York Fa Conference”)
Teacher also says,
“That’s how things will be for you, starting now. Whether you are right or not is, for a cultivator, not important whatsoever. Don’t argue left and right, and don’t emphasize who’s right and who’s wrong. Some people are always stressing that they’re right, but even if you are right, even if you’re not wrong, so what? Have you improved on the basis of the Fa? The very act of using human thinking to stress who’s right and who’s wrong is in itself wrong. That’s because you are then using the logic of ordinary people to evaluate yourself, and using that logic to make demands on others. As gods see it, for a cultivator to be right or wrong in the human world is not important in the least, whereas eliminating the attachments that come from human thinking is important, and it is precisely your managing to eliminate those attachments rooted in your human thinking as you cultivate that counts as important.” (“Fa Teaching Given in Manhattan”)
I measured myself against the Fa carefully and felt very sorry for having hurt fellow practitioners because of my stubbornness. I decided to apologize to them and did the next day. I warned myself: “I must find the correct position in my cultivation as a regular Dafa practitioner. I am not leading average people and I should not do Dafa things with a regular person's mindset. I am validating the Fa, not myself. Teacher will eliminate for me my karma and the materials that constitute my human notions, but it is up to me to change my wrong ways of thinking that have formed in past years.” I looked at Teacher's image and was in tears. They were tears of gratitude for Teacher's compassionate salvation.
There is still a long way for me to go in my Fa validation. Bearing in mind that I have many human notions to let go of, I will try my best to cultivate myself well by looking inside and paying attention to every single thought. With a down-to-earth attitude I will do well everything I am supposed to do and always keep in mind Teacher's teachings. I will study the Fa well and pay attention to my xinxing so that I can ascend from the dust of my human notions, cleanse myself, and return home with Teacher. Heshi!