Western Practitioner: My Cultivation Experience Sharing
Greetings revered Master!
Greetings fellow practitioners!
My cultivation path
I am a Toronto practitioner originally from Albania.
I started to practice Falun Dafa in the spring of 2002, a few months after I had arrived in Canada with my family. I have experienced the goodness of Dafa and the grand compassion of Master Li during all these years of my cultivation. Even though my husband is not a cultivator, throughout the years he has changed a lot. In the beginning of my cultivation he was against me practicing Falun Dafa, in particular when I started to go out to clarify the truth, to participate in Dafa activities or go to Fa Conferences. We used to have heated conversations. However, the more I studied the Fa, the more my xinxing would improve and the bigger the changes in my family and surroundings.
At that time, my daughter was 5 years old and she could come with me everywhere I went to clarify the truth to people. One day we both decided to go to Chinatown to hand out flyers. Even though it was very cold, she was handing out flyers with me on the street. Many Chinese were very touched and people would get the flyers from her rather than me. She was able to walk in parades, holding a banner or sign, on her feet from the beginning to the end of the route. When I had another child, things started to change. Now she is almost a teenager, 13 years old. She would rather spend her spare time on the phone with friends, chatting on the Internet or texting, and reading other teen books, than listen to me when I try to talk with her. At bedtime, when I asked her to let me read Zhuan Falun to her, she would say that she was tired and just wanted to sleep. I thought to myself, the years went by so fast. How I could undo what has already been done?
I started to look inside and enlightened to the fact that first, I have not been diligent enough in my cultivation and second, I have not balanced well my cultivation and my relationship with my family.
Reading “Fa Teaching Given in Manhattan” from 2006, the following passage struck me:
“Remember that you do your cultivation in ordinary human society. All along you haven’t done well dealing with the issue of having family members who don’t cultivate. The expression that I used earlier holds true here, too—a three-foot block of ice doesn’t form overnight. After you fail to handle things well at first, the resentment starts to pile up until it grows serious, and it will become, over time, a rift that seems completely irreconcilable. This kind of situation will bring difficulty to Dafa disciples as they attempt to validate the Fa. In every instance, however, the problem lies with our Dafa disciple. It is because you didn’t handle the situation well initially that it has turned into what it has. With many things, it turns out that if you can balance things well and arrange your affairs correctly, there won’t be any delays brought to the Dafa things that you do. [The problems] stem precisely from your not handling things well and overlooking what I just described.”
I found that the answer was right there. In 2006, Master explicitly stated it. Have I read that quote from Master? Yes! Countless times. But, I had overlooked it until now. I have missed the starting point in clarifying the truth to my family members. When clarifying the truth to my daughter or my husband I have never considered them sentient being to be saved but instead looked at them as if they were my own property and should listen to what I say. Because I was very fortunate to learn about the Great Law of the universe, I wanted everyone in my family to do the same. In a way I was pursuing it. Pursuit was not the only attachment that surfaced at that time but also attachments of fear, selfishness, reputation, and sentimentality. Among them fear was the one that caused a big barrier in my cultivation path and in validating the Fa in my family. As a non-practitioner, my husband has a hot temper.
For cultivators, everything happens for a reason. Therefore, the conflicts between us in the beginning of my cultivation grew bigger. There were times when he would lose his reasoning and make such a scene in front of my daughter by breaking things, such as a coffee table, plates, and glasses, or by locking me out after I returned from group Fa study, or talking without respect in front of his friends. I did endure his behavior but with anger inside me, not with the forbearance of a cultivator. From my understanding at that level I knew one thing—he was testing my determination in Dafa and at the same time helping me eliminate karma. My understanding of the Fa was in the beginning stages because my personal cultivation was interconnected with Fa-rectification. Nevertheless, I did show him my faith in Master and Dafa. And then, he came to a point when he said that I was free to do anything I wanted but was not to get our daughter involved in the practice.
For the most part, my faith was shown only in words and not in action. The attachment of fear was still inside me and I was worried what family, friends and neighbors would thinks of us, hearing him scream and argue. We were perceived by them as a happy and very good family. Hence to avoid the conflicts and for the sake of saving face, I would be quiet and kind of comply with his orders.
I would read the Fa to my daughter in a lower voice so he could not hear from the other room; I would play the audio lectures only on an mp3 player and not on a CD player; I could go out to clarify the truth and not tell him where I was going. I thought to myself, if only he cultivated I would not be going through these hardships and my cultivation would go smoothly. My understanding was completely wrong. I was not living up to the principles Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. I did not think of him as a sentient being to be saved, I did not even have compassion for him. It was only about me, me and my selfishness. By acting this way I was following the old forces' arrangements, not the path arranged by Master. Sometimes I sent forth righteous thoughts for him before speaking about Dafa so his mind would be clear from bad elements interfering with him. At times that was effective. Whatever our xinxing level is, that’s how strong our righteous thoughts are.
Only after I understood the Fa from the Fa did I manage to break through in my cultivation, let go of these attachments and step forward with dignity. Master said:
“As long as you study, any problem can be solved. As long as you cultivate and as long as you’re able to understand the Fa from the Fa, there’s nothing you can’t achieve.” (“Fa-Lecture at the Conference in Florida, U.S.A.,” 2002)
Years went by and the more I changed the more people around me changed, in particular my husband. He started to read Zhuan Falun (in Albanian), and he came to one of our activities at Dundas Square together with the kids. He was impressed by Uncompromising Courage photo exhibit. He also came to the Shen Yun Performing Arts show with another couple, family friends.
Overall my cultivation path has been a slow one with its ups and downs. Whenever I slacked off, the interference was about to manifest. Conflicts arose again, and kids started to misbehave or not do well in school or they would get sick very often. At different levels, different states manifested—sometimes good states and sometimes bad ones. This winter alone my daughter got sick every month and missed school three to four days a month. On the other hand, my son got injured in the head twice within 10 days, once in the back of the head and once on the forehead and had to get 5 stitches.
One day my daughter told me that she had a scary dream and she could not sleep all night. She was terrified. In her dream there were all kinds of ghostly creatures chasing her. She asked me “How do you explain that?” I told her my story of having the same dream a few years ago. I had a similar dream where many scary creatures were chasing me. I tried to fight with them using ordinary means such as hitting, punching, even shooting with a gun, but they would not die.
Then in my dream, I became alert and started to send forth righteous thoughts and all of a sudden they turned into ashes. In this dream I experienced the power of righteous thoughts. I used this as a chance to elaborate more on the Fa principles and I told her that Master says, “a person is like a container, and he is whatever he contains.” (“Melt Into the Fa,” Essentials for Further Advancement). So we should be careful to not watch all kinds of movies or read all kinds of books. I told her it was time for her to start anew reading the book by herself. Only by doing so would she be able to find the answers to her questions. She seemed to listen with curiosity.
All of a sudden my son, who was sitting beside us and listening, said, “Keiti, why don’t you ask Master Li to help you?” I was surprised. He is the same age my daughter was when she took up cultivation. He is only 5 years old. I told myself, the younger they are the purer their minds are. We listen to Master Li's lectures before we go to sleep and it seems like he is doing fine. However, I would not want to repeat the same mistake again, I would not want to fail in my cultivation path again; time waits for no one. As long as the Fa-rectification has not ended, there is a chance for every sentient being to be saved and in particular for us cultivators to do the three things well and to assist Master in Fa-rectification.
I also would like to make a call to other practitioners who are in the same situation as me. With the Fa in our minds and hearts we can help each other to rectify this situation. How can we save other sentient beings if we fail to save those who are beside us day and night? How can we validate the Fa in different settings when we fail to validate the Fa to those close to us?
Writing this article has been a good experience for me of looking within. A few days after I started to write this article, my daughter and I started listening to the audio lectures every night.
I would like to conclude my sharing with another quote from Master: “The closer to the end, the more diligent you should be.”
Thank you Master Li.