A New Practitioner from Mainland China: I Have Learned How to Look Inward
(Minghui.org) I am a 25-year-old flower shop owner who started practicing Falun Dafa in 2009. Although I am a relatively new practitioner, I have known about Falun Dafa for over 10 years because my mother started the practice before the persecution started in 1999. At that time, I was 11 years old. Because of some interference, I didn't start until 2009. Today, I would like to report some of my cultivation experiences to Master, and share them with my fellow practitioners. I am going to share my understanding of “looking inward.”
Although my flower shop has been open for a year, I have not been able to capture the local market yet and my business is sometimes good and sometimes bad. I have felt as though something was blocking me. In June, the flower industry experienced a slow season and my business went down sharply--so sharply I was on the brink of bankruptcy. I couldn't even make a sale in one or two weeks. I knew that I had to look inward. As I was looking, I only found the superficial problems, but not the root cause. I tried to soothe myself, saying: “The flower industry is in a slow season now. Every industry is the same. I guess I can't be too attached to it.”
By the end of August, normally the peak season, the flower industry came back, but I suffered an even more severe blow. For two consecutive festivals, when flowers are usually sold out quickly, my business was especially stagnant. In the end I managed to get rid of the flowers at a lower price. Three orders of flowers for decorating cars were canceled by customers. Very often, I couldn't even make one sale within several days. In the meantime, I had more conflicts with my family.
I started to realize the seriousness of the matter. One day, I was sitting in the store and gazing at the unsold flowers. I became worried and thought to myself: “There is an ordinary saying in Chinese: 'A gracious shop owner will attract more customers.' I must start looking within to see what's wrong with me.” As soon as this thought came out, a customer came in and I made a sale. Although it was not a big sale, I knew it was Master trying to give me a hint. I came to understand that looking inward was the right thing to do.
That day, I wrote in a diary. As I was writing, I found I had a lot of stubborn attachments. In the past, I started to look inward only when business was not good. I was looking inward only because I wanted my business to get better. How strong my attachment to money and fame was! Before I became a practitioner, I was a lazy person and very introverted. I didn't have a passion for anything. After I took up cultivation practice, I was not very proactive either. I was always waiting for Master to give me a push before I could make any changes in myself. Many times, even when I had found my attachments, I was not willing to let go of them.
I had never thought of my attachments as real until one day when I was transcribing the Fa, in which Master said, "Since Dafa disciples are studying the Fa, they're actively assimilating to the Fa." (“Explaining the Fa During the 2003 Lantern Festival at the U.S. West Fa Conference).
I started thinking of how I had managed to sell my flowers, how the orders came in just about the time when the flowers were almost withered and how I was barely able to get rid of them. Was this a reflection of my cultivation state? After I dug out the attachment of “inactivity” (it is actually laziness and my attachment to comfort), I realized that not only was I not proactive with my cultivation, but also in doing the three things. My mother and I had always had a gap between us. I told myself: “We have a gap. So what? Let it be!”
There was a practitioner who carelessly spilled some water on Master's “Lecture at the First Conference in North America.” Because the book was soaked, some words were unclear. My mother didn't know what to do with it, so I picked up a pen and started rewriting the words that were unclear. Later on, as I was rewriting the words, I came to enlighten that it was Master who actually arranged for me to rewrite the book. During the several days of rewriting the words, I felt as though I was melting into the Fa. I felt very fulfilled in my heart. I found that a lot of the passages in the book were actually talking to me. I benefited so much from rewriting it.
After I found my attachments, I had two dreams that night. The first one was about me sitting in my flower shop and worrying about the unsold flowers. Then I looked around and saw that not only did I have flowers in the shop, but also food, stationery, clothes, etc. Then I told myself, “Master must have wanted to point out the many attachments I still had.“
The other dream was about my participation in a sports race—running 800 meters. Right after the race began, some of my classmates were attracted to someone who was selling something on the side. I told one of my classmates, “Let's not go there. Let's start running.” After we finished 600 meters, the other classmates had just begun to run. However, time was running out. We both finished the race easily while others had just begun. I enlightened that Master was encouraging me to keep looking inward.
The next day I found another deeply hidden attachment. I had always had a thought, “Wait until my customers are steady, then I won't have to be so worried.” In Zhuan Falun, Master said,
“Someone may say, I’ll earn some more money to settle my family down well so I won’t have to worry about anything. Afterward, I’ll practice cultivation.”
My thinking was very similar to the person that Master was talking about. Without trying circumstances, how could I temper myself? On the contrary, the reason I was encountering such a difficult circumstance--wasn't it an indication that I hadn't been cultivating away that attachment? Then, I found out I still had yet another attachment, that is, the attachment of not wanting to endure hardship and seeking ordinary happiness.
I continued rewriting the book throughout the afternoon. In “Lecture at the First Conference in North America,” Master talked about the “attachment of aversion.” I realized I had a very strong attachment of aversion but I had never treated it as an attachment. When I was little, I was often beaten by my mother. Before I became a practitioner, however, I had a very good relationship with her. I had long forgotten the things that happened in my childhood. But after I started cultivation practice, those bad memories (of her beating me) came back. Thus, I would often fight with her. When we fought, I said to her, “You have been cultivating for over 10 years and yet you still quarrel with someone who has cultivated for just two years. I am a lot stronger than you were when you started the practice. At that time, you often beat me. I still remember this.” My mother often said we had a gap but I never took what she said seriously, thinking: “That's how you treated me in the past. That's why we now have this gap.” Because of this, I had always held some sort of resentment towards her. My mother had wanted me to study the Fa with her, but I declined. I thought to myself: “This must be an attachment that Master wanted me to become aware of.” Later on, I went home and proactively asked to study the Fa with her, thinking that I must actively eliminate this gap between us and get rid of the attachment to aversion.
That night, I had another dream. In it I was at a mountain. The road was very muddy and had lots of puddles. I saw that many people were walking on it very slowly. But I was driving a vehicle that resembled a roller coaster, gliding on top of the water. In just a few moments, I passed through a lot of hills and then disappeared in the sky. After I woke up, I recalled what Master said in Hong Yin Vol. II:
“With attachments set down, the light boats are swift
With a heavy human heart, crossing the ocean is difficult”
(“The Heart Itself is Clear”)
I knew that Master used this dream to encourage me to do better.
Yesterday, one of our fellow local practitioners was arrested by the police. This practitioner had some misunderstandings against my mother in the past and there had been a gap between them as well. After I learned about her arrest, my mother and I discussed how this practitioner had exhibited some irrational behavior in the past. Although we didn't mean to denounce her, we didn't take this opportunity to reflect on ourselves, but instead continued to say how inadequate this practitioner was.
When I woke up the next morning, my throat was a little sore but I didn't pay attention to it. During lunchtime, I again said something bad about this practitioner. As a result, I was coughing again. In the afternoon, I was rewriting the Fa in the shop. As I was doing it, I regretted what I said about that practitioner. For the past two days, I was looking inward. But with regard to this matter, I forgot to look within. I shouldn't say any negative things about a practitioner or discuss anything behind her back. If she had done something wrong, we should compassionately point it out to her face to face. If we say bad things about her, aren't we throwing bad substances on her? I realized the importance of cultivation and looking within. I knew I must keep looking inward, because I still have a lot of attachments.
During the process of transcribing the Fa, I noticed some of my hidden attachments and behavior that didn't meet the standard of the Fa. I had to prepare a piece of paper to write them down, because I had so many of them. After I finished rewriting the Fa, I wrote in a dairy. I listed all of my attachments on a piece of paper. Now, I feel a bit lighter in my heart, as though I had thrown away a big burden.
This morning, shortly after I opened the shop, a customer came in and ordered three flower baskets. Then, another customer came in and bought some lilies. During the afternoon, one customer came and ordered flowers which would be used to decorate a car. In the evening, I sold eight flower baskets. Another customer said she would come back to pick up some flowers later. I have had the shop for a year. It was unheard of for five customers to come by in one day. I knew that Master made the best plan for me. Thank you Master! Because it was a busy day for my business, I felt the attachment of zealotry starting to get in the way. I knew I had to get rid of it quickly.
In the past, when I was reading Master's lectures given in other places, I asked myself: “Why did they (practitioners) ask Master such simple questions?” I have now come to understand that it is easy to see other people's inadequacies and difficult to see our own problems, especially when we are trapped by a situation and try to “dig into the bull's horn”. For this reason, we must take the initiative and look inward proactively and regularly.
Because there are relatively few practitioners in my area, we often feel we can't find anything wrong with us even when we attempt to look inward. In the past, I had always felt I couldn't find anything wrong with me. Through these few days of looking inward, I still feel I am not really that resolute at it. However, I believe that if we are determined and proactive in looking inward, Master will help us dig out our hidden attachments, expose them to us and eventually get rid of them. Thus I feel that I must share my understandings and experiences of looking inward for other practitioners. Please compassionately point out any inadequacies.