Cultivating in a Family Environment
(Minghui.org) In the past my family was somewhat dysfunctional. My wife had a bad temper and didn't want to listen to anyone. My son was frequently sick, and he often skipped school. He sometimes didn't return home for several days, and instead played with his buddies. After using up all the money he had, he came home to steal more. Having such a family has been a challenge for me for the past ten-plus years of cultivation. Every step was difficult. It was Dafa that saved me and my family. Gradually I learned to look inward and let go of selfishness. As I improved my xinxing and realm, my wife and son also changed in the right directions.
The most difficult time was when I first began to practice. Knowing that my son was not doing well at school, I sent him to a very expensive private school, hoping he could subsequently be admitted to a good university and then study abroad. As I look back, I was exhibiting a strong attachment to fame. However, the more I expected him to do well, the less interest he had in his studies, and the teacher often reprimanded him for that. One day, his teacher asked me to come to the school, and I made the long bus ride. The teacher treated me like a student who had done something wrong. First she asked me to wait outside the classroom for half an hour. Then she said to me with a cold face, “Your son doesn't listen to the teacher during class, and he does not do the homework. Plus, he often goes to Internet cafes. Why don't you just take him home?” Standing in front of the teacher, a woman more than ten years younger than me, I felt very guilty. I didn't dare look at the teacher and didn't know what to do.
One day when my son talked back, I got very angry and beat him. After that, my body hurt for several days. That time I cried and said to Teacher in my mind, “Master, what should I do?” Back then, I didn't know to look within and didn't know how to handle this according to Fa-principles. When tribulations came, I just bore them passively. When I could no longer hold it in, it burst. I have to admit that I did spend lots of time studying the Fa. However, I didn't follow the Fa, nor did I improve myself according to the Fa. Instead of letting go of attachments and improving xinxing, I held onto human notions and was often affected by sentimentality (qing).
When I disciplined our son, my wife always took his side. She often blamed me when I criticized him. She said I didn't care for my son and also didn't do any household chores. Back then, I treated family tribulations as hardship on my personal cultivation path.
My business went well and we had a fairly good income. But my wife was very thrifty and did not cook things that I liked. Instead, she seemed to cook things that I didn't like. In Zhuan Falun, Master said,
“Because many people could not maintain good xinxing in the past, many problems occurred. After their practice reached a certain level, they could not make further progress.” (“Lecture Four”)
Whenever I read these sentences, I reminded myself to improve and make a breakthrough.
My son began stealing money when he was an elementary school student. One day as he was leaving, several 100 yuan bills fell out of the bag he was carrying. I was surprised and then found that he had at least 1000 yuan in the bag. I was very upset and asked him where the money came from. He said it was from a classmate, but he refused to tell me which one. My wife stopped me from disciplining him more and suggested that we put the money in a better place. I was angry and shocked over this. But I also knew that I should not treat this with human notions. When looking within, I found my attachment to material interests, as well as to complaining and an intention to punish him. But that didn't seem to be the root problem.
My son often stole hundreds or thousands of yuan from our wallets. When I discussed this with my wife, she suggested keeping the money in the safe at the store we owned instead of at home. After we did this, our family life seemed more calm than before. However, I noticed that my son still had lots of money. He liked to buy shoes and clothes, which typically cost 500 or 1000 yuan each. Once every several days, he came home with a new pair of shoes. The shoes piled up quickly at home. When asked where the shoes came from, he said his friends gave them to him. Once when I went to a dry cleaning shop to pick up my clothes, the shop owner told me my son had been using their service for a long time. I had not known about this. I was upset and sad. Because of my poor cultivation state, there seemed to be a barrier between my family and me.
When thinking this over, I realized that it was for me to make progress in my cultivation. With so many human notions in me in the past, how could I have elevated and really made a breakthrough? Thus I began reading the Fa over and over again, sometimes up to three lectures a day. In Zhuan Falun, Master said,
“You are unable to interfere with the lives of others, and neither can you control others’ fates, including those of your wife, sons, daughters, parents, or brothers. Can you decide those things?” (“Lecture Four”)
Through these years, I had been thinking about how to change my wife and my son. But upon thinking deeper, I wondered if I could really change them. Probably only by cultivating myself well would there be a solution for all these issues, and this was the most important thing I needed to do. Therefore, I began letting go of my ideas to change my wife and my son, as well as sentimentality towards them. When I became angry and thought about complaining, I always firmly reminded myself to let go of these notions. I also sent forth righteous thoughts to specifically eliminate these notions, from the surface to the most microscopic level. My mind then became clearer.
My son is an introverted person, and he doesn't say much to me. When I disciplined him with a bad attitude, I found that the wall between us became thicker and thicker. When thinking about it further, I realized that I had been treating him with qing, not with kindness and compassion. Anger, as we know, doesn't help things move in the right direction, rather it makes people uncomfortable.
There were times when my son played in an Internet cafe for several days without returning home. My wife and I had to look for him in the cafes, one after another, from morning until afternoon. When it was hot in the summer, my wife was even more frustrated after spending so much time in vain. Looking at this situation, I felt bad, too, but there was nothing I could do. Because of this, I had more hatred towards my son. There were several times when he hadn't come back by midnight. I was very angry and locked the door from the inside. When he returned home and found the door was locked, he left again.
One evening at 9:00 p.m., when I was studying the Fa, my wife complained that it was already late and that I should go out and look for our son. She also said that I was very selfish if I didn't go looking for him. I didn't want her to think I was selfish, so I got dressed and went out immediately. When crossing the road, however, a motorcycle hit me and knocked me down. My left leg hurt, and my whole body was numb. Nonetheless, I knew I was all right. I remembered Master's teaching in Zhuan Falun about a car accident. So I stood up without checking my left leg and walked over to the motorcycle owner. I told him that I was all right because I was a Falun Gong practitioner and that he could leave. He was very surprised and said, “Really? Do you mean I can leave?” I said yes and told him to remember “Falun Dafa is good” and “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good,” because had I not been a practitioner, he would have had to pay a large amount of money. He was very grateful and said, “You are such a nice person.”
I was very surprised when I heard this, because no one had told me that in the past. So I sincerely told him again to remember those words. I could tell that he accepted what I said. I helped him pick up his motorcycle. He called aloud, “Falun Dafa is good! Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good!” and left. I then looked at myself. My coat was torn open in the front, my pants were torn, and my leg underneath had turned bluish.
After I returned home, my son was already there. Even though I had been knocked down by a motorcycle looking for him, he was not grateful. He said, “I don't need you to look for me. I can come back myself.” My wife was not sympathetic either, “I told you before to be careful. If you had listened to me, how could you let a motorcycle hit you?”
From this experience, I gained many understandings. Even if they are our friends or family, it is hard for us to change them. Similarly, they cannot control us, and we cannot control them. Everyone has his or her own path. Through these incidents, my human notions were gradually removed, and I was able to let go of qing. As a Dafa disciple, I have to eliminate those notions and treat my family with compassion so that they can come to understand that Dafa is wonderful.
Through constant Fa-study and cultivation, I understood more and started to do better. My wife and son also improved. However, I was not attached to this. In “Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Houston” Master said,
“There’s something that holds for all of you, and that is, whether you come into a household, or come into the world, it’s just like staying in a hotel: you just stay briefly for a night, and then you head off the next day. Who recognizes whom in the next life? Among those around you are the husbands that you loved affectionately in your previous lives and other family members. Do you recognize them? Do they recognize you? What I am talking about are Law-principles. I don’t mean to have you be unfilial to your parents, but to have you let go of that human feeling. If any feeling ties you down, you can’t cultivate. It firmly binds you so as to keep you from cultivating, and it prevents you from becoming a Buddha. Speaking from this perspective, isn’t it acting like a demon towards you? Doesn’t it prevent you from becoming a Buddha?”
Then one day, my wife discovered 20,000 yuan missing from the safe at the store, but the shop had not been burglarized. Later we discovered that the money was taken by our son. He had paid a locksmith 500 yuan to enter the shop late at night and determine the combination for the safe. He also duplicated a key to enter the shop. When he needed money, he just went and got some. This time he took more money than before. Because of this, I was silent for several days. Did my attachment to money influence him and hurt him? I began to be more clear-minded and was able to let go of more of my attachment to fame, self-interest, and qing.
In order to help my son improve, I once asked him to transcribe Dafa books. I was hoping he would change after this. But he asked me for money. So I paid him 10 yuan, 100 yuan, or even more each time. But later he stopped transcribing for me, even if I paid him. By then I came to understand that I couldn't cultivate for him and that cultivation had to come from him.
After my son completed school, I helped him find a job in another city so he could learn to be independent and responsible. I often called him to encourage him, and I talked to him about Dafa principles as well as how to follow these principles to become a better person. One day he told me that a coworker always gave him extra work to do, which made him upset, and he wanted to confront that person. I said to him, “If you confront that person, aren't you giving de to him? I know you can't see this yet, but trust me, if you take my advice your life will become better and better. If you want to make big money in the future or do something big, don't you need de?” He accepted what I had to say and said, “All right then. I will listen to you.”
When looking within, I not only found hatred towards others, but also strong human notions. Master told us in the Fa to be selfless, to place others before ourselves, and to be considerate of others. I really need to be compassionate and tolerant.
As I let go of human notions and improved my xinxing, more happiness and laughter developed in the family. One thing I learned was to always focus on the other person's positive sides, not the negative side. They are not only my relatives, but also sentient beings.
Many times, my wife was touched and said, “You have changed. Studying the Fa can indeed help a person improve.” I asked her, “What do you think? Do I meet the standard?” She said, “Yes, you do. You can reach consummation.”
When fellow practitioners subsequentlycame to my home for group Fa-study, my wife was very supportive. When we sent forth righteous thoughts, she sometimes reminded us about the hand positions. As I clarified the truth to others, she occasionally helped me and said, “You know how vicious the CCP is. Why not quit it?” Almost all of my son's buddies who played with him several years ago have quit the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) after I clarified the truth to them.
One day, my son didn't return home until very late. I asked him what happened, and he said he was telling his friend that, “Falun Dafa is good,” and “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good.” I was very happy to hear that.
Without Master and Dafa, my family would have broken up a long time ago. I would have spent the rest of my life in sorrow and probably committed many wrong deeds. I am very grateful for Master's salvation and help for me to become a new person.