Western Practitioner: Being “Pulled Up and Pushed Forward” by Master
(Minghui.org) I began Falun Dafa cultivation practice in November 2011, while in search of supernormal abilities. I grew up watching Japanese anime, with superhuman martial artists. I wanted more than an ordinary life for myself, and I understood that qigong and Daoist practices could provide that. When I first saw a poster for Falun Dafa at my college I thought to myself, “This is exactly what I’ve been looking for.”
Although I began practicing in November 2011, it was about a year and a half before I felt I was making true progress in cultivation. I first had to become a good person. For years, my laziness, drug and alcohol use, and addiction to video games had made me suffer. But finally, with Master’s guidance, I was able to break free and begin cultivating.
Never have I felt that Master had given up on me, despite my resistance to improving. On the contrary, I felt what Master taught in Chapter 8 of Zhuan Falun, “I’m almost pulling you up and then pushing you forward.”
Due to insufficient Fa study, and lack of a good cultivation environment early on, I did not change much. I studied the Fa and did the exercises only when I had a lot of free time. I knew that I wanted to be a cultivator, and thought I could be one without giving up my many strong attachments. Otherwise, what good was living forever?
After about a year and a half, Master placed me in a situation where a drunk friend embarrassed herself in public, cursed and beat my girlfriend for taking her car keys, then drove drunk--all in one night. It made me really question what I was doing to myself. If alcohol or drugs could do that to an otherwise reasonable person, then there was no benefit to using even a little.
After this, I completely changed. I stopped drinking and became more serious about cultivation. I was immediately faced with tests in this regard. My birthday party the next month was held at a local bar/restaurant. My friends drank and offered me drugs, but I politely declined. My girlfriend asked me, “Why stop partying now? You could’ve waited until after your birthday.” I more or less told her, “It is even better to stop sooner; this is an excellent opportunity for me, a test.”
From time to time she complained about my not drinking and not being fun, but in time she has accepted, and now supports, my decision to cultivate.
The next big trial involved her as well. One day I was reading “Teaching the Fa in the City of Los Angeles” from 2006. Teacher said,
“I have talked before about the old forces' interference. Have you thought about the following? [Sexual desire] is one of the factors [they use] to hold you back! What do the old forces and the old cosmos see as the gravest thing? Lust, [in the form of] sexual activity outside of marriage. That's what they see as the most serious of things. In the past, once someone violated the precept on that, he would be thrown out of the temple, and his cultivation would be utterly finished.”
I was in complete shock - dumbstruck - when I read it. Growing up in today's society and blinded by my attachments, I thought lust was acceptable for a cultivator, but something to be taken lightly, and that premarital relations were acceptable. That same day I decided I would cease this type of relationship with my girlfriend, who would later become my wife. For months upon months she complained and fought with me about it. Through this process I enlightened to what a proper human relationship was.
At this time I was living with my parents and working as a laborer while taking college classes at night, and also looking for full-time employment. On days I had class, I would leave for work at 6:30 a.m. and not return home until midnight, after class. I had three meals away from home on these days and had to shower at college. Physically, it was a trying period of time for me, and I had all kinds of tests, and stumbled.
I often stayed at my girlfriend’s house over the weekends. At first I thought it was acceptable to sleep in the same bed as her, but have no inappropriate contact. The test of lust occurred in my dreams repeatedly, so I learned that this was wrong behavior.
Then I thought it would be okay if I slept on the floor in her room fully-dressed, wearing pajamas, socks, and so on. Once again the dreams continued, so I realized that this was still inappropriate.
During this time my girlfriend and I discussed the prospect of getting married, since I would graduate from college soon. It was something we both had always considered, but due to deviant notions, planned to postpone indefinitely--until now.
Although I was making progress, I enlightened very slowly. Teacher continued to drop me hints. Some were quite obvious, others less so. For example, one day as I was leaving, I kissed my girlfriend goodbye and immediately felt sick to my stomach. When I later explained to her why I thought this was happening, she agreed we should stop this kind of activity until marriage: she didn’t want to make me feel sick, and I wanted to elevate myself.
Finally, after months of trials in this regard, the day arrived when we planned to get married at the courthouse. Two hours before the wedding I proposed to her and she accepted. Overcome with qing, I leaned in and kissed her. I immediately felt drowned in regret and a sensation as if Falun was cracking and breaking in my lower abdomen. She was smiling and happy, but I was disgusted with myself and apologized to Master in my mind, “Teacher, I am so sorry.”
However, two hours later, after we were legally married, no such issue presented itself. I hope this can serve as an example to other practitioners of how serious the issue of proper human relationships can be for a cultivator.
Despite this constant stumbling, I had never felt so good in my entire life. I felt light and airy, and performed well with a positive attitude at the construction job. I had previously been extremely lazy, left work early, and caused trouble for my father’s construction company.
One day my grandfather stopped the tractor he was operating, pulled me over, and told me, “You seem like an entirely different person now. You know how you worked before... Now you’re working as hard as anyone I’ve ever seen. What happened to you?”
I told him “I practice Falun Dafa now. It’s a Chinese spiritual practice that centers on Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance. I need to be a good person in every situation.” At the time he didn’t understand how Falun Dafa had changed me, but he understood that the change was drastic.
I had developed the wish to do the three things well and cultivate solidly. Seeing this wish, Master provided me with the conditions I needed to fulfill my wish. Within two months of graduating college, Master led me to find the local practitioners so I could join their projects, and arranged many opportunities to gain favor with my wife’s employer, who was also recruiting from my college. It was a well-paying job where I could work at night, which left the day open to do truth clarifying activities. I was able to purchase my first car shortly after, so I could clarify the truth daily.
All of this was made possible because I developed the wish in my heart to cultivate. It was exactly like Teacher said in Zhuan Falun,
“When a person’s Buddha-nature emerges, the enlightened beings are able to help him.”
At the beginning I helped at the Epoch Times office before my night job, helping to sell ads and do layout for the paper. With my thoughts often on making a commission for the ads, I did rather poorly at ad sales, and didn’t manage to sell a single one. My sales partner, a much more veteran Chinese practitioner, derived her income solely from her own ad sales. Despite the results in terms of sales, we were able to clarify the truth to many Western businesspeople.
I continued working with her during a Shen Yun promotion. I had only seen the performance once, and this was the first year I helped with Shen Yun. We contacted people holding events such as home and garden shows, conventions, and other events, and offered to trade booth space at their activity for an ad in the Epoch Times.
One fear I carried was that people would think negatively of Shen Yun and me, calling it a political, religious, or otherwise negative performance, based on their misconceptions. This impacted my righteous thoughts while discussing Shen Yun, and promoting it. This was due to a mentality of wanting people to approve of me, as well as fame, appearance, and my own ignorance about Shen Yun and traditional Chinese culture.
Like Chinese students when the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party first came out, due to my own shortcomings I felt strange and had concerns about the opportunity Teacher was offering to me. Previously, if I told people how they could help to stop the persecution, or where they could obtain information on Dafa for free, I was fairly proactive and unimpeded, but when it came to Shen Yun, my righteous thoughts were absent.
At the time, my thoughts were about how I was promoting something related to Dafa that cost money, and I was doubtful that people would get excited about Shen Yun. This mentality affected our promotion efforts. I oftentimes remained mute, and trembled, while she did most of the talking. I wanted to leave once we briefly spoke to a secretary and left flyers, but she stayed and clarified the truth in detail. The people she talked to were almost always very attentive and took interest.
In Master’s lecture at the “2004 International Fa Conference in New York, He said,
“So, what I'm thinking is, it would be great if we could greet them politely and be a little more proactive.
I know that this approach is hard for our Western students. They always feel bad about bothering people, about actively bothering them. But that's not how it is. What you should keep in mind is that you are saving people, and things will go fine.”
I felt this was very much the case for me, and I had this kind of feeling regarding Shen Yun. There was a time where we went to a home and garden show to promote Shen Yun. I was timid about approaching passersby, and disappointed after being repeatedly ignored.
A veteran practitioner mentioned to me how some people were predestined and others were not predestined to attend this year. I enlightened that I could only make my approach excellent and try to talk to as many people as possible. Predestined people would be able to hear about the show that way. My mentality from working as a salesperson did not match the mindset of a cultivator. A human being responds negatively to rejection, but as a cultivator I should know that there is a reason behind everything, and not to be attached to the appearance.
At this time I had been often reading Master’s lecture from 2011 in DC, because Shen Yun was discussed in detail. Teacher said,
“That’s because Fa-rectification is unceasingly forging ahead, step by step, and when it arrives at one cosmic plane it is time for that level of people; when it reaches a certain heavenly kingdom above, or a certain layer of cosmic body, it is time for that group of people to come see [the show], and next time around [when Shen Yun performs], that seat will belong to someone else.” (“Dafa Disciples Must Study the Fa - Fa Teaching Given at the 2011 Washington DC Metro Area Fa Conference”)
Once I understood this concept, I felt like something began shining on me from above, and that I was at once tall and robust. It was very easy for me to converse with anyone that passed by, and in many cases, whether I talked a lot or a little, the results were quite good. This was a turning point in my assisting with Shen Yun promotion.
I have come to understand that Shen Yun is a project led by Master to save sentient beings, and an example of how a Dafa disciple’s project should be. It is indeed the very best show in the world, and it is my distinct honor to be a part of assisting with it.
In time, my mental blocks were broken through and my heart became broader. I became able to confidently tell people about the show, knowing it was not only an opportunity for them to be saved, but that I was offering them something wonderful and truly the best of its kind.
Master has led me out of the depths of depression and addiction to truly practice cultivation in the most distinguished role in the cosmos, as a Fa-rectification period Dafa Disciple, something I could never have done on my own, and something I will never be able to repay Him for. All I can do is to not think too much and put my effort into doing the three things well.
Please let me know of anything in my understanding seems questionable.
Category: Improving Oneself