Cultivating Myself Amidst Helping a Practitioner Return to Cultivation
(Minghui.org) A 70-year-old fellow practitioner moved to the lower floor of my apartment building three years ago. I did not know her at the time. One evening last June, I passed by her to go upstairs, and she said to me: “Did you just come back from Fa study?” So I asked her: “Do you practice?” She smiled at me as she said "yes." I invited her to come to my home. Her husband then came out and she quickly stopped talking and went back in her apartment.
I saw her again two days later. That is when she told me that she started practicing Falun Dafa in 1996. After the persecution began, her husband was not supportive, so she was not practicing diligently, and often accompanied her husband out of town to work. She remained in touch with a few practitioners, and had been occasionally doing the exercises and studying the Fa. She only had Teacher's new lectures that were published before 2005. She said she has Teacher and Dafa in her heart. A neighbor had told her that I was a practitioner.
“That’s because on your path of cultivation there is nothing that is by chance.” ("Fa Teaching Given in Manhattan")
I knew that it was Teacher who arranged for her to move into my building, so we could cultivate and improve together. I then helped her find Teacher's new lectures, and loaned her some of mine. She didn't have a DVD player, so when I heard of an extra one that a fellow practitioner had, I bought it for her. My husband saw it and remarked that I already had one, and maybe I could give it to someone who doesn't have one. I was happy about his attitude. I knew it was Teacher encouraging me to give it to the practitioner downstairs.
I took the DVD player to her as soon as I could. She used it to catch up by watching Teacher's Fa-lecturing videos, the Nine Commentaries on the Chinese Communist Party, theShen Yun Performing Arts DVDs, etc.
My Fear Started to Surface
I started having Fa study at my home, and this practitioner had been coming and improved a great deal. She also began to read the Minghui Journals, and use the currency bills with messages about Falun Gong written on them to validate the Fa. When she would go for a walk in the evenings with her husband, she would hand out truth-clarification DVDs and brochures.
I have to admit that I began to have fear that this practitioner would be taken advantage of by the evil. She hadn't stepped forward for many years, and now she was handing out truth-clarification materials that came from my home. During the Chinese New Year, she exchanged 20 truth-clarification bills at 10 yuan each. She said that she would give them all to her grandson for Chinese New Year, as a gift. After she told me this I was apprehensive about it and wondered if this was a smart thing to do. I told her my concern and she immediately said that she would not give him the bills after-all. Teacher said:
“When you have no human desires and aren't attached to anything, you'll cultivate quickly, improve quickly, and have fewer ordeals.” (“Teaching the Fa at the 2004 Western U.S. Fa Conference” in Teaching the Fa at the Conference V)
I then realized that for her to have a pure heart to validate the Fa was a good thing. However, I used my judgment to tell her what, and what not to do. Was this to expose my fear? Did it come down to my attachments to myself and to selfishness?
I have now come to realize that I should not have stopped her from giving her grandson truth-clarification bills. If her grandson had the opportunity to learn the truth and have a good attitude towards Dafa, wouldn't that be a good thing? What was I afraid of? Especially when Teacher sees her heart, being so pure, Teacher will protect her. My actions were not in keeping with the Fa. I could clearly see that my heart for protecting myself was strong.
She had trouble keeping up with sending forth righteous thoughts at the four global times. She was also apprehensive about sending forth righteous thoughts at home because of fear that her husband would be upset. Instead of being understanding and supportive, I complained to her. I asked her: “If you don't dare to send forth righteous thoughts at home, what does cultivation mean to you?” I couldn't understand her. One time when she missed Fa study, I asked her why. She said that her neighbor asked her to come to her home to perm her hair. Hearing that, I was so upset. I said: "Fa study is important, and it is only three times a week, couldn't you go another time?"
Exposing My Attachment of Looking Outward
During our group Fa study, we study from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. We also send forth righteous thoughts four times, and study one chapter of Zhuan Falun. But she had to leave right before 11 a.m., while we were sending forth righteous thoughts. She needed to go home and cook for her husband. Deep inside of me, I was not happy about this, I felt she was not being diligent enough. I complained a lot about her. I did not look inward, I kept looking outward, looking for others' mistakes.
After I blamed her for using Fa study time to perm hair, she missed it the next two times. When I went by her home and knocked on the door, no one answered. I later heard from other practitioners that she went out of town with her husband to do some sightseeing, and that they would be away for a while. I felt hurt that she did not even say good by to me before leaving on a long trip. I couldn't help but cry, and I was sad for many days.
How could this have happened? Practitioners from our Fa-study group reminded me, to hold my actions according to the Fa and look inward. Teacher said:
“For a cultivator, looking within is a magical tool.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2009 Washington DC International Fa Conference” )
Therefore, I began to look inward. As soon as I discovered an attachment, I would write it down in a notebook. Whenever I thought about this practitioner, I would look inward. I knew that it was Teacher helping me by providing this opportunity, I needed to keep looking inward and get to the bottom of all my attachments. For the next month, I kept looking inward and discovered more than 20 attachments.
Attachment to Self Revealed
These were the attachments that have been preventing me from elevating. I cried many times, when I realized how I had not been diligent and had so many attachments, especially the attachment to self. I thought that I was caring about her so much, yet she didn't give me anything in return. It was not because she didn't want to talk to me, but rather she was avoiding me because she was afraid I would find another fault with her. Teacher said:
“While working, your tone of voice, your kindheartedness, and your reasoning can change a person’s heart, whereas commands never could!” (“Clearheadedness” in Essentials for Further Advancement)
Thinking about the times when we were together, many attachments surfaced. I sent forth righteous thoughts everyday. After more than a month, I was able to stop constantly thinking about the situation with this practitioner, and I finally calmed down.
A few days ago, I thought: “Wouldn't it be nice if she didn't come back at all, as it would save me from worrying about her and helping her.” After I looked within, it came down to the fact that I didn’t manage to eliminate my selfishness completely. I am now looking forward to her returning home, so that we can cultivate and improve together.