Learning to Cultivate Forbearance
(Minghui.org) When the persecution of Falun Gong began in 1999, I saw a large character for “Truthfulness” in front of my eyes while I was studying the Fa. I turned the page and saw another large character, “Compassion.” As I studied more, I saw “Truthfulness” and “Compassion” repeatedly. This continued for a couple of days. I was puzzled as to why I couldn't see the character,“Forbearance.” I thought it was because I hadn't cultivated forbearance well enough. Looking back, I realize that all the things I have experienced seem to be about cultivating forbearance.
Forbearance in the Family
When I looked within, I couldn't find anything wrong with my intolerance of the persecution. How could we allow the beating of innocent practitioners?
“There’s a problem with your character if you don’t do anything when you see something awful like murder or arson. How can you then demonstrate that you’re a good person? If you don't even do anything about things like murder and arson, then what would you do something about?” (Lecture Nine in Zhuan Falun)
I was also deeply saddened by any slandering of Master (the founder of Falun Gong). I couldn't keep silent or tolerate other people's hostility toward Master. I once told my family, “You may say anything about me, but you can't say anything bad about my Teacher. I simply won't tolerate it!” I often argued with others about Falun Gong. I sometimes even bickered with my family and held grievances for years. It took me a long time to recover my family relationships.
My elderly father is an intellectual. After reading the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party he acknowledged that its contents were all true. He recognized the evil nature of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and he therefore quit the Party. However, he was afraid any change in the political system would bring chaos. He knew that Falun Dafa is good, and Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good, but he stubbornly denied the existence of Buddhas and Gods. As he is getting older, his hearing and thinking are deteriorating, and it is getting harder to communicate with him.
My mother, a Falun Dafa practitioner, had a health problem last year. My father took her to different hospitals for examination and insisted that she stay in the hospital. My mother didn't want to, but didn't want to argue with him. I was torn because I was worried about whether my mother could pass this test well, and whether my father would misunderstand Falun Dafa. I tried various ways to delay my father's plan, hoping my mother would recover quickly. Every time I went to see them, I would continue to talk to my mother and force my understanding on her. Without knowing it, both my mother and I had a strong attachment of pursuit.
My father kept pushing my mother to stay in the hospital and we eventually had an argument. He said, “Are you refusing medical help because you do the exercises? You are blocking everything. You are the key. Your mom feels better when you are here, but feels sick when you are gone. If you care for your mom, you should move in to help her. Don't just leave after saying a few words.” Even though I had so much to do, I compromised by saying, “OK, I will stay here tomorrow.” My father stated, “Not just one day. Stay for a couple of weeks, a month, or longer!”
I left with grievance and anger. I couldn't calm down or think straight after returning home. I stood in front of Master's portrait and looking at Master, all of a sudden I saw tears coming out of Master's eyes. I was shocked and hurried to say, “Master, I'm wrong. I know I'm wrong.” I sat down and cried, as I knew it was my fault. After calming down, I studied the Fa. Every word touched my heart. I looked inward and thought through the whole thing from the perspective of cultivation. I let go of my worries and sentiment, and sent forth righteous thoughts. My father's anxiety was understandable. I realized that my mother, as a Dafa practitioner, should make independent decisions for herself, and realized she needed to walk her own path arranged by Master.
I told my father the next day, “I completely understand your concern. As Falun Dafa practitioners, we learn the the reasons behind sickness through cultivation. That's why mom and I shared our understandings with each other regarding how she should handle this. But eventually mom will be the one who makes the decision for herself. I'm fully supportive, no matter what she decides to do. I will do my best to help take care of her. Don't worry.”
My father looked at me and was at a loss. He seemed to want to argue, but couldn't find a target. He told my mother, “I don't know what to do. You tell me.” That evening, both my father and mother said they didn't need me to stay because I had too much else to take care of. Eventually, mother's health issue was benevolently resolved after we shared our understandings with each other.
Developing Forbearance for Fellow Practitioners
Practitioner A and I often studied the teachings of Falun Dafa together and shared our understandings. After the persecution began, we encouraged and supported each other during difficult times. We followed-up by going on the Minghui Website, and reading touching stories of practitioners helping people understanding Falun Dafa and the persecution, and then made and distributed truth-clarification materials. We sometimes encountered danger, but stayed safe under Master's protection.
For years, she and I shared understandings of the teachings of Falun Dafa, and we went through “thick and thin.” However, after going to Beijing together to appeal for Falun Dafa, we were both sent to brainwashing sessions. We did not do well and were led astray.
Fortunately, our compassionate Master helped bring us back to cultivation. However, we had conflicts. Our attachments made us estranged from each other. I heard from others that she blamed me and her words were spread among fellow practitioners and had a negative influence. I could hardly bear it. Even though I knew I had a lot to improve on, I couldn't get rid of the feeling of being wronged or the thought of what others did wrong.
Overwhelmed by the feeling of having lost my way in cultivation, I looked up to the sky and cried out to Master for help.
Master’s teaching came to mind:
“Forbearance is the key to improving one’s xinxing. To endure with anger, grievance, or tears is the forbearance of an everyday person who is attached to his concerns. To endure completely without anger or grievance is the forbearance of a cultivator.” (Essentials for Further Advancement – What is Forbearance (Ren)?”
All of a sudden, my mind was filled with images of so many practitioners devoting themselves to validating the Fa. All I could see was how practitioners sacrificed themselves to save sentient beings despite hardships. What great cultivators they were! I stopped crying, and I saw where I had fallen short. I realized how I should do better. I didn't mind others' tone when they talked to me. I realized that everything has happened for my cultivation and the elimination of attachments. Within a second, the negative thought that had been weighing heavily on my mind was largely reduced.
I heard later that practitioner A felt very sorry about what happened between us. By that time, I no longer felt happy or unhappy about what had happened. Practitioners, in recent years have overall, realized the importance of self-cultivation. We repeatedly watch Master's video, “Fa-Teaching Given to All the Australian Practitioners.” We carefully looked inward and felt Master was talking to us. I see my fellow practitioners' candidness and steadfastness, and my selfishness and self protection.
I used to be afraid of being blamed and hurt. I used to complain and I couldn't tolerate others' wrongdoings or attachments. This mindset blocked my way of improvement and cooperation. I saw my jealousy and complaints that had been deeply hidden. I apologized to practitioner A. We buried our old grudges and sincerely faced each other and ourselves. I learned compassion and forbearance from it.
Forbearance for Colleagues
A new colleague in my department at work who wasn't very knowledgeable, liked to show off. He was chosen as the supervisor. I didn't think very highly of him. I would even sometimes express my disapproval of the decision to make him supervisor.
When he was on vacation, I was asked to be in charge temporarily. I put a lot of thought into coordination and made things run smoothly. As soon as he came back from vacation, he began to mess things up agin. At the same time, he got the credit for all of our hard-earned achievements. Another colleague told me, “You did a great job making all the arrangements when he was away. We all knew what to do. Things are now out of order since he has come back.” The words echoed my own dislike of our supervisor. I often felt bitter and exhausted because of my mentality of struggle.
As a Falun Dafa practitioner, I knew jealousy was affecting me and that I needed to improve myself. On the other hand, it was hard to let go of my attachment to fame and gain. I struggled with it for a long time. I told myself that I must eliminate jealousy, and it was an obstacle to cultivation and offering salvation to sentient beings. Reflecting on my own behavior, I found myself talking to others in an authoritative and uncompassionate tone. I was very self-conscious at work and when working on Falun Dafa-related projects. I was opinionated and often forced my decision on others without realizing it. All of these behaviors were manifestations of my jealousy.
I used to feel inferior. Many of my attachments had been hidden by my seemingly gentle and aloof appearance. These attachments were now exposed as I got bolder. I realized the feeling of inferiority and superiority are two sides of the same attachment. I have been sending forth righteous thoughts to eliminate the attachment and consciously correct myself. I can tell that I have changed.
Through studying the Fa, looking inward, and continuously correcting myself, I learned how to be more understanding, more compassionate, and more tolerant.