Indelible Lessons: Children As Mirrors of Their Parents' Cultivation (Part 1)
(Minghui.org) It is said that the source of a child's shortcomings can be found in their parents. Children are a reflection of their parents' behavior, be it good or bad.
The ancient Chinese were aware of this truth and handed down the following proverb to future generations: “You can see a person's future in his childhood.”
Even today's Western researchers recognize that a person's experiences from birth to the age of 5 set the stage for the rest of his or her life.
This may help to explain why so many young Falun Dafa practitioners, who learned the practice before 1999, became people who had heard the Tao (the Way) but decided not to follow it after growing up.
This issue needs to be addressed, as it could ruin practitioners of a certain age group.
Master said :
“Sometimes, when kids on the mountain behave poorly, I know that their parents haven't cultivated well.” (“Fa Teaching Given at the 2014 San Francisco Fa Conference”)
Observing practitioners around us, we have found that the problems exhibited by young practitioners can be traced back to the adult practitioners in their home.
Deviating from the Fa
There are adults who simply read the Fa with their eyes but not with their heart, grasping only the surface meaning. Therefore, their children may never understand the principle that by reading the Fa superficially they cannot learn the deeper meaning of the Fa.
Many people read the Fa, but continue to act like they always did at work and in their daily lives, thinking about things from an ordinary person's perspective.
This is not limited to one's age or level of education. Many elderly practitioners with limited education are cultivating diligently. This can be seen by their behavior in any given situation. Being around elderly people like this would be the most helpful to the younger generation.
Through Truly Cultivating, Let's Find the Answer
Some practitioners teach their children to recite the phrase:
“Infinitely distant is Heaven’s vault,But with just one thought‘tis right before the eye;” (“Vastness” in Hong Yin)
A child once asked, “What does 'but with just one thought' mean?” A practitioner responded, “Only by getting rid of an ordinary person's thoughts can you understand the deeper meanings of the Fa.”
The child said, “Oh, I thought 'but with just one thought' was a type of ability.”
The practitioner was surprised and gained a deeper understanding from the child's words and said, “You are correct! When low level notions are removed, then supernormal abilities on a higher level can appear. But there are still deeper meanings.” The child asked, “What's that then?” The practitioner replied, “We have to truly cultivate, then we'll know the answer.”
This kind of interaction while studying the Fa will pique the child's interest.
Actually, children don't have an adult's preconceived notions, but they have their innate nature. Therefore, in some ways, their understanding is on the same level as that of an adult.
If a child cannot experience joy in studying the Fa and fails to gain a rational understanding, he or she may grow up seeking stimulation in ordinary society.
Children will move away from taking hardship as joy when the adults around them do not understand the meaning of bearing hardship in Falun Dafa.
Zhuan Falun talks about “bearing hardship.” Practitioners read it but may neglect to practice it. This is not truly cultivating.
Children are taught to recite in the form of a nursery rhyme:
“To consummate yourself, reaping Buddhahood,Let joy be found in hardship.” (“Tempering the Will” in Hong Yin)
Some practitioners don't understand the meaning of bearing hardship. When cultivating one's xinxing, they are unable to attain the realm of “taking hardship as joy” in Dafa.
Then there are those who lack wealth and thus may suffer hardship. They pay lip service to taking hardship as joy instead of understanding its truer meanings. They think of ways to avoid hardship and seek pleasure in ordinary society. Children brought up by these practitioners will seek wealth and pleasure when they are adults.
Young practitioners taught to recite and study the Fa superficially will not understand that enduring hardship is a good thing. Therefore, they may avoid bearing hardship and strive for superficial pleasures and fulfillment.
Facing Sickness Karma
Diligent young practitioners are encouraged by their parents to do the exercises and memorize the Fa when faced with sickness karma. Many recover after one day.
In contrast, pampered young practitioners often want to be coddled, and many adult practitioners indulge them. They may then be ill for several days. The parents of these children are not good role models.
Children who have been pampered during sickness karma will not be able to bear hardship experienced on the cultivation path, and even small problems will seem like major suffering to them. Master said, “If you suffer too much, you will be unable to practice cultivation.” (Zhuan Falun)
Many young practitioners who started cultivating at a young age have left Dafa because they were afraid to bear hardship and now seek comfort among non-practitioners.
Suffering is caused by one's karma. Quitting cultivation and becoming an everyday person incurs temporary respite, which is tempting. However, the suffering may become worse, because non-practitioners do not have Master to eliminate their karma. They have to bear the burden on their own.
Parents who are practitioners are often unaware that they are spoiling their child, and they end up ruining him or her. By the time they realize the truth, it is sometimes too late.
Equating Compassion with Goodness
“We must be good to our parents and children and be considerate of others in all respects. Such a heart is thus unselfish, and it is a heart of kindness and benevolence.” (Zhuan Falun)
There are practitioners who equate goodness with compassion and believe that it means providing a child with tangible things that are popular in ordinary society. They think that comfort – instead of bearing hardship – is good.
It is not only practitioners – many other people also believe that to “thrive in calamity and perish in soft living” is a truism.
From a cultivation perspective, the notion of comfort is not sustainable. This notion causes children to waste their inborn virtue (or white substance – de), as well as ruin their inborn quality and xinxing.
For example, young practitioners who seek comfort will frown at another young practitioner who gives up buying ice cream and uses the money to make Falun Dafa materials to introduce the practice to more people. They do not realize what a noble act that is.
Importance of Forbearance
“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.” (“What is Forbearance (Ren)?” in Essentials for Further Advancement)
It is acceptable for one to achieve an ordinary person's grudging forbearance initially. After all, you did forbear it. But through constant, strict discipline one will gradually attain a cultivator's forbearance.
Practitioners who are not diligent linger at a superficial understanding of the Fa and only forbear on the surface.
Dafa teaches practitioners about the forbearance of a cultivator. If a parent cannot achieve this kind of forbearance, it may be even more difficult for the child.
Sometimes a child can forbear, while the adults get all out of shape.
For example, a child suffers a minor grievance at school. The adults behave as if the child had been persecuted and seek justice. They might even fight with others, confusing a tribulation in personal cultivation with eliminating the evil in the Fa- rectification. A child who witnesses such behavior will not be able to understand the forbearance of a cultivator.
There are children of practitioners who understand the issue of forbearance. These children have learned to be less self-centered and more considerate and mindful of others. They are not just paying lip service, but act from a deep understanding of the Fa. Is this not practicing to calmly abandon everything without the heart being affected?
When children are not taught true forbearance, can they do what Master requires: “giving up ordinary people's different desires and attachments”? (Zhuan Falun)
A child's demonic nature may have been fostered because of being pampered and indulged from a very young age. The demon-nature may completely cover the Buddha-nature, making the child quit cultivating Dafa.
This could not have happened if the adults had studied the Fa diligently, striving to understand the Fa from within the Fa. They would have instilled in the child the ability to discover the meaning of the Fa, have taught him or her to be guided by the Fa, and thus guided the child into being a true practitioner in adulthood.