Western Practitioner: Being “Pulled Up and Pushed Forward” by Master
Greetings, Master! Greetings, fellow practitioners!
I obtained the Fa in November of 2011 while in search of supernormal abilities.
I grew up watching Japanese and American cartoons with superhuman martial artists and I wanted a more than an ordinary life for myself. After taking a Daoist study course in college, I vaguely understood qigong and Daoist practices could provide that. When I first saw a poster for a Falun Dafa club at my college I thought to myself: “This is exactly what I’ve been looking for.”
By this time in my life I had taken medication for nasal allergies, Attention Deficit Disorder, and/or depression for over 12 years and found no real cures. Although I had obtained the Fa in November 2011, it took about a year and a half for me to truly feel I was making progress and cultivating.
I first had to become a good person. For years I had always known my laziness, drug and alcohol use, and addiction to video games made me, my parents, and my performance at work and school suffer, but, finally, with Master’s guidance I was able to break through and begin cultivating.
Never have I felt that Master has given up on me despite my stubbornness toward improving. To the contrary I felt what Master said: “I’m almost pulling you up and then pushing you forward.” (The Eighth Talk, Zhuan Falun )
Due to a lack of Fa study and a cultivation environment early on, I did not change much, studying the Fa and doing 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 along with my many strong attachments. Otherwise, what good was living forever?!
After about a year and a half, I was in a situation where a drunk friend embarrassed himself in public and cursed and beat my girlfriend at the time for taking his car keys, then drove away drunk. It made me really question what I was doing with myself. If a lot of alcohol or drugs could do that to an otherwise reasonable person, then there was no benefit to using them even a little.
After this incident, I completely changed. I stopped drinking and became more serious about cultivation.
I was immediately faced with tests in this regard. My birthday party was the next month, held at a local bar/restaurant.
My friends drank and offered me drugs, and I politely declined everything. My girlfriend asked me: “Why stop partying now? You could’ve waited until after your birthday.” I more or less told her, “It would have been better to stop sooner. This was an excellent opportunity for me, a test.”
From time to time she would complain about my not drinking and not being fun, but in time she has accepted and supported my decision to cultivate.
The next biggest trial involved her as well. One or two months after, when 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 completely in shock and dumbstruck when I read it. Growing up in modern society and blinded by my attachments, I had enlightened down a crooked path; 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, cried, and fought with me about it. Through this process, I gradually 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 3 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 often.
I often stayed at my girlfriend’s house over the weekends. At first I thought it was acceptable to sleep in the same bed with her but have no inappropriate contact. The test of lust occurred in my dreams repeatedly, so I learned this was wrong behavior.
Then I thought it was okay for me to sleep 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 often discussed the prospect of getting married, since I would graduate from college soon. It was something we both had always considered, but due to modern notions, planned to postpone indefinitely--until now.
Although I was making progress, I enlightened so slowly. Teacher continued to drop hints for me. Some were quite obvious and 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, it was the day 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. Immediately I felt drowned in regret and felt a sensation as if Falun was cracking and breaking in my lower abdomen. She was smiling and happy, but I felt disgusted 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 anymore. I hope this can serve as an example to other practitioners how serious the issue of proper human relationships is 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 my construction job.
Previously I was extremely lazy, left work early and caused trouble for my father’s 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-Forbearance. I need to be a good person in every situation.” At the time he couldn’t understand how Falun Dafa was what changed me, but he understood the change was drastic.
I had developed the wish to do the three things well and cultivate solidly. Seeing this, Master provided me with the conditions I needed to fulfill it. Within two months of graduating college, Master lead 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 also 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 how Teacher said:
“...which means his Buddha-nature has come out. And that wish is considered the most precious one. So people will help him. ”(The Second Talk, Zhuan Falun)
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 the 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 from solely from her own ad sales. Despite the results in terms of sales, we were able to clarify the truth to many Western business people, and I whittled away my attachment to money.
I continued working with her during the Shen Yun promotion season. I had only seen the performance once, and this was the first year I had helped with Shen Yun. We contacted people holding events such as home and garden shows, conventions, and other events as to trade a booth at their activity for an ad in the Epoch Times.
Like Chinese students when the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party was published, 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 certain some people wouldn’t think Shen Yun was excellent. This mentality affected our promotion efforts.
Oftentimes I would be mute and trembling while she did most of the talking. I would want to leave once we briefly spoke to a secretary and left flyers, while she stayed and clarified the truth in detail. The people she talked to were almost always very attentive and took interest.
“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.” (""Teaching the Fa at the 2004 International Fa Conference in New York)
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 at approaching passersby and was somewhat dejected by being repeatedly ignored.
A veteran practitioner mentioned to me how some people were predestined and some 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 this way and those without a predestined relationship wouldn’t go, regardless.
A human beings responds negatively to rejection, but, as a cultivator, I should know that all things have reasons behind them and not to be attached to the appearance.
At this time I was reading and re-reading Master’s lecture from 2011 in DC, “Dafa Disciples Must Study the Fa,” because Shen Yun was discussed in detail, and I wanted to eliminate my poor understanding.
“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")
After talking to my fellow practitioner, I understood this Fa principle more fully, and I felt like something was shining on me from above, that I was at once tall and robust. It was very easy for me to converse with anyone that passed by at the event, 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.
The next year, there were lots of newer practitioners in my city to help with Shen Yun, but mentally I was conflicted.
I knew I didn’t need to help with Shen Yun promotion as much and could use my daytime hours at tourist sites, but I was suspicious that this assessment was due to an aversion to promoting Shen Yun.
I wanted to participate in Shen Yun promotion to break through my fears regarding it, but in terms of manpower, my time was better spent going to the tourist sites in my city to reach Chinese tourists. In the end, I decided to maximize my time at the tourist sites and did Shen Yun promotion at night outside theaters or when I otherwise couldn’t reach Mainland Chinese, and I found a good balance.
Throughout my cultivation path, I took a long time to rid myself of the desire to see or experience supernormal things. I would read Minghui articles as if they were comic books and even noticed I was jealousy of some people who were more sensitive and felt things.
As I progressed more and more out of this desire to show off, I came to the understanding that any kind of extraordinary occurrence or sensation in one’s cultivation is to develop firmer faith in Master and Dafa and to advance further in cultivation. Not for the sake of some entertainment value or fame among ordinary people; it is just part of their cultivation state.
“Yet, with or without seeing, an exceptional person can depend on his enlightening to reach Consummation.” (“Why One Cannot See,” from Essentials for Further Advancement)
From my understanding, the reason for encountering extraordinary things in my cultivation is because I need to improve faster or should have enlightened to something already. Many practitioners experience very little, yet their trust in Master and Dafa is much more solid than mine. In light of this, I think I should do better and not focus so much on trivial things.
It reminds me of what Teacher said:
“What do you go after these petty tricks for? You pursue this or that, but after going beyond In-Triple-World-Fa they do not work in other dimensions. By the time of Beyond-Triple-World-Fa cultivation, all of these supernormal abilities must be discarded and compressed into a very deep dimension for preservation.” (Lecture Two, Zhuan Falun)
Master has led me out of the depths of apathy and addiction to truly practice cultivation in the most distinguished role in the cosmos, as a Fa-Rectification Dafa Disciple, something I could never have done on my own or will 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 find me afterwards if anything I’ve discussed is questionable.
Thank you, Master! Thank you, fellow practitioners!
(Presented at the 2015 New York Falun Dafa Cultivation Experience Sharing Conference)