Finally Learning to Let Go of My Ordinary Mindset
(Minghui.org) Greetings Master, greetings fellow practitioners!
I am a practitioner from the San Francisco Bay area, and I began practicing Falun Dafa in 1997. I deeply appreciate this opportunity to summarize and share my cultivation journey.
1. Letting Go of My Ordinary Mindset
Before I began practicing Falun Dafa, I had several health issues, including serious diabetes insipidus. My doctors believed there were tumors in the pituitary area of my brain, and the only way to cure this was to have brain surgery. However, after several CTs, MRIs, and all other possible modern tests, no tumor was found. I was told that it was because they were too small, and I had to wait for them to enlarge so that they could be removed. Because the diagnosis was made by one of the top medical experts in the field, every hospital I went to just after that simply repeated his diagnosis: periodically have an MRI and wait for the tumors to grow.
On April 6, 1997, Master taught the Fa in San Francisco, and I was very fortunate to be there. Soon after I began practicing. The first two years I very diligently did the five exercises, but seldom read Zhuan Falun. As a result, my understanding of the Fa was very limited. Because of my illness, before I started cultivating, my body had always been a little dehydrated, and I was not able to tolerate any heat. For example, on a summer day when the temperature reached 80 degrees, if I just sat in the sunlight for more than 10 minutes, my heart rate would reach 160 beats per minute. If I sat for a longer time, then I might pass out. I would leave my air-conditioned home, go to an air-conditioned car, and then to an air-conditioned office. After I started practicing in 1997, although I stopped taking any medicines, I never changed my routine in the summer: I couldn’t live without air-conditioning. I never went outdoors if the temperature was higher than 80 degrees.
In July 1999, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) started the persecution of Falun Gong. Not long after the persecution started, one elderly local practitioner asked me to go to the US Congress and urge the congressional representatives to help. He said, “Let’s go to Washington DC and appeal to them for help.” He saw that I hesitated, so he said, “I don’t know how to speak English. I will have to rely on you to book the airline and the hotel and talk to people.” I felt it was the right thing to do, so I told him that we should go. I took time off of work, booked the airline tickets, and we set off on our first trip to Washington D.C.
I still remember the day we arrived in DC! It was the end of July, during the hottest part of the summer. It was a very hot day - the temperature was 97 degrees, and the humidity was 97%. I had been practicing Dafa for more than two years. By habit, I still hadn’t gone outdoors in the summer, but I had long forgotten that I used to be ill. After we arrived, we got a taxi and went straight from the airport to Congress. When we arrived on Capitol Hill, it was just after noon, and it was very hot. I suddenly remembered that I should never participate in outdoor activities on hot days, but I was already there. What should I do? I looked around and saw many practitioners sitting on the lawn doing the fifth exercise. I told the elderly practitioner, “Go do the meditation with them.” Then I turned around and walked towards a large tree - hoping to stay in the shade. Just as I approached the tree, a practitioner called my name and said, “You traveled such a long way to get here, why don't you join the activities?” I realized that I should join the activities. I told myself, “If I'm supposed to die today, then I'll just die on Capitol Hill.”
What happened next was a complete surprise! I had not been able to sweat for about 8 years. Even on very hot days, when other people were sweating heavily, I could not sweat. But that day, less than a minute after I sat down, my body was completely soaked. As my tears mingled with my sweat, I knew at last that I was well.
Looking back years later, that day I did not understand what happened. Although I deeply knew that Falun Dafa was amazing, my understanding of the Fa was still very shallow. I only looked at my own physical changes and did not realize that I needed to change my ordinary way of thinking.
After cultivating for years, I now deeply realize that to continuously make progress in our cultivation, we must continue to eliminate our ordinary people’s thoughts.
2. Letting Go of Ordinary Thoughts Doesn’t Mean We Are Indifferent
After the persecution began, following Master’s teaching we started clarifying the truth to mainstream Western society. In 2000, I talked to our county's Human Relations Commission about Dafa and told them how Dafa was being wrongfully persecuted by the CCP. The commission members were very sympathetic and held a hearing about it. On the day of the hearing, our local Falun Dafa Association coordinator and many practitioners came to speak to the commission. In January 2001, with the recommendation from the commission, the board of supervisors in our county passed a proclamation to support our efforts to expose the persecution in China.
I realized that talking to different counties' or cities' human rights organizations to clarify the truth was effective. Therefore, I began going to several human rights organizations to clarify the truth. I went to the state’s annual human relations commission meeting to clarify the truth. When it was my turn to talk about the persecution of Falun Dafa, I told the attendees that Falun Dafa was very much supported in our county. To my total surprise, the director of our county’s human relations commission immediately stood up and corrected me: “We did not support Falun Dafa, but we were against the persecution.” His words surprised me. Faced with the representatives from several human rights organizations from the entire state, I did not know what to say.
The director of the human relations commission in our county was a priest when he was young, and later became the director of the human relations commission. He adopted 14 children, and I always thought that he was good man. He was the first member of the commission to support Falun Dafa. Why did he make that kind of statement in public?
I knew that we should look inside whenever problems surface. I calmed down and started looking at the issue from his standpoint. American culture respects religious freedom and separates the power of church and state. The American government doesn’t specifically support any religion but is against the persecution of any religion because Americans respect religious freedom. That day in the meeting, many people from different religions were present. Perhaps my statement was too broad. As a director of a local government's human relations commission, of course he needed to clarify the commission's standpoint.
“You should always be benevolent and kind to others, and consider others when doing anything. Whenever you encounter a problem, you should first consider whether others can put up with this matter or if it will hurt anyone. In doing so, there will not be any problems.”(Zhuan Falun)
When I compared my behavior with Master’s teaching, I realized that, although I needed to let go of my own ordinary people’s thoughts, I should not ignore non-practitioner's concerns. When I talk to mainstream society, if I spend a little time trying to understand Western culture and what they feel is important, I will be able to talk to them more effectively.
Years later, looking back at that experience, I truly feel Master's great compassion. Before the persecution started, Dafa disciples spread the Fa and helped people attain the Fa. After the persecution started, the old forces raised the bar for people to be saved to a level not reachable. The old forces'excuse for doing this was to secure the universe's bright future, but the result is to destroy all sentient beings.
In order to save all sentient beings, Master lowered the bar to the level of helping stop the persecution. With this simple change, Master made sure that the level of difficulty is not changed for those beings to be saved during the Fa-rectification period. Master widely opened the door in order to save everyone, but when I clarified the truth, I actually made things difficult. What I did looked unintentional, but when I examined myself, I did not have enough compassion. However, the real reason is because I did not spend enough time studying Fa or raising my xinxing.
3. Communicating More Effectively When Clarifying the Truth
In 2008, I was given an opportunity to help with the Shen Yun project. I felt great pressure from the very beginning. Shen Yun is reviving the 5000 years of traditional Chinese culture. But do I truly understand what our traditional culture is?
I completed my college education in China in the 80s. Although my major was engineering, I have been interested in Chinese history since I was very young. In my high school and college years, I spent a lot of time reading about Chinese history. Looking back, I realized that the Chinese history books I read were all written based on CCP culture and its values. This is truly a great tragedy for many generations of Chinese. We may know some stories from our own history, but we've been cut off from our own culture's ancient values. Now I needed to explain Shen Yun’s mission: how could I do it?
There is no time to wait to clarify the truth. In order to do this responsibly, I decided to do some research. I went to the bookstore and went online, and purchased many books about traditional Chinese culture. I deliberately chose books written by Taiwan scholars and checked their backgrounds to avoid authors contaminated by CCP culture. After spending more than 6 months reading and studying, I had a rough understanding of traditional Chinese culture.
In 2009, we learned that LA practitioners were using power point presentations. Local practitioners decided to form a presentation team and do something similar.
Modern society is high speed, and people don't have much time to listen to our presentation. Often we only have 20-25 minutes to make the presentation, followed by a few minutes of Q&A. In such a short amount of time, I need to introduce traditional Chinese culture, Shen Yun, and how the CCP destroyed this great culture and tradition. There just wasn't enough time to do this effectively. How could I make it work? I thought about how Master used the example of Sakyamuni taking a bath in the forest (Zhuan Falun).
In this very short story, Master not only taught us how to look at the issues related to killing but also truly clarified the meaning of emptiness. I realize there might be better and more effective ways to make the presentations. Since both the Eastern and Western cultures shared the same origin of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance, and if people all around the world have a predestined relationship with Dafa, then I should be able to bridge the cultures. I decided to format my presentation to bridge our different cultures.
For example, American culture emphasizes love, family, and local government. In my presentation, I would first introduce the two basic elements of traditional Chinese culture: filial piety and loyalty. I would explain that, in Confucianism, loyalty means to love all people as one’s own parents. Then I would quickly tell the audience the story of Mulan. Then I would say: Mulan took on her father’s military duty to serve the country and society, which demonstrates her loyalty. After the war she turned down the emperor's offer and went home to take care of her elderly father, which shows her filial piety. Then I would ask my audience one question: who is the least important in this story? Many quick listeners were actually able to answer: the least important was the emperor, or the government. With just a few simple sentences, the memory embedded deeply in their minds is recalled. During the presentation, I realized that, in order to use ordinary people’s concepts to more effectively communicate, we need to have wisdom, and the wisdom can only come from Fa.
4. Studying the Fa and Sending Righteous Thoughts In Order to Effectively Clarify the Truth
After clarifying the truth for years, I realized that I have a very strong attachment to doing things. I want to do things, and I like to do things. I'm very happy when I have something to do and feel unhappy and unfulfilled if I have nothing to do. However, when I'm not busy, I don’t really use my time effectively to study the Fa. As a result, I'm always interfered with by the old forces during Dafa projects. We had an opportunity to give a Shen Yun presentation to an organization. The meeting was held at an upscale hotel, and more than 160 people attended it. The coordinator of our team took the opportunity seriously. While driving to the event, I began feeling nauseous, then I started vomiting. I was still thinking like an ordinary person. I thought: “Just keep going, it will eventually go away.” The team coordinator quickly realized this was interference from the old forces. She immediately called our teammates and asked the whole team to send forth the righteous thoughts. By the time we reached the hotel, I was completely recovered.
Master taught us:
“If you do not study the Fa, how can you do this thing? You may say that you can. Relying on a human’s cunning mind and quick-wittedness to do things, it is guaranteed that you cannot do it. Why? You can do it in business or work among ordinary people, but you cannot do it in this thing, because the words you say have no energy and are not aligned with the Fa. You want to save him, but the words you say cannot eliminate his karma and remove his attachments; how can you save him?! If you want to save him, you yourself must be a cultivator, so the words you say will have energy that can eliminate his prejudices and attachments; it has such an effect and can restrain those bad things that interfere with his thoughts at the time; only then can you save him. This includes clarifying the truth in various environments…”(“Fa Teaching at the 2016 New York Fa Conference”)
When I read Master’s Fa I realized why my xinxing did not elevate quickly: the reason I cultivated was not pure. After I began practicing Dafa, I became healthy and attained a lot of wisdom from the Fa. It's true that I've benefited from the Fa. However, my feelings of fulfillment and satisfaction are selfish. Because of my selfishness, I was not able to remember my mission as a Dafa disciple all the time. Because of this, I felt satisfied when I was able to do a few things, but I forgot that this wisdom and abilities were given to me by Master to save sentient beings. I forgot that there's still a lot of work to be done. I treated clarifying the truth as an ordinary people’s task, and did not treat it as something sacred. As a result, I may have missed many opportunities to save people.
The time left to us to clarify the truth will soon end. In order to do this more effectively, we need to really make time to study the Fa so that every opportunity to save people will be effective.
Thank you, Master. Thank you, fellow practitioners.
(Presented at the 2016 San Francisco Falun Dafa Cultivation Experience Sharing Conference)