We Should Cherish Family Members As Master Cherishes Us
(Minghui.org) Greetings esteemed Master and fellow practitioners!
I began practicing Falun Dafa (also called Falun Gong) in 1997 in the United States. I want to share my experience clarifying the truth to my family members.
Belief in Science
I introduced Falun Dafa to my father shortly after the onset of the persecution in 1999. He and my mother strongly believe in science and so had many doubts and questions about practices like Dafa.
I read the section called “Qigong and Physical Exercises” in Lecture 9 of Zhuan Falun to them. They accepted what they heard and said “After all, sports and exercise consume energy while qigong preserves energy.”
That evening, I shared with them my experiences and why I practice cultivation. Even though they still had many questions, they were listening. We talked late into the night. It was the first time that I ever had such a heart-to-heart talk with my parents.
My dad 's work took him to Taiwan and China. Every time he returned, he talked about Falun Gong. Once, he insisted that I go to New York with him to take care of some paperwork. During the 10 hour round-trip bus ride, he listened attentively to Master’s 9-day lecture. We ultimately did not take care of the paperwork, and I realized that the reason for the trip was for him to listen to the Fa.
On his return to China, he listened to more of Master's Fa. I also gave him a copy of the book Zhuan Falun.
From Support to Disapproval
As the persecution escalated, my father’s attitude toward my cultivation went from supportive to fearful, so I had him watch a film that clarified the facts about Falun Gong.
When he saw how severely practitioners were persecuted, he shed tears. However, as time went by, his attitude changed from fear to disapproval.
Father wrote me long letters and asked that I give up Falun Gong. At that time, I had quit my job and moved to New York to work full time at NTDTV. My father could not understand why I would quit my job.
He thought that I was becoming political. In his eyes, my cultivation did not bring me any benefits. Many of his friends’ children were not as talented as I was but were all living a comfortable life. In his opinion, I gave up my job, house, family, and money for the sake of my faith. He thought I let go of all I could have and felt a sense of loss.
I also wrote long letters to him and shared my thoughts. However, neither of us could convince the other. Whenever he brought up the topic of Dafa, our conversation would end in discord. When I had problems with my xinxing, he would even say disrespectful words toward Dafa. I did not know how to clarify the truth to him.
However, it was strange that Father would always want to talk about Falun Gong when he came to see me. Yet, whenever I tried to tell him my thoughts, he either disagreed or refused to listen. So I stopped talking and just listened to him.
Warning and Hint
Then, in a dream I saw my father in a coffin. I was pacing back and forth outside the room where the coffin was. A group of ghosts came to take him away, but when they saw me, they fled. When I woke up I understood that my father must be in danger and that only I could save him. I still had no idea what to do, but was determined not to give up this time.
At that time, my cultivation state was on a downslide because I was busy with many tasks. When I ran into conflicts, I looked within very superficially and was just feeling bad. Thus, I wasn’t improving in my cultivation. In retrospect, I wasted a lot of opportunities to improve. Then, the tribulations I experienced at NTD escalated until I just quit.
After leaving NTD, I got involved in other projects and was still busy. One day, I had another dream in which I had a group of cute little pets. I often forgot to feed the pets and they became skinnier, yet I still ignored them. I thought that they would thrive until one day I saw that they were dying from hunger. I was so sad and rushed out to buy food, but could not find anything for them.
After I woke up, the remorse and sorrow I felt while dreaming made a great impact on me. I enlightened that the pets in my house were my family members. The food they needed is to hear the truth about Falun Gong. Yet, I had simply been keeping myself busy, ignoring them and their well-being.
Our cultivation path should not take a detour because of changes in our environment. After leaving NTD, I ran into many painful xinxing tests that made me realize I could not escape any more. There was no choice but to return to serious cultivation and focus on improving my xinxing.
If eliminating karma means enduring physical symptoms, then eliminating attachments is a process of mental endurance. For example, when eliminating the attachment to competitiveness, as the attachment is pushed to the surface and eliminated, the desire to fight and argue is very strong. If one cannot control oneself, one will be driven by the attachment. When one is driven by it, one will not eliminate but reinforce it.
To get rid of the attachment, the main consciousness must be very strong. One must clearly separate oneself from the competitive mentality. When righteous thoughts are very strong, the attachment can quickly be eliminated. However, the psychological endurance and mental pressure during the process is tremendous. This is because the attachment is a big mountain in the other dimension. To completely eliminate it, one must endure some hardship. It often took a few days of great effort to eliminate an attachment, yet another surfaced.
Then, Master let me experience a brief moment of serenity without any attachment. Even though the moment was very brief, it encouraged me to eliminate the next attachment, one after another. There were a few months when I continuously eliminated attachments.
My heart and mind were constantly tempered and tested when I was working, walking, eating, or doing chores. At that time, I gradually learned how to cultivate and began to understand what cultivation entails.
My cultivation began to improve and my father changed around that time. He visited and asked me to shop with him for an iPad. I wanted to pay for it with my credit card, which surprised him. He had believed that after I quit my regular job, I did not have a stable income and my wherewithal was not good.
“I read an article by a practitioner on the Minghui website,” I said. “It said that ‘of the 100 kindnesses, filial piety is number one.’”
I continued, “I practice Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. If I want to cultivate compassion, I must do well in filial piety first. I didn’t do very well in this area before. You supported my business and gave me money to study. Even though I had not made much money yet, I must use the money I earn to show my filial piety to you. Please let me buy this iPad for you.”
My father was very moved and let me buy the iPad. Even though it was just a small gesture, it brought us very close. He proudly told his friends that his iPad was given to him by his daughter when he visited the United States. Even though he was still against me working for NTD as a volunteer, he cared about NTD and watched it almost every day.
Clarifying Truth from Perspective of Politics
A few days later, I arranged for him to have lunch with a practitioner who knows how to clarify the truth from the perspective of “politics”. This practitioner answered many questions for father. Later, he met other practitioners of different ages. He concluded that Falun Gong practitioners are all good people. Not only that, he realized that they are intelligent, insightful people and are completely different from the stereotypical Chinese communist.
After he visited NTD television, he said: “Even though you don’t have many resources, everyone working there is full of enthusiasm and energy.” This impressed him deeply.
My father completely changed his attitude toward Dafa. He watches the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party documentary every morning on NTD and took copies of the Nine Commentaries back to China. He felt that his daughter became very respectful to him after practicing Dafa and that Falun Dafa is indeed very good.
Improvement in Cultivation Affected Change
After some time, father came to visit again. By then, I had returned to NTD full time. He thanked me in front of a few practitioners at NTD. He thanked me for not giving up on him and helping him learn the truth.
At this point, I was shocked that my father, who had beenso against my practicing Falun Gong and against my working for NTDTV, changed this much.
After that, he watched Master’s nine-day lecture and practiced the exercises with me. Then one day he had the opportunity to meet Master and gradually began to practice himself.
In retrospect I know that everything happens naturally. Yet my father indeed changed because I improved in cultivation. When my heart changes, everything around me also changes.
Even though father underwent many changes, his cultivation was on and off. Every time he visited me, he was eager to meet and talk with the practitioners he had gotten to known over the years. These practitioners would tell him about things in cultivation and how to cultivate. And every time, he said that he would be diligent in reading the Dafa books. However, on his return to China, he got busy with everyday life.
Sometimes, I ask myself if I had done enough, since he knows the truth and accepts Dafa. I wasn’t sure how much time I should spend helping him practice cultivation, as I know it would be time consuming.
Lacking Courage Because of Attachments
He saw Shen Yun perform twice some years ago. He had a lot to say after that, yet since then he hasn't had the opportunity to see the show again. This year, he wanted to celebrate his birthday with me in New York. He rarely celebrates birthdays so I wondered why he suddenly wanted to come to New York for his birthday. I checked and found that his birthday fell on the week of the Shen Yun performances at the Lincoln Center. I knew he was coming to see Shen Yun.
After I picked him up at the airport, I could not find the courage to tell him that we would see Shen Yun on his birthday. I was nervous because of his reaction after seeing the Shen Yun some time ago.
I knew behind the nervousness was a big attachment. the attachment to saving face, fear of not being understood by my family, fear of rejection, sentimentality to my family and also indifference to saving sentient beings. I decided to let go these attachments.
When the persecution first started, I clarified the truth to family and friends a lot. I did not have any notions and just told them how great Dafa is. Now, I seldom clarify the truth to my family. I rarely mention Falun Gong at family reunions because I felt uneasy in bringing up the topic. That evening, I cried. Quietly I said to Master that I must improve on this issue.
The next morning, I told my father about my plan to see Shen Yun with him. He did not object, saw the Shen Yun performance and had a very meaningful birthday. He also attended a group Fa study for the first time. A few weeks later he wrote his first experience sharing paper.
Master Gives Hints
During that time, I experienced many conflicts with non-practitioners. Some were very painful. Master gave me hints that I should talk to these people about Dafa.
However, they exhibited a strange behavior when we met, and some were irrational and insulting. I felt saving them would be too difficult and wanted to give up. However, I also clearly understood they are my responsibility and as a cultivator I should not give up.
Through Fa study and cultivation, I gradually discovered that my family members who don’t practice cultivation are all extraordinary beings, They are all here for a reason and should have obtained the Fa. However, they all have a major shortcoming that seriously prevented them from obtaining the Fa.
Some are too sentimental and irrational, some are very opinionated and stubborn, some are very attached to their work and career, while some are controlling and always want to call the shots. All of these shortcomings that have prevented them from getting close to Dafa are exactly the major attachments I also have.
Whenever I need to get rid of one such attachment, the family member who has the same shortcoming will definitely exhibit his/her shortcoming in front of me.
For example, if I need to get rid of sentimentality, my family member who is weak in this area will go through emotional problems and display that problem in front of me.
If I don’t get rid of stubbornness and being opinionated, one family member will always appear to be stubborn and opinionated. When I’m attached to work, there is someone who will be very attached to work too.
Only when I get rid of the attachment to sentimentality, work, and stubbornness will the factors that prevented them from getting close to Dafa be disintegrated.
Clearer Understanding About Cultivation
Not only did I not cultivate well when it comes to sentimentality issues, I also prevented my family from stepping on the cultivation path. I complained that they were too sentimental, too stubborn, and too attached to work. I even wanted to give up on them in the name of being too busy.
However, they came here for me and they are beings who came here to help me improve in cultivation. After I enlightened to this, I had a much clearer understanding about cultivation and saving sentient beings.
My decision is firm. I will no longer hold on to any attachments that prevent sentient beings from being saved. Our cultivation is not for individual completion in cultivation, it is related to saving others.
I became more serious in my cultivation. Whenever I felt uneasy in my heart, I said to myself: Stop all human feelings and senses and only look within.
When I catch an attachment, I give myself two hours to get rid of it. After two hours, another attachment will surface and I will immediately get rid of that one too. I don’t want to give any human attachments any chance to remain in my dimension. This is because if I did, beings won’t be saved.
The process of getting rid of attachments is excruciating, yet very sacred. I could feel that Master is constantly looking after me, encouraging me, and completing me. I believe massive changes were underway in other dimensions, yet I looked completely normal on the surface. I went to work as usual, but I knew I was improving extremely fast.
After almost 20 years of cultivation, I now understand what it means to look within, what solid cultivation is and how to go through a tribulation.
I'm grateful for Master’s painstaking efforts. Every step we make in cultivation is done under his care and protection. What we want to accomplish in cultivation is our own wish, yet everything is done by Master. We only can cultivate well and not give up the chance to save every person that we come across. Cherish them, just like how we are being cherished by our Master.
(Presented at 2016 New York Falun Dafa Cultivation Experience Sharing Conference)