Cherishing the Opportunity to Cultivate, Cultivating Genuinely and Solidly
(Minghui.org) Looking back on my past years of cultivation, what I regret most is that I could not be steadfast about cultivating genuinely and solidly.
I lost many opportunities that Master gave me to improve when I met with conflicts. Although I have eliminated some attachments and notions of everyday people, I have a long way to go to meet the requirements set forth by Master and Dafa.
What I can do now is to remind myself to cultivate well in the future and to cherish this most precious chance for cultivating. Together with other practitioners, I wish to cultivate as I did when I first began and to fulfill my vow during the Fa rectification period.
Cultivating Truthfulness in Conflicts
I have lived in North America for more than 20 years and believed that I was a truthful person both in my personal character and my cultivation. When I first started, I could talk with other practitioners whenever I had any problems in my cultivation. I did not hesitate to expose my shortcomings or to point out any shortfalls in others, since I believed there were nothing to hide as a Dafa practitioner.
I believed we should eliminate the attachments we had before we began to cultivate, especially the selfish mindset that seeks to protect itself by being cunning. It is necessary for us as practitioners to elevate ourselves so that we can complete our projects to save sentient beings. Forthright communication is how we can help each other and improve together.
As I deepened my Fa study, I realized little by little that it is hard to always be truthful. Our human minds are complicated, and we are cultivating at different levels. When I worked with other practitioners, I used to point out their problems if I saw anything I thought was not in accordance with the Fa’s requirements, if there were loopholes in their practice, or if I found a better way to do a project.
Sometimes they could understand my directness and it would help us improve. Sometimes, however, they did not respond well to my straightforward attitude. When that happened, I did not take that precious opportunity to look within and cultivate myself. I could not distinguish who was “right or wrong,” based on my point of view formed before I cultivated in Dafa.
Conflicts with others put me in low spirits, and I lost the will to complete the projects I worked on. I doubted that I could be “truthful” with others, which estranged me from other practitioners. In some situations, I lacked the will to cultivate firmly, did not act like a cultivator, and did not show tolerance toward other practitioners.
At that time the water heater in my home, which was new, was not working properly. The water was yellowish, and rust came out of the hot water faucet. I was puzzled by how this could happen with a new water heater. Later on I realized that it was benevolent Master who had reminded me to “remove the rust” (the characters “rust” and “cultivation” have the same pronunciation in Chinese). I realized that I could not be “truthful” in the same way after stumbling in cultivation for so many years.
I studied the Fa and cultivated my heart. When I read the sharing articles on Minghui, I gradually realized what “truthfulness” is: it is about sincerely looking inside myself.
Master told us (not his exact words) that we cultivate “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance” simultaneously. I would not have kept such extreme attachments if I had done so. My true self could have been working and would have suppressed the notions and perceptions formed during my life.
As I overcame these tribulations, I realized that “compassion” is obtained naturally as we ascend to higher levels through cultivation. The determination to cultivate genuinely and solidly can help us reach “forbearance” at different levels.
At my level, “truthfulness” now means to clearly know my true motives, to say and do everything truthfully, and to evaluate everything with the Fa. I am not insincere: I think of others first, handle differences benevolently, and save sentient beings effectively.
When I reached a state of “truthfulness” and “compassion” at some levels, I understood that I could be tolerant at these levels. Truthfulness without Compassion and Forbearance is not the state of a true disciple. This I realized through a quite long period of cultivation.
To be truthful with my friends and to deal with any differences or frictions in the family or with other practitioners is how I cultivate truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance simultaneously. It is hard to save a person if we cannot have a sincere mind to save the sentient beings, because our words and actions will not have the enormous force of the compassion of a Dafa disciple.
Changing Human Notions and Passing Tests in the Family
My cultivation environment is mainly with my family. I found it hard to face the many human notions and behaviors of my husband and children compassionately and calmly.
Over the years I figured out that, every time I fell down in my cultivation in the family environment, it was because I could not discard my human notions. Sometimes I did not recognize the human notion, and sometimes I did not want to look inward and cultivate myself.
I was deeply influenced by growing up in China. In educating children, I believed that they must obey their parents unconditionally. I was aware that the relationship between parents and their children was quite different in North America, and I found it hard to treat children as equals.
I got angry when my authority was challenged. I would accuse my children of not respecting me as their parent. My anger grew if they argued with me. I had an especially tense relationship with my teenager.
I knew that, as a practitioner, I should not lose my temper and should be tolerant of others. I regretted that I could not do better and wished to be more tolerant and compassionate the next time, but it was difficult.
Master tells us in Zhuan Falun: “Some people will lose their temper in disciplining children and yell at them,” and again, “If you cannot get over a trifle and lose your temper easily, how can you expect to increase your gong?”
One day another practitioner was in low spirits and wanted to talk with me. She asked why kids today are not grateful to their parents. As I tried to console her, my problem suddenly became clear. This was not only about human emotional attachments, but about my human notions that were formed long ago.
It is true that, in ordinary society, especially in traditional Chinese culture, kids should be grateful to the older generation. We practitioners have a different view—we do not expect good things in return for what we do for others, including our children. When I became clear about this, it was easier for me to get through the tribulations I encountered with my children, husband, and friends.
I am often tested on attachments to reputation, profit, and sentimentality in my family cultivation environment. As soon as I thought I had let go of the heart for reputation and profit, my husband would worry about his job and ask me to get a job and earn money.
Recently he has not brought up concerns about income and having a job, even though we pay a high tuition for my daughter at a private university. His behavior reminds me that the environment is the reflection of a practitioner’s heart.
I keep in mind Master’s teaching that helped me to hold firmly my determination to cultivate: “I’ll tell you a truth: The entire cultivation process for a cultivator is one of constantly giving up human attachments.” (Zhuan Falun)
Valuing This Predestined Relationship and Cultivating Diligently
In recent years I have worked the phones to promote Shen Yun in the midwestern United States. Other practitioners worked hard to save sentient beings in the project. Their efforts have touched my heart deeply, and, when I look inside, I find myself lacking in comparison. I realized again that, whenever I am in low spirits, it is a reflection of not being firm in my cultivation.
I often told practitioners that I had no time to do the exercises if I worked on projects such as answering the phones to promote Shen Yun. When the project ended, I would be very diligent in doing the exercises.
The practitioners were always very kind and understanding, and I thought this was rational for quite a long time. But it actually affected the strength and effectiveness of saving sentient beings if I, as a Dafa disciple, could not do the three things well. My husband once mocked me: “Are you cultivating Falun Dafa when you do these projects?” Indeed, my cultivation state affected my family.
Now I’ve realized it is not so simple. I had developed the desire to live comfortably and feared both hardships and physical fatigue. Before I cultivated, I did not fear hardship, so why did I want to live comfortably now?
Thinking more deeply, I realized this was a problem of believing in Master and the Fa. Master has said that doing the exercises is the best way for practitioners to rest. With notions formed over decades, I still believed that more sleep is better. It shocked me when I discovered this in myself, and I made up my mind to correct myself.
When I first started to answer the hotline to sell tickets, I was excited because I could take part in promoting Shen Yun in such a convenient way that coincided with my other Dafa projects. I cherished this opportunity and wanted to do my best. I did not want to leave one phone call unanswered, and I hoped each caller would buy tickets.
Although I have lived here a long time, my English is still limited, especially over the phone. Sometimes I would break out in a cold sweat when talking with a professional person or if someone asked me a difficult question. I feared the caller, a sentient being, would not be saved because my answers on the phone weren’t good enough.
Occasionally I had to write down the caller’s name and phone number and give it to the coordinator to contact them. Master encouraged me through the mouths of the callers. The first compliment I received in over 20 years came from a local caller. She said that I had a nice voice and that it was a pleasure to buy tickets from me.
Another caller said that she liked my Chinese-accented English and traditional Chinese culture. My coordinator also encouraged me. She complimented me for recording information accurately when I sold tickets.
I soon found it difficult to be involved in so many projects. I would care about one project more and neglect another. There were misunderstanding among practitioners, which lead to estrangement. My initial enthusiasm vanished, and negative attitudes emerged. My heart for saving sentient beings was not as pure as before. Sometimes I felt I was just doing my duty and carrying out my responsibility as a practitioner.
I was shocked again when I read “Fa Teaching at the 2015 West Coast Fa Conference.” Master said that the only hope for practitioners who are not following the progress of Fa rectification is to sprint. That was me. It was clear that I had to rouse myself, as if I was just starting cultivation.
I did, however, and can now work on different projects better, do anything the coordinator assigns, and can collaborate with other disciples better to complete projects.
I now feel full of energy in doing the three things: I pay close attention when I study the Fa, do the exercises diligently, and work more efficiently to save sentient beings. My cultivation state is much better.
Master told us:
“I also hope that you can all, after so many years of cultivating, positively grow in wisdom and not grow so much in terms of knowing how to deal with worldly matters or how to conduct yourself as a human being leading a worldly life.” (“Fa Teaching Given at the 2010 New York Fa Conference”)
In how to treat fellow disciples, Master said,
“But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a compassionate heart, or should look at people in rigid ways.” (“What is a Dafa Disciple, Fa Teaching Given at the 2011 New York Fa Conference”)
Recently I always let the coordinator know how I am doing on a project, in order to eliminate unnecessary misunderstandings. I look at this as an opportunity to elevate my cultivation whenever anything happens around me.
I will study the Fa more diligently and carefully in the future, because Master said that saving people and cultivation with “that kind of determination and firm sense of conviction come from the Fa.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2015 West Coast Fa Conference”)
I would like to share Master’s Fa as an encouragement for all of us:
“When you seek to save the world’s people, you try to get them to awaken so that you can save them. Well, you too need to get clear, to wake up. It’s a problem if you forget about your cultivation because of doing too many things. You are cultivators. I’m not talking about your past, what you once were, or what you display on the surface. I am talking about your core and the meaning of your life, the responsibility you shoulder, and your historic mission. Only thus are you truly a Dafa disciple.” (“What is a Dafa Disciple, Fa Teaching Given at the 2011 New York Fa Conference”)
(Presented at the 2016 Mid-USA Fa Conference)