Master's Hints: Rewarding Cultivation Experiences
Greetings, esteemed Master and fellow practitioners.
As a Falun Dafa practitioner, I have benefited greatly from this cultivation practice. While studying at a university, Dafa gave me clarity and guided me.
I moved to Toronto because of a Fa validation project. In that city, I was offered my first job and that is where I met my husband. Now the Fa is guiding me through motherhood and letting me raise a little practitioner.
Smooth Path for a Diligent Practitioner
My daughter was born at the end of February of this year. The timing of her birth was as if it was arranged. Her due date was the exact date of a large event our project organized every year, for which I had great responsibility.
Because of my pregnancy, I wanted to take it easy and rest more. Also, some practitioners told me that I needed to rest and go home. However, when I went home, I missed the morning Fa study and thus felt even more tired. Keeping to my regular schedule actually made me feel better.
Because I participated in the daily Fa study and did the exercises, my body was in great shape. My co-workers commented on how energetic I looked despite my pregnancy. During my last month of pregnancy I worked evenings and weekends, trying to finish the project before the deadline.
My pregnancy went without a hitch. I even forgot that I was pregnant at times, because I did not feel any discomfort.
Although we do not cultivate for ordinary benefits, when we do the things we are supposed to, the path underfoot is smooth.
My plan was to take a week off to prepare and rest before the baby came, but the baby arrived on Saturday, after a full week of work.
Family Situation Broadens Heart and Mind
Although I was a stay-at-home mom and thus lost my outside cultivation environment, I still faced many new cultivation challenges.
Someone who has never had a baby has no idea what it is like to be a mother. Now I regret that I did not treat my mother better when I was growing up.
Worries and fear for the child that fall under “sentimentality” were some of the attachments that came along with the baby. However, the most difficult attachment to deal with was jealousy.
Ours is a blended family, as my husband already had children from a prior marriage. I was forewarned of problems, but actually felt that we managed quite well and were very harmonious.
Then, after the baby was born, I was saddled with my husband's two children for some weeks. Physically exhausted from the birth and unable to sleep for more than about three hours at a time pushed me to my limit.
Waves of jealous thoughts came over me: “I have to share my husband with another woman” or “He loves his children more than me and my daughter and does not have time to take care of another child,” which made me angry and resentful. I was no different than a wicked person constantly complaining about how things were so unfair.
Luckily, my mother is a practitioner and also a marriage counselor, so, with her help, I turned my thinking around. However, as it is always a process, there are still many layers of jealousy to let go of.
As I dug deeper I found this jealousy was rooted in the intense sentimentality I had for my husband. The thought that emotion is selfish ran through my mind. Once I let go of this sentimentality for my husband, my heart expanded its capacity.
Now I have a very good relationship with my husband’s children, and, although our family is more complicated than most, everyone treats each other with a lot of respect. I do my best to support them in the ways I can, and they also take care of their baby sister.
I believe Master gave me this family to help me broaden my heart and mind; it has helped tremendously to improve my xinxing.
Not All Is What It Seems
The most recent Fahui in New York, like everything else, was immensely challenging physically and emotionally, but also tremendously rewarding. One cherishes something even more when it is difficult to obtain.
“When people try to accomplish something, they encounter difficulty precisely because the principle of mutual-generation and mutual-inhibition exists. Only when you accomplish what you want through bitter effort and overcome difficulties will you find it not easily won, cherish what you have achieved, and feel happy. Otherwise, if there were no principle of mutual-generation and mutual-inhibition and you could accomplish anything without effort, you would feel bored with life and lack a sense of happiness and the joy of success.” (“Buddha-Nature and Demon-Nature” from Essentials for Further Advancement)
After this Fahui, I realized that I had been taking Dafa for granted. Group Fa Study, working full time for a Fa-validating project, and even Fa conferences became routine events, and I had stopped cherishing their sacredness.
Our journey to the Fahui began in Ottawa with a rally on Parliament Hill. It was the first time traveling with a baby, and, to make matters worse, I came down with sickness karma. When I reflected on why I got sickness karma, I realized that I was going on the trip for all the wrong reasons. I wanted to have fun, have a little vacation with my husband and baby, and see friends in New York rather than to improve in cultivation and validate the Fa.
We participated in the Ottawa rally for an hour before we began our journey to New York. As I was leaving the rally I felt disappointed, because I had convinced my husband to participate despite his obligation to his Fa validation projects and stay the night. All this trouble for just one hour! I was filled with guilt and wondered if I hadcome to Ottawa because of attachments or to validate the Fa?
As we were leaving, I was stopped by a group of optometrists promoting eye care. They saw my yellow shirt, which gave me the opportunity to talk about Dafa. Perhaps this was the reason for our participating in the rally, as all other practitioners were on the Hill, and it would have been a lost opportunity.
Respect for Family Members
The drive to New York seemed excruciatingly long with the baby, and we were exhausted. During the first few days, my husband worked on his project and I was left with the baby. That night I could not maintain my xinxing and chastised him. I was so upset I could not sleep all night and ended up missing the grand parade the next day.
It was such a shame to have missed another Fa validation event because I could not maintain my xinxing. However, stumbling like this gave me a new understanding of where I had fallen short. I always treated those closest to me the worst and had no sense of obligation toward family members.
I made up my mind to be better and more considerate of my husband and my family; otherwise my kindness would be superficial. Family is the base of a society’s social unit, and in traditional culture, filial piety was a display of your true character. Without being kind to one’s own family, other relationships seem shallow or fake.
“Of course, in practicing cultivation in ordinary human society, we should respect parents and educate our children. Under all circumstances, we must be good and kind to others, not to mention to our family members. We should treat everyone in the same way. 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)
Uplifting and Encouraging
One of my most persistent attachments are validating myself, wanting to show off how capable I am, and doing things I think are important.
Having a baby is definitely a humbling experience, as I could no longer do things as easily as in the past. Even when my husband worked on projects I would get jealous. I thought how he could continue on with his life as if little had changed, while mine revolved around a baby. All these feelings of unfairness were rooted in my attachments to validating self.
As a cultivator I must completely assimilate to Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance in all my thoughts and actions. I made up my mind to increase my physical, mental, and emotional endurance so as to be able to better support my husband in his Fa validation activities.
My husband took care of the baby so I could attend the Fahui. Seeing Master made the entire trip worthwhile. Listening to Master’s lecture was so uplifting and encouraged me to continue to strive forward in cultivation.
Broaden Heart and Mind
Prior to the Fahui my husband and I had thought about talking to younger people about Dafa. We felt that, at this stage of our lives, we could relate well to young people, especially since not many Fa-validation projects reached them. After hearing Master’s lecture, we were certain that was what we needed to do.
On our return, things started to fall into place. In less than a week we gathered a group of practitioners in their 20s who agreed to talk to students at the University of Toronto about Dafa. We planned to host a documentary screening about forced organ harvesting, which would present an opportunity to talk to many young people.
Each week, I took my baby and clarified the truth about Dafa at the university. We met many people who were shocked to hear about forced organ harvesting and the persecution of Falun Dafa by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Many people signed our petition that calls for an end to the forced organ harvesting, and I handed them flyers that announced the screening.
We were at the university about two hours every day, and the baby was always well behaved. Sometimes she even tried to talk to the students in her baby language.
Getting back to face-to-face truth clarification and talking about the basics of Falun Dafa played a major role in reigniting the enthusiasm I had when I first started practicing. After only doing media work for so many years, I felt I had lost my enthusiasm to save sentient beings.
In retrospect, I was simply too attached to the project itself and what I was accomplishing there. I was too focused on doing things and achieving results, thinking what I accomplished in a project represented how well I was cultivating.
“Do a good job with whatever it is you do. And as you go about doing it, it will be your heart and mind, rather than your success, that count. And as you work on it, you are saving people! The process of doing those things is also a process of improving yourself in cultivation, and at the same time you are helping to save a multitude of beings! It’s not as if only when you’ve accomplished your task or initiative will you have helped to save beings.”(“Fa Teaching at the 2016 New York Fa Conference”)
My daughter’s name is Hebrew for “My God has answered me.” She was the answer Master gave me when I was confused and had lost hope.
Although my daughter does not tell me things directly about my cultivation, my five months as a new mother has been a rewarding cultivation experience. It has exposed many of my attachments and helped me broaden my heart and mind in ways I could never have imagined.
Thank you, Master, for giving me so many opportunities to elevate my xinxing and thank you, fellow cultivators, for listening to my sharing.
(Presented at the 2016 Canada Falun Dafa Cultivation Experience Sharing Conference)