A Young Practitioner: I Should Have Done Better
(Minghui.org) The remaining time of the Fa-rectification period is very limited, yet I have not treasured it and made best use of the invaluable time that Master has extended for me. I would like to share with fellow practitioners several recent experiences in my cultivation.
No Need to Explain Myself Because Master Sees Me
One day I had an argument over the phone with my father, a non-practitioner, about finding an item that I needed urgently. I asked him to look for it at their home. Afterwards, I complained to my mother, a practitioner, that I was wronged. To my surprise, she quickly turned the conversation around and started to blame me. Before hanging up on me, she said, “Your dad had searched everywhere and just could not find it. What more do you want from him?”
Tears rolled down my cheeks as I put the phone down. I kept on arguing with her in my mind, “You got two things wrong. First, Dad told me he had looked everywhere except one last place. And that is probably where the item actually was. Second, as I needed the item urgently, I decided to go buy a new one. It was Dad that insisted on saving money and looking for it himself. That was the origin of our quarrel in the first place.”
I could not figure out why my mother, my fellow practitioner, would not see the right and wrong in this matter. The resentment and grievance kept boiling over in my mind. In the following week, even though I still came to visit my parents as normal, I was terse and would not exchange any pleasantries with them. I realized that it was time to improve my xinxing.
Previously I would rarely acknowledge my mistakes. I usually reasoned, “This time it is truly not my fault. Maybe next time I will look inward.” Thus I developed a habit of focusing on others' shortcomings.
As I pondered it, another incident came to mind. I used to have lunch at my school dining hall. One day as I exited the hall after buying my lunch, the clerk would not let me go because he forgot I'd already paid him and insisted on me paying again.
I was furious and thought, “I don't care about paying a few extra yuan. But if I paid, wouldn't that mean I admit I was trying to leave without paying?” In the end, I won the argument but felt regretful afterwards. In retrospect, I laughed at myself: “Why do I always have to prove myself to others? Master sees me. Isn't that all I need?”
I realized that I had such a stubborn attachment to proving myself and rectifying any perceived wrongdoing against me. I was determined to control myself this time and not resort to any explanations. Master taught us,
“When it's difficult to endure, you can endure it. When it's impossible to do, you can do it.” (Zhuan Falun, Lecture Nine)
Although I was determined, the negative feelings of resentment and indignation kept surfacing once I sat down to do the exercises. It felt as if my strong attachment was about to bring me in front of my mother and we'd have a heated argument right then and there. I recalled Master's teaching,
“Wanting to explain just feeds the attachmentBreath of mind, unattached, brings true insight” (“Don't Argue” Hong Yin III)
When I truly made an effort to follow Master's teachings, suddenly everything calmed down as if nothing had happened. The atmosphere in my family was back to one of harmony. Both my parents and I did not ever bring up the argument again.
I knew I should have listened to Master a long time ago. No indignation is too hard to swallow. Right and wrong in ordinary people's eyes is not worthy of concern to a practitioner. It is of paramount importance to let go of our attachments in cultivation.
What More to Ask for, Other Than Time
As practitioners, we all know that we should not engage in speculation in stocks. Master has taught us,
“Some of those who trade stocks lose everything they have—do you know how that feels? A cultivator should never do this.” (“Teaching the Fa and Answering Questions in Jinan,” Zhuan Falun Fajie)
However, in an unusual situation, I somehow got involved in it. This is what transpired.
My husband and I had extra cash on hand and decided to set it aside for future needs. Between regular certificates of deposit at 3% annual interest and investing in various other financial products at around 4% annual gain, I picked the latter for the higher return to offset the inflation of the yuan.
At the time, I did not realize that my attachment to personal gain would bring trouble. Master said,
“As long as you have them, all of those attachments must be removed in different environments. You will be made to stumble, whereby you will become enlightened to the Tao. This is how one goes through cultivation practice.” (Zhuan Falun, Lecture Four)
Our financial advisor invested our money in some funds that involved stocks, although I specifically told him not to touch any stocks. When I found out how he'd invested our money, I was flabbergasted. But we were not able to withdraw the money and had to wait until the funds matured.
While these funds were in stocks, I was constantly watching the stock prices and my Fa study and exercises were negatively impacted on a daily basis. My experience truly echoed what Master taught us,
“......you watch the price fluctuations every day and your heart is practically dragged up and down along with the price. (Audience laughs) How could you cultivate then? You couldn't. How could you cultivate when your mind is completely focused on your stocks?” (“Teaching the Fa in San Francisco, 2005")
I knew my mindset was not right and knelt in front of Master's picture, “Master, I am wrong. I was deceived because of my attachment to personal gain. It is not coincidental. I will search deep inside for my attachments and will divest myself of all funds involving stock speculation once it is possible. In the meantime, I will stop watching the price fluctuations. Everything I have came from Master. And I shall leave everything to Master's arrangement.”
When I searched within, I found my attachment to money and personal gain that I thought was gone. Although I did not aspire to be a millionaire, I enjoyed a high standard of living. Although I would not hesitate to give money to beggars on the street, I loved to buy things on sale and, in case of any minor defects in the products, I would demand a rebate or other compensation.
Although I showed respect and provided for our parents on both sides, it was not exactly voluntary and willing when it came to my mother-in-law. Although I understood that practitioners' financial resources were meant for Dafa's use, I would show off and even have the feeling of competition from time to time when it came to personal wealth.
Another recent incident also came to mind. We bought a new condo and then found that it had some problems related to its construction. I zealously joined our neighbors in protesting and demanding compensation from the construction company. I acted with a strong attachment to personal gain under the guise of protecting consumer's rights.
In ancient times, cultivators had to live in remote caves and give up their ordinary lives. Today I enjoy multiple residences, yet I was still not satisfied and became peeved when there was a slight dip in product quality. What a contrast! Clearly I did not take everything in my life as part of my precious cultivation environment.
I knew that I had let Master down. Since as early as I could remember, throughout my life, I had felt a special force protecting me. After I starting practicing Dafa, Master had provided me with a lot, including a comfortable Fa study environment, perfect health, a family that created very little interference to my practicing Dafa, and Dafa projects that suited my situation and ability.
Master was worried about my cultivation and arranged for me to take the responsibility of producing truth-clarification materials for my local group. In the current time of Fa-rectification, what more can I ask for, other than some extra time to save more people? I knew that I was seriously wrong in my handling of the investment involving stock speculation.
As I am writing this article, there are a couple weeks left before I can cash out on the funds. Both my financial advisor and my husband have been trying hard to persuade me to leave the funds intact and keep them for a longer time for greater return. I am not moved at all by the potential gain and remain steadfast on my decision to divest, as I know I must follow Master's teaching and arrangement.
Remembering Other People's Good Deeds and Virtues
I read an experience sharing article by a fellow practitioner recently, and it moved me deeply. The author talked about how he felt that Truthfulness was relatively easier to achieve than Compassion and Forbearance. He then pleaded for Master to provide further illustration. Thus Master revealed a historic scene to him.
In ancient China, two brothers fought side by side in the battlefield. The younger brother wrote down the older one's wrong deeds and shortcomings in the sand but inscribed his brother's good deeds and virtues in stone. Hence the younger brother immortalized the good side of his brother, which decisively contributed to their joint endeavor in fighting the enemy, and eventually won the battle.
Through this illustration, I realized that when we always keep in mind other people's merits and virtues, we will naturally be compassionate. In turn, we will conduct ourselves according the principle of Forbearance as well. As I carefully went over the good deeds and virtues of my husband, mother-in-law, coworkers, relatives and friends, my heart became light and joyful. Many burdens of hard feelings from the past were shed. I took it so seriously that even when I was asleep, I still kept thinking about it. One day as I woke up, Master's teaching rang in my ear,
“The master transforms your de into gong that grows upward in a spiral form.” (Zhuan Falun, Lecture One)
I Should Have Done Better to Meet Master's High Expectation
I would like to describe a scene from a dream that I had just a few days ago. In my dream, I was taking an exam. The exam was about watercolor painting and clay sculpting.
Once the exam began, the proctor instructed examinees to start the sketch first and then use colors right on the sketch. I had doubts in my mind and thought to myself, “Shouldn't the paper be mounted in a frame before coloring?”
Other examinees told me, “Just do as you are told.” As I hesitated, time flew by and fellow examinees had finished half of their paintings while I had merely just started. In the end, I had to rush and complete my painting hastily before turning it in. The proctor saw my rush and encouraged me, “The next subject, sculpting, is coming up. You still have a chance to do well.” I nodded.
In the next session, I looked at the colorful clays in front of me and had no clue where to start. So I glanced around to see what others were doing. The proctor was worried and urged me, “You have to hurry up.”
I replied, “No hurry. Let me see what others are doing first.” Thus half of the time elapsed. Under the proctor's repeated urging, I finally started my sculpting. But it was too late and I was not able to finish before the time was up. I pleaded with the proctor, “I did not have enough time again. Can I please have some extended time?” The proctor said with gravity, “You can have a little more time but it won't be too long. You've got to hurry up.”
After the exam, the proctor specifically picked my work to review. He pointed to my work, shaking his head, and said, “How can you perform this poorly! You should have done better.” I was extremely saddened and, at the same time, felt the high expectation and utter disappointment from the proctor. I kept saying over and over, “I was in such a rush. I did not have enough time. I won't do it this way next time.” Yet there was no next time and I woke up from my dream.
I know that Master was giving me the hint that everything he asked us to do was meant to help establish our virtue and consummate our worlds. Yet I viewed it with a human mindset. When something agreed with my human notions, I would do it; and even then, I would do it following ordinary methods, wasting valuable time and causing losses to the Fa-rectification. As Master repeatedly urged me on and extended the time for me, I kept delaying and not treasuring Master's encouragement and expectations.
These are my recent cultivation experiences and understandings. I wrote them down in part to remind myself not to forget them and to correct my mistakes in a timely way. Each test is an opportunity that Master created for us, and it is for our improvement. If missed, the test won't come again. Therefore, treasuring Master's arrangements is also treasuring the opportunities in our own cultivation.
Fellow practitioners, please kindly point out anything inappropriate.