Expanding My Heart's Capacity Through True Cultivation
(Minghui.org) Prior to practicing Falun Dafa, I used to always be competitive and constantly sought others' respect. At the age of 28, I started practicing Falun Dafa after learning it from my mother.
From then on, I have come to realize how fortunate I am to have a precious predestined relationship with Dafa, but plenty of karma and numerous strong attachments have hindered my advancement on the cultivation path.
Below are parts of my experience through the years.
Learning to Give up Attachments When Things Don't Go My Way
Ever since I started practicing, things would not go my way as long as I harbored any attachments.
During my pregnancy, I was attached to having a baby boy and I ended up with a daughter. I had my daughter practice Guzheng, a traditional Chinese musical instrument, since kindergarten, and aimed for a gold medal in a competition. She ended up getting a bronze.
I had high hopes for my daughter to get excellent grades in elementary school, but she ended up always bringing home unsatisfactory report cards. I was attached to her having perfect eyesight and she ended up having to wear glasses. The list goes on and on.
These things made me, a person who had always been competitive in everything in life, finally give in to reality. As a result, my attachments started to diminish little by little.
Master has long since made it clear to us,
“Someone may say, 'I’ll earn some more money to settle my family down well so I won’t have to worry about anything. Afterwards, I’ll practice cultivation.' I would say that this is your wishful thinking. You are unable to interfere with the lives of others, and neither can you control others’ fates, including those of your wife, sons, daughters, parents, or brothers. Can you decide those things?” (Zhuan Falun)
I could only blame my poor enlightenment quality. Now I have gradually achieved the level of “Doing, but without pursuit” (Abiding in the Dao, Hong Yin).
My daughter is now in middle school. I just carry out my responsibilities as a mother and offer her assistance and support in her life, trying to guide her towards positive development. When her grades are good, I offer her acknowledgment and encouragement; when they are not ideal, I don't scold her.
When I realized that it was my attachment to reputation that had interfered in my cultivation, I was determined to get rid of it. Shortly afterwards, Master helped me eliminate the bad substance in other dimensions, which was the fundamental cause.
I became freer and happier. In retrospect, the angry mother who would scold and shame her daughter seems so distant and surreal now.
I could not help but laugh at myself: How could I have done that in the past?
My Daughter Helps Expand the Capacity of My Heart
In the past, I thought my daughter embodied all kinds of bad habits without a single redeeming trait. I saw within her laziness, gluttony, rudeness, and procrastination, among other bad qualities.
On the other hand, she was particular and demanding when it came to my conduct. For example, she did not like the sound of me eating food, but she would throw a temper tantrum if I started eating a meal without her at the table. When my chopsticks touched a piece of food but did not pick it up, she would stare at me angrily while picking it up and throwing it into my rice bowl.
One day as she sat down at the dinner table, she asked, “Where are my chopsticks?”
I pointed to the pair laid by her rice bowl, “Aren't they right there?”
She suddenly threw them on the floor furiously and said, “These are dirty and have not been washed. How can you expect me to use them?”
When such incidents happened, I could not help but become heartbroken. My human notions would surface and I would scold her loudly, thinking that she was such a brat, with no manners and no respect for her elders at all.
Master taught us,
“As you know, when a person reaches the Arhat level, in his heart he is not concerned about anything. He does not care at all in his heart for any ordinary human matter, and he will always be smiling and in good spirits. No matter how much loss he suffers, he will still be smiling and in good spirits without any concern. If you can really do this, you have already reached the entry-level Fruit Status of Arhatship.” (Zhuan Falun)
Through continued in-depth Fa study and improving my understanding of the Fa, I realized that the real cause was the limited capacity of my heart; it was time I expanded it. As I gradually was able to achieve a calm mind and stay undisturbed while facing difficult situations, my daughter gradually stopped throwing tantrums.
In retrospect, I thought about the correlation between my cultivation state and my daughter's behavior. She was lazy because I was lazy, not able to keep up the morning exercise at 3:50. She was greedy for food because I was attached to food, not able to achieve the level of “A mouth freed from attachment.” (In Dao, Hong Yin)
Although I sometimes got a stomachache after eating meat, I still stay hungry for more and cook a lot of it, under the excuse that my daughter liked it. My daughter was rude because I often talked to her in a commanding tone, without respect. She procrastinated and was slow when doing things because I was impatient and impetuous.
I found the root cause. It was my attachments that had caused all these conflicts. After I made an effort to rid myself of these attachments and human notions, I could feel the happiness just as illustrated in “After passing the shady willow trees, there will be bright flowers and another village ahead!” (Zhuan Falun)
Cultivating Compassion to Obtain Great Benevolence
The door to my condo building used to be broken, and it faced the back service door of a restaurant. The restaurant staff often came through the broken door into my building's foyer to rest and smoke. After they left, I could always see the cigarette butts and sputum on the floor.
I was disgusted by their behavior and looked down upon them for their lack of manners. Every time I walked through the gate, I would close it behind me immediately. Yet they kept coming in for smoking and spitting. Later, they even laid cardboard on the floor and took naps in our foyer.
One day as I passed by them in the foyer, I suddenly sympathized with them and realized that their lives were very difficult. They were there to take a break because they were tired from working over ten hours a day. They quite often worked until after midnight.
After that day I would not close the gate any more, thinking, “Let them be. I can clean up after them.”
When I could truly be considerate and put myself in others' shoes, I knew I had eliminated some attachment to the human notion of self. Soon the environment changed accordingly. They brought a plastic bucket to put their cigarette butts in and stopped spitting altogether.
“You should always maintain a heart of compassion and kindness. Then, when you run into a problem, you will be able to do well because it gives you room to buffer the confrontation. 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)
Later, when I saw them I would smile and they started to greet me and exchange pleasantries. It laid a good foundation for talking to them about Falun Dafa and quitting the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
From this experience, I gained a deeper understanding of compassion. Compassion means putting ourselves in others' shoes and performing altruistic acts without expecting any reciprocation. Compassion is the selfless nature of beings.
Eliminating Attachments in Face-to-face Truth Clarification
I have focused on talking to people face-to-face, supplemented by telephone calls, for truth clarification. In 2015, with fellow practitioners' help, I set up a materials production center at home and started printing flyers such as Quitting the CCP and Personal Safety, A Letter to People with Predestined Relationships, and Minghui Weekly, which I would hand out after talking to people. Every day I would spend some time on face-to-face truth clarification and usually could get a few people, sometimes a dozen, to quit the CCP.
Whenever my state of mind was not right, my truth clarification would be difficult and full of setbacks. Then I would look inward, re-adjust my mindset, and let go of my attachment to validating myself rather than the Fa. As a result, I could succeed in persuading people to quit the CCP one after another.
There was one time when I helped a few people quit the CCP and subconsciously developed zealotry. I also thought about bragging to a fellow practitioner next time we met. Soon after that, I tried to talk to a man in his sixties by the roadside. To my surprise, even before I could say much to him, he shouted at me furiously.
The moment I was going to argue with him, Master's poem came to mind,
“Don't argue when people argue with youCultivation is looking within for the causeWanting to explain just feeds the attachmentBreadth of mind, unattached, brings true insight”(Don't Argue, Hong Yin III)
I knew right then that I was wrong. I immediately changed my mindset and sent righteous thoughts to eliminate the matter that was responsible for my zealotry, mentality of showing off, and the competitive mentality. Afterwards, my talking became more smooth and persuasive.
From my experience, I think it is important to be dressed appropriately and address your audience properly. As cultivators in the human society, as opposed to monks, we should wear decent clothes – nothing too fancy, too shabby, or too revealing. Courteous language, suitable clothing, and strong self-confidence, under the guidance and support from Master and righteous gods, will make our truth clarification much more efficient and effective.
One day after I talked to a middle-aged man on the street, he accepted a flyer and sincerely said to me, “You are a living bodhisattva. Aren't you saving me?”
I was shocked to hear it. Instead of feeling flattered and at ease, I felt a heavy sense of responsibility on my shoulders. There are so many sentient beings longing and waiting for us to save them. We cannot let them down.
Looking back at my path in the past decade plus, I have transformed from an angry, bitter, sarcastic woman with a body full of karma and attachments, into a cultivator who takes fame and personal gain lightly, who is kind to everyone, calm and level-headed. Each step along the way has been hard. Attachments were relinquished gradually through painful and nerve-wracking processes.
But Master has watched over me and guided me all along the way. Master's words have rung in my ears and lit up my path.
I am here for the Fa. I am a Dafa practitioner. In the coming days, I will strive forward in my cultivation more diligently in order to live up to Master's benevolent salvation.